Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Simmons Radium Silver Butter Knives

A long time ago, I collected silver and silver-ish items. Then a few years ago, I sold all my silver. Or so I thought until the other day when I found a box with some cutlery that I'd completely forgotten about.

Inside this box, I have 4 butterknives marked Simmons Solid Radium Silver, but the thing is, I don't know what that means.

So I tried to do some research on the internet. From the Wikipedia Commons page, here is a photo of a miner pushing a car of silver radium ore 340 feet below ground. Eldorado Mine of Great Bear Lake in Canada.

File:A miner hauling a car of silver radium ore, 340 feet below the surface, Eldorado Mine of Great Bear Lake.jpg

From The Eldorado Silver Radium Express:
Eldorado Gold Mines Limited was incorporated in 1926 but with the doubtful value of its claims associated with its mine at Long Lake, Manitoba, and the discovery in 1930 of pitchblende (uranium oxide) at Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories, the company changed direction completely. The point of land where the discovery was made by the company's Managing Director, Gilbert A. LaBine (1890-1977), became known as Port Radium. The ore consisted of both uranium oxide and silver in significant amounts. At the time, the mining economies were driven by the world price of radium, which was extracted from uranium oxide and sold on the world market for US$ 50,000 per gram or, taking inflation into account, about US$ 500,000 today.

Some others on the internet think that the word "radium" implied a standard. And that items would be labelled with it, but not really contain any radium.

From IEM's question page, where another person inquired about radium silver and flatware:
We also know that the word "radium" was occasionally used as a descriptor for things that were bright or gleaming. The term was likely coined because the element radium was used to produce luminous paints that made objects gleam or glow in the dark.

I believe these knives were made sometime between 1920-1940. They're not at their best in these photos as I don't have any silver cleaner.

I'm interested in selling these knives, but I don't know if they're worth more than $1. If anyone has any ideas, I'd really appreciate the input!


mark kraemer said...

I have a sugar shell spoon labeled silver radium co chicago but haven't been able to find any other information on it can you help?

Anonymous said...

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