The American William Rogers, 1801-1873, was a master silversmith and helped to pioneer the manufacturer of silver plated tableware. The innovations in silver plate made by Rogers and his other family members created affordable formal tableware for the middle class and created a high demand for their products. Today, people collect pieces made by Rogers because of their lasting beauty and value. Determining the worth of a pitcher made by Rogers means doing some homework on the background of the piece and studying the current market interest in silver plate.
Confirm that your pitcher was made by Wm. Rogers. Because of the many different maker's marks used by the company over the years, and the fact that other manufacturers used the Rogers name, this step isn’t as easy as it sounds. Marks used over the years include 1865 Wm. Rogers (1865), Wm. Rogers and Son followed by a star (1856-1861), Wm. Rogers Mfg. Co. (used after 1865), Wm. Rogers and Son (1861-1871), and Wm. A. Rogers (as early as 1897 and used by Oneida silver starting around 1829).
Review silver guides. Go to your local library or bookstore to find collectors’ books that discuss the value of silver pieces. You will not find a book specific to Wm. Rogers silver, but the company’s wares are included in general silver guidebooks. Some examples of silver collector guides include “Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers” by Dorothy T. Rainwater, Martin Fuller, and Colette Fuller; the “Standard Encyclopedia of American Silverplate” by Frances M. Bones and Lee Roy Fisher; and “American Silverplate” by Dorothy T. Rainwater, Donna Felger, and H. Ivan Rainwater.
Check the marketplace. Look at prices at online and brick-and-mortar stores to see the prices listed for Wm. Rogers pitchers. Also, check completed auctions on eBay to see the values realized for different pitchers. You must sign up for a free account in order to access this information. Use these numbers as references in order to determine how much your pitcher is worth in the marketplace.
Hire an expert. If you have a large collection of silver plate you needed valued, especially if you need a valuation for insurance purposes, it may be worth the money to hire an appraiser. A professional appraiser who does an in-person evaluation of your Wm. Rogers silver pitchers, can give you a written evaluation of your pieces and their worth. Consult the International Society of Appraisers or the American Society of Appraisers to find an expert in your area.
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.