Tuesday 12 July 2022

5 Good reasons to buy EPNS (Electro-plated Nickel Silver)


EPNS is a bling thing! Antiques for fun, if you like. And pretty well indispensable if you're doing a retro makeover.

  1. It looks classy. This is all EPNS except for the toothpick holder which is solid silver. Can you spot the difference?

  2. It comes in various styles: from the chintzy Victorian up to 1901; then a simpler style evolved, influenced by the Arts & Craft and Art Noveau movements; and finally the more angular, offbeat Art Deco of the mid twenties to 1930s came through. Choose your style!

  3. It’s durable. Obviously. It still looks good after 100 years.

  4. It’s affordable. A modern manufactured tea pot, milk jug and sugar bowl in stainless steel will set you back about £30. The same set, made 100 years ago, is also about £30 and you get the lovely silver finish, and an antique to boot.

  5. It’s recycling. Why encourage needless manufacturing when an item already exists?

Early 20th Century style tea set

What is it? (The technical bit)

It is a process of coating a metal object with a nickel alloy to which a layer of silver is then overlaid using electrolysis. This compares with silver plating which is simply coating a metal object with a layer of silver. The advantage of EPNS is that the silver doesn’t rub off after a lot of polishing. Silver Plate, on the other hand, refers to an object that is made entirely of a silver alloy (of various degrees of fineness, depending upon the percentage of silver in the alloy). Solid Silver has to be 90% pure as a minimum for silver bullion, 92.5% pure for Sterling Silver (1852-1920), 95.8% pure for Britannia Silver and 99% pure to be described as Pure or Solid Silver.

Is it valuable?

Not yet. EPNS was developed in the 1840s, so anything between then and 1922 would be classified as an antique. There is still a lot of it around but, as it was often melted down as scrap, then certain items may well become collectable in the future. The things to look for, as with any ‘collectable’ will be a makers name or mark.

This mark, for instance, belongs to George Cutts & Sons of Sheffield who were active from 1882 to 1889. Prior to that the mark was just GC (George Cutts) and in 1889 they went bankrupt. Seems the sons didn't have a head for business.

So, if you're giving your dining room or kitchen a retro makeover, don't forget the tableware and go for EPNS! They make stylish wedding presents, too!

10% Off all EPNS items, exclusively for readers of this blog. Use this link


Find loads more great stuff at Steve's Vintage Collectables

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