Frequently Asked Questions

About Us

Q: Do you appraise silver?
A: Yes. John Buchanan of The Copper Lamp is an Accredited Member of The International Society of Appraisers, and appraisals are his specialty.

Please call us to schedule your appraisal. Within the Dallas, Texas area, call 214-369-5166. Or you can call toll free at 800-765-6519. Ask for John Buchanan I.S.A.

Q: Do you purchase estate silver?
A: Yes. Please call ahead to schedule a time with our buyer. When you arrive please be sure to have everything with you for our buyer to look at (we will be happy to help you carry it in). We're sorry, but we are unable to give quotes over the phone.
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Q: What is Sterling Silver?
A: Sterling is 92.5% pure silver. The other 7.5% is a hardening agent, which is usually copper.
Q: Is all Sterling Silver content the same?
A: No. Standards for Sterling Silver can vary by country, with purity ranging from 80% to 95% depending on the origin and date of manufacture.
Q: What is Silver Plate?
A: Silver Plate, also known as electroplating, is done by coating a base metal with a thin layer of silver using an electric current. The electric current causes the silver molecules to bond with the base metal. The base metal is usually copper, nickel silver, a combination of metals, or other metals.
Q: What is the difference between estate silver and new silver?
A: Estate silver is previously owned. It can be polished by machine to look new.
Q: Is estate silver less expensive than new silver?
A: If the pattern is still produced, then yes, estate silver is less expensive than new silver. However, rare and obsolete patterns, along with unusual pieces, can be more expensive than new silver.
Q: What determines the price of particular silver pieces?
A: Collectability and availability of particular patterns and pieces determine price.
Q: What is the difference between holloware and flatware?
A: Flatware includes table utensils such as forks, knives and spoons, whereas holloware is a myriad of items such as bowls, trays, candleware, goblets, water pitchers, and tea sets, to name a few.
Q: Why is it called holloware?
A: Holloware comes from the word hollow. It is used to describe items that are hollow inside such as coffee pots or goblets.
Q: I have seen holloware spelled as hollowware in other places, which is correct?
A: Actually, both spellings are correct. We just prefer to use the holloware spelling over hollowware.
Q: What is the difference between a french blade and modern blade knife?
A: There are actually three main types of knife blades. They are the paddle blade, french blade, and modern blade and are displayed below in the Chantilly pattern.

Top: The paddle blade is the oldest of the styles and is generally only seen in estate pieces now. It is generally the same width throughout the blade and has a rounded tip. There is also usually a notch in the blade by the handle.

Middle: The french blade is the most curved and tapered of the blade styles. It always contains the notch in the blade near the handle.

Bottom: The modern blade has a flush connection between the blade and handle. It is most like the blades you will find on today's stainless flatware.

Q: How do I clean my silver?
A: We use Hagerty's Silver Foam and Silver Wash to clean our silver and Hagerty's Spray to maintain our silver. We also use a soft brush for items that have raised areas, such as the border of some trays. For harder to clean pieces, we use Wenol Cream Polish. We do not recommend the use of silver polishing dips and baths as these can do more harm than good.

Always use 100% cotton items as polishing cloths, such as old tee shirts or diapers, since a polyester blend cloth will scratch the silver. We sell polishing cloths and treated gloves to ensure proper cleaning.

Q: How do I know that the cloth I'm cleaning my silver with is 100% cotton?
A: If you are unsure if your cloth is 100% cotton, try burning a small corner of the fabric with a match or lighter. If the fabric forms a solid black ball where it was burned, it is a cotton-poly blend and should not be used on silver! We sell polishing cloths and treated gloves to ensure proper cleaning.
Q: How do I store my silver?
A: Your flatware should be stored in a box or silver wraps or something to avoid open air and oxygen. This helps to prevent the silver from oxidizing. Plastic is something to avoid as it can pit knife blades and ruin silver plate over time. Never use rubber bands to bundle your silver.
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Q: Do you purchase china?
A: We're sorry, but we do not purchase estate china.
Q: Do you purchase china?
A: We're sorry, but we do not purchase estate china.
Q: Do you purchase china?
A: We're sorry, but we do not purchase estate china.
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