1. I recently inherited some pewter and I don't know anything about it. I'm not even sure it is antique pewter. Can you help?

A. Generally, pewter made in the 19th century or earlier is considered antique pewter. If your pewter is stamped with the word, Pewter" or the country of origin, or with the name of the manufacturer, such as, "Woodbury Pewter," it was probably made in the 20th century and is not antique. If you believe it to be antique, you can learn something about it by exploring our web site which will provide some introductory information, especially on American pewter. The bibliography page lists a number of pewter reference books, some of them available at your library or via inter-library loan. After you have read a book or two, if you want to learn more, we suggest that you join the PCCA. You will learn much by reading its publications but much more by attending its regional and national meetings where you will meet knowledgeable collectors and dealers.

2. I'm not sure that I want to become a serious collector, but I would like to know more about the pewter I inherited. Does the PCCA do appraisals?

A. The PCCA does not do appraisals although there are a number of our members who do. However, because we do not endorse any one appraiser over another, we do not publish a list of appraisers. Should you decide to find an appraiser on your own, we suggest that you seek out a reputable dealer who specializes in antique pewter. Many such dealers also do appraisals.

3. Suppose after I obtain an appraisal I decide to sell my pewter. Can the PCCA provide a list of collectors or dealers who might want to buy my pewter?

A. Although there are a number of PCCA members who might be interested in buying your pewter, we do not publish a list of buyers for the same reason we do not publish a list of appraisers. Should you join the PCCA, however, other members will be happy to recommend both appraisers and dealers.

4. Can I sell my pewter via an auction house?

A. Certainly, however the PCCA does not publish a list of auction houses. Before you decide on the method to sell your pewter, we suggest you explore each alternative carefully; there are both pros and cons associated with each choice.

5. What's the best way to clean and polish pewter?

A. Any brand of all-purpose metal polish (don't use silver polish) will do a reasonably good job. However, if your pewter has been neglected for many years, you may find that metal polish will not remove the black or dark gray oxide that will develop. In such cases only strong chemicals will remove the oxide. This is not a procedure that an inexperienced collector should attempt. Also, because many collectors of English and European pewter prefer not to polish their pewter, removal of oxide or highly polishing the piece may affect its value.

6. Some of my pewter has been damaged. Can you recommend anyone who can repair it?

A. Again, the PCCA does not publish a list of repairers or conservators. We suggest that you seek out a reputable pewter dealer and ask his advice regarding repairs. Because repair work is expensive, if done professionally, you may find the repair will cost more than the piece is worth.

7. It sounds as though there is a lot to learn about collecting pewter.

A. There is, but that is what makes it interesting and fun. If you decide to pursue it, we hope you will join the PCCA. However, even if you don't, we know you will enjoy collecting and learning about pewter.