Antique Sterling Salt and Pepper Shakers

Before matching salt-and-pepper shakers became popular in the late Victorian era, better households offered their guests salt cellars (or salts, as they were also known) and pepper casters at the dining table. The best examples of these objects were made out of sterling silver.

Salt cellars from the early part of the 18th century were round, rectangular, or octagonal in shape, usually with no feet. Later in the century, footed cellars with pierced sides were popular—a glass dish that fit within the cellar kept the salt from spilling out. In those days, guests did not typically “pass the salt.” Instead, salts were sold in sets, so that each guest might have his or her own, which was not a bad idea since salt was commonly applied to food with the fingers.

Casters were used for a number of spices, but they are most closely associated with pepper. So named because they allowed users to “cast” spices upon their food, casters had round bodies and domed tops, which were secured to the bodies with clasps. A variation on the caster was the pepper box, which accomplished the same thing as a caster but had squared-off sides and a handle.

By the 19th century, casters had won the design competition over cellars, as matching salt-and-pepper shakers that could be passed around the table from guest to guest became the dominant form. Some had ornately detailed feet and sides, with fussy finials at the top. Others were balanced on circular or square pedestals, and many antique sterling silver salt-and-pepper shakers were engraved with a family’s monogram.

Of particular interest to collectors are the novelty salt-and-pepper shakers from the Victorian era. British shakers in the form of dogs and bears are today very collectible. Also prized are the early 20th-century Art Nouveau shakers by Georg Jensen of Copenhagen and Liberty & Co. of London, which also produced silver shakers in the Arts and Crafts style.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Chicago Silver

Chicago Silver

Paul Somerson's incredible reference on handwrought metalwork from the American Arts and Crafts movement of the ear… [read review or visit site]

Silver Marks Encyclopedia

Silver Marks Encyclopedia

An extensive reference guide to silver marks, hallmarks, trademarks and maker's marks found on antique and vintage … [read review or visit site]

Silver at the Victoria and Albert

Silver at the Victoria and Albert

This is a great reference site on silver, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum. You can view silver items acc… [read review or visit site]

The Gilbert Collection

The Gilbert Collection

The late Sir Arthur Gilbert's collection of European silver, gold, enamel, and other items is now housed at the Vic… [read review or visit site]

Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj

Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj

“Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj” was the title of a 2008 exhibition at Columbia University’s Mi… [read review or visit site]

