Monday, September 6, 2010

Continental Silver Company: their patterns

 Blogging is in many ways simpler than the printing, separating, folding, addressing, stamping method of old. The problem remains that I feel sure that I'm not reaching everyone on my address list. That is a problem yet to be remedied. 
A second problem lies within the Blogger system; regardless of the way my finished article appears on my computer screen, it will be changed when the "publish"
 button is clicked. Even the recently "new and improved" statement that the preview will show exactly how the writings will appear is not accurate. This is the reality:
   1.  Several hours will be spent writing and arranging photos.
   2. Spelling will be checked...maybe.
   3. Preview button is clicked and the material is edited if necessary.
   4. The publish button is clicked and in three seconds, huge gaps appear in the 
       article.  Sentences are started and are finished elsewhere. Words are sometimes     
   5.The nice, neat material exists no more, so the blog is removed for editing and 
       the process is repeated...and again and again, as long as the writer wishes to 
      repeat the editing attempts. 
Score I for the computer. Score 0 for the writer. 
This is a work in progress!

Continental motifs:
Although I failed to list three Continental motifs that I have or have seen, in the previous blog, I do have here examples of a large number of motifs.

The Pansy
motif must not have been a success or perhaps it didn't adapt well to applying to other items. I have one other piece, a sandwich tray, and have never seen another.

This is my favorite tray to pile high with snacks.

Bird books and a dictionary were brought into use to identify this tropical bird. Others closely resemble this image but were not a total match as was the Bird of Paradise
During the period of the aluminum gift ware's popularity, there was an emphasis on certain types of sporting events such as sailing, polo. and scenes such as this of fox hunting. Although aluminum became known as the "poor man's silver, Arthur Armour once remarked that in the cities, the price of a choice line of aluminum could not be considered at all cheap as the companies designed their good to appeal to the more affluent. Notice the different styles of handles 

This scene was used on several trays of  different styles and shapes.

A Daisy motif was used by Continental in three different arrangements. I think the name Daisy was used on all three at different periods. The daisies on the tray below are so large they could be called sunflowers, but I have seen anything in print to support that title. Note the daisy styled handles.

Iris in a bouquet, is another of their flower motifs. The Iris, Daisy, Mum, and Rose motifs were patterns used on trays of the same size and all with chopped corners 

Roses, below
in an intricately shaded pattern which, when the tray  is moved, highlights the rose

The Wild Rose pattern is a delicate one with tiny thorns showing on the rose stems. It is exceptionally pretty on some styles but gets "lost" on others.

Many styles of candle holders were made by this company. Some had the mum motif, others, like those above, had many shapes and petal styled candle cups. 

This little tidbit tray was on my unmarked list for years before accidently discovered the Continental mark almost completely hidden in its pressed Paisley
pattern. Its style, so completely different 
from other Continental pieces and its 

hard-to-see mark  had me badly fooled.



    Pieces done in the Corduroy pattern very often
     had wooden handles.
    The ice bucket has the wide strip of
    ridged "corduroy" lines running across the lid.


The Pussy Willow motif is another rather delicate one and it's much more attractive than this very poor picture shows. Its rolled handles are completely different from 
the often used concave band ones used on so many other trays.

This Continental ice bucket is not a part of my collection---but I wish it were!
The Oak Leaf and Acorn design is the same used for one style of salad bowl and is also the same as that holding their punch bowl. The punch bowl has a more tapered base than either the salad bowl or this ice bucket

In Book II a tray with a scene of mountains is shown. That is the only other motif that I can think of but there may be more. 

Most of the motifs shown above, were manufactured in a variety of styles, but none were as widely used as that of the chrysanthemum. Some day in the future, we'll compile a list of the items the company produced. 

Mail and Comments:
As a collector of many, many years, I had never seen but the one Palmer-Smith candelabra shown in the Looking Back issue. This one is part of my collection. Finally another has appeared: Teresa found hers at a church rummage sale, paid what she considered an outrageous price for a rummaged sale item, and has turned down an offer of $100 from a dealer, leaving her husband rather puzzled.  They often are! Mine would have doubted my common sense had he known some of the prices I paid and we soon adopted a policy: he didn't ask and I didn't tell.

The purchase of the candleholder started Teresa's collection which has grown to the point she is considering selling part of it---but not her favorite serving pieces and NOT the large chargers she has hung over the fireplace. They are against a red wall, and that should be quite an outstanding display

Irene has made another striking display with about a dozen of the pieces with plates, hanging above her kitchen cabinets. A question, Irene: Does each plate have a different motif? It would be interesting  to display here in the Aluminist, a collection of as many as possible of these motifs. I have another of those "one of a kind" pieces with a vivid motif of tropical flowers to include. As soon as I post it's picture, I'll soon hear of another, I'm sure! Irene also spoke of wishing to sell part of her collection.

