60-Second Silver: Contact a museum for reliable help

You’re cleaning a Revere porringer and it escapes your grasp, bouncing off the tile floor causing a major dent.

You stand there in horror, afraid to even touch the piece.

You have two choices: place it back in the china cabinet with the undamaged side facing out, hoping your employer won’t notice, or take the ethical high-road and tell the porringer’s owner that you’ll have it professionally restored.

Hopefully you choose option two. So, where do you go?

My advice is to contact a decorative arts curator at a museum housing a major silver collection, such as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, or the Victoria & Albert Museum in England, to name a few.

These museum curators are knowledgeable as to who will perform a proper restoration job because of their intimacy with the medium.

Another excellent source is to consult a notable high-end antique silver dealer. ?

Jeffrey Herman encourages anyone with silver-related questions that can’t be answered on his Web site hermansilver.com to contact him. He may be reached at 800-339-0417or jeff@hermansilver.com or at PO Box 786, West Warwick, RI 02893.

Jeffrey Herman started Herman Silver Restoration & Conservation in 1984, and has repaired and reconstructed everything from historically important tankards, tea services, and tureens to disposal-damaged flatware. Herman has worked at Gorham as a designer, sample maker, and technical illustrator and at Pilz Ltd., where he learned the fine art of restoration. Herman has a BFA degree in silversmithing and is the founder of the Society of American Silversmiths.

Read more of Jeffrey Herman’s 60-Second Silver columns.

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