Monogramming Sterling Flatware, Great Idea or Huge Mistake

Welcome to the 80th Metamorphosis Monday!

I love monogrammed silver. I suppose I could attribute it to having been “raised” here in the south where  monogramming has long been a standing tradition.

Monogrammed Silver

Actually, I’ve never known anyone who had monogrammed silver, or if they did I don’t remember seeing it.

Monogrammed Sterling Silver

But for me, it’s a reminder that family is important, family traditions are important and those traditions can be passed on to the next generation.

Monogrammed Sterling Napkin Ring

Today while viewing so many beautiful tablecapes, my mind wandered back to 1978 when as a bride-to-be, I chose a sterling flatware pattern.  I went with a Towle pattern named, King Richard.

Elegant Place Setting with Towle King Richard Sterling Flatware

In 1978, we found ourselves in a strange place.  Newly engaged couples were still registering a sterling pattern once they became engaged, but it was becoming rarer and rarer to actually receive sterling “anything” as a gift. Silver prices had really shot up while formal entertaining was becoming much less common.

Who was it that decided we can only use our sterling for formal entertaining anyway? As they say, this life is not a dress rehearsal. If you have sterling flatware, get it out and use it.  Daily use will only make it more beautiful and speed up that lovely process called, patina.  I love the look of sterling when it has a gorgeous patina.  If you’re not quite sure what patina is or how it looks, check out this past post:  Patina on Sterling Flatware

Sterling Silver Iced Teaspoons

When we chose our sterling flatware, I fully planned to have it engraved with our last initial one day. Over the last 30 years as I have gradually collected additional pieces, I’ve never gotten around to having it done. As I sat viewing the pics I took for the 100th Tablescape Thursday, I found myself staring at that large, oval spot where I had long pictured an “H” monogram in beautiful script.

Towle King Richard Sterling Silver Flatware in a Spring Table Setting

Now, that I’m older and hopefully a bit wiser, I find I am reluctant to have it monogrammed. Why?

1. eHow online says:

“Monogrammed silverware is worth significantly less than a set that has not been monogrammed. Patterns also affect the value, depending on their popularity.”

2. About.comonline says:
“Monograms — Many collectors view old, elaborate monograms as a lost art form and historically important. It does not detract from the desirability or value of a piece when a monogram is present. Most pieces, however, are even more valuable without a monogram. As you become more familiar with silver, you will be able to detect monogram removal. Monogram removal can damage a piece of silver and significantly reduce its value.”

3. An eBay Guide I found online said: “Monograms are the bane of an eBay sterling flatware collector’s existence it sometimes seems. Extensive experience on eBay shows that a monogram on a piece of flatware cuts its value about in half, though there are so many sellers who learn this the hard way.”

4. Another eBay guide said: “A monogram on sterling flatware reduces it’s value by 25-35%.”

See my dilemma? One part of me thinks I should monogram it since it will be passed down to my son one day, so the monogram will still work.  But, the practical side of me says, No, don’t do it, don’t hurt the value of the flatware. Usually, my practical side wins out, so I will most likely not monogram it. I am guessing it would be very expensive to have it monogrammed, anyway. Seems silly to pay someone money to reduce the value of an object, doesn’t it? ~~~sigh~~~ Do you sometimes wish you weren’t practical?

Guess I’ll just stick to monogrammed napkin rings.  (Tablescape can be found here: Christmas Table Setting with Silver Tiered Centerpiece)

…and monogrammed linens. No regrets there, just pure enjoyment.  (Tablescape can be viewed here: A Garden Table Setting)

Summertime Table Setting


So, I want to know…where do you stand on monograms? Is your flatware monogrammed? Would you have it monogrammed? Would you buy flatware with a monogram that didn’t match your last name?

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  1. Hi Susan, love your post and pretty pics. I don't think I'd ever buy monogrammed things if it wasn't my last initial S! Despite the fact I love monograms I don't really have any!
    I'm linking up this week to show off the table I redid.
    Come say hi

  2. Allison Shops says

    We had a small wedding, so no fancy silverware – monogrammed or not! I do love seeing monogrammed linens and silverware. Something about it…

    I'm not sure being Southern has anything to do with it though. I don't think I have anything with our initials on it. I have purchased several antique hat boxes with monograms or initials on them.

    Thank you for hosting another Met Monday!


  3. tales from an oc cottage says

    LOVE the 'gram!!! I am always on the look out for anything vintage that is monogrammed…the initials matter not!

    m ^..^

  4. Amy @MaisonDecor says

    Susan, I think you should have your sterling flatware monogrammed if you can afford to do so. I wouldn't care if it was worth less on Ebay or in a resale shop..the point is to use it and enjoy it in the present! YOu son will enjoy it too. AS you said, not knowing anyone who monograms their flatware, well that shows you how special it is to have it done. Most I guess don't because of the cost or they never get around to it. But knowing you through your blog, you would LOVE it!! Live in the moment and the now,and have it monogrammed. Consider it a gift for a long standing marriage and a present to your heirs someday.

  5. Christi @ A Southern Life says

    I love monogrammed silver, but like you, I see a more practical side. I'm always thinking, "what if things get really, really bad and a child/grandchild/great-grandchild . . . needs to sell the silver to survive?"

    I would hate that the silver left the family but glad that it was able to bring a good price because I didn't monogram it.

    I'm kind of weird, huh? LOL!

    Christi @ A Southern Life

  6. Thoughtfully blended hearts says

    Susan, why not discuss this with your son??? Since he will eventually own it maybe he has an opinion!!! I personally love the monograms and if I had your beautiful silver it would never leave the family…hence…the value would not be significant to me!!! Just some thoughts…Thanks for all of you hard work on this blog that we all enjoy so much. You are much appreciated !!!

  7. Confessions of a Plate Addict says

    Hi Susan! I personally love monograms on silver…even if the initials aren't mine! It makes the pieces even more interesting! But…I think I am the exception! My mom didn't monogram hers and it's probably a good thing since it makes it nicer to pass down to generations of daughters with different last names!
    I hope you are having a great weekend! Thanks for hosting…Debbie

  8. Cindy (Applestone Cottage) says

    Hi Susan,
    That silver is just gorgeous! I have always loved the look of monogrammed silver and other items. I don't think it is as popular up north here, however my Mother has some very old napkin rings that are monogrammed and belonged to my great-grandparents. So, I think I would leave it alone but maybe score a deal on some that are already monogrammed on E-Bay.
    Thanks for being our hostess too!

  9. I love monograms, too. My flatware isn't monogrammed. My grandmother's was engraved. I have some sterling mint julep cups that are waiting to be monogrammed…maybe I won't now!

  10. Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio says

    Mine is not monogramed…but I bought it on ebay….so it was used. I love monograms and if I saw anything with the letter "C" I would be inclined to purchase it.

  11. My name is Gayle says

    Alas, my practicality is one of the banes of my existance and I probably won't be having any silver monogrammed.
    I have my mother's silver. I guess it's sterling. She always had a ruby cloth with it but it doesn't tarnish. Hmm, now I'm going to have to get it out and investigate. And darn it all, I might just use it too!

  12. My name is Gayle says

    Alas, my practicality is one of the banes of my existance and I probably won't be having any silver monogrammed.
    I have my mother's silver. I guess it's sterling. She always had a ruby cloth with it but it doesn't tarnish. Hmm, now I'm going to have to get it out and investigate. And darn it all, I might just use it too!

