- Mix and match – All of my silver is assorted. I buy pieces that I like, so most of the teapots, creamers and pitchers in my collection are strictly decorative, not for serving purposes. If you have a piece in your collection that you want to use for serving, but it is corroded on the inside, take it to a silversmith and have the interior re-plated. For the true collector, it’s all about the provenance and design.
- All about design – This is especially true with teapots. Often the pieces with the most charm, even from unknown hotels, sell fairly quickly. People also love side marks, crests and logos. I personally have many pieces from the top hotels, but also unusual pieces from unknown establishments. It’s just a matter of what you think is pretty.
- So personal – Some collectors strictly want hotels that have personal meaning, others go for design alone, and some just want to use pieces for serving and want the hotel quality and grade. My friend has a store in Oregon and a lot of the hotel silver she sells doesn’t bear a hotel name. These customers simply want large hotel grade bowls and platters for serving. So, it really depends on what you like. My advice would be to collect whatever appeals to you. There are no rules!
- Age doesn’t matter – Age should not be a factor in collecting hotel silver. If the piece is well made and by and old manufacturer such as Gorham or Reed & Barton, it’s highly collectible. Avoid limiting a collection to certain time periods or geographic location of the hotel. If you were ever to sell the collection, it would be a lot more interesting to another collector to have pieces from a variety of hotels, including San Francisco and New York. The detail and workmanship is great and they don’t make things like this anymore.
- You like? – Go for what you like and what strikes a cord. Raised crests, cute shapes, monograms and more are always good.
I have a really plain teapot with no side marks or crests from a famous club in San Francisco called Bimbo’s. It’s from a great establishment and is a wonderful piece for my collection. So, I buy what I like and disregard age, condition, etc. This makes for a diversified collection.