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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tray Cheek!

Some things come into your life totally by accident.
(No jokes about children, now . . . behave yourselves.)

A couple of weekends ago, Howard and I were in the tiny courtyard
of a city row house, politely haggling over the price of an old
wrought iron table and chairs, when, from the corner of my eye,
I spotted some very alluring curves.
They belonged to this:
An enormous tray.  Painted white.

All these pictures were taken after an initial cleaning; the tray was black with dirt when found.
I didn't want to frighten anyone with the serious schmutz that was on this tray.
This is after some hard scrubbing.
It was being used as the lid for an outdoor recycling bin, and was beyond filthy.
I lifted a corner, and felt its heft.  Which is considerable.
It's huge, has gorgeous lines, and I thought, "Hey, let's make a deal."
You have to be a little cheeky that way, to get the best bargains.
So, we did.  Make a deal.
We agreed to a price for the table and chairs,
and in return we also got the big tray.  Smiles all around.

I figured it was silverplate under the paint.  Yup.
 I found three marks on the bottom.
I don't know how to use the Macro setting on Howard's camera yet, so this is the best I could do:
 Time to Google.
Research always pays off.  The Internet is my friend.
This mark, below, means it was made by the Barbour Silver Company, in Connecticut,
and the E.P. in B.S.C.E.P. probably means "electroplated."
In 1898 Barbour was bought by International Silver, and that was added to its mark.
So . . . this fellow is quite the old gent.  At least 113 years old.  Wow.
The tray's underside was not painted.

It's had a long, busy working career; look at the wear on the feets.
I wonder how it felt about being out in the weather, keeping alley cats out of empty recycled soup cans?
It is so big that I can't fit it into my gargantuan kitchen sink.
When I started cleaning it, some paint peeled off,
and I understood why someone had painted it in the first place.
Whoa.  Technicolor tarnish and wear.

So what would you do with this tray?
Obviously it needs more cleaning.  But after that . . .
Strip the paint off, and probably find that most of the silver plating is worn off, topside?
Or give it a good sanding, and simply repaint it?

He is crazy heavy, but ain't he a beaut?
My tray cheek netted us something tres chic, I think.
Oh.  That's so corny it hurts.  -- Cass

Look!  A monogram! I spy a K on the right,
but can't decipher the other two.

A Link Party
Kathleen at Faded Charm hosts White Wednesday.
If you are a fan of white -- and who is not? -- then please visit!


  1. Keep going, who knows what else you'll find hidden under the plate. Do you have a window seat? Would look good there. May look good rustic, or replated ($$$), or painted. Either way it's quite a find. Good eye!

  2. I agree with Dotsie - keep going!

  3. I love monogram on it

    I would clean it up as good as can and use it on top of a small table ot ottoman .Put a lace piece on it or stack a couple book on the bad part or a china saucer

    or you can send it to me ?

  4. looks like JMK but i am unsure of the first letter but the middle is definatly an m followed by the k

  5. Absolutely keep at it! If it doesn't turn out well, you can still repaint it1 It is a great find, either way.

  6. I like it a lot, looks quite heavy! I agree with Dot...keep at it!!


  7. Oh I LOVE that!! I found a nice heavy silver plated platter (with HANDLES!) at Goodwill. $3. Yup - I felt like I got the deal of the century. But it's nothing like that one - Gorgeous!! I'd say strip it and if it doesn't work - paint it again :)

  8. I agree with Mary.. it looks like JMK.. what a great find! I just love old trays! Hugs!

  9. What a great find! Instead of scrubbing, try some paint stripper.

  10. I am pretty sure there are TWO D's mixed in with that K which means I should probably take that crummy old tray OFF your hands!;>) Gotta love a piece like that. I'd say try stripper and see what happens with it...then decide to polish or paint! Kinda like I do with my face in the morning- xo Diana

  11. Cass -- that's a beauty! Love it! And what a find! I especially like things monogramed -- even if they aren't ours!

  12. I bet it is really happy to be rescued by you! Can't wait to see how it turns out.

  13. I have a few pieces of international silver ..I polish it up for the holidays. Smiles, Susie

  14. Great find, Cass! The first letter is a G (my dad always made his like this), the last is a K.

  15. I vote JMK on the initials. I LOVE it and think you should keep at it. The line are gorgeous and even if you end up repainting (re-plating is going to be $$$$$) it will be a beautiful accessory for your old house! LOVE it!!!

  16. I vote for JMK also. I do a lot of monograming, so I see letters like this all the time.
    Beautiful tray!

  17. I would probably get it replated -- if it would be used a lot for entertaining. If you are going to decorate with it, maybe clean and repaint. I have been watching estate sales for quite a while for a large one with handles, but so far have not found one to my liking.

    I could see this one sitting on a stand of some sort, holding bottles.


  18. Cass..I loved your story..what a good find.... the first letter looks like G to me...GMK that's my guess....I look at monogram letters for embroidery all the time...... pretty tray..I know you will enjoy it

  19. Cass - take me with you on your next treasure junket!
    Whatever you do with this tray, you've got a treasure.

  20. This piece is definitely a diamond in the rough. A real treasure. I would definitely clean it up. Maybe repaint it or spray paint it in silver? Whatever you do, I'm sure it is going to look absolutely beautiful!

  21. You could have it replated? I think the monogram is either IMK or JMK. I wonder what it was used for originally?


  22. ♥♥ your old tray, Cass! It will be great whether you need to re-paint it or it still has a salvageable finish. It would cost you an arm and a leg to re-plate, so I'd go w/the flow and do what you can w/it. Happy Turkey Day- you look very well-prepared. ~ gobble, gobble~


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