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Author Topic:   Very General Question about Bailey & Co. set

Posts: 3
Registered: Jul 2003

iconnumber posted 07-19-2003 03:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ptnson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Greetings. I am a complete novice at this, so please forgive the basic nature of this question.

Our family has a silver tea set, and we are trying to get a general ballpark sense of its' worth, to determine if we should try to sell it or keep it.

(It's a family heirloom that's been in storage for years. If it is not worth much we would keep it for sentimental reasons. But would like to know if it's potentially valuable, just in case.)

It is from Bailey & Co Philadelphia. The marks read (in seprate blocks) US, and there is a winged eagle insignia. It is an ornate style, topped by a little figurine of a Chinese man.

I have tried to do some research, and have also taken it around to a few dealers in this area for a general idea. (We live in an area with a lot of antique shops.)

So far, that process has been confusing.

The dealers reactions have ranged from "It's not worth much but I'll give you a little to take it off your hands" to other dealers who called for months afterwards to see if we wanted to sell it. I have also been given differing information about its conposition and quality.

Also, I have not been able to foind anything comparable in research or listings. In addition to antiques guides, I have checked sites like eBay.)

My question is: How does one find a trustworthy description of it and an estimate of the general value? Are there general guides (books or on the web) that might help me track information about it?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

[This message has been edited by ptnson (edited 07-19-2003).]

[This message has been edited by ptnson (edited 07-19-2003).]

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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11520
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 07-19-2003 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On these forums we do not give valuations. To request information about an professional appraiser in your area, go to here. The following is from this link:


Ask 10 people on the street what an appraisal is and how an appraisal is done and you will get 10 very different answers. The common thread heard is that an appraisal tells you "what it is worth" and is usually obtained by "asking/calling a dealer." In the simplest of terms this is generally correct. However, please don't contact us or any professional appraiser requesting a phone or email appraisal because if you need the appraisal for legal, tax, business, insurance, replacement, damage, loss, charitable gift, gift, estate, equitable distribution and/or other professional reasons a phone or an email appraisal will prove to be very inadequate.

A professional appraiser cannot appraise your silver without personally inspecting it. Please don't waste your time asking for an appraisal based solely on your description or photographs. When you deal with a trained professional appraiser, one who belongs to one of the personal property appraisal associations (AAA, ASA, ISA), you will receive a documented comparative analysis as a written appraisal. A professionally written appraisal comes at the conclusion of a series of very specific and uniform steps which include: personal inspection, research, documentation and a comparative market study. A professionally written appraisal will conform to a standard called USPAP or Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. Your appraisal when done properly can take a considerable amount of time so be prepared to compensate the professional appraiser accordingly. Also be sure that the appraiser specializes in the types of items being appraised.

When you ask for and get a verbal or a "seat of the pants" (or Internet) written opinion this is not an appraisal, it is only a guesstimate. When asking a dealer for their opinion, remember they have to balance what they tell you. The dealers guesstimate usually falls somewhere between what they would buy it from you for, what they would sell it to you for and what they think will make you happy. This is not an objective opinion and so the declared value could be way off either way.

To find an appraiser in your area click here.

I am sure that if you post photos including the marks here someone might be able to tell you something about the silversmith and age of your tea set.

How/when did this come into your family?

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Posts: 3
Registered: Jul 2003

iconnumber posted 07-19-2003 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ptnson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
THanks. I'll check those out.

I'm not sure exactly when it got in our family. My parents have had for many years. My father originally inherited it from an aunt, who had it from anotehr relative, etc.

My parents used to display it, but after some burglaries, put most of it in storage many years ago. We're moving and came across a couple of the pieces they kept here. That got us thinking about it.

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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11520
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 07-19-2003 03:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is it engraved to a family member or to commemorate an event such as an anniversary?

A thorough understanding of teaset's history in your family could make it something you will want to keep no matter what the eventual appraisal.

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Posts: 3
Registered: Jul 2003

iconnumber posted 07-20-2003 07:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ptnson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's not engraved. My mother has its history, was acquired by relatives in the 19th Century and passed down since then.

To be honest we have a number of heirlooms, some of which are more personal, which we will keep. But this set does not have enough interest to anyone in the family to be worth keeping, unless it's worth very little otherwise.

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Patrick Vyvyan

Posts: 640
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 07-21-2003 12:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick Vyvyan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Obviously I don't know your present personal economic situation, BUT for me at least, if I could preserve something nice that my family had had for over one hundred years, believe me I would.This type of thing, passed down through generations, is not only for us, but also for future generations who follow. Who knows, maybe they will appreciate it more?

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iconnumber posted 07-21-2003 01:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I could not agree more; I can fill a long sheet of paper with the things my family discarded because "who would want them?" took precedence over a small bit of shelf space.

To say nothing of the fact that Bailey & Company were very fine makers indeed.

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