Don't over clean silver antiques like this 19th-century soup tureen!
It's spring cleaning season, and here at Nelson and Nelson we'd like to gently remind you that it is possible to over clean your precious antique silver! This account from the Money Talks blog is a great example of why a sparkly shine is great for mirrors, but not antique sterling silver!
One spring, I had a roommate who had brought an old silver coffee urn from back home. It was big and ornate, but also slightly dented and very tarnished. We kept it on our dining room table and used it for the occasional study group that came over. Mostly, it was decorative. So one spring, I asked my roomie if I could polish it up. She said sure – if I was willing to expend the calories, why not?
I really did a great job. That urn sparkled. It wasn’t until years later I learned from my ex-roommate that I had destroyed its value. When the Antiques Roadshow craze took off, she apparently took it for an appraisal and was told it was from the 19th century. But my cleaning had knocked literally hundreds of dollars off its value – something fans of Pawn Stars know from each week’s episode, when someone brings in an antique gun, painting, or jewelry. People who buy antiques don’t want their history washed away. And silver polish is the worst offender.
“Contrary to popular belief, silver does not need constant cleaning and in fact should not be cleaned more than absolutely necessary,” says the Association of Art and Antique Dealers. “Tarnishing does not actually harm silver.”
Read more about cleaning and storing antique silver and remember: Nelson and Nelson handles every facet of cleaning and repair, as also replates worn silver plate items.