TheStieffCompany.com

TheStieffCompany.com

Scott Perkins is an enthusiastic evangelist for The Stieff Company, a significant Baltimore silversmith and maker o… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique Chinese Export Silver Open Salt Pot Wang Hing Shanghai Hong Kong Pair Great Norwegian Norway Sterling Silver Viking Ship Form Salt Cellar Bowls Superb 1939 Art Deco English Sterling Silver Open Salt Mustard Pot Condiment SetV.fine Set Of 4 Georg Jensen Denmark Acorn Sterling Silver Salt & Pepper Shakers4 Rare 1836 London Sterling Silver Floral Repousse Salt Cellar Bowls Charles FoxAmerican Brilliant Abp Cut Glass Salt & Pepper Shakers W Sterling Silver Tops NrSuperb Quality Edwardian Sterling Silver Novelty Pepper Goat's Head London 1908 German Sterling 800 Figural Salt Royal Coach No ReserveVintage Fine Sterling Silver .950 Salt And Pepper Shaker Set Sam Pans/jonquesAntique Chinese Silver Basket Salt Cellars Zeewo C1920 A/fSolid Silver Condiment Set Salt Pepper Mustard J.gloster S/s2 Antique Sterling Silver Relief Decorated Salt Or Sauce Dishes Dated 1897Vintage Silver Card Tray - Birm 1978 - 4oz - Pepper & Hope LtdVintage Weidlich Sterling Silver Open Salt And Pepper Set W/ Spoons Original BoxChinese Export Silver Salt Prunus Luen Hing Liner & Spoon Norway .925 S Sterling Silver Enamel Salt & Pepper Shaker 43.9gAntique Chinese Export Silver Open Salt Cellar Wanghing 1890Vintage Mid-century Sterling Silver Rickshaw Salt & Pepper-japan .950 Sterling Vintage Norway Sterling Silver Salt Pepper Set Cobalt Blue Enamel Crystal GlassVintage Fine Sterling Silver .950 Salt And Pepper Shakers Set Chinese TempleA Lovely Victorian Hand-embossed Solid Silver Salt With Bristol Blue Glass LinerReed And Barton Francis I Sterling Silver Master Salt Spoon! No Reserve!Pair Scottish Georgian Sterling Silver Salt Cellars Lion Heads Edinburgh 1820 Fine & Rare Japanese/european Solid Silver Salt-pepper Chick ShakersVintage Japanese 950 Sterling Silver Sampan Boat Salt & Pepper Shakers Pair 2pcHallmarked 800 Silver Owl Pepper PotStunning Lot 18 Sterling Flatware/ Salt Shakers-wallace Baroque Salt SpoonsLarge Art Nouveau 800 Silver Lidded Sauce / Jam / Salt Pot - Germany? - 7 3/4ozAntique Sterling Silver Pepper Pot By Saunders & Shepherd : 1901, BirminghamAntique Silver Pepper Pot 'trophy' Shape Hallmarked Birmingham 1901 (46.2g)Pair Of Beautiful English Sterling Silver Salt Cellars Pots 1904 Weigh 33 GrmsVintage Sterling Silver Salt Cellar Spoon Reed & Barton Francis 1 A Hand-embossed R. Hennel Victorian Solid Silver SaltAntique A.g Schultz Repousse Gold Over Sterling Silver Salt & Pepper ShakersVintage 950 Sterling Silver Japan Carriage Rickshaw Salt And Pepper ShakersLot Of Sterling Silver Salt Spoons - 5 Of Same DesignPretty Harris Victorian 1886 Hallmark Delightful Silver Urn Pepper Pot 41g Good Antique Indo Persian Kashmiri Islamic Silver Plated Salt Cellar C1890Vtg Hasselbring Sterling Silver & Turned Wood Pepper Mill Peugeot Freres GrinderAntique Chinese Export Silver Cup / Salt Cellar Archaistic Marks And 90 19th. C.4 Piece Sterling Silver & Crystal Open Salt Set W/ Presentation CaseSterling Silver .950 Sailboat Ship Salt And Pepper Shaker Set Antique Retro 29gVintage .950 Sterling Silver Salt And Pepper Shakers Ornate Asian Arch Way Antique Sterling Silver 800 Draped Garland Open Salt Cellar Basket W/ Insert$85 Nambe Kissing Silver Salt & Pepper Shaker Karim Rashid New In BoxAntique J. Gloster Ltd Sterling Silver Salt, Pepper & Sugar Service - E0932Vintage Norway Sterling Salt Spoon Shovel-style Bowl Enamel-accented Grip4 Matching 1801 Sterling Silver Salt Cellar Spoons By Chris & Thomas BarkerRare & Unusual Antique Okubo Sterling Silver Salt & Pepper Set #1! Nr!Vintage Frank M. Whiting Sterling & Art Glass Salt Cellar, Spoon, Lid4 Cartier Sterling Silver Salt Shakers Antique C1890 Victorian Anglo Indian Sterling Silver Pepper PotEarly Tiffany Newyork Sterling Silver Amethyst Glass Star Salt Cellars With Bag Beautiful Solid Silver Victorian Salt With Cobalt Blue Liner - London 1890Nut Candy Salt Bowl Antique Reed & Barton Francis I Solid Sterling Silver X569 Old Antique Edwardian Silver Plate Condiment Salt Pepper Mustard Pot Cruet 1905 Rare Antique Victor Silver Co. Figural Cherubs Salt + Pepper Carrier Salt Spoon ( Rabbit ) Sterling SilverInternational Sterling Salt/pepper Shakers2014 Australian 1 Oz Salt Water Crocodile Silver Round,.999 Silver