Monthly Archives: May 2015

Know and care for your silver like Mimi!

We hope you enjoyed reading our last post about why you should bring vintage and antique silver into your life! CLICK HERE if you missed it. Now you should be thoroughly convinced that you should start buying silver from us, but how to start? Read on!

vintage silver coffee potStart a Mimi-style collection:

There is no wrong way to begin. You could start small or go all out. You could start a mix n’ match collection of flatware or buy a complete matching coffee service set. We see a lot of silver at Mimi’s (big and small) so there is something for every style and budget.

Decide if you want an eclectic mix of items or if you want to stick to a particular style or era. Many people think of silver pieces as overly ornamental and frou-frou, but it can be simple and streamlined like this vintage restaurant-style silver coffee pot pictured at right.

A fun place to begin learning about styles is flatware. Click HERE to check out some different flatware patterns, but get ready for some sticker shock! Now you see what great deals you are getting at Mimi’s!

 

 Know your vintage and antique silver like Mimi:

Sterling silver close upKnow that sterling silver is most expensive due to its 92.5% pure silver content. Look for 925 or SS stamped onto the silver to identify it. Often “sterling” will be stamped as pictured on the left. Remember that other silver can be just as beautiful and much less expensive. Learn more HERE about different grades of silver.

Learn your hallmarks and brands. The best silver will be stamped with the brand and other information such as silver content. What you want to look for depends on if you are collecting a specific brand, type or era of silver. Highly sought-after antique and vintage brands to keep an eye out for are Gorham Whiting, Towle, Kirk-Steiff, International, Dominick & Haff, Reed and Barton, R. Blackinton & Co., Unger Bros., Wallace, Community Plate, Oneida, Wm. Rogers, Holmes & Edwards, but there are many more worthy of buying and collecting. Discover your own favorites! If you get really serious you can look ANY silver mark and learn what it means in this online silver hallmark encyclopedia. Pictured below are two examples of what the marks might look like. Bring a magnifying glass or borrow ours!

international silver co. hallmarkFairfield silver hallmark

Mimi-approved cleaning and care tips:

  • If “to polish or not to polish” is the question, let your personal preference dictate. Although Mimi preferred her silver looking shiny, it won’t ruin it to let a little tarnishing happen if you prefer that look.
  • To keep your silver looking bright: wash by hand in hot soapy water immediately after using. Hand dry with a soft cotton or flannel towel.
  • No dishwashers allowed! Ever. Even if you want your silver tarnished.
  • Store silver in plastic Ziploc bags or flannel pouches. Or you can invest in special boxes designed for silver storage if you have the means. Don’t wrap in plastic wrap, newspaper, or store in cardboard boxes.
  • Avoid paper towels, toothbrushes, and tarnish-banishing “dips” that remove tarnish (and some of the silver too).
  • Find a polish you like and use the sponge that comes with it or a soft flannel cloth. Click HERE for polish reviews by Good Housekeeping. There are even eco-friendly options!
  • Don’t overdo the polish or elbow-grease. Follow the instructions on the polish you purchase, and you and your silver will shine!

Many of the items pictured are available for purchase. Stop by to see what we have in stock!

Want to sell your used housewares to us?

Click HERE for general information on selling.

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Five Reasons to Bring Vintage and Antique Silver Into Your Life!

Click here to learn about MImiSilver is a big deal at Mimi’s Attic because it was a big deal to Mimi herself!

Mimi loved to pick up bargain silver at flea markets, and enjoyed dining with it at every meal, whether it was breakfast in the kitchen or dinner in her elegant dining room. If you were a houseguest of Mimi’s, she might have brought you an evening snack in your bedroom on a silver tray!

Today, dining and entertaining is typically more casual than it was in Mimi’s day, but here at Mimi’s Attic, we still think there is a lot to love about the tradition and beauty of silver and thought we would share our enthusiasm with you.

Let’s start with five reasons why you should consider bringing more silver into your life:

1. It’s romanticvintage silver teaspoons

It’s the age of technology and instant everything, but that only makes the moments we take to actually slow down and enjoy the little things in life more special. There is romance in taking the time to care for your items (polish that silver!) or set a beautiful place setting for dinner, even if it’s just for you. Little ones delight in polishing silver; so put the kids, nephews/nieces, or grand-kids to work when you don’t have time yourself!

Even a small silver collection of one or two pieces brings out the romance of collecting– the essence of lovingly building, piece by piece, a medley of carefully chosen items just for you and your loved ones to enjoy!

2. It makes your food taste betterVintage Silver utensil close up

Some people give scientific explanations concerning oxidation and silver ions, while others name psychology as the source for the improved taste. Even NPR has touted the tasty benefits of eating off of silver: “People will rate the very same yogurt 15 percent tastier and more expensive when sampled with a silver spoon rather than a plastic spoon or a lighter (by weight) option.” See more of that article here.

 

 

3. It’s a healthier way to dinevintage silver butter knife

No, really! The idea that you can actually glean minerals from eating off of silver may or may not be an old wives’ tale, but there are still other aspects to consider. Silver ions are naturally anti-microbial and can help keep food fresher and even heal wounds. Dating back to the ancient Greek and Roman times, food was stored in silver to help it last longer. Perhaps a silver cream pitcher is just what you need to keep that half n’ half fresh while you enjoy a lengthy brunch with friends!

Silver may even help you choose healthier food without feeling deprived. Even a tasty salad can feel decadent when eaten with a silver fork. Now imagine the luxurious feel of molten chocolate cake when a simple salad tastes that good!

Here’s a fun fact (that hopefully has no relevance to your life): silver tarnishes when exposed to some poisons and so was used by royalty throughout the ages as protection against tainted food. Have fun pretending to be a notorious lady or lord à la Game of Thrones while you dine (nobody has to know!).

4. It’s a nod to a more elegant time

Eating off a set of silver utensils can bring a dash of elegance and decadence to your everyday life. It’s somehow timeless and yet reminiscent of earlier decades where the tradition of having a beautiful set of silver was alive in every home. The individual pieces themselves can bring a little shine and beauty to any meal. And who doesn’t want a little more of that?

Mimi's vintage silver pitcherYour silver collection could endure for generations to come! Mimi’s beautiful pitcher featured on the right symbolizes the dedication that Mimi had to carefully and frugally building her silver collection. Her granddaughter and Mimi’s Attic owner, Kelly Moreland, still enjoys it with her family today. As long as the silver plating hasn’t worn around the edges (check the backs of spoons, too!), all a piece of tarnished silver typically needs is a little bit of polish and some elbow grease. It’s so fun to see tarnished silver come back to life!

 

 

vintage silver collection5. It’s valuable, but YOU can find a bargain at Mimi’s Attic!

Silver is valuable, but you can find it at an array of different prices at Mimi’s Attic. We assess items carefully according to their condition, brand, and usefulness. Sometimes the value of silver isn’t monetary, but emotional–and you never know what you might find at Mimi’s! Since we have many vintage and antique pieces come through our store, customers find they are delightfully reminded of family gatherings in years past when no one was glued to their smart phone or live-tweeting the family drama.

We often have silver flatware and various silver-plated dishes at a fraction of the price they would be new. You could find a treasure from years past that is even cheaper than the non-silver counterparts you would purchase at a big-box store. Come find your classy, taste-enhancing and health-producing silver treasure today!

 Ready to start collecting?

Stay tuned for our next post about purchasing and caring for vintage and antique silver household items!

 

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