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venus

Posts: 282
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 02-23-2006 04:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for venus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bought some old silverplate flatware today. Some of them were marked warrented 12 DMT. Anyone know what that means? They had no makers marks or anything else that I could find.

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rian

Posts: 169
Registered: Jan 2006

iconnumber posted 02-23-2006 08:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The table of equivalents on p311 of Rainwater's 5th ed. says that dwts. stand for troy pennyweights. The next page says heavy hotel plate is 10 dwt. per sq. ft. Could the letters be dwt instead of dmt?

[This message has been edited by rian (edited 02-23-2006).]

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venus

Posts: 282
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 02-24-2006 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for venus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
very well may be....so it is somewhat like triple plate marking, just to use an example?

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Kimo

Posts: 1597
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 02-24-2006 11:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are 20 pennyweight per ounce, so 12 pennyweight means the maker is saying they used 3/5ths of an ounce of silver to plate a batch of spoons and forks. Like markings that say "triple plate" or "quadruple plate" there does not seem to be much of an actual standard that I have found yet as to whether such a marking refers to using that amount of silver to plate 12 or 24 or 144 spoons and forks (I have seen references to all of these numbers). These seem to be more like marketing ploys of the day to convince customers that their silver plated wares were worth buying over some other maker's plated wares. For example one might think that a spoon marked 6 dwt has a thinner layer of silver plating than one marked 12 dwt, and that in turn would be much less than one marked 40 dwt, but that would only be the case with the same maker. I don't think such uncontrolled numbers can easily be compared across makers.

The reason why the abbreviation for pennyweight is dwt goes way back. Starting with the Norman conquest of England in 1066 and going for over 400 years there was a great deal of northern France and England taking turns conquering and ruling each other. The standard French small silver coin of the era was about the size of a dime and called a denier. The standard amount of silver for a denier was set so that 20 of them would weigh an ounce. Later, English "pennies" were based on these "deniers" and at that time were made of silver also. The abbreviation for denier was "d" and when pennies came along, they continued to use the same "d" abbreviation. The switch to using copper for the English penny was a much later thing. The "d" abreviation for the British penny lasted for many hundreds of years until quite recently when the UK switched their historical pounds/shillings/pence system to the decimal currency and began using the abbreviation "p" for penny or pence.

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