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Silver/Copper Sandwich Marketable

Sheffield plate was a silver substitute invented in England about 1740. It is a sandwich, with a thin sheet of copper as the filling, and one or two thin sheets of silver as the bread. The parts of the sandwich were fused together in a furnace and could then be rolled or hammered in the same way as pure silver.

Thomas Bolsover, a cutler from Sheffield, was the inventor. he apparently made nothing but buttons from his new product. Others adopted the process, and by the 1750s, it was being used for such domestic items as teapots and candlesticks.

A Birmingham manufacturer, Matthew Boulton, set up a factory in the 1760s to produce Sheffield plate in quantity.

The process continued to be used until electroplating superseded it in the 19th century.

Sheffield plate is a specialty collecting area in its own right. It does not command as high a price as corresponding pieces of silver, but in good condition can still be expensive. When buying a piece, check the borders carefully. A little copper showing through is generally considered attractive, but there should not be much.

Confusing for collectors is the fact that most Sheffield plate is unmarked and a piece with “Sheffield plate” stamped on it is electroplate made in Sheffield in the 19th century. You will want to consult come good reference books before investing too much in Sheffield plate.

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Jasper Ware Invented in 1775

Jasper ware is a fine stoneware that was invented by the Wedgwood company of England about 1775. The body was slightly translucent, which allowed it to be stained throughout. Blue was the first color to be used, followed by shades of green and other colors, especially black.

Cameos, medallions and plaques were the main products, originally, with some vases also made.

A variation was “Jasper dip,” in which the body of the piece was colored only on the surface, by dipping.

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Doulton Plates Used Gibson Girl Drawings

Gibson Girl plate by Doulton.
The second series of Gibson Girl plates by Doulton is a simple bust inside a blue border.

Gibson Girl plates were produced by the Royal Doulton factory around the turn of the 20th century. The set consisted of a series of 24 of Charles Dana Gibson’s drawings.

The plates have a blue border around a black and white pen and ink sketch in the center. The drawings tell the story of a recently widowed lady, as she first enters society again, has many suitors, and eventually joins a cloister. They originally sold for 50 cents each.

A second series of Gibson Girl plates is much simpler. It has a large portrait of a Gibson Girl in black and white in the center, surrounded by a cobalt blue border.

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