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Antique pewter collecting, like Gaul, is divided into three parts; in this case, American, English and Continental.American-made pewter, for which there is keen demand for well-marked pieces in good condition by a small group of ardent collectors, is simple in shape and ornamentation.Plates-, basins, bowls and platters of English pewter frequently have a molding-like edge that approaches the gadrooning found on silver, and some of the circular pieces have serrated rims.
Among these may be found the wine reservoir with faucet, designed to be hung on the wall, and other pieces that approach the architectural.
Graduated sets of beer and wine measures usually made in baluster shapes, somewhat like domed tankards, may be either English or Continental.
This holds for small pieces, such as snuff, tobacco or patch boxes and spectacle bases, with the probability that those with allover engraved decorations are Continental.
A theory is sometimes advanced that Continental pewter is of superior quality because of a percentage of silver.
This is just wishful thinking, for all pewter is an alloy of tin, copper and antimony, with some lead added when used to make trinkets.
The brightness of this pewter is probably due to years of good care and frequent polishing.
Buyers of English and Continental pewter are mostly collectors who want pieces for decorative effect, although a few have well-selected collections that are representative of the craftsmanship of some particular country.
American pewter,- with which most collectors in the United States are concerned, is divided into three periods.
They are the pre-Revolutionary, the middle period, and the Britannia or "coffeepot" era.