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The esthetic silver movement

While silver value has suffered over the past few years because of changing tastes and less formality, one of the few styles that command prices above silver value are from the esthetic silver period.

This movement was an artistic reaction to the starkness of the Victorian age and celebrated art for art’s sake. Works were often characterized by flourishes and unusual shapes. Popular during this time was the medallion style, which showcases a face or head of a person (or goddess or other entity) in cameo form.

Today we highlight the most outrageous, heavy medallion coin silver salad set made by Gorham and retailed by an obscure but upscale jeweler, Bishop Rein, which had stores in New York and Paris.

We collectors are quick to suggest that our things are unique and one of a kind. We aren’t saying that in this case, but we have shown it to active and longtime dealers who haven’t seen anything like this.

The silver value is only about $95 but we paid $700 to a New York dealer who acquired it from a New York estate. The bowl and fork are gold plated or gilded to keep offensive odors away (which would result from a chemical reaction with silver).

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