Seaneen reminded me that I did not caption two pieces shown in All Aluminum is not Hammered. 
The small square tray is Coffee by Wendell August and the pair of vases were Palmer-Smith. Referring to the same article and the mention of Arthur Court, Seaneen sent some pictures of his work which is always unique and interesting. These and other photos she enclosed, I hope to include in later blogs. Although I have not been able to store the photos where I wished, I think I have them safely located in a future blog.

There has also been a request for cleaning instructions. First, do not wash in the dishwasher. Once might do no harm but it is chancy.  Dirty items may be washed in mild soapy water and an old toothbrush or other small, not very stiff brush may be used to clean beneath handles if they appear to have collected grim. The preferred cleaner is Mothers, a cleaner/polish  used on aluminum auto wheels and that may be found in automotive departments. I have used other brands but like this one best. 

The procedure should be..
   Wash away the dirt
   Rub lightly with fine steel wool (courser if the piece has scratches
   Rub with #0000 steel wool
   Apply Mothers and buff until completely clean
   Wash again and dry 
One should wear rubber gloves to apply and rub the cream onto the item for the oxidation that is being removed is a black mess! Use an old soft rag and RUB!  Depending upon how groggy the piece is, this is not a quick or easy job. When you are finished, the appearance of your piece makes the work worthwhile.  

 One should always experiment with any drastic actions on a worthless-beyond-repair item.  Most of us have discovered that pits/corrosion cannot be removed: the piece is permanently damaged. All gritty, coarse cleaners are going to leave scratches that will need to be buffed away.

I hope this is available to most of the old Aluminist subscribers. I'll probably never know because there have been many address changes, both land and internet. We were once a large group and perhaps we will be once more.
Also, this is not limited to aluminum collectors. Join in and explore a different world!



  1. Hi Dannie, I enjoyed the post about the Continental motifs. I actually just picked up a huge brides basket made by Continental with the chrysanthemums on the outside of the basket as well as the inside. I rarely find anything that I haven't seen or would want to add to my collection, so this was pretty exciting. Hope you are well.

  2. Hello, Dannie-
    I have a Continental tray, copper with tin overlay, copper handles, looks very similar to your aluminum pansy tray. Has "Continental" "Beaten Copper" and "652" on the back. I just rented a booth in a group shop and am trying to price the tray. (I used to line it with saran wrap and take it heaped full of Jello squares to my kid's nursery school classes in the '80's.) Do you know of a site where I can find its current value?
    Thank you.
    Ginger Wells-Kay
    Belmont, NH

  3. I have not seen one of these trays on the market in years but copper items were selling very well for a while. I expect this site is the best place to get a valuation unless you are lucky enough to catch on on ebay!

    I'll see what help I can stir up for you!
    If you signed the "subscribe link below I believe you will receive an email if someone places an answer here.

  4. I have a continental silver co. wild rose ice bucket. This ice bucket has the Corduroy pattern on the outside and wild rose pattern on top of lid. It has an open rose as a lid handle. Underneath has the number 1004. It looks antique and I wanted to know it's worth?

  5. Unfortunately, your ice bucket is not a 'matched set.' The Corduroy ice bucket has a lid with the ribbed corduroy pattern across the width of the lid and the Wild Rose ice bucket lid does not go with a bucket that has a corduroy pattern.My Wild Rose bucket has side handles designed as a strip of rose blossoms. Although companies often changed the size of their motifs and their arrangement, they did not combine motifs. Sellers often did if two items fitted!
    I don't know how to give you a value on your piece with its "married" bucket and lid.
    I'm sorry this is not good news,

  6. It is entirely possible that your ice bucket has the mark "Continental Wild Rose" because that is the stamp that the worker picked up by mistake.
    The stamp for the corduroy pattern states that it is "Corduroy."
    It is my belief that both the Wild Rose and the Corduroy were produced in the final years of Continental's production of hammered aluminum.

  7. Hi Dannie,
    while cleaning a tray today noticed writing on the back. It had been my late Mother's, a wedding gift. It reads Continental Silver Co., Wild Ro (se....not stamped), Brilliantone, 102 (the fourth number looks like the bottom part of a 3). The tray has wild roses on it and flowers on the handles. Could you please give me a clue to the value of the tray. Thank you.

  8. I've always admired the delicacy of details on the Wild Rose motif of Continental although it apparently was not one of their most prolifically produced motifs. There is no set value on decorative aluminum items; each seller seems to have their own price-setting guide line. I would guess that your tray would usually be priced between $30 and $49 and could on Ebay auction sell for less than $20.