  13. Linda (Nina's Nest) says

    Susan, In 1968 I bought my silver flatware on a one year plan that Rich's had. They gave me a free silver chest and free monogramming. I did have mine monogrammed and I don't regret it. I had no idea about compromising the value, but I love the fact that the silver is monogrammed regardless. Linda

  14. Susan, our sterling flatware isn't monogramed. I do love the artistic nature of beautiful monograms, but I don't think I'd go to the expense to have your sterling monogramed. Add monogramed pieces when you find them. I've done that with napkin rings, although most of my napkin rings have monograms or names of others engraved on them. LOL Like you, I like to use monogramed lines. Old linens with monograms are another obsession here at HFTS.
    Have a great week. ~ Sarah

  15. says

    What beautiful pictures! I love monogrammed silver, isn't if it isn't my letter. I have some napkin rings and I always look for more.

    Thanks for hosting!


  16. I have a sterling set but did not have it monogrammed but I would love to have it done. It seems so extravagant. If I bought another set and it was offered I would do it in a heartbeat.

  17. Donna@Conghaile Cottage says

    "Definitely Monogrammed"!!! To me it's priceless with a monogram. When I'm on a treasure hunt the first thing I would pick up TO BUY is the monogrammed pieces… "ALWAYS"! These pieces were an act of love… The monogram is the PROOF of an act of love…Someone stood or even sat for hours or possibly even days, weeks, or MONTHS deciding exactly what pattern and inscription would grace their table… There is NO proof of this love if it is NOT monogrammed… I LOVE the experience of coming home after buying my monogramed pieces and examining those initials… I ponder and think of ALL kinds of people these utensils had served and how PROUD they made the hostess… Then I go one step further. I always take the initials of the pieces I use and give them names of heroines in my favorite novels… NOW for yours, I would LOVE to see and "H", and if I "didn't" know the real name, it could be "High Tea" if I only had a few… again you MUST monogram, put it on your wishlist for your family to do for you on an occasion or if it isn't done by your 50th anniversary do it for you…

    • Could not agree more! I’ve collected odd pieces of sterling & coin flatware for years: enough to give each of five granddaughters 6-to-8 place settings (dinner knife/fork/place spoon) of asst. gorgeous old patterns, most of it monogrammed; many with dates, names (“Mother”, “Sarah”, “EPG from SMM”, “Precious Friend”, “Maine 19o4”, “Beloved Daughter”)….

      Endlessly intriguing, including the stunning artistry of most of the engravers. I still cruise flea mkts., antique shops, Ebay, Etsy, for bargain treasures; I have three more granddaughters coming of age.

  18. Happier Than a Pig in Mud says

    While I'd never buy a piece with an initial that isn't mine, isn't it that much more valuable to the person that does have that initial? If it's something you would get pleasure from, go for it, like you say "this is not a dress rehearsal"-enjoy!

  19. Sherry @ No Minimalist Here says

    Susan, If monogramming is something you always wanted to do I say go for it. Unless you are planning on selling the silver I wouldn't worry about the value. I collect old silver and I especially look for monogrammed pieces and no they don't have to be my initials. Thanks for hosting.
    Hugs, Sherry

  20. Sharlotte says

    Hi Susan,
    Thanks again for hosting such a fun party. Your posts are always a joy to view, I love learning and being inspired by you!

    Here's my vote on your sterling flatware: Since you LOVE monogramming so much and your pieces could be handed down to your son, I'd say monogram it. As you said, you only live once! Would you really even consider selling this wedding set? The value is what you set in your heart, right?


  21. Chari at Happy To Design says

    Hi sweet lady…

    Ohhh my…what a lovely post you have presented for our viewing pleasure this week, my friend! I just drooled over each and every beautiful photo of all your lovely silver…monogrammed or not! I absolutley adore the King Richard pattern of your silver…gorgeous!!! I completely understand your reservations to have the silverware monogrammed. I too would hate to devalue it in anyway…but there is a part of me that just ooohs and aaahs over anything monogrammed! Like you, I would probably just enjoy the monogrammed napkin rings and beautiful linens…and leave the silver alone! Thank you sooo much for sharing this lovely post with us for Met Monday this week! I just loved it!!! I also wanted to thank you for hosting this lovely weekly party! I was able to participate today…had lots of fun!

    And…before I forget…I wanted to congratulate you on Tablescape Thursday's 100 birthday! What a sweet milestone! I can only imagine the countless hours of work that is "behind the scenes" to preparing and presenting this weekly party for all of! Thank you so much, Susan! I know that I have said it before but would like to say it again…I just think about all the beauty that has been added to our world and enjoyed by so many…all because of Tablescape Thursday!!! Hope that encourages you to keep up all the great work that you put into it…for us, my friend!!!

    Have a marvelous Monday!
    Chari @Happy To Design

  22. I love monograms, doesn't matter if they are not mine, either. Monograms are special in my book.

  23. I personally prefer the monograms, even if they are not ours. Most of my pattern is monogrammed, and my serving pieces are all different monograms, but they are somehow more special to me than the ones that are not. My monogrammed pieces did not differ significantly in price at all from the non-monogrammed pieces. Maybe because they are so old? I'm not sure. I love them with monograms!

  24. My flatware is not sterling…however, I would lean toward the don't monogram side. Save the money now and save the resale for your descendants. I do love the look of engraved silver. I recently bought a platter that was an award for sales. No clue about who he was or what the company was., Just love the engraving.

  25. Joanne Kennedy says

    I prefer monograms on the silver pieces I find. I would do it if I had your set. It's so pretty and you can pass it down to your family.


  26. Susan…

    First let me say that the first time I saw the Towle King Richard pattern was when I first found your blog and I have fallen in love with this pattern. Unfortunately, we could never afford it, though I would have loved to register for all of those things.

    I am practical as well and would not monogram it, though I think monograms are so lovely. I prefer them on silver serving pieces and especially on linens. Our initial is "H" as well!! I look on ebay for monogrammed linens and would only want to get "h" monograms…being a little anal about such things.

    The person who said what if there are girls in the family has a point…maybe a granddaughter in the future???;-)

    Your linens and napkins rings are gorgeous.

    I do have silverplate flatware that I love and don't even know if people can monogram silverplate!

    Thank you so much for your wonderful blog. I am enjoying it and have spread the word!


  27. Ceekay- Thinkin of Home says

    Ok, I am going to give my 2 cents worth and you can throw it away if you want….MONOGRAM your silverware!!! You have been wanting it for 30 years!!!!! If you have wanted it for that long, it doesn't matter if it affects the value…it is YOUR silverware to enjoy!! Trust me…life is too short, the kids never really appreciate our "things" as we do, and you will smile everytime you see that monogram…ok…I am done…you asked…I answered!!

  28. Mine will be going to my daughter–so no monograms for me!–actually she'd like to have it right now 🙂

  29. Mariette says

    Dear Susan,

    Definitely monogrammed; it looks so regal with these artful engraved letters on them. I agree 100% with Donna Connolly for being it a very thoughtful act of love. Silver not only has a scrap-value but far more a sentimental value. Something that we need to bring back into today's life again. There is so much pride and joy coming from these precious pieces that one cannot even put the true sentimental value to it.

