Silverware sets are one of those things that tend to get passed down for generations within a family. In many instances, families may own silverware and flatware that is over 100 years old. While baby boomers and members of older generations often kept silverware sets as a family heirloom, people of younger generations are less interested in keeping them. Large sets of silverware and flatware take up space and require polishing if they have become tarnished over the years.
Fortunately, flatware and sterling silverware sets can be worth a good amount of money, making it worth your time to sell your unwanted silverware. Gold and silver buyers like PGS Gold & Coin offer top dollar for sterling silver flatware, hollowware, tea sets and candlesticks. The price of a silverware set can vary widely due to a number of factors including age, weight, manufacturer, design, and the current market price for silver. If you have decided to sell a sterling silverware set that you no longer want, the following tips will help you prepare your flatware for the sale and get top dollar for your items.
Decide If You’re Ready To Sell
As with anything else you want to sell, you must decide definitively that you are ready to sell your sterling flatware set. Since these items are often passed down as a family heirlooms, the decision to part with the set can be difficult. You must decide for sure that you would rather sell the set than pass them down to another generation in your family.
Determining If Your Silverware Is Sterling or Silver Plated
The pieces of a silverware set are either made from real sterling silver, or they are made with a different metal and plated with silver. It is important to figure out whether your flatware is sterling silver or plated silver before trying to sell it. The easiest way to determine this is to look at the markings from the manufacturer on the individual pieces. Pieces that are silver plated are typically marked with phrases such as “silver plate,” “plated,” “EP” for electroplated, or “EPNS” for electroplated nickel silver. If there is no marking on the silverware, the pieces are most likely silver plated.
Sterling silver flatware is virtually always marked as such. American made sterling flatware is typically marked with the word “sterling” or the shortened “ster.” Silverware made in other countries is often marked with the number 925 which refers to the 92.5% concentration of silver in sterling silver objects. Some flatware may also be marked with the word “coin” which means that the pieces are made from melted coins. Flatware marked “coin” is usually about 90 percent silver.
If your flatware set is silver plated, it is best to keep it and use it. Silver plated flatware has very little resale value because it is expensive to remove the silver plating. If you determine that your set is sterling silver flatware, then you must dig a little deeper to get a better idea of the set’s true value.
Finding the Value of Your Sterling Silver