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Planning Retirement Online

Family Treasures - Edition 16
                                       April 2005

Miller's Price Guide 

Purchase Miller's Price Guide 2004/2005

Family Treasures 16

Jill Churchill, who writes on antiques and collectables for YOURS magazine, continues her series .   




Celebration buckles

If grandma (or great-g) was a nurse, you might remember her silver clasp-type buckle: proud sign, as she walked the wards, that she was now fully qualified.

It wasn’t a compulsory part of her uniform, more a bit of tradition, and many a family ordered a celebration buckle from a jeweller as reward when a daughter passed her nursing exams. Today’s less starchy SRNs don’t wear them (hygiene risk, apparently) so, like all no-longer-made items, they’re collectables.
Much depends on the age of the silver (ask a jeweller to read the hallmark) and its weight and design: the heavier, more elaborate, the better. They range from ?75-?250.

Don’t buckle my shoe

As to other buckles: they’re ‘worth hanging on to’ and ‘currently undervalued’ - both phrases are dealer-speak for ‘don’t expect a lot of money right now.’ A glittering pair of cut-steel shoe buckles, 200 years old, were just ?60 at Sotheby’s a few months ago. They’d have been worth more had they been buttons because - well, who wears buckles, today?

Big beauties

There are exceptions: extra-large buckles, say 4 by 3 inches - make display pieces, or even brooches. If there’s a CYMRIC mark on the back of a large buckle, it comes from the early days of Liberty’s. And it’s a good sign if it’s enamelled in greens and turquoise. All this says very desirable Arts & Crafts, 1901-1905.
A heavy silver buckle of that era fetched ?250 at Bonham’s last year. More colourful CYMRICS can go to over ?1,000.

The mark means everything

But do check marks: soft metal buckles with enamel decoration were mass-produced in Birmingham in the early 1900s. To my mind just as pretty, they’re rarely more than ?100. So (dealer-speak again): with most unmarked buckles, best ‘save them for the next generation’: in other words, put your money on the fact that all fashions come back - eventually.


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Family Treasures - 16

For subsequent editions - see the laterlife interest index



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