COLLECTORS have many different ways of displaying their treasures.At this time of year, the Christmas tree is a favorite showcase for those who can't resist the dated silver, crystal and porcelain ornaments that are issued annually, many of them in limited editions.Other manufacturers were quick to get into the act, turning out annuals in every conceivable material from brass to acrylic.

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''The demands exceed the amounts we make,'' said Deborah Syah, the advertising marketing coordinator at Wallace Silversmiths in Wallingford, known for its Christmas bell in silverplate, dating to 1971, and its candy canes of pewter and enamel initiated last year.

Margaret Strayhorne of Stamford also collects, but ''in a very minor way,'' her interest having flagged since her friend, Clara Scroggins, moved to Houston three and a half years ago. Scroggins, author of ''Silver Christmas Ornaments: A Collector's Guide,'' published in 1980 by A. Barnes, is believed to have the most extensive collection in the country.

Taking their knowledge of crafting and innovation, Reed & Barton produced “in the metal” flatware and holloware, meaning that raw unplated pieces were sold to plating factories.

They maintained this practice until the discovery of the Comstock Lode in Virginia City, Nevada in 1859, making silver widely available in raw form in the US.

With their knowledge of creating raw metal goods and recent fame, they soon created and cast the first Reed & Barton sterling pattern, Flora, circa 1890.

A focus towards more sterling patterns in holloware and flatware such as Francis I led them to great success as an American sterling producer.The Taunton, Massachusetts, firm of Reed & Barton began in 1824 as Babbitt & Crossman, which produced a cousin of pewter known as Britannia, or Britannia ware.Now most famous as the base metal inside the Oscar statuette, Britannia soon gave way to pewter before pewter quickly moved aside for silverplate and, later, sterling silver, which is what the flatware and hollowware manufacturer Reed & Barton is best known for today.Its products include sterling silver and silverplate flatware.The company produced many varieties of britannia and silver products since Henry G. During the American Civil War, Reed & Barton produced a considerable quantity of weapons for Union Army soldiers and officers.In 1928, Reed & Barton merged with silversmith Dominick & Haff.