What's It Worth? Rare, Fragile Pewter
While pewter items are as rare as silver and make for terrific collectibles, pewter’s valuation has always been lacking. Early American, English and continental pewter are readily available in the marketplace.
Many feel it is rarer than silver, because less of it exists due to its fragility. A mere 2-foot drop from a table to the floor sometimeswill split and ruin it because of the soft metal alloy. It also dents easily and is largely decorative – since you can’t drink from it or eat off it because it often has a heavy lead content. Also, pewter was widely counterfeited because it was easy to manufacture.
The continental covered vessel is from 1777, and the associated plate is dated 1780. The mark on the bottom appears to say Johann Jacob. We cannot say with 100 percent certainty that this is genuine and indeed old. Experts say if there are 3 identical marks on the back of a piece it is often not genuine; in this case, our evaluation is about the same. Fair market value is $50 to $200 for both pieces. If it were English, it would be worth more; if it were early American, it would be worth considerably more.
We urge collectors to avoid pewter unless they want it for strictly decorative purposes.
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