    I hope you can find a way to keep and treasure this piece; you know how long it has been in the family, and it can easily be displayed on a shelf as a background for other goodies or hung on a wall by a small wire or fishing line. We also occasionally use them as they were meant to trays! Are you aware that there is a matching ice bucket to make this a complete refreshment set?

    Keep me posted.........

  9. HI Dannie,
    I plan on keeping it, I actually use it as a perfume tray in my bathroom and it looks very nice. I did not know there was an ice bucket to go with it as a set. I may check e-bay. Thanks for the help.

  10. i just picked up my first cont silver co tray piece wild rose and I love it. never heard of or saw one before. got it yard saleing BECAUSE ITS BEAUTIFUL AND I LOVE IT and Im glad to learn there are more similiar pieces out there.

  11. I just picked up a set of eight coasters with holder. Contiental Silverlook hand wrought #503 Oak leaf and acorn design. Very good condition. Just a dull patina. Any idea of the value? I love it and don't plan to sell it. Just curious.

  12. Somehow I missed your comment. It may have come during the week I was having a problem of not receiving any mail.

    Pricing is so erratic. I would value mine at $20. A piece like this takes little room, is useable in any setting and besides, its attractive! A general price range could be $15 to $35 or more. Depends on who is selling. It's crazy!

  13. I am so fortunate to find this thread! i went to an estate sale and bought a continental antique beaten copper table crumber 2pc set w/ the chrysanthemum motif. #625

    i can not find any information on the price as a set. i found 1 or 2 on ebay that just have the pan for anywhere from $30-80. is there any information on this? or what decade it might be from? or where the continental company was from? thanks! stefanie

  14. Hi Dannie,
    I was going through my cupboard and came across a tray I saw you had listed above. The one of the HUNT scene with the scroll like handles. Can you possibly give me an approximate value. I have absolutely no idea what is worth. Thank you for time.

  15. Kim, I wish there was a positive answer to your question but there is not! Prices vary greatly. Today I saw an bucket listed at $45 and I have seen similar ones priced at $18-$20. Your tray could range from $25 upward to $55. Fewer of these scenic pieces that were produced by Continental than their very popular Chrysanthemum patterned pieces and their rarity makes them sought by some collectors and that could double their price!


  16. I have a continental ice bucket marked 1004 that was given to me as a wedding gift back in 1957. Is there any value for it or does none keep it for sentinmentil reasons

  17. In my opinion its sentimental value probably exceeds it's monetary one.The prices go in every direction-from $20 to $45 perhaps. Some ambitious sellers ask more but I have no idea whether the make the sale. I kept all that were available of my mother's wedding gifts and have passed them on to my children because they seen to value old family things.Some kids don't but Ice buckets can be used for so many things besides ice- cookies, as a holder for utensils. for flower arrangements, so they are useful.

  18. I have a 14 by 18" silver tray with a large long-stem chrysanthemum flower. it is Continental Trade Mark #656 patented 7/30/46.
    Does someone know the history and price of this antique?

  19. I have a coffee urn that doesn't seem to fit any of the patterns I have seen here. It has the Continental mark and says "101 Chromium Cat No 18". I think it has bakelite on the handles and a simple dot design around the top. Any idea of the pattern? Or would the pattern name be Chromium? Thanks.

  20. Hi Dannie - I have a silver tray that is stamped Copper Base, Continental Silver Co., Inc. 513. It has what appears to be grapes around the edges of the tray. I believe my mother received it as a wedding gift in 1934. Can you tell me anything about its value? Thanks.

  21. Hi Dannie, I just got a tray from a yard sale that is stamp on the bottom "continental silver co, WILD ROSE, brilliantone, 1023. Could you tell me if it's of any value and where I can sell it if so? I have two others that I got at the same place. One is round, no handles and stamped continental silver co Hand Wrought 580", the other is round and is stamped "Henry and Miller, and what looks to be "kraftware and trademark" below that. Any suggestions? Thanks

  22. Jan.24,2012
    I have a Contintental Silver Co. piece with the number 3724 stamped on the bottom.
    I believe it is hamered aluminum. Can you tell me anything about this piece. My guess it is from 1950-60's.

  23. Hi, you mentioned that Continental had 3 different daisy patterns, maybe done at three different time periods, would you know anything else about that? Like what daisy pattern and the year? I have a daisy Continental tray #573 without the clipped corners or handles and haven't found anything on the web about it. Would you happen to know the year and anything else about the tray? Much thanks!

  24. good morning. found a Continental Silver twelve inch or so covered server, beautiful grapes all around the cover and the lower piece; hallmarked WMM and Continental Silver 18% nickel. I do not care about the value so much as the age. Have no idea how I got it, has a beautiful monogram on lid, S. My grandmother's last name was Skidmore, but I never recall seeing the piece growing up on her farm. thanx for any help you can offer as to age.

