Collectors wow gold highly prize these items for their historical value, their association with famous people and places, as well as for their enduring beauty.
Silverplate made for use by hotels and railroads had to be durable, to withstand heavy use and repeated washing. Instead of the usual 1 to 4 layers of silver plating, hotel and railroad silver was usually plated 10 to 12 times.
The Tale of an Ansonia Hotel Silver Cream PitcherThere and Back AgainThis is the true story of the small silverplated pitcher (pictured above) that I found at an estate sale in Rochester, NY for $3. It was very pretty, but what caught my eye was the coat of arms symbol and the words "THE ANSONIA" that decorated the front. Again on the bottom, the words "The Ansonia" along with the name of the great American silver company, Reed Barton. I quickly snatched it up.
I decided to do a little research about the Ansonia Hotel before listing the little pitcher on eBay. I knew that hotel silver sells well, but thought I could get a better price if I could find out a little history.
The Ansonia Hotel in New York city was a luxurious home to many famous people in the early 1900s. The residents had hotel staff at their beck and call for just about anything they desired, whether that be fresh towels or a midnight tea. Why maintain your own home and staff when the hotel could do it for you? They lived to serve you. Today, the Ansonia Hotel houses upscale condominiums.
When I listed my little pitcher it received immediate and commanding attention, with hundreds of watchers and dozens of active bidders, my little $3 pitcher sold for $93. Whoo Hoo! And here is the happy ending to the story. The lady who bought the pitcher, currently lives in the Ansonia Hotel. The little hotel silver pitcher found it's way home after 80 years.
Categories of Hotel SilverHotel, Transportation and Military SilverHotel silver covers a diverse array of sub categories. The basic umbrella concept is super durable silverplate made for heavy duty use in a commercial or institutional environment. Collectors tend to gravitate towards an area of interest in which the silver happens to fit into, thus creating the various categories you will find hotel silver in.
Hotel Silver Used in the hospitality industry at fine hotels and inns. The name of the hotel was usually engraved on the item and famous hotels, such as the Ansonia or the Waldorf Astoria command the best prices.
Transportation Silver A sub category of hotel silver with devoted fans of all forms of transportation. Transportation silver comes from railroad lines, steamer ships, paddle wheel steamers, as well as early air travel. Transportation silver is usually marked with the name of the company, and was used by first class passengers dining in style.
Military Silver Used by officers in the military of all branches, but articles for the Navy are the most common.
Types of Items Made of Hotel SilverHotel Silver and Transportation Silver tend to be items used primarily for dining. Items can range from flatware (knives, forks and spoons) to halloware (serving pieces like bowls, trays and tea sets). These, along with fine china, let the first class guest or passenger dine with the elegance they were accustomed to.
Take the quiz below to see what kind of hotel, transportation or military silver might interest you.
You pick up a little silver teapot at a yard sale and get REALLY excited, because. The Waldorf Astoria is engraved on the front and you love travel and anything associated with it. It has a Navy emblem on it and it makes you feel proud of your country or someone who served our country. It has "B O Railroad" engraved on the front and you love trains and their history. I find hotel silver regularly at local estate sales and it is always marked VERY cheaply, as in the example of my little Ansonia Hotel cream pitcher. Yet, hotel silver has a group of very avid, dedicated collectors willing to spend big money to get one more piece in their collection. You can pick up items often for under $5, sometimes for under a dollar. Auctions and antique shops may have higher prices, since the knowledge base may be better.