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Sheffield Silver

Sheffield silver plate consists of a layered combination of silver and copper. It was used to produce a variety of household items including soup tureens, caddy spoons, buttons, tableware, coffee and tea sets, and candlesticks. Silversmiths in the town of Sheffield, England typically produced identical wares in sterling silver, which they sold at higher prices than those fabricated from Sheffield silver.

Like many great inventions, the process of Sheffield plating was discovered accidentally in 1743 by Thomas Boulsover of Sheffield’s Cutler Company. While in the process of repairing a client’s knife, he heated the metal handle to an unanticipated temperature, causing the silver to melt. To his surprise, the silver and copper formed a strong bond and appeared as a single material.

For roughly the next hundred years, the Sheffield plating technique enjoyed great popularity among silversmiths and was used in the creation of objects of every variety. Beginning around the mid-19th century, it was largely replaced by electroplating techniques such as those pioneered by George Elkington.


Quick Facts

  • Sheffield silver requires less pure silver to produce and therefore can be purchased at a more accessible price point than sterling silver
  • While sterling silver tea services and tableware sets by eminent silversmiths can run into the thousands of dollars, Sheffield silver sets can usually be purchased for a fraction of the price
  • In March 2014, Skinner Auctioneers sold a James Dixon & Sons Sheffield tray for more than $600

Recommended Items at Auction

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À double usage silver-plated serving dish.
Oct 14, 10:00 AM CEST
À double usage silver-plated serving dish.
by Veilinghuis de Ruiter
Est: €10- €100
€103 Bids
1830'S SHEFFIELD SILVERPLATE COVERED WARMING DISH
Sep 29, 11:00 AM EDT
1830'S SHEFFIELD SILVERPLATE COVERED WARMING DISH
by Westport Auction
Est: $10- $1,000
$503 Bids
A trio of sterling silver toast racks by Atkin Brothers, Sheffield, 1923 and later
Oct 02, 12:00 PM AEDT
A trio of sterling silver toast racks by Atkin Brothers, Sheffield, 1923 and later
by Gibson's Auctions
Est: AUD100- AUD160
AUD1203 Bids
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HMSS BELL, SHEFFIELD 1892, 80 GRAMS TOTAL WEIGHT, WORN HALLMARKS,
Sep 29, 6:00 PM AEST
HMSS BELL, SHEFFIELD 1892, 80 GRAMS TOTAL WEIGHT, WORN HALLMARKS,
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD40- AUD100
AUD402 Bids
Sheffield Sterling Silver Presentation Bowl 735g.
Sep 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Sheffield Sterling Silver Presentation Bowl 735g.
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$2252 Bids
Sheffield Sterling Silver Picture Frame
Oct 01, 10:00 AM MST
Sheffield Sterling Silver Picture Frame
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$152 Bids
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HMSS INK STAND, SHEFFIELD 1893, BY WALKER AND HALL, 510 GRAMS TOTAL PLASTER FILLED
Sep 29, 6:00 PM AEST
HMSS INK STAND, SHEFFIELD 1893, BY WALKER AND HALL, 510 GRAMS TOTAL PLASTER FILLED
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD100- AUD200
AUD1001 Bid
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BOXED SET OF 3 HMSS HANDLED KNIVES & 3 HMSS HANDLED FORKS SHEFFIELD 1921 BY ALFRED BIGGIN & SON, 160 GRAMS TOTAL,
Sep 29, 6:00 PM AEST
BOXED SET OF 3 HMSS HANDLED KNIVES & 3 HMSS HANDLED FORKS SHEFFIELD 1921 BY ALFRED BIGGIN & SON, 160 GRAMS TOTAL,
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD30- AUD80
AUD301 Bid
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CASED SET FOR 12 HMSS HANDLED FRUIT KNIVES & FORKS, SHEFFIELD, 1911, 550 GRAMS TOTAL, BY WILLIAM HUTTON & SONS LTD
Sep 29, 6:00 PM AEST
CASED SET FOR 12 HMSS HANDLED FRUIT KNIVES & FORKS, SHEFFIELD, 1911, 550 GRAMS TOTAL, BY WILLIAM HUTTON & SONS LTD
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD150- AUD300
AUD1501 Bid
A sterling silver brush set by Walker and Hall, Sheffield, 1922
Oct 02, 12:00 PM AEDT
A sterling silver brush set by Walker and Hall, Sheffield, 1922
by Gibson's Auctions
Est: AUD100- AUD200
AUD801 Bid
8 Gentry Sheffield England Stainless Steel Knives
Sep 29, 10:00 AM EDT
8 Gentry Sheffield England Stainless Steel Knives
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$11 Bid
Sheffield Silverplate Hot Water Urn or Samovar
Oct 04, 12:00 PM EDT
Sheffield Silverplate Hot Water Urn or Samovar
by Old Kinderhook Auction Company
Est: $50- $100
$251 Bid
Group of Elaborate Sheffield Silverplated Holloware
Sep 30, 9:30 AM EDT
Group of Elaborate Sheffield Silverplated Holloware
by Merrill's Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
English Old Sheffield Tray - mid-19th century
Oct 06, 2:00 PM CEST
English Old Sheffield Tray - mid-19th century
by Bertolami Fine Art
Est: €0- €0
€101 Bid
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BOXED HMSS, 4 PIECE TEA & COFFEE SERVICE IN ORIGINAL BOX ,SHEFFIELD, HALL MARKED 1928-1930 & BY HARDY BROTHERS, 1.8KG TOTAL WEIGHT
Sep 29, 6:00 PM AEST
BOXED HMSS, 4 PIECE TEA & COFFEE SERVICE IN ORIGINAL BOX ,SHEFFIELD, HALL MARKED 1928-1930 & BY HARDY BROTHERS, 1.8KG TOTAL WEIGHT
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD1,000- AUD2,000
AUD1,0001 Bid
English Sheffield silverplate meat dome
Oct 08, 10:00 AM EDT
English Sheffield silverplate meat dome
by King Galleries
Est: $250- $350
$1001 Bid
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CASED SET OF 6 HMSS TEA SPOONS, SHEFFIELD, 1922, BY JAMES DIXON AND SONS, 52 GRAMS TOTAL
Sep 29, 6:00 PM AEST
CASED SET OF 6 HMSS TEA SPOONS, SHEFFIELD, 1922, BY JAMES DIXON AND SONS, 52 GRAMS TOTAL
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD30- AUD80
AUD301 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Sheffield Silver


Albion Antique Auction Centre

Albion Antique Auction Centre

DuMouchelles

DuMouchelles

Sheppards

Sheppards

Wilkinson's Auctioneers

Wilkinson's Auctioneers