How much silver in a Reed & Barton sterling silver Atra?

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Pauldog
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How much silver in a Reed & Barton sterling silver Atra?

Post by Pauldog » Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:51 pm

I just bought an old Gillette Atra with a sterling silver handle made by Reed & Barton. Unfortunately, the head was loose, so it's not suitable for shaving.

I'm trying to figure out if it's worth keeping for the silver content. I pulled the head off and saw that there's something else in the core, but I don't know how thick the silver is. The handle without the head weighs about 33 grams, more than a troy ounce, but the silver content is less than that, because sterling means 92.5%. And then I'd need to deduct the unknown weight of the inner material.

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Re: How much silver in a Reed & Barton sterling silver Atra?

Post by ShadowsDad » Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:17 am

I doubt that it would be anything more than silver plated. Typically silver plate isn't very thick and not worth much due to the content. It would bother me to trash it, but sending it to a smelter wouldn't be cost effective. Maybe give it to a recycling center when you happen to be driving by?
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Re: How much silver in a Reed & Barton sterling silver Atra?

Post by Pauldog » Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:06 pm

Reed & Barton made two silver handles. One is silver plated, but the one I got is stamped "Sterling Silver Handle." All the silver colored metal in the handle is 92.5% silver. I'm just trying to figure out how much of the weight is the non-silver core and head.

I called Reed & Barton, and they told me they no longer had that kind of information after they were bought fairly recently by Lenox. Gillette didn't know, either, saying that Reed & Barton had made that razor. (I think the idea was that they had put a Gillette head on their own handle, and marketed it themselves.)

The paperwork I've seen in pictures doesn't mention the weight of the silver, but I may not have seen all the paperwork. I didn't get any with the razor.

With the current price of silver, my educated guess now is that the silver in this razor is worth about $10. Since I paid about $25, and it doesn't work as a razor, I arranged to return it.

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Re: How much silver in a Reed & Barton sterling silver Atra?

Post by Pauldog » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:43 pm

There seems to be a third one - sterling silver with gold plating. I just got unlucky again on eBay - the head is firmly attached to the handle, but this one is gold plated sterling silver, and the plating is very worn, with pits, scraped spots, dings, and dents.

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Re: How much silver in a Reed & Barton sterling silver Atra?

Post by Pauldog » Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:11 am

I just got a heavier silver Atra, one with a handle that took a little detective work to figure out.
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Re: How much silver in a Reed & Barton sterling silver Atra?

Post by Pauldog » Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:38 am

The date code on the head is H2, meaning 1987. On the handle, the lion means sterling silver, the crown means Sheffield, the "JB" means John Biggin (silversmith), and I'm pretty sure that style of "B" in a shield means 1944 at the latest. It's a little mysterious that the Atra was called the Contour in England, but the head says "Atra" on it. It doesn't look like a homemade job, though I suppose it could have been put together by a skilled hobbyist.

It's longer - and heavier - than the Reed & Barton - 60 grams rather than 48. But with enough filler in the handle, there might be well under an ounce of silver anyway.

There's just a tiny bit of play in the head.

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Re: How much silver in a Reed & Barton sterling silver Atra?

Post by CMur12 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 5:21 pm

Paul, I can't imagine what the 1944 would be for.

I think the Atra was sold as the Contour throughout Europe, and possibly elsewhere as well. I bought my Contour in Portugal, around 1980.

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Re: How much silver in a Reed & Barton sterling silver Atra?

Post by Pauldog » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:39 pm

The "B" means the handle was made in 1944.

I remember buying Contour razors from a seller in the UK many years ago. The Trac II was known as the GII in Europe. The Sensor kept the same name everywhere, until a cheaper Asian version became the Vector 3, different from the Atra-compatible Vector. Gillette loves clarity in its nomenclature, obviously!

So far, the situation is better with the Mach 3 and Fusion, though there's now also the Gillette 3 (Mach 3 compatible), Gillette 5 (Fusion compatible), and the Skinguard (twin-blade cartridge on a Fusion handle). So, not as much better as I thought when I started the previous sentence. :)

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