Salver is a word used to describe a flat plate – usually silver or silver plate – that's intended to be placed beneath other dishes. A salver often has feet, like the one pictured here, an English sterling silver salver made in London in 1739 and showing the maker's mark for Charles Hatfield. It's 13 ½ inches in diameter and weighs 40.71 troy silver ounces. The salver is being offered in Schwenke Auctioneers' annual Holiday Fine Estates Auction on Sunday, December 4th, in Woodbury, Conn., where it is estimated to change hands for a modest $800-$1,200.

In olden times, a salver was often used for carrying or serving glasses, cups or dishes at a table, or for the presenting of a letter or card by a servant. In a royal or noble household, the fear of poisoning led to the custom of tasting the food or drink before it was served to the master and his guests; this was known as the assay of meat and drink (in Spanish, salva). The verb salvar means to preserve from risk, from the Latin salvare, to save. Ceremonial salvers have been used as sporting trophies, most notably a sterling silver salver as the Ladies' Singles trophy at Wimbledon.