September 20th, 2009

A guide to identifying silver/china dishes?


I'm wondering if anyone is aware of a website that offers a quick how-to on identifying silver dishes that are NOT flatware (i.e. that are hollowware). I've found tonnes of sites that offer how-to-identify-flatware guides ("this is a macaroni server, and this is a bone fork..."), and likewise lots of guides on identifying maker/age/value, but nothing about dishes, whether china or silver.

I ask because I have a few pieces of silver that are a bit of a mystery, and I can't really imagine what they're for. I've also got a few pieces of china that I can guess at, but I'd like to know for sure. To be specific, I'm looking for a dishes/hollowware equivalent of the flatware identification tables--something that will tell me that this is a finger bowl, and that is an asparagus-butter-dish, or whatever.

The local branch of the library doesn't have any useful books, and my camera's being sulky, so an online guide is my best option for the time being--although alternative suggestions are of course welcome as well.