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Silver and Flatware/Flatware back marks


QUESTION: Hi - I am looking online at a set of Reed and Barton Francis 1 flatware, to be auctioned very soon. All pieces say "sterling."  Knives say "Reed and Barton."  Some pieces say, "Pat.June 2507. ". What do you believe this  might indicate as far as authenticity, age, value, etc., please?  Thank you!

ANSWER: Hi, Linda.

Those pieces with the patent date probably are older, having been made while the patent was still in effect. However, this is not 100% certain. The specific Reed & Barton mark is an indicator of age. If the pieces say, "Reed & Barton", they are newer (although still might be quite old). The older pieces will have the older mark - the letter, "R", with a lion and eagle on the sides of the "R". All forks, spoons etc. should have one of these marks. Knives are difficult with regard to marks because older pieces have marks on the sterling handles that tend to get polished away over the years.

Old pieces are not always better or more valuable. I go more by condition of the pieces.

I have no problems with dealing on eBay but I most always buy only from sellers that have a liberal return policy.

Good luck with your purchase.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi, Jim!  You are so nice to respond so quickly- and I appreciate the information!

I'm still undecided - haven't checked the auction today - believe it expires this p.m.

I had read that the symbol marks were no longer used after 1957, so no forks or spoons were produced following that date?

Thanks again!


ANSWER: That's not correct.

Forks and spoons made after that date would have "Reed & Barton Sterling" on the back.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Oh, okay!  I misunderstood - thought you meant that all forks & spoons should have symbol marks (R, eagle, lion).

Anyway, you mentioned a liberal return policy, I checked the auction, & returns are not accepted!  You may have saved me a considerable sum of money. When I read the listing, I didn't even notice.  From now on, that is one of the first things I will check!  I am very grateful to you for pointing this out, for all of the information, & for your speedy responses. Thank you!!

(I had never heard of Allexperts before, & this has been a  most positive experience!)


Thanks for your kind words and generous donation.

I'm glad your first experience with AllExperts was a pleasant one. Come back with other questions anytime.

If you have an interest in silver, I have a presence on two other Internet sites. My original blog is at Later, I started writing articles here: .

Best wishes,


Silver and Flatware

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Jim Stringer


I answer questions about sterling flatware and other sterling pieces........... I answer value questions at I also author a blog at and write articles about silver at ........... Thanks to nominations from questioners, I'm listed in the Top 50 Experts for 2014 and 2015.......... NOTE: Please do not give me a verbal description of a pattern and ask me to identify it. Attach a picture if you need such help..........


Buyer and seller of sterling pieces for over ten years. Author of the blog, Sterling silver writer for

Publications;; "Selling_Your_Silver: A Guide to Finding a Buyer and Getting a Good Price (

BS, University of Alabama; MS, University of Maryland

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