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Silver and Flatware/silver markings


I have what looks like an old butterknife that says "solid silver metal".What does that mean? Also,I saw (at a flea market)what looked like an old sugar holder shaped like a cauldron (but no handle) and the feet were lion heads.On the bottom was an imprint of a palance and I think the word "Victoria". Could it have been a sterling silver piece?


The term, "solid silver metal", does not have a precise definition in the silver industry. I've seen pieces like this that actually have no silver content but I cannot say for certain.

For pieces made in the U.S., most sterling pieces have the word, "Sterling", on them. A few might have the number, "925", which stands for 92.5% silver content, the standard for sterling. It would be foolish for a manufacturer NOT to mark sterling pieces with standard markings. British sterling is marked with other symbols but not the ones you described. Therefore, your sugar holder probably is not sterling.

Best wishes,


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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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