Sunday, October 25, 2015

10/25/15 Report - Silverware Beach Finds and Facts. 15th Century Treasure Wreck Found.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Not too long ago I showed an old fork handle. Silverware is a common type of beach find. Most silverware will be marked, so with a little research you can get a good idea about how old it is.  Older pieces might not be marked or the marks can be difficult to see.  I haven't researched all of the silverware in this photo yet. There is one silver piece in the photo, one of pewter, and the others are silver plated.

Notice the spoon near the bottom that is missing most of the bowl.

The good thing about silverware besides the fact that it is often well marked is that you can find good web sites that provide excellent information about both the markings and companies that made the pieces. The site is one good example.

Here are a few of the marks from the group of items shown above.

Star Rogers and Bro AI
Some quick research revealed the following.

Established in 1858 at Waterbury by Asa Jr. and Simeon Rogers. Until 1874 the firm was only a flatware manufacturer. It was one of the original companies becoming part of International Silver Company in 1898 

There are many silverware companies with "Rogers" in the name.  Most are different than the company indicated by the mark shown above.

Four Crowns.  Other Markings Unreadable.
The four crowns show above show clearly on this piece but the other markings are unreadable.  With enough research, this one could probably be identified.

Silverware can also be identified by the pattern.

Racebrook Silver Plate.
This one is easy enough to read.

Here is an interesting fact.

The only time and place in the U.S. where hallmarks were required on silver was in Baltimore during the years 1814 to 1830.

You can read more about that by using the following link.

Here is some more interesting information that I found.

It is now illegal to use the word silver to describe any new metal alloy that does not contain at least 70% silver. But the names for non-silver metals that contained the word silver were popular in the 1800's and early 1900's and are still in use today.

There are many of these metals and a few are: African Silver, Alpaca Silver (or Alpaca alone), Argentine Silver, Brazil Silver, Britannia Metal (alluding to Britannia Silver but is actually a form of pewter), German Silver (or simply G Silver), Mexican Silver, Montana Silver, Nickel Silver, Oregon Silver, Pearl Silver, Russian Silver, Siberian Silver and South American Silver

One of the forks shown above is marked "ALASKA."  I thought it must have been from an airline or something, but here is what I found.

Alaska silver is a trade-name for a white metal. White metals have absolutely no silver content despite the use of the word silver in many of their names. These metals were named for their silver-white color, not for the content of the alloy and contain tin, zinc, lead, bismuth, antimony and/or copper in differing proportions. Pewter is considered by many to be one of the white metals since modern pewter consists of tin with a little antimony and, occasionally, copper (old pewter can have a high lead content and should not be used for food service). 

And here is a  nice brief history on electroplating.


A fabulous sunken treasure may be recovered off Finland coast as archaeologist divers say they have found the wreck of a legendary 15th-century vessel...
Records also indicate the cargo included 10,000 gold coins and gold jewelry — a treasure estimated to be worth more than $150 million today.
Here is the link for the rest of the story.


I need to check to see if I down-graded my beach detecting conditions rating too soon.  Like I said, it was a difficult call for me, but so far I think I was right.  Nonetheless, it takes just a little change in angle to open up a new spot.

I've been watching one spot for over a month just waiting for a good low tide so I can work it. I'm itching to get at it.

The surf will be decreasing slowly over the next week if the predictions are correct.

Happy hunting,