Unloved Antiques: 1847 Rogers Brothers Flatware

The Victorian-meets-Art Deco styling of the Rogers 1847 flatware in the “Adoration” pattern, first made in 1930. While many people have similar sets of “Grandma’s Sterling,” they are seldom worth more than $75-$100.

The sixth item in this series of Unloved Antiques is early 20th century flatware; the 1847 Rogers flatware sets in particular. Such sets were often referred to as “Grandma’s Sterling,” ¹ received as wedding or anniversary gifts after the turn of the 19th century and passed down from mother to daughter to granddaughter.

These sets were seldom ever used, spending whole generations stashed in sideboards beneath the “good china,” used only at Christmas and Easter. Such flatware services were mass produced items, boxed in matched sets of six to 12 place settings, with the better ones having serving utensils and a carving set included. Virtually every major American silver company produced flatware lines of both Sterling silver and silver electroplate in multiple patterns. Of these companies, the Rogers Brothers name is probably the best known, having produced more than 100 known patterns under the Rogers’ 1847 trademark.

A close-up of the 1847 Rogers Bros. mark.

The first problem—as far as value is concerned—starts with their company trademark, “1847 Rogers.” To many, such a mark appears as a guarantee the set is very old, as many a client has told me in the past:

“See? It says right here it was made in 1847” or

“It must have been in the family for more than 150 years.”

This set came with a velvet/satin lined case. It have places settings for 12, along with several serving pieces.

Unfortunately, like a lot of marks of this type, they only indicate the date the company was founded and not the date the set was actually made. The second problem is that, although Rogers Brothers as a company does date back to 1847, this same mark (with minor variations) has been used by three companies: the original Rogers Brothers; Meriden Britannia company; and International Silver Co.

The “Rogers Bros.” trademark was taken over by the Meriden Britannia company after they purchased the Rogers Brothers company in 1862 and used to at least 1898. The mark moved on again when Meriden Britannia merged with a number of other silver companies to form the International Silver Company in 1898. The “Rogers 1847” marking was used on International’s high-grade silver plate into the late 20th century.

The set above—a mix of Victorian and Art Deco styling in a velvet/satin lined case—is typical of Rogers 1847 patterns made during the 1930s. This particular pattern is the very popular “Adoration” pattern, first made in 1930. The set, containing 87 pieces, has place settings for 12 and as can be seen in the images is in “as new” condition, as far as anything of this age can be, that is.

In the current market, any silver electroplated services like this that was made before the Second World War often fail to bring bids of $200 at auction. This particular set only managed to get bids up to $75, missing its reserve of $150 and failed to sell.

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¹ “Grandma’s Sterling,” is often loosely applied by family members to include all forms of silvery-looking cutlery and hollowware, such as tea services that are not Sterling silver, but silver-plate-over-copper or Britannia metal. Sterling silver is 925/1000ths parts pure silver. Twentieth-century American Sterling silver will be marked to indicate this with a numerical mark such as
“925” or with the word “Sterling.” One should always carefully examine any silver item for either of these marks, due to the current high price for scrap silver, Sterling silver sets of the same size as silver electroplated one shown above routinely sell at auction for more than $2,500.

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Previous “Unloved Antiques” articles:

Unloved Antiques: ‘Limited Edition’ Collectors Plates
Unloved Antiques: Singer Sewing Machines
Unloved Antiques: Decorator Prints
Unloved Antiques: Commemorative Whiskey Decanters
Unloved Antiques: ‘Bronze’ Flatware

Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.

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