Alpaca - also seen as Alpaka, Nickle Silver, German Silver.  Possibly abbreviated ALP.  Not really silver, this is an alloy, usually of copper, nickle, zinc and/or tin.  May contain a small amount of silver (about 2 percent).  Can be used as a base metal for silverplating.  May also be used as a silver look-alike without being plated.

'Footed salt' style - I'm using this term to denote ships that are on some type of base, usually holding the actual ship part up off the surface upon which it sits (not counting the small rim at the base of many viking ship salts).  This is accomplished in several ways, including small posts (usually 4); supports that are designed to look like feet; a base designed to look like waves; or one or two crossbars attached to the ship (ships with crossbars often have supports curving out and down from the lower part of the front and back of the ship, also).

H&J - The book 5,000 Open Salts A Collector's Guide by William Heacock and Patricia Johnson.  Original copyright 1982, reprinted 1995 (and possibly 1998).  Although this book contains only 16 different viking ship style salt cellars, it's still a good reference.  The prices and availability information (1996-97 Rarity and Price Guide) are a bit outdated, however, since it seems that the internet and online auction sites such as eBay have changed collecting a great deal. One drawback of H&J is sometimes indistinct pictures, and lack of detailed information, especially on makers marks.  Update: I have learned that there is an updated 2002-03 Rarity and Price Guide, but I do not have it yet, so I don't know how much (if any) the listed values for any of the viking ship salts have changed.

HÅNDSTØPT - handcast (in Norwegian).

Master salt - a large salt cellar (or larger version of a small salt cellar).  Intended to serve either as the salt cellar for the entire table, or as the main salt container, from which smaller, individual salts were filled.

NORGE - Norway (in Norwegian, Danish and Swedish).

Plique à Jour - a technique of creating an object with open spaces (using filigree or piercing the metal), then repeatedly filling the spaces with special enamels and firing.  The enamels are translucent, allowing light to shine through, creating a beautiful 'stained glass' effect.

Prow or Bow - the front of a ship, and Stern - the rear of a ship.  Some viking ship salts have a different prow and stern to the design, and in others, the prow and stern are identical.

Silver - this isn't as easy as it sounds.  There are several grades and types of 'silver'.

  • Sterling silver - an alloy (mixture) of pure silver and one or more other metals.  This is done because pure silver is too soft to be durable.  The common standard for sterling silver is 925 parts per thousand of silver, and the remainder of copper and/or other metals.  Items of sterling silver are commonly marked "925S".  They may also be marked "STERLING", either instead of, or in addition to, the "925S" mark.  Both "925S" and "STERLING" have been seen on Viking ship salts.
  • Britannia Standard - a silver alloy of a higher percentage of silver than Sterling, Britannia is 958 parts per thousand of silver.  Mainly used in England from 1697 to 1720, but still may be in use by some.  I believe the mark would be "958S" or "Britannia", but I do not have a photo of this mark yet, nor have I seen it on a viking ship yet.
  • Coin silver - the term for alloys with a content of 900 parts per thousand of silver.  I believe the mark would be "900S", but I do not have a photo of this mark yet, nor have I seen it on a viking ship yet (another source states that "830S" is called coin silver in the US).
  • Other silver content marks denote even smaller percentages of silver content in the alloy.  "850S, "830S", "830" and "800" have been seen on Viking ship salts.
  • German Silver, Nickle Silver - Not true silver at all, even partly (unless it's been silverplated or contains a tiny percentage).  See "Alpaka", above.
  • Silverplate - a base metal or metal alloy electroplated with a thin layer of silver.  Silverplated pieces can sometimes be detected by seeing places where the plating has worn off, showing a different colored base metal underneath.  May be marked "EPNS" for electro-plated nickel silver.  I have not seen "EPNS" on a viking ship yet (although there are silverplated viking ships).
Starboard and Port - the right and left sides of a ship, respectively.  If you were inside the ship, facing the bow (front), then starboard would be to your right, and port would be to your left.

Sverige - Sweden (in Norwegian, Danish and Swedish).

TPB - a marking on items made by a company that may have once been in existence in Bergen, Norway.  Still searching for more information.

TINN - Pewter.

Unidirectional and Bidirectional - these are my own terms, referring to the shield placement on the viking salts.

  • Unidirectional is when the shields overlap in the same way they would on a 'real' viking ship, with the shield closest to the prow of the ship on each side showing fully, and all the other shields tucked in behind it, one by one.  In other words, if you were to look at the ship from the front, on both sides the shields would be overlapping away from you (like the scales on a snake).
  • Bidirectional is when the shields overlap without regard to the ship having a definite prow and stern.  In other words, if you were to look at the ship from either end, one side would have the shields overlapping away from you, and the other side would have the shields overlapping towards you.

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