Ted was always drawn to silver. Like most children, a lot of his childhood was spent tagging along on his mother's shopping trips. As a child, Ted was fascinated by the different pieces and 100s of patterns on Victorian flatware. He wanted to know what each unique piece was used for and why it had a certain shape. As an adult, Ted prefers silver because it's an easy thing to collect - functional, relatively easy to find, and doesn't take up too much room.
"When shopping for silver, you can't simply rely on a manufacturer's mark" Ted says. Several companies have been around for over 100 years, but at times their production went into a decline. Ted explained how companies allowed use of their names on silver that wasn't to standard, had lines of lesser quality, or outsourced production. Ted recommends buying heavier pieces and avoiding pieces with a lightweight tin feel. Look for a good base metal. For large pieces, silver on copper is usually of a much nicer quality silver plate than say, white metal. For flatware, nickel is the preferred base metal.
Ted enjoys collecting unusual Victorian flatware and hotel plate sliver, which is very heavy silver made for hotels or commercial use. Hotel silver was predominantly made in 1890s-1930s and is usually marked with a manufacturer's mark and the hotel or company it was made for. Pieces most often include creamers, teapots, butter dishes, and plate covers. The most popular items are associated with popular hotels, mainly out of New York City.
Victorian flatware is known for its intricate patterns and variety of pieces. Victorians had dinner, luncheon, brunch, salad, strawberry, olive, cocktail, pickle, oyster, ice cream, cold meat, and asparagus forks!
Ted says it's fine to mix and match patterns. That's part of the fun!
Ted makes decorative bows from demitasse spoons and puts them on gifts. He's also made Christmas ornaments from flatware. While traveling in Europe, he left a rose tied with a ribbon and a demitasse spoon as a gesture of appreciation to servers.
Ted recommends Wrights Silver cream for polishing. Put flatware in a drawer with a piece of chalk to help control humidity.
Silver is great as a hostess gift. Find an unusual piece, or add a knife to a block of cheese, and you'll always be well remembered. A piece from the 1890s that costs only $14-$40 today is still a one of a kind gift.
Please look for Ted and his wonderful silver pieces at The Old Lucketts Store. Ted's silver is on the first floor --- immediately when you enter the shop, and he has a flatware display on your immediate left when you enter the big room.