Who can resist the genteel allure of vintage flatware? Older designs provide an interesting look to a table setting and the antique knives and forks have a comfortable weight not always found in cheap modern stainless steel.
Not long ago, Anthropologie offered a collection of mismatched sets of old flatware, randomly selected so that no two sets are alike. Mismatched flatware adds a unique touch that I prefer to a full new set. And while Anthro offered their Rediscovered Flatware for $36.00 a place setting, it can be done for less.
With a bit of work - if you call shopping work - you can create your own original flatware collection. Comb flea markets, garage sales, and thrift shops like Good Will - a hit or miss proposition that can be a lot of fun and ultimately rewarding. It's like a treasure hunt. Silver plate also shows up a lot on ebay and etsy. It's not quite as cheap as if it's in the bin at the thrift shop, but you can find very attractive older pieces for about $3.00 each.
I found one piece of silver plate flatware that I researched and dated to the late 1800's. It cost me one dollar. I also found defunct restaurant silver plate flatware and some cute pieces from a country club that depicted crossed golf clubs.
While hunting through bins or plastic bags, look for blackened flatware. Stainless steel will look its natural color but silver tarnishes, turning black. It may look awful, but under all that tarnish, you can find beautiful silver plate. Chances are, you won't find sterling silver at the Good Will. But you never know!
Just bring out the shine with a little silver polish.
My flatware finds have cost as little as 10 cents each, on up to $1.00 - a real bargain for something that is sorta fabulous.