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Silver Goblets

Antique Silver Goblets: A Guide to Buying

Whether you are a collector or want to buy a one-off special gift, silver is perfect for almost any occasion. Some of the most collectable items are antique silver goblets that not only look amazing on display but are likely to retain and grow their value for many years.

They’re used not only for gifts but for anniversaries, special celebrations such as christenings, weddings and even for prize giving. Antique silver goblets are highly collectable and make a great addition to any mantelpiece or display cabinet.

A Quick History of Silver Goblets

Drinking vessels have been used throughout time and stretch back to prehistory with the first metal cups fashioned from bronze and gold. It wasn’t until Medieval times, however, that we begin to see chalices and goblets made from silver in regions such as Europe.

Drinking bowls called mazers were made from wood but had gilt silver bands around them for decoration, especially at the lip area. One of the advantages of silver was that it could transmit heat and warm up the cup on a cold evening, providing additional comfort. From the 15th century onwards we begin to see more elaborate silver goblets, mostly made for the landed gentry.

Silver was also thought to promote better health and ward off disease which made it more popular as we head into the 17th century. Up until the beginning of the 20th century, antique silver goblets were still functional as were a sign of great prestige. After that they tended to become more decorative and were less used in formal dining situations, replaced as they were with wine glasses and pottery.

Rare Silver Goblets

While many of the goblets that you’ll find in silversmiths around the world are a good investment, coming across a very rare one can be even more rewarding. Recently a silver goblet that was made in London in 1655 sold for nearly £10,000. The goblet in question was made between the end of the English Civil War and the return of Charles II in 1660 at a time when puritanism was at its peak.

The Benefits of Buying Antique Silver Goblets

Throughout history, there have been some stunning examples of goblets made by talented silversmiths across Europe. From ceremonial beakers and baby cups to wine goblets and tankards, there’s a huge range of designs and possibilities when you decide to become a collector or simply want to buy something for a special occasion.

Antique silver goblets are perfect for celebrations and, because they can be engraved, are also suitable for gifts and presentations at sporting events and the like. They can often be purchased as single vessels or as a set, depending on the individual’s requirements.

One of the great things about silver, whether you buy antique, vintage or new, is that it retains its value and appreciates over time, making it an excellent investment. 

Antique vs Vintage Silver Goblets

People often get confused about the difference between antique and vintage silver goblets. In general, an antique silver goblet is one that was made more than 100 years ago. A vintage silver goblet will have been made anywhere between 100 and 20 years ago.

How to Spot a Solid Silver Goblet

Anything that is made from solid silver will have a range of hallmarks. These are stamps that are made on metal and should be easily visible. There are usually about 4 or 5 of them and each stamp has a different purpose – one might state the date or period, another the maker and location of manufacture as well as the quality of the silver itself.

How to Value a Silver Goblet

The value of an antique silver goblet is comprised of two parts. There’s the intrinsic value of the metal itself and the value that is placed on it because of the design, maker and age of the vessel. The latter is what can certainly add to the price you would pay as provenance is very important. Another factor that affects value is the condition of the piece – if the metal is tarnished or damaged in some way it can be worth restoring to add more value.

An antique silver goblet in pristine condition or that has been restored can have a value from several hundred pounds to several thousand.

Check out our post on the recent restoration of a pair of Barker and Ellis silver goblets.

Looking After Your Silver Goblet

When kept in pristine condition, your antique silver goblet should take pride of place in any display. You must maintain it over time to prevent it from getting tarnished. If you have a set of goblets and intend to use them for dining, then make sure they are stored properly in a suitable container.

If your silver goblets need a clean and you don’t have anything in the home, using a paste of baking soda, water and a soft cloth to buff away any tarnish is the simplest method. It is, however, recommended that you use a good quality anti-tarnish silver soap as this produces the best results and is doesn’t damage the metal.

You shouldn’t use store-bought silver polishes and always avoid abrasive materials that can damage the surface of the silver.

Check out our post on cleaning silver the best way here.

The Perfect Gift for Any Occasion

There’s no doubt that an antique silver goblet or two make the perfect gift for very many different occasions. They are a favourite at certain celebrations such as weddings where the bride and groom are presented with a cup each. They are often given at christenings, engraved with the child’s initials. Silver goblets also make amazing awards for sports events and various other prizes.

A set of antique silver goblets can bring your next formal dinner to life and amaze the guests. Or a single goblet in pride of place in your display cabinet can look fantastic. If you are thinking about buying an antique or vintage sliver goblet, it makes sense to purchase from a reputable silversmith.

At Edinburgh Silver, we always have a range of restored and new silver goblets for sale. Check out our website for more information.

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