    Greetings from Georgia/USA


  30. Teresa Hatfield says

    I have always thought about it but never have. I am glad to read this post. That settles it. I may, however, have my silverpleate monogrammed.
    I love everything that doesn't move to have a monogram on it, but I will stick to everything else.
    Thanks for the information.
    Teresa (Splendid Sass)

  31. MONOGRAM ! Our flatware design doesn't lend itself to a monogram (nor does the pattern that belonged to my parents). However, I do cherish the few pieces we have from my grandparents, even though the initial doesn't match our name.

    I'm assuming you and your DH have worked hard to have the beautiful things you have, and I'm guessing you aren't looking at having to sell it in the near future to feed your son or make the house payment….so, MONOGRAM it! You love it, you've earned it. When the day comes for your son to inherit the silver, it should be a beautiful (and still valuable) reminder of his parents and their home…monogram and all ! If it's worth slightly less, so be it. As the saying goes, you don't look a gift horse in the mouth!

    P.S. I'm a Northern girl, and we do love our monogramming up here too!

  32. salmagundi says

    Interesting discussion on monogrammed silverware! I had no idea that monograms devalued silver. My wedding sterling is not monogrammed, but my great-grandmother's sterling is with an initial that is not my own (which has never bothered me). I probably use hers more than my own. I often think of her living on a desolate homesteaded farm in dry Colorado with her service for 12 monogrammed sterling – not a southern lady, at all. She could drive a mean team of horses behind a plow, plus set a beautiful table. Thanks for stirring up the memory of her. Sally

  33. scribbler-unfocused says

    Another lovely, interesting post as always! I think your tablescape post last week with the pink and white is one of the prettiest you have ever done.

    I had no idea that adding a monogram devalued silver.

    Mine is not monogramed either. I used to have the bug to do it, but here's the thing: when you replace the husband, do you have to replace the monogram? That could get expensive! Or, your child is from the husband that got replaced, and your new husband wouldn't want HIS old letter on your knives and forks, but the kid will inherit the silver with a new initial that is not his if you change it! Such a dilemma.

    I once knew a man (in Atlanta, in fact) who had his monogram on EVERYTHING, like a fetish, almost. I used to wonder, "Does he not know who he is?"


  34. Michelle @ Sweet Something says

    Tough one Susan! I think the thought of passing the silver to your son and so on and so forth would be nice.
    Thanks so much for hosting!

  35. The Quintessential Magpie says

    Happy Birthday to you…

    Happy Birthday to you…

    Happy Birthday, Dear Susan…

    Happy Birthday to YOU! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    A little birdie told me that you were having a birthday today, and I sent word by that birdie to wish you a happy one. I am finally back home at the computer and am getting ready to go to bed, exhausted. LOL! But I couldn't until I wished you the happiest birthday ever. I hope you had a great day, Susan! I wish you could have been with Rhonda, Mr. Magpie, and me for brunch. We toasted you in spirit. We were "almost" in Georgia. 😉 And if you ever come to Florida, I will throw a blogger bash for you… or actually, we could do it for several of us!

    Hope your day was very happy and that the year to follow will be, too!

    Love you much…


    Sheila 🙂

    Oh, and as to the flatware, I have some monogrammed and some not. I love monograms, but I have old monograms and not ours. I have a lot of pieces in a lot of patterns from different family members… and I adore it. I could care less about what it does or doesn't do to the value. But I can understand your concern, so why don't you do four place settings of it, Susan? And then leave the rest without. Or if you have 12 place settings, do half of them. That way, you can have what you want, and you can also have the other half with the value in tact.

    Personally, I love monograms, and I wouldn't dream of removing one from an antique piece. A few years ago, I began to collect an antique Whiting pattern (in addition to our regular pattern which is Chantilly) that has other initials on it. Some of the pieces have my initial, and the first piece I bought had my first and last initials on it!!! It was a sign! LOL!!!

    This pattern has a cartouche that is perfect for engraving. And the back of the piece is positively smooth and perfect for engraving. I enjoy collecting spoons that have been given from one person to another at Christmas or birthdays or anniversary dates, or whatever (and generally that is on the back of the piece). I think it gives the piece a history and makes it more interesting.

    So as to monos, LOVE them! But I didn't monogram the newer Chantilly pieces we got for wedding presents. Chantilly is one of those patterns that I actually like better without. Some of the lder pieces, though, have monograms. Some belonged to my mother, grandmother, etc.

    Hope this helps.


    Sheila 🙂

  36. The Quintessential Magpie says

    Happy Birthday to you…

    Happy Birthday to you…

    Happy Birthday, Dear Susan…

    Happy Birthday to YOU! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    A little birdie told me that you were having a birthday today, and I sent word by that birdie to wish you a happy one. I am finally back home at the computer and am getting ready to go to bed, exhausted. LOL! But I couldn't until I wished you the happiest birthday ever. I hope you had a great day, Susan! I wish you could have been with Rhonda, Mr. Magpie, and me for brunch. We toasted you in spirit. We were "almost" in Georgia. 😉 And if you ever come to Florida, I will throw a blogger bash for you… or actually, we could do it for several of us!

    Hope your day was very happy and that the year to follow will be, too!

    Love you much…


    Sheila 🙂

    Oh, and as to the flatware, I have some monogrammed and some not. I love monograms, but I have old monograms and not ours. I have a lot of pieces in a lot of patterns from different family members… and I adore it. I could care less about what it does or doesn't do to the value. But I can understand your concern, so why don't you do four place settings of it, Susan? And then leave the rest without. Or if you have 12 place settings, do half of them. That way, you can have what you want, and you can also have the other half with the value in tact.

    Personally, I love monograms, and I wouldn't dream of removing one from an antique piece. A few years ago, I began to collect an antique Whiting pattern (in addition to our regular pattern which is Chantilly) that has other initials on it. Some of the pieces have my initial, and the first piece I bought had my first and last initials on it!!! It was a sign! LOL!!!

    This pattern has a cartouche that is perfect for engraving. And the back of the piece is positively smooth and perfect for engraving. I enjoy collecting spoons that have been given from one person to another at Christmas or birthdays or anniversary dates, or whatever (and generally that is on the back of the piece). I think it gives the piece a history and makes it more interesting.

    So as to monos, LOVE them! But I didn't monogram the newer Chantilly pieces we got for wedding presents. Chantilly is one of those patterns that I actually like better without. Some of the lder pieces, though, have monograms. Some belonged to my mother, grandmother, etc.

    Hope this helps.


    Sheila 🙂

  37. R Jackson says

    Although my last name begins with "J," I monogram with "G" for "Grandma." Everyone who passes my things down likely will be a grandmother or a greatgrandmother. No matter how the last name changes as sons or daughters marry, there always will be a grandmother serving as the keeper of the memories. I settled on "G" so all the current and past grandmothers will be remembered — and the silver and linen will never be discarded because the initial isn't right.

    Susan, congratulations on your 100th blog! I've only posted a couple of table setting but have viewed all 100 of your Tablescape Thursdays, many more than once!

  38. Janet - Birdland Treasures says

    Very beautiful pictures, and it all got me thinking about two sets of tableware I received from my great-aunt and grandmother. One is a set of stainless, very fancy pattern that we use daily here at home. The other is a stainless silverplate set by 1847 Rogers Bros. called "Flair." Your post motivated me to look it up online and learn a little more about it, so now I'm thinking I may just take it out of the closet, clean it up, and set a pretty table! So – thank you for the motivation and a new appreciation for this special gift from Grandma!

  39. The Quintessential Magpie says

    Susan, I just spent thirty minutes writing a post to you that disappeared!

