How do I Identify Leonard Silver?

By Shelia Odak

The Leonard Silver Manufacturing Company began producing silverplated items in Massachusetts in 1969. The company was bought in 1978 by Towle Silversmiths and the name then become part of the line of products from International Silver Company and Wallace Silversmiths Inc. Pieces of Leonard Silver are well marked, so it should be easy to identify whether or not you own a piece of this collectible silverplate.

Look for a signature. Leonard silver is commonly marked with the company name "Leonard" in script letters and either “silverplate” or “silver plated.” Online guides to silver markings, such as the website A Small Collection of Antique Silver and Objects of Vertu, has pictures of the different types of signatures so you can compare them to the markings on your piece.

Compare the piece and its signature to illustrations and markings found in silver collecting guides. Some examples are “The Standard Encyclopedia of American Silverplate: Flatware and Hollow Ware : Identification & Value Guide” by Frances M. Bones and Lee Roy Fisher; “The Warner's Collectors Guide to American Sterling Silver and Silver-Plate Hollowware”by James H. Burke; and “A Directory of American Silver, Pewter and Silver Plate” by Ralph and Terry Kovel.

Compare it to similar pieces. Companies that specialize in selling replacement silverware have extensive catalogs with photos that show plenty of Leonard Silver. Replacements Ltd.has a large online selection of Leonard Silver . Also, the company will help identify silver if you e-mail or fax them pictures of the piece.

Ask an expert. Hire an appraiser for a professional evaluation of your piece. Consult the American Society of Appraisers to find an expert in your area.

Warning

Another manufacturer, Reed & Barton, also used the Leonard signature for pieces it produced in the first half of the 19th century. For comparison of the signatures, see the website A Small Collection of Antique Silver and Objects of Vertu, which has pictures of both makers’ marks.

About the Author

Shelia Odak has over 10 years writing and editing experience for consumer and trade publications including "Radio/TV Interview Report." She has worked for over nine years in education and holds a Ph.D. from Georgia State University. Odak writes on a range of topics including education, literature and frugal living.