Checking Sterling?

An online friend contacted me about a trophy (urn) that he had
purchased. Stated it looked terrible when he bought it, but it
cleaned up real nice and looks like it is sterling. It
originated in Belgium, but does not have a sterling 92.5 stamp
anywhere he can find.

     I bought a trophy or urn at an auction that came from >  
Belgium. It really looked bad, but cleaned up beautiful, even
where a tag on the lid had turned it completely black. There
are no marks except a small mark around the base that looks
like a bear standing over something, a dancing bear comes to
mind.  The base is a hard plastic or bakelite.  It has a bird
on the lid, falcon, hawk, or maybe pigeon. 

He sent me a picture, but of course I cannot forward it to the
list. Anyway, the question: Can anyone tell him if there is a way
to tell if it actually is sterling, or plated. Thanks. jb

J. Byers

Just a thought . . . it may not be plated, nor sterling, it
could be nickel-silver (which doesn’t contain any silver at all,
but will polish up nicely.) I don’t have any other suggestion,
other than to say I hope he got what he paid for.

The gross method (sometimes used by antiques dealers) is to find
an inside edge and file a little groove in it with a small
triangular file, to see if there is copper at the bottom of the
groove. Can the bakelite base be removed? If so, there might
be a little groove already there, from a previous tester. Good

Judy Bjorkman