  25. When we stray from aluminum, I know very little. A few of the companies that produced a line of aluminum wares, had made silver items earlier; some reverted to silver after the craze for aluminum died down.

    the piece you described sounds beautiful and one to be cherished. You may be able to find books on silver at your local library or through their lending (from other libraries), program. I hope so.

    I expect the monogramed "S" and your grandmother's last name of Skidmore, is too much of a coincidence to ignore!! It could have been a wedding gift––or of course, se could have bought it or received it as a gift later on. Even at a flea market! Certainly makes the date intriguing, doesn't it?

    I know from my mother's (1887- 1973) habits, that many nice things never made an appearance––not even on special occasions. Giving these pieces special care in cleaning, polishing and such, was often to difficult for these busy farm ladies, who often didn't have the facilities that city homes had. I'd be interested in learning more about your server!

  26. thanx so much for timely reply. I shall do some more research. You are correct about some women and their beautiful pieces of silver and glass: they never saw daylight. Lord knows what they were saving them for. My grandmother, and her daughter went against this. Both used their sterling (Stieff and Company) every day, believing that if it were beautiful, it should be used. Same w/ glassware: both drank out of Waterford every evening.......not to say they were rich, they just believed that way. I will certainly forward any info I get to you. It is truly a beautiful piece, and I intend to use it. I took your advice and used Mother's-it took over two hours to get the accumulated oxidation/grime off the lid and server. But well worth it.....................r.

  27. I have a continental tray with pansies on it. It is circular with cut out handles wrapped in a wicked or rattan. It was my grandmother's and plan to keep it, but was wondering if it is a rare piece.

  28. I forgot to mention, it does not look like the one in this post. It is a flat tray with a slight circular recess in the middle. Almost like a giant saucer. It is 18" diameter.

  29. I just picked up a piece at auction. Maybe it's a sugar bowl I don't know. It has "Continental Co" and "Quadruple" then "817" in lines straight across and on top of each other, not in a circle. I can't find anything online anywhere on this item or pattern. It also has what looks to be either stamped or engraved "B8409" in a larger font than the other lettering and sloppier. Any ideas on information?

  30. I picked up two two hammered trays from an estate sale. One piece is a square serving tray with handles. It has a flower on the left side. Marked on the back is: Continental Trade Mark, Hand Wrought 523, Pat. 7-30-46. The other piece is round in shape, and has Wild Rose stems on both the left and right side of it. It has no markings anywhere on it. Can you give me more info about both of these two pieces?

  31. We have a coaster set with 3 acorns on a triangular shaped coaster. A group of 9 in a holder. Have not been able to find anything related to that design..

  32. I have a silver tray. The back has Continental Silver Co Inc 513. The tray has grapes all around the edges. I haven't found anything else like it. Can you tell me anything about it?

  33. I have a round large teray # 542. I would like any information on it

  34. I purchased a Continental Silver Co. hammered aluminum electrical chafing dish with Bakelite or celluloid handles and top handle including the electric cord. It's very art deco with leaves and acorns around the lid and the bottom dish has a scalloped edge. I haven't been able to find the value can you tell me what it may be worth?

  35. Hi, my mom just gave me a set of the candelabras of which you have a photo on this page. It has been hard finding info about these! The inscription is Hand Wrought 833. Thank you for everything you are doing. I am learning a lot from you.

  36. Hi! I realize this is sort of off-topic however I needed
    to ask. Does running a well-established website such as
    yours require a massive amount work? I am brand new to blogging but I do write in my diary everyday.
    I'd like to start a blog so I will be able to share my own experience and thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any recommendations or tips for new aspiring blog owners. Appreciate it!

    My blog :: weight loss calculator

  37. I just picked up a lazy susan & on the underside it has a minute man & says Trade Continetal 325. Is this of value?

  38. I have an ice bin just like the one you have pictured above. I cannot find it anywhere else. Do you have any more info on it? Value?

  39. I have a basket that was my mom's. I think I recall her telling me it was a wedding gift. She married my dad in 1940. Stamped in the bottom with Continental Silver Co. Inc. and the number 3801 (I believe) It has the corduroy stamped edge around the bowl of the basket and a punch stamped pattern in the handle. Can you tell me anything about this?

  40. I have a vase 630Continenttrademark hand wrought silverlook. What would the value be?

  41. I found one of the sunflower trays.or they look like that.I was going to sell it at my yard sale.but I'm not even going to guess what something like that goes

  42. I have the ice bucket #704, I am unable to find any information on it. Do you know how much is it worth? Thank you, love all the information.

  43. I have just received a piece it is a bowl with a lid. At the bottom is engraved Continental Silver Co. Wild Rose ( the last word is kinda faded)i can see a B (starting the word) and then Liantone. Any information is appreciated. Thank yoi