    First… HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Hope you had a great day. I heard from a little birdie and sent you word that I hoped it was happy. And I am just getting online after a long weekend and am about to go to bed. I just couldn't do it, though, without first telling you how much you are loved and how much joy and happiness I wish you for today and always! 🙂

    Now, as to the monos… I love them! Have lots of old silver with them, but I didn't monogram my silver because I like Chantilly without. Some of it has monograms because it belonged to Mama, etc. But mine doesn't.

    Now, I collect a Whiting pattern that it discontinuted, and most of it has monongrams which I love. It has a cartouche on the front perfect for a monogram, and the back is also good for engraving because it is perfectly plain. The front is very ornate, and the cartouche is the only plain part. The very first piece I found had my initials!!! It was a sign!!! 🙂

    I adore monograms and wouldn't dream of removing them. I think it gives a piece character. I cherish family pieces, too. But I also love this other pattern I collect, and I could care less if it's monogrammed or not. I do it for my own joy.

    Here's what I would do if I were you. Depending on the number of place settings you have, do half. If you have 12, do six so you can enjoy them on the porch and your tablescaping. Or if you want to do less, do four. But leave the rest alone. That way, you have only compromised half of it, but to me, it makes it all that much better. And if you are giving it to your son, it has HIS initial so he could keep it always.

    Go for it! You want to, so just bite the bullet and do it. Calibrate the cost if you have to, but either buy some with your monogram already on it, or monogram some that you have!


    Sheila 🙂

  40. carolinajewel says

    I didn't register for any sterling because of the outrageous price when I got married. I had already inherited service for 12 from my grandmother. The pattern is Betsy Patterson Engraved, but there are no initals on it. The reason is that my grandmother's family believed that the bride's maiden name initials should be on everything including the silver – like the linens etc in a "Hope Chest." My grandfather thought that was ridiculous and insisted that his inital should be used since that would now be her initial too.
    SO…. my silver has never been engraved. Whave thought about it through the years, but like you, I hate to lesson the value of the silver even though I love the monogramed look. And also, I have 2daughters so one of the would probably get the wrong initial on the silver. Although it would be their maiden name initial….. OK, see we are back where we started!!!!!

  41. Linda (More Fun Less Laundry) says

    Hi Susan, This is such a tough question! My silver is Gorham Old French-very simple with lots of room for monograms but I did not do it. Remember also that the monogram really changes the look of the individual piece AND the place setting as it sits on the table. I LOVE napkin rings, linens, trays, etc., monogramed, and I also love flatware monogramed, but I wouldn't do my own. Good luck making up your mind!! Maybe your future daughter-in-law might have an opinion? Linda

  42. laurie @ bargain hunting says

    Your napkin rings are beautiful. I was fortunate to be married right before the price of silver went through the ceiling. I was married in '69, and my sister was married in '73, so I vividly recall the difference in the amount of silver she got compared to what I got. neithetr of us had our flatware monogramed. I have a friend who received monogramed flatware. She has now divorced and remarried and is not happy that her previous initial is on her flatware!! However, your attitude about using your flatware (which is the attitude I also have) could apply to the monograms as well. If you love it, get it monogramed and enjoy using it. I'm afraid, when I'm gone, my children will have a GIANT yard sale, and practically give away anything I have, so I've decided I'm not going to worry about value – I'm just going to worry about enjoying it while I have it. laurie

  43. Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish says

    Hmmm… for me I am less reluctant to monogram because my initial is S – which might be the most common initial ever. But I guess the question I would ask yourself is are you passing them to your son as an heirloom or an investment. If it is an heirloom – I would monogram them. If it is an investment – then I wouldn't. Thanks for hosting!

  44. Ron and Connie says

    I don't have a monogram on my silver either. But I tend to buy what catches my eye, so even if it had an initial different than mine I would still probably buy it. I love to mix things up which is why my everyday flatware doesn't match. I do love your napkin rings, and the H would go perfect at our house. Enjoy them.

  45. Hi Susan,

    Thank you for your lovely note and visit to my watermelon tablescape! How sweet that you are going to visit everyone who participated in your 100th post! With so many followers I don't know how you do it…but we are all glad you continue to delight us with your ideas, table and tours! When my in-laws passed on I was fortunate to receive all the family silverware and quite a collection it was..many pieces are monogrammed …I love them and cherish them because they have been passed down several times.

    Thanks again!

    Miss Bloomers

  46. Hello Susan, I love your napkin rings, they are so pretty…I am always on the look out for things that are monogrammed….but I do think it is a personal preference….I think your flatware would be beautiful ingraved with the letter "H", which is the perfect initial….but you need to do what you feel is right for you, but I say live in the moment…all of your things are always so tastefully displayed, I always look so forward to browsing your blog! Hugs, Jenn

  47. Dearest Susan, I think the napkin rings with monogram are great and I wouldn't monogram the silver.

    If I were buying silver and it had a letter on it I'd probably be buying it to melt down and not be using for dining or give to another that this was their initial.

    Have a sweet week and God bless you,

  48. Tales From My Empty Nest says

    I love monograms, but my flatware is not monogrammed. Love & blessings from NC!

  49. Lori@ Paisley Passions says

    I love the monograms! Thanks for hosting a great party. Good luck visiting all of those table scape links! 🙂

  50. Susan:

    First of all, the gushing, my goodness, you are SUCH an artist. Where do you find your linens? I could gush for an hour, but on to practical. First, I have my mother's silverplate with a momogram (she remarried) that has nothing to do with my family and I cherish them. Second, I have her International sterling in Prelude and I have thought about adding my maiden name monogram to them as a way to carry my family name forward. Here in the Northwest, we see so little of the the Southern graciousness that the Southern folks accept as everyday fare. I long to add that to my collectables and to find a way to foster forward things to remind my new generation of family of where I came from. Thank, thank, thank you for this wonderful site and sharing your talent. I HAVE to learn how to blog!

  51. P.S. Is it your BDay? Happy, happy birthday girlie! Making a note…hope you have a great day/week!


  52. Unintentionally Unemployed says

    I would "love" to have monogrammed flatware…all of your pieces are so beautiful. This is my first time linking – so I hope I did it right.

  53. Fifi Flowers says

    Have a GREAT week!

  54. Dear Susan,

    first at all, Happy Birthsday to you. Wish you all the Best for the coming years.
    Now, thats a tough discussion about monorgam or not. When I was bride we choose a silver flatware and I was crazy about getting it monogramed. But all the store people and my husband disagreed and so we did not. Today I am happy how it is. When you own a real silver flatware, it has at least a certain amount of moneyworth, it is also a financial investment. Nobody can tell you wheather you or the next generations need in hard times to sell it. On the other hand, silver flatware will last longer than you. Your son will maybe adore the monogram but his daughter will probably not.

    I have another nice idea for you. In very former times, people (in Germany) had a a flatware set, monogramed with his or her own initals. That make just two sets for you and your husband. It is not so expensive to engrave because fine handmade monogrames are really expensive for a huge flatware stock. You could enjoy the monogramed sets and leave the rest without. Thats my idea. Anyway, you should decide after your own heart and how you love it. I am sure, you will be happy with your own decision.
    Greetings, Johanna

  55. Cynthia@ITLLDO says

    I love old monogrammed silver, but my wedding silver, Reed and Barton English Provincial is too beautiful to add an initial. I think your place settings are perfect…monogram on napkins and n.rings. BTW, my last initial is H, so if you should want to sell those items, I'd take them in a flash!
    Thanks for the beautiful post. I wish I had found the time to squeeze in one of my own, but summer activities have left me needing my pillow more than my computer.

