Initial makes this silverware a lucky-day buy

This flatware is electroplated silver on base metal. Potential dollar value is catch-as-catch-can.

Courtesy of John Sikorski
Published: Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 2:55 p.m.

Q: My husband and I recently took a trip to Italy and happened upon a little shop in Rome where we purchased an antique silverware set with an "M" engraved on the handle. Since that is our last initial, it was a no-brainer! We would love to know more about the history of these items. The engraving on the back of the handles say "R & S L(?) EP," then either "A1" or "IV," depending on the way you read it. The matching set includes six dinner forks, salad forks and small spoons. The knives are not a part of the matching set, and have a different etching on the metal: "R. Hovendon Sheffield Made & Sons, LTP London Sons Firth's Stainless."

— K.B., Internet

A: A lucky day; one might say the set was waiting for you to come along. The "EP" indicates the item is electroplated silver on base metal. "A-1" is an indication of good quality. The knives were manufactured in Sheffield England, perhaps by Roberts & Slater, but I was not able to pin it down conclusively. They used a variety of marks over time.

All the pieces were manufactured during the late 19th to early 20th century. Potential dollar value is catch-as-catch-can.

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Q: I have been trying to find information on a beautiful fireplace surround that I am told is from Europe. We believe it to be from the early 1900s.

— T.S., Internet

A: Yes, you have a good-looking fireplace surround. I think it was made in England during the late 19th to early 20th century, so yes, circa 1900. The overall style is Arts and Crafts. The copper work is beautiful. Potential dollar value is in the $1,000 range, perhaps more on a lucky day.

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Q: We are in the process of downsizing, and will not have room for all the things we have been handed down. One item has me puzzled.

[It] is an article of clothing my dad said he purchased in China during World War II. He was told by the seller that the tunic was over 200 years old. However, my dad was a great storyteller who loved to embellish, so we were never sure of the accuracy of his story. The item was beautifully handmade, but quite soiled from years of being not so carefully stored, and appears to be moth-eaten in a few places. I would like to donate it or sell it, but in its condition I do not know even where to begin. Can you help me with any information about this once-beautiful piece of clothing to help me determine what to do with it?

— M.J., Internet

A: I suspect, even if the article is 200 years old, the condition will seriously devalue potential dollar value. To be sure, one of the most recognized specialists in antique, vintage and couture clothing is Augusta Auction Company. I suggest you contact them at Good luck.

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Q: I have spoken with Sotheby's and Theriaults, and neither organization can provide information on the doll I inherited from my grandmother. If you have a moment, can you review the attached pictures and information I have, and provide any details you have about this doll?

— T.K., Internet

A: Theriault's Antique Doll Auction Company specializes in dolls, and is the largest in the nation. I am not sure what you mean by "they could not provide any information." Perhaps, you did not approach them correctly. If you are thinking of selling the doll, go to their website,, and click on "sell my doll." For an appraisal, call them at 800-638-0422.

John Sikorski is an Ocala antiques dealer. He hosts a call-in radio show, "Sikorski's Attic,'' on WUFT-FM (89.1 FM). It can be heard each Saturday from noon to 1 p.m. Send your questions to Sikorski's Attic, c/o The Gainesville Sun, 2700 SW 13th St., Gainesville, FL 32608-2015; or email

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