Q: I’d like to know who made this vase and what its value is. It’s been passed down in the family, though I don’t know how much of the information is true. My mother’s great aunt received a dozen long stem roses in it on her wedding night. I’ve been told it’s circa 1898 and is pewter. There is an embossed design on the handle and on the top of the vase. It’s about 8 3/8 inches high, not counting the handle, and about 15 inches to the top of the handle. The handle swings back and forth and is not in a fixed upright position. It has this mark on the bottom with the initials “EPNS” on the shield and “L” and “B” below that.

A: Your vase, or flower basket, is silver plate, not pewter. It was made by Lehman Brothers Silverware Corp. of New York City. The company made silverplated hollowware. The initials “EPNS” stand for “electroplated on nickel silver.” A thin layer of silver is plated onto the base metal (an alloy of copper, zinc, and nickel) using an electric current. The silver can eventually wear off because it’s so thin. You can try using silver polish to see if the dull finish is from tarnish. If the silver is worn off, it can be replated but might not be worth the cost. In perfect condition, with the silver intact, it might be worth $50. In worn condition, it would be much less but still has sentimental value.

silver plate flower basket vase lehman brothers

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