  56. Hi Susan,
    My thoughts on monogramming the silver flatware is to go for it!! If that makes you happy and it is what you want do it. We only live one life. Do you plan on reselling it?? If not, I'm sure your son would one day certainly appreciate the flatware.
    Word of advice, if you do plan on monogramming, go with hand engraving and not machine. Machine will wear down over time. I found this out the hard, sad way.
    The Tattered Tassel

  57. the cape on the corner says

    what's not to love about something personalized? i think yes to monogramed silverware.

    thanks for hosting, can't wait to check out these links!

  58. I love monogram anything! i have 8 monogramed silver napkin rings. I always get compiments on them when Ii use them! I love looking at your blog site! Everything is always beautiful! Keep up the good work.

  59. A Classy Flea says

    Hi Susan, looks as if the opinions are pretty much split between the "Do" and "Don't"! I have to side with the "Do it!" Much more important to live in the 'now'. You say you think about the regret you might have if you do it, but what about the regret you might have for never doing it? When in doubt, I always ask myself "which feels better?" and go with that choice!

  60. Melissa Miller says

    Susan I adore all monograms! We recently inherited my husbands granparents *M* mongrammed flatware set and I treasure having it. It makes it even more special to me. Your future daughter in law will love it. Belive me.

    Your set is stunning, classic and elegant. ~Melissa 🙂

  61. My rule is…if I like it I get it (of course within affordability). I don't look at things being passed down anymore, I tried that and the kids don't want my stuff, so I get what I want to enjoy myself while I am here. So I say, do it if it is what you want. It would not bother me at all to have someone else monogram on something.

  62. Ruth Ann says

    My sterling as well as my silver plate is monogrammed – both flatware and hollow ware. I never plan to sell it, so it is of value to no one but me, and, to me, the monogram makes it priceless.

  63. Vickie H. says

    Wonderful topic for discussion! And I will come down on the side of DO IT! I also share the "H" monogram with you and am drooling over those napkin rings….I love how our initial looks in beautiful script. I have those same napkins in the white on white monogram. I don't care what they do with my silver after I am gone…I have no children to leave it to so it will probably go to a niece or nephew…all I care about is that I love it NOW. I have other monogrammed pieces with different initials and do care about the difference….monogrammed pieces are gorgeous to me. Congrats on your 100th TT!! We enjoy it so much!

  64. My silverware is not monogrammed but I think your's would be lovely monogrammed. Will you ever sell it?

  65. 193 MM participants!!!!!!!! WOW! Now, on to your question. First, I wish I had sterling flatware! IF I did I would love for it to be monogrammed, I think it looks so pretty. But if you don't have a SON to pass it to, then it becomes not useless but not the correct monogram for a daughter when she gets married…..understand? Did that make ANY sense:):) I love the LOOK of it. And now that I think of it, IF I had gotten any handed down I would use it proudly even if it was the wrong monogram, it would still be a family heorloom!

  66. Hi Susan,
    I am sending you an email in just a few minutes with some pictures of my silverware with an monogram, along with a little story.


  67. Ann @ makethebestofthings says

    You have such exquisite taste in your home, and your tablescapes with all their beautiful things just make me sigh. On the monogramming issue, I love the napkin rings and napkins for their personalized touch. I would hesitate on the flatware, tho, since you don't know what the future holds, God forbid, so keep the value up. Sounds harsh to put it that way, but it really is up to you, no one will spank you for your decision! ;0)

  68. inner_child says

    I, adore, have King Richard, have loved it since I was 12! I love the pattern so much, I think it is perfect with or without monogramming!

  69. Susan (My Place to Yours) says

    Really great question with fantastic pics! Nice job, Susan! …I love monograms, never owned or inherited any silver flatware — but always keep my eyes open for some! — and my practical side is winning at the moment. I LOVE Johanna's idea about monogramming just a few pieces; perhaps a pair of place settings for the "king and queen." Just a thought today — on what I hope is a very Happy Birthday for you!

  70. Nancy from Alabama says

    I chose King Richard about the same time as you did, with the very same plan in mind….to monogram my entire collection when I completed it. I started having babies and never got around to it, so I was intrigued to see your blog today. Personally, I adore vintage monograms on table linens, silver, bed linens and stationery….but it may be that adding a flowery monogram to King Richard might just be "gilding the lily". It stands alone as a classic and I think I'll leave it that way.

  71. Well, Susan, I am going to add my 2 cents worth and the first thing I want to say is do what your heart tells you! If you think that you and your husband will really need the money from the silver someday, well then there is your answer. But chances are you won't – and you have a son, so now you know that the silver will be good for another generation at least.
    I was married in the north in 1977 and no one registered for silver {I got macrame plant hangers {{I'm sure they were made with love:-) }} so I would love to have some silver now, monogrammed or no} I did inherit some silverplate that is monogrammed with my initial, and I do love it.

  72. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Hi Lisa, Thanks so, so much for all your sweet words! Oh, yes…do start a blog and you can join us for TT with your wonderful collection!
    Thanks for those birthday wishes, everyone…but actually, it isn't my birthday. 🙂 It was another Susan's birthday apparently. Mine is in January. I always wished it was in a summer month so I am declaring July 25th my Un-birthday! 🙂 I wonder which Susan in blogland really was/is celebrating a birthday…does anyone know?

  73. When I got married in 1974, silver prices must have been low, because I got lots of it. My flatware is Francis I, by Reid and Barton. I have used it 3 meals a day for 35 years. As much as I love it, if I was doing it again, I would choose a pattern that could be monogrammed I have no problem buying antique silver with somebody elses monogram. I think it's the beauty and charm of the monogram that is most important.

  74. All my sterling silver pieces of cutlery are monogrammed. Thirty-nine years and two children later I don't regret having either as …it is something I can definitely pass on to our son, whereas daughter gets the china and crystal. Equality problem solved. 🙂

    To monogram or not, let your heart speak to you Susan, and 'you' cannot go wrong.
    Hugs, hugs -Brenda-

  75. Terry @ La Bella Vie says

    Have not linked into your TT yet but plan to…I think.
    Couple questions;
    I noticed one of your dish sets has what looks like a dogwood blossom in the center with a salmon pink band around the edge. My daughter collects this same pattern, yet her's has an aqua band around it. Do you happen to know the name of your china pattern?
    Second, where are "the rules" for doing TT?
    Third, I've been hestitant in asking this, but I'm going to anyway:) How do you get such wide pictures on the blog? I use Minima stretch?

    Thank you Susan for your time. I know with so many followers and working full time has to be crazy!

  76. First of all, I love your sterling silver pattern, Susan. I love monogrammed stuff too but I will not buy anything that do not have our initials except for individual items that the monogram cannot be decipered and could be anything. I think you made the right decision about not monogramming your set….Christine

  77. Terry @ La Bella Vie says

    PS…no to Mongramming, I like a simple classic look like your King Richard pattern. Plus it seems so odd to be using something with someone else's intitials on it that you didn't even know…Just sayin'

  78. i'm not into silver items. lazy to clean . no, to mongramming.

  79. I LOVE monogrammed silver and I would totally buy it even with the wrong initial! What stories could that silver tell? And who cares if the value of your's goes down- anyone selling it any time soon? If you've always wanted it I say do it and enjoy it!

