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Aunt’s non-matching silver pieces are worth a forkful

When my aunt died last year in Baltimore, my cousins and I divided up her silver. She had a set of silver and a lot of pieces that did not match her set. We just took turns picking these non-matching pieces. I took these two pick pieces and some small ones, too. The big fork is marked Amston Sterling. It is 9-1/2 inches long. The funny looking spoon is marked Starr & Marcus, sterling, patent 1869 and has a little animal, an anchor and a G. It is 9-1/2 inches, too.

I was wondering what they were used for and who made them. Could the spoon really be made in 1869? What are they worth?

The fork is part of a salad serving set. The pattern name is Athene. At one time your aunt probably had matching large spoon though the two pieces could be purchased separately.

Amston Silver Company was located in Meridan, Conn. According to Dorothy Rainwater’s Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers, Amston manufactured sterling and silver plate. In 1965, Amston was a division of Ellmore Silver Company. By 1960, Ellmore was out of business and their dies were purchased by Crown Silver Company.

I could not find out the exact date when Amston Silver Company was established. I found several pieces of Amston for sale with the sellers dating their pieces as far back as 1898. The earliest patent date for an Amston pattern is 1890, so I presume the company was established about that time. Your pattern was registered in 1913 so you fork could have been made any time between 1914 and 1950. The replacement value at Replacements is $199.95.

Your serving spoon was made by the Gorham Silver Company. The pattern name is Rosette, and the design was patented in 1868. This is a Victorian-style serving spoon, probably made in the 1870-1890 period. The bowl is particularly graceful.

The Gorham Company was established in 1852 in Rhode Island. Before that Jabez Gorham had a number of business partnerships. In 1868, Gorham quit making coin silver and adopted the English sterling standard. Over the years Gorham acquired many other silver manufacturers. In 1982, Gorham was acquired by Textron and is now owned by Brown-Forman of Louisville, Ky. Brown Forman also owns Lenox and Dansk china. The Gorham Company manufacturing plant is still in Rhode Island with headquarters in New Jersey.

Gorham continues to make popular patterns such as Chantilly, Strasbourg and Buttercup. I think you have a vegetable or casserole spoon. The value is about the same as the fork, $200.

Attached are some photos of a carving set that has been in the family for many, many years. I have no idea how it was acquired or from whom. I thought it was unique and you might be able to tell me the age and value . . . if any. All the metal fittings and bindings are of solid brass.

You have a roast carving knife and fork set. They neatly fit into the wooden holder. These are made in Europe. The blades and tines are steel.

Fortunately yours have not rusted. The set is not American. From the carving and the brass fittings, the set looks Indian or Middle Eastern.

I have had a number of sets like yours in estate sales over the years.

In good condition, they sell for $45 to $50.

Julie McClure, who has 30 years of experience in the appraisal business, is a member of the Appraisers Association of America. Her company, Appraisals and Sales by Julie McClure, Inc., is based in Bradenton (wwwappraisals4u.biz). Send queries and photographs via e-mail to McClurescolumn@AOL.com or regular mail to About Antiques, The Herald, 102 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205-8810. Please include the measurements of a piece and a phone number.

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