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1847 Rogers Bros Silverware: Uncovering the Value of Your Heirloom Silver

As an antique silver expert and collector, one of the most common questions I receive is "What is my 1847 Rogers Bros silverware worth?". Many people have inherited sets of this once-ubiquitous flatware or stumbled upon a box at a yard sale, and are hoping they‘ve struck antique gold. The truth is, while most Rogers Bros pieces have only modest value today, there are some rare gems that are highly coveted by collectors. In this in-depth guide, I‘ll share my knowledge and research to help you understand the history and value of your 1847 Rogers Bros silver.

The History and Marks of Rogers Bros Silver

The story of Rogers Brothers silver began in 1847, when brothers Asa, Simeon, and William Rogers patented an electroplating process in Hartford, Connecticut. This method fused a thin layer of pure silver to a base metal, usually an alloy called nickel silver (containing no actual silver). Stamped with "1847 Rogers Bros A1", these innovative plated wares offered the look of fine silver at a fraction of the cost, making them affordable for middle class households.

Over the next 40 years, the brothers split up to form several different silver companies, all using variations of the Rogers name:
• Rogers & Brother (Waterbury, CT)
• Rogers, Smith & Co. (New Haven, CT)
• Rogers & Hamilton (Waterbury, CT)
• Simeon L. & George H. Rogers Company (Hartford, CT)
• William Rogers Manufacturing Company (Hartford, CT)

In 1898, many of these companies merged with others to form the International Silver Company (ISC) in Meriden, Connecticut. The 1847 Rogers Bros brand became one of their most successful lines, with huge quantities of flatware and hollowware produced until the mid-1980s.

Here‘s a brief timeline of the evolution of Roger Bros marks and stampings:
• 1847-1860s: "1847 Rogers Bros A1" (sometimes with star and/or eagle)
• 1860s-1898: "1847 Rogers Bros" with various symbols (eagle, star, Anchor Rogers, ABP monogram, IS with arrow)
• 1898-1985: "1847 Rogers Bros" with "IS" symbol (International Silver)

It‘s important to note that the presence of "1847" on a piece does NOT mean it was made in 1847. Rather, this is the year of the original company founding and patent. Rogers Bros pieces span nearly 150 years, and one must look at the marks alongside the pattern style to accurately date an item.

Factors Affecting Value of Rogers Bros Silver

As an expert appraiser of antique silver, there are several key factors I consider when determining the value of any 1847 Rogers Bros piece:

1. Pattern Rarity and Desirability

Rogers Bros produced hundreds of different flatware and hollowware patterns over the years, from fairly plain to incredibly ornate. In general, the most sought-after patterns today are those with intricate Victorian-era design motifs like flowers, fruits, animals, and mythological figures. Some of the rarest and most valuable patterns include:

• Adoration (1904)
• Assyrian (1908)
• Empress (1915)
• Old English Tipt / Tipt End (1912)
• Vintage (1904)
• Sea Shell (1904)

Standard flatware pieces in these patterns (teaspoons, forks, etc.) can sell for $15-$30 each, while a complete set in excellent condition can bring $2000-$3000 or more. In contrast, common mid-century patterns like Daffodil (1950) and Flair (1961) sell for just a few dollars per piece.

2. Piece Type: Flatware vs Hollowware

In terms of silver value, hollowware pieces (coffee/tea pots, trays, bowls, etc) are typically worth more than individual flatware pieces. Rogers Bros made some incredibly detailed and high-quality hollowware items that are very desirable to collectors today. A few examples:

• Narragansett 5-piece Tea Set (c.1900) – Sold for $1500
• Fluted Chrysanthemum Punch Bowl (c.1890) – Sold for $800
• Exotic Bird 28" Waiter Tray (c.1870) – Sold for $1200

3. Age

As a general rule, Rogers Bros pieces made prior to 1930 are most valuable, as they represent the company‘s early history and tend to have more elaborate designs. Many of the most sought-after patterns date to the late 19th and early 20th century. Pieces from the 1950s-1980s, while collectible, are usually worth much less.

4. Condition

Condition is key to value for any antique silver pieces. For Rogers Bros items, those with little or no visible wear to the silver plating and no plating loss will be worth the most. Signs of light use are acceptable, but significant scratches, dings, or areas of brassing (base metal showing through) will greatly devalue a piece. Items should not be pitted or deeply tarnished.

