Q&A on Collecting: Ice was a luxury in Victorian era

Anne McCollam advises readers about the value of their antiques.
BY Anne McCollam Published: June 18, 2012
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Q&A on Collecting

Ice was a luxury in Victorian Era

Q: This photo is of a silver tankard that has been in our family for somewhere around 100 years. On the bottom are the words, “Barbour Silver Co. — Quadruple — 50.” What can you tell me about the history and value of my tankard?

A: You have a Victorian tilting ice pitcher with a matching goblet and stand. It was made around 1880 by Barbour Silver Co. in Connecticut. “Quadruple” means your pitcher is silver plate rather than sterling silver. Available ice was a luxury in the Victorian era. Silver plate ice pitchers were a symbol of wealth and status. They are lined with metal, glass or porcelain to help keep ice from melting quickly. Few tilting ice pitchers have survived with their stands and goblets intact.

Similar pitchers that are in excellent condition and not in need of re-silvering are selling in the range of $300 to $600.

Q: Enclosed is a photo of the mark that is on a set of dinnerware that belonged to my grandmother. Each dish is decorated with a white background, pink borders and gold trim. I would like to purchase some more pieces. I contacted a replacement firm, and they weren't able to help me. Do you have any idea of its value and where I might be able to buy additional place settings?



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