Silver Antique Irish by Travis Neighbor Ward

Irish Luster: Antique silver from the Emerald Isle is coming into its own. A guide to the market. 

By Travis Neighbor Ward

Published in Departures magazine.


When it comes to antique European silver, the majority of collectors agree: Buy English. “It’s not that they think it’s inherently better,” says Bard Langstaff of New York City-based Shrubsole, one of the top silver dealers in the United States. “There’s just more English silver to be had.”

But there’s an admittedly small group of collectors and dealers (perhaps 30 to 50 worldwide, including Langstaff) who believe that there’s an equally desirable species of silver worth grabbing now, while it’s still available: that made in 18th-century Ireland.

“It’s reckoned that for every piece of eighteenth-century Irish silver out there today there are one hundred fifty English pieces from the same period,” says Jimmy Weldon, owner of the J.W. Weldon antique silver shop in Dublin, one of the two top silver dealers in that city. “That’s not to say you can’t find it. You can; it’s just getting more difficult.” Langstaff agrees: “There are fewer pieces of Irish silver than English silver, and fewer collectors of it. That makes collecting it more exciting.”…

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