5. Completeness

Assessing value is all about a complete picture. For Rogers Bros silver, that means taking into account how many pieces of a set are present and whether they have their original storage boxes or chests. A complete set in its original fitted box may be worth 40-50% more than individual pieces. Monograms on pieces tend to decrease value as it limits the buyer pool.

Rogers Bros Silver Value Price Guide

To give you a general idea of the value of various pieces, I‘ve put together this price guide chart based on recent sales data and my knowledge of the retail market:

Piece Type Common Patterns (1930s-1980s) Rare Patterns (pre-1930)
Teaspoon $1 – $5 $10 – $30
Serving Spoon $5 – $20 $50 – $200
Fork $3 – $8 $15 – $40
Knife $3 – $8 $15 – $40
Ladle $10 – $40 $100 – $400
Cake Server $10 – $30 $80 – $300
Teapot $50 – $200 $500 – $3000
Coffee Pot $50 – $200 $500 – $3000
Creamer & Sugar $40 – $150 $300 – $1500
Butter Dish $25 – $100 $300 – $1200
Napkin Ring $15 – $50 $80 – $300
Complete Set (8+) $200 – $800 $2000 – $6000

*Prices depend on condition. Rare patterns in poor condition may be worth no more than common pieces.

Of course, value is always changing based on market conditions, collecting trends, and scarcity. Rogers Bros silver values peaked in the 1990s and have since come down a bit as the generations who grew up with these pieces are downsizing and flooding the market. The truly exceptional and rare pieces still command impressive prices and are very much in demand with collectors.

Tips for Researching Your Rogers Bros Silver

If you‘re trying to determine the value of your own Rogers Bros pieces, here are my expert tips:

  1. Identify the pattern. Look for a pattern name stamped on the back along with the Rogers Bros mark. You can then look up the pattern history and collectibility in resources like the Silverplated Flatware Identification and Value Guide by Tere Hagan.

  2. Check the marks. Consult a reference guide to Rogers marks to help date your piece based on the mark and pattern. The more detailed International Silver marks can help you narrow down the date range.

  3. Examine condition carefully. Note any signs of plating wear, scratches, dents, or repairs that can affect value. Be honest in your assessment.

  4. Look at sold prices. Check online marketplaces like eBay, Etsy, and to see what similar pieces have actually sold for. Anyone can list an item for any price, but the proof is in the pudding.

  5. Consult price guides. While not gospel, price guides like Warman‘s Antiques & Collectibles and Miller‘s Silver & Plate Antiques can give you a ballpark idea of retail value for your pattern and pieces.

  6. Consider an appraisal. For high-value items or complete sets, it may be worth investing in a professional appraisal from an antique silver expert. They can give you a written estimate of fair market value for insurance or selling purposes.

How to Sell Your Rogers Bros Silver

Once you‘ve determined the value of your pieces, you have some choices on how to sell to get the best return:

• Individual flatware pieces or incomplete sets – Consider listing on eBay or Etsy yourself or sell to a local antique dealer/shop to avoid the hassle of shipping.

• Complete sets – Selling the full set at once will get you the best price. Try a reputable online marketplace or look for a seller who specializes in sterling and silver plate.

• Rare pieces – For exceptionally rare patterns or high-value items, consider consignment with a well-established silver dealer or auction house that can market to serious collectors.

Remember, values listed in this article are for retail sales. As a private seller, you can typically expect to get 40-60% of those prices. Dealers need to allow for a profit margin.

Caring for Your Rogers Bros Silver

Whether you plan to sell or keep your silver treasures, proper care is key to maintaining their value and beauty. To care for your Rogers Bros pieces:

• Hand-wash only in warm water with a mild dish soap. Dry immediately.
• Polish regularly with a soft cloth to maintain shine and prevent tarnish.
• Remove tarnish with a gentle cleaner made specifically for silverplate.
• Store in anti-tarnish bags or a felt-lined box to prevent scratches and oxidation.
• Keep away from rubber, stainless steel, and acidic foods (citrus, eggs, salt, vinegar).

While your 1847 Rogers Bros pieces may never be worth a fortune, they are a beautiful part of American history and can still hold significant personal value. By understanding their unique story and caring for them properly, you can enjoy these silver heirlooms for generations to come.