  80. Hi Susan, I love monnogramms, I wish I had a nice big set:-) I have just begun collecting a mix match set (luckily our initial is R it shouldn't be too hard).
    I think having it monogrammed makes it a cherished family heirloom:-)

  81. Jacqueline says

    I got married in 1979 and my parents wanted to give us sterling. They started with 4 sets and gave one each year for Christmas. I love mine, but I didn't get it monogrammed either. I got Kirk/Steiff Old Maryland Engraved. As I have begun to blog and seen people's engraved sterling I have wondered, but your post again makes me somewhat glad I didn't. I do need to use mine more, I know that. My aunt used a set every day and I wanted it when she died but my oldest cousin was the executor and she got it. I did get a lovely berry spoon, unengraved.

  82. Hey Susan – Thank you for hosting such a fun party every week! I do love monograms. I have several things monogrammed for myself and have picked up others along the way. You have such beautiful things – thanks for sharing them!

  83. Such an interesting discussion! I was married in 1974 so I know exactly what you mean about how things were done back then. We received very little silver as wedding gifts and haven't added to it. I have to admit that TT has me more interested in it. It is not monogrammed. My opinion is that if monogramming really appeals to you, you should do it, regardless of the silver losing value. Hopefully, this silver will be passed down generation to generation and the monogram will be a treasured part of its heritage. The market value will be unimportant. I have inherited my family's silver that has a monogram "K" on it. My mother told me recently that her mother was upset that she didn't have it monogrammed with a "P" which was the monogram of my mother's maiden name. She said that was the custom at the time. My mother thought that was silly and went with the K. My daughter's first initial is K so that silver will go to her one day. I love monograms but I have never thought my "C" was as pretty a letter as the "K" was on things. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  84. Enjoyed your post. No sterling in this house. Beautiful, though, and someday I will have some!

  85. Hey Susan…

    I love your blog!!! Thank you for all of your pretty pictures!!!

    I was wondering if you knew the name of the plate with the roses and gold trim around the edges? It's between the two pink dishes…

    Thank You, XoXo

  86. Thank you for a thoughtful post!! I come from a jewelry store background, and my opinion of monogramming silver is don't! I am not speaking from a monetary perspective I am addressing the beauty side :^) Modern monogramming is not very pretty by comparison with the old hand done monogramming. I am afraid that you might be dissapointed with the end product. Just my opinion of course!
    Thank you for a wonderful blog, I come to visit regularly and always leave uplifted!

  87. ORYGUN_GURL says

    I’ve been married to my wonderful husband for 20 years and we have two sons. I am just now thinking of having monogramed silverware. I intend to use it all the time. I may even get it used if we can find a pattern with W somewhere. 😀 I would pass them down to my sons.

  88. How interesting this post! I just got your postcard, I love monogrammed flatware, did you do it? That’s a beautiful set!

  89. Margo Kuhn says

    I love monograms on various home items and I did monogram some sheets when I first got married. Now that I am older, even though I still love them, I realize that it’s a good thing I did not monogram more, as now I am a widow and should I remarry someday, that would not work well.

  90. I love any hand engraved silver and wouldn’t think twice about buying or using it. I always claim it belonged to some deceased relative who is buried out in the bone orchard. My favorite pieces have all 3 initials. There are not a lot of hand engravers around today as machine engraving has replaced that art. However, in my mind there is no comparison between the two. If the piece appeals to me I buy it if I can afford it. I have flatware, holloware, sterling and silverplate with engraving. There is a place in New Orleans that still does hand engraving and also a man in Tennessee that I am familiar with if he has not retired. One of my napkin rings says Father and it belonged to my great grandfather-handed down to me by my great Aunt Lynne. I treasure my engraved pieces over the plain ones even if they were not in my family. After all we were all descended from Adam and Eve so I say it’s all in the family anyhow!!! Spoken like a true southerner I’m sure!

    • Sandi, I love the way you think! I’m going to steal your story about the “deceased relative buried under the bone orchard.” I have thought about collecting some pieces that are already monogrammed just because the monograms are so pretty. I wish I could see pictures of hand engraved pieces and machine engraved. Do you have any? I’m not sure I know the difference. I’ll research that online. That would make a great blog post, too…comparing the two.

  91. Sandi Lee says

    Some of the best places to see hand engraved silver would be Don Scott’s Antique Market and Beverly Bremer’s Silver Shop both in Atlanta. I’m afraid it will be difficult to photograph but I will try..

  92. Kansas_Kate says

    I found this post while searching for hand engraving online. I see it’s 3 years old. What did you decide to do?

    • Hi Kate, I didn’t get it monogrammed. I couldn’t get past the idea that it would decrease the value, although I don’t plan on ever selling it. Also, the monogramming process is very expensive if done by hand. Even if done by machine, it can be pretty expensive. so I decided to just collect monogrammed napkin rings and monogrammed napkins. I do think monogrammed flatware is beautiful, though. It would be fun to collect monogrammed pieces in other patterns to use in other ways, like on the dessert table or for coffee.

  93. Joan Stickles says

    I, too, love monogrammed silver. My flatware is not monogrammed. I feed my passion (or my spooner!) with vintage sterling teaspoons monogrammed with an S. I’ve found them over the years and now have about 20 in my spooner, which I use every morning for coffee. Love the variety of the different monograms.

    • I love that, Joan! For a while I was going to do that because I thought it would be so nice for parties when I served coffee to have this lovely collection of different patterns. It’s also a way to get to enjoy lots of different silver patterns since we obviously can’t own a gazillion patterns. But I never have taken the time to look for them. You’ve inspired me to start doing that! 🙂 I haven’t monogrammed mine, either…just hate to do it since it will decrease its value. But I know it will be staying in the family so I shouldn’t worry about it, but I do.:) So glad you use yours every day…that’s wonderful!

  94. I just received a complete monogrammed set from my mother that had been her mothers. I got it because I originally married a guy who had the same initial for the last name. It probably should have been given to one of HER brothers to pass down….anyway We have been divorced now for 14 years but my boys obviously have that initial for their last name. I plan to clean the silver and give it to the one who gets married first.and will put it in an elegant wooden box vs the original packaging it is currently in. I found your site because I was looking for where I could get a set for my engaged daughter and her fiancé as a wedding gift. Beautiful blog!

  95. At this very moment I’m having an internal struggle over whether to buy a monogrammed pair of sterling silver sugar tongs- and they’re a rare antique by a great silversmith! They have exactly what I want but the monogram irks me. I feel odd because I don’t know who these people were- they could have been horrible people and so their bad energy could have seeped into the object. They could have been sad and had no love in their lives. I love antiques so this really is a conundrum for me. I find a pair of nips with naturalistic claw feet and the only thing wrong with it is the initials MLC… And so I don’t know what to do. For my own specially ordered new silver, I would not monogram them unless I became ruler of the planet. I feel it distracts from the artistry of the piece. The artist was not thinking of how your initials would fit into the design. I think only linen, silk gowns and luggage should be monogrammed.

    • Ro, on the other hand, they could have been amazing folks who were philanthropic and gave huge sums of money to charities…maybe even sponsored the opening of children’s wing in a hospital that treats cancer. We know they had excellent taste and great manners to have owned such a beautiful piece. Maybe their children just had no appreciation for silver and thought it was a burden, something that required a lot of polishing not realizing how little (if ever) polishing is required when it’s stored in a silver chest. So they let the silver go when their parents passed and it’s your good fortune that they did!

      I do agree with you about the monogramming, although I’ve noticed some silver patterns almost look like they were designed with monogramming in mind. My pattern, Towle, King Richard looks like it was designed to have a monogram…that was one of the things that drew me to it, that big ole oval begging for a monogram. I doubt I’ll ever do it because I’ve read that most monogramming is machine done now and isn’t as pretty. There’s supposedly one silversmith in Atlanta that still does it by hand but it costs A FORTUNE to have it done. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to just have a few serving pieces done, though I doubt I’ll spend the money because it’s very expensive to have it done by hand.

      For what it’s worth, there’s a lot of folks who specifically look for the old silver with the old monograms. I personally LOVE them if they are done in an elaborate script…and not something that’s blocky and chunky. Don’t know if I’ve helped with my perspective. 🙂

  96. Definitely no monogramming. My situation is a little different from the others people have described.

    I buy all of my silver pattern myself, a piece at a time. I collect a somewhat rare pattern whose pieces are all over a century old (Alvin’s Chippendale Old), and the scarcity of any pieces whatsoever is made worse by the fact that 80% of the pieces are monogrammed with boring, unattractive initials (Gothic Bs must have been really big in the 20s). As a collector, monograms are a nightmare for me.

    I am a youngish single woman, with a gay brother and a married sister with two small children–my family name will die out with me, and my sister’s children’s descendants probably won’t have a sentimental attachment to a great-great-aunt they never met.

    • Well, Laura that just means you need to enjoy, use it often and love it to pieces. It’s enough that you love it! 🙂 For what it’s worth, I always feel a kind of sentimental feeling for the previous owners of anything antique or old that I may buy. Even though I never knew them, I feel a bond with them, an appreciation that they loved that same piece (or in this case, sterling flatware) enough to take care of it so I can now enjoy it, too. That probably sounds sappy…but it’s how I feel.
      I know what you mean about the monograms. I would like to eventually collect a single piece from all the sterling patterns I love and I’d like for many of them to be monogrammed with the really beautiful script monograms. But I’m finding those hard to find, mostly I find the ugly, block-looking monograms. It does take a lot of searching! You may want to contact some of the folks that sell silver fulltime and let them know what you are looking for. Maybe they can contact you when they find the non-monogrammed Alvin Chippendale Old pieces. Good for you for starting now while you’re young!

  97. Thank you so much for posting these lovely pictures of your King Richard sterling. It was my mother’s pattern, which was sadly lost (long story), so anytime I see it, I think of her and all the special meals where we got out the “good china and silver.” I don’t normally have my silver engraved, but I have recently started collecting certain patterns and unusual pieces of sterling. I prefer no monograms, but will not hesitate to add pieces that have initials matching my last name or that of a name somewhere in the family tree. If the piece is rather old or rare, the beautiful ornate engravings often add to the beauty and history of the piece. If you love a piece, simply adopt it – instant ancestor! I am sure there must be a great-great grandparent or cousin many-times-removed on someone’s side of the family that had the same name or initials. If not, I won’t tell! Too many lovely pieces are being melted down just for the silver content, and I feel like we should rescue as many as we can afford.

    • Holly, I so agree, makes me sad when I see it being melted down and sold on eBay and places like that. So sorry your Mom’s was lost. I would love to collect a few pieces from some of the many patterns I love. I’ve always dreamed of putting together a table with mixed patterns…think that would be so lovely. Another thing I would love to do is to collect a dozen silver teaspoons in all different patterns, then use them for dinner parties when serving coffee with dessert. I think they would be beautiful displayed gathered together with their handles all visible, perhaps protruding out of an antique silver container or creamer. That would be a fun way to enjoy other patterns I love without needing/having to buy full place settings. I do love the pieces with monograms, especially the script monograms and not the machine-monogrammed. The script monograms that were hand done are truly works of art and so rare to see these days. A silver shop in Atlanta told me that there’s only one or two men left in all of Atlanta that still hand engrave silver. So sad that it’s a dying art…so few people even attempt to collect silver flatware now.

  98. Gail Sutcliffe says

    I in fact own a 12 place setting of silverware with P on it. It is beautiful and antique – silver with mother of pearl handles. It was in an estate which went bankrupt during depression and my grandfather was head of the trust dept at Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh. He got it for my grandmother and I now have it. No matter, the initial – it is elegant and I have always loved it. Go for it!

  99. Linda Cappello says

    Do you have a reliable vendor who applies monograms on sterling?

  100. Hi
    I’m having (kind of) the same problem… except the opposite. I have a huge collection of Victorian Silverplate, and just to tell you, as a BUYER of antique silver, I absolutely ABHOR the thought of using someone else’s monogram. Call me an obsessive, but it actually REALLY bothers me. Like…. it
    It bothers me because of 2 reasons.. one, unfortunately most people truly do NOT understand that INVARIABLY the monogram reduces value. It’s so funny to watch these ebayers asking $40 for cake servers, but yet “FANNIE” is scrawled along the handle. I can honestly say the minute I see a letter peeking up off the handle, I think IMMEDIATELY “unless this is 25 cents (or less!!) I’d rather die than actually PAY someone money for it” … regardless of condition, rarity, pattern, etc. I think these days, BECAUSE of the rise in silver prices, everyone assumes their sterling is worth FAR more than they’ll ever receive for it. Still at the end of the day, unless it is already in block, or unmarked coin form, it doesn’t matter what purity it is because it’s still a “fork” or “spoon” etc.
    The second part of my anti-monogram tirade is quite simply, my name is NOT “fannie” “bob” “josie” or whatever else could be written on it. I do not want to have to offer the awkward explanation of “who S.V.A. was” …because chances are high the question WILL be posed. To ME, I will try at all costs to avoid someone else’s name, and at VERY least I will attempt to find an ancestor that I can MAYBE fabricate a tie to the piece with. I don’t LIKE doing that because in the end it IS still a lie, and then totally weird if I try to cover up the actual PURCHASING of said monogrammed item by assigning some bogus sentimental reason to it…. “ohh the ‘C’ was for my aunt CLARA from 1576, this teapot wasn’t HERS but I thought I’d honor her with it anyways”….
    BUT… I’ve been caught in a pickle myself! Ive been tricked! Not intentionally, but by my own lack of effort to acquire the information beforehand. I recently purchased an entire silverplate reed and barton tea set (I actually have 3 identical sets, and this makes the 4th) … however, the ebay seller ONLY detailed the engraving on ONE of the teapots. Well, as the auction bell rang and I went to check out, it dawned on me that none of the pictures showed the faces of the pieces individually, only the tops….. well, much to my dissapointment, the pieces turned out to ALL have the letter “C” monogrammed into their sides. It’s a BEAUTIFUL, and surprisingly rare set, so I am literally torn at the moment. I desperately hate the thought of actually USING or even KEEPING the monogram because I think it’s just SOOO beyond tacky to do it, and the letter C is one that literally was NEVER used in our family names (apparently going all the way back to the 1400s)… so I’m really really debating selling it. When you go to someone’s house, who you know very plainly to NOT have the letter C in their family names, but yet you see a tea set with C slathered on every piece, would you not question if it came from a thrift or junk shop? I certainly would! I’m so depressed! Keep? Or sell? Is it REALLY as tacky as I believe it to be?
    Ps- side note, I totally agree with the author, it’s sad that the days of flatware patterns and formal entertaining are coming to such an abrupt end. I am a 25 year old guy, and now that I have a table for 12, there’s nobody who even knows how to USE a knife and fork much less antique pieces at a formal dinner party!

    • I completely sympathize, Von…many of the thoughts you’ve voiced have definitely crossed my mind, as well. I think you’re probably going to want to sell the tea set. If it does bother you now, I’m sure it will continue to do so. eBay is pretty supportive of buyers. If you purchased it very recently, like in the last week or so, you may want to request a return from the seller due to not disclosing/showing photos of the monogram on all the pieces in the set.
      I have mixed feelings about the monograms. I prefer the sterling silver flatware that I use for family gatherings and dinner parties with friends not be monogrammed…or if it is, I’d prefer it be my last initial, which is an H. I would also want it hand-engraved, not machine engraved, which would cost a fortune to have done! I don’t think I’ll ever do it because it would be very expensive and I hate the idea of spending a fortune to have an engraved do something to my sterling flatware that actually lowers its value.
      I do love the idea of collecting the occasional gorgeous piece with someone else’s name/monogram just for the history and sentimentality of the piece. It would be fun to have a dozen teaspoons in a silver teapot, perhaps at a coffee bar/station…all monogrammed with someone’s name. I think guests would love choosing their favorite for the evening or just for dessert.
      Yes, you’re so right…the art of fine dining is fast becoming a lost art…so sad.

  101. Susan, long time follower here, but have never commented. I remember reading this post long ago, and wishing over the years that you would reprise it, elaborating somewhat and commenting on any changes in thoughts/ the market, etc. over time. That not being the case, I’ve decided to comment!

    Sadly, in the intervening years, I don’t think “formal entertaining” has returned at all but, in fact, has only fallen more out of favor. I do think that if it is to be valued at all, we have to “pass it on”, in the form of actively cultivating it in the younger generations, however we can. No children here, so it’s difficult, but I’ve made it part of my mission in life to do so to the extent that I can. However, it’s really part of a world view, and one that is directly oppositional to the contemporary world view of utilitarianism and practicality. We shall see which idea wins out in the long run…

    And after that long soliloquy, to the matter at hand: Engraving on silver flatware. You had mentioned earlier (in a comment, perhaps) that there is a difference between hand and machine engraving. I think it’s an important point, as hand engraving can be a piece of art, in and of itself. Machine engraving, not so much. So, there is that consideration when deciding upon monogrammed silver.

    However, an aspect often not discussed in the “to monogram or not” debate is something that I think quite important: Does the monogram enhance the design of the piece, or detract from it? What I mean by that is, even pieces that are made to feature a monogram -they have an empty cartouche or flat space designed for such, such as your King Richard- often times I think the engraving actually “competes” with the design.

    Example: A very plain setting, such as Gorham’s “Fairfax”, would seem to be an excellent choice for engraving, but what ornamentation/monogram could really add to the elegant and, obviously, well-thought-out design of the Fairfax pattern itself? I could possibly see an angular, stylized, monogram that would complement Fairfax’s fascinatingly simply but graceful lines, but would it actually ADD to it?

    I know these are weighty matters only to a very few of us, but I have a feeling quite a few of these are readers of your always-interesting blog. I end with a question: Have you made any more decisions about monogramming your beautiful King Richard?

    And: Any additional posts featuring that fabulous silver would be most welcome in this corner of the world.

    Kind regards,
    An avid reader.

    • Thanks, Amy! I should use it more often than I do in table setting, but most of the tables I normally create for Tablescape Thursday and for dining at home are casual settings. I did use it recently in this table setting:

      I can’t really speak to if a monogram enhances or detracts from other sterling patterns, but I do feel a beautiful hand-engraved H on my King Richard would only enhance it. King Richard isn’t that terribly ornate, so I feel it looks a bit empty with that large blank spot just begging for a monogram.

      A few years ago I looked into having it hand-engraved and the cost per piece was INSANE! I called Beverly Bremer in Atlanta which is a highly-respected seller of all things sterling in this area and they said they only knew of one guy who still did that type work, and they weren’t sure if he could or would do it. I don’t remember why now, if it’s because he was retiring or what the reason was that he might not be available to do it. Anyway, she told me the typical price per piece and it was REALLY, REALLY high. Maybe he normally just does special pieces, like a bowl presented as a wedding gift of something. Then it would probably be worth the expense. I don’t remember the amount she quoted me but it was way, way, way more than I would ever want to spend to engrave my set of flatware. I haven’t checked with anyone else since I wasn’t really sure I wanted to do it anyway.

      Whenever you have flatware engraved, you better make darn sure your family wants to keep it and use it because once you have it engraved, you have just very much devalued the price of the silver. When I croak one day, if my son/dil wish to sell my silver, they would get much less for it if I’ve had it engraved than if I had not.

      I ever do decide to pursue the engraving, I will probably just have some of the larger serving pieces engraved, not every piece. That seems like a good compromise since I’m not devaluing the entire set (only a few pieces) AND it’s not as cost-prohibitive as having all of it engraved.

      Regarding formal entertaining, life is moving at a much faster pace than ever these days. In most families both the husband and wife work full-time so just getting a wholesome, healthy dinner on the table each evening is a feat to be celebrated. When couples do get together for dinner, I think it’s more for cookouts or a football game on the TV.

      So, as you said, I don’t see formal dining making a big comeback, but really one doesn’t need to have a formal dinner to use sterling flatware. I would love to see folks use it as their every day, but washed by hand since I don’t like the idea of putting it in a dishwasher. Again, washing flatware by hand doesn’t work so well with the super busy family schedules of today. I have two grandsons, would be interesting to see if either grows up with a love for formal entertaining.

  102. If you plan on keeping it in the family, monogramming would be awesome! My Grandmother, born in 1895 had BEAUTIFULLY monogrammed silver and I wish it was passed to me. But, it only made sense that it be passed down to the oldest grandson with the same initial. Sadly, my cousins wife doesn’t cook and I doubt my Grandmothers silver will ever see the light of day again. So, unless you are planning on selling it, I vote to monogram!

  103. I’m a seller on Ebay, and I sell sterling flatware. Personally I don’t care if a piece is monogrammed for my own use. But for resale I do, and I actually remove many of them myself. I will pass on an item if the monogram is too difficult to remove. For example your Towle set has the monogram on the front, and there’s a small margin for error when removing them. The average monogram takes a solid 45 minutes to remove. It’s rare when I can completely remove them and there’s almost always a telltale sign where the engraving machine first touches the piece.

    That said, monogramming was important in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. It often helps with dating a piece. It was also used as a security measure so that “the staff” didn’t run off with the valuables in the house.

    At the end of the day, I would advise not to monogram. Many younger generations don’t appreciate sterling flatware and or they think it’s for special occasions only. Most of the time they end up selling it which is really sad.

    I use it everyday and when I’m entertaining and I’m always surprised when guests comment positively. Happily many of those same people end up buying sets for their own use. It’s essentially an investment that you can get a subtle daily pleasure from. All my sterling goes in the dishwasher. That shocks some people, but I have to remind them that most of it is over 100 years old – it’s very sturdy stuff. Trust me… I know that from monogram removal!

    • Thanks for this perspective, Maxine! I utimately decided to not monogram mine because it’s painful to think of doing that and decreasing its value, even though I have no intentions to ever sell it. It will eventually go to my son and then down to his sons one day. I should be using it daily but I am terrified of putting it in my dishwasher. I do so love the patina that silver flatware gets when used every day. It’s crazy not to use it and enjoy it every day!

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