The discovery of silver plate came about as a result of a search for a cheaper alternative to solid silver. Its appearance widened the market for articles otherwise only fashioned in silver and made them accessible to different levels of society. The discovery and development of fused plate, more commonly known as Old Sheffield plate, played the major role from the 1750s to the mid-nineteenth century. This was followed in due course by the development of the mid-nineteenth century process, electroplating. There is written and detailed illustrated advice for the collector of items made in all these processes and in particular on distinguishing genuine pieces. Drawings and photographs of marks, where used, are provided. This popular and affordable collecting area has seen a surge of interest in recent years and prices have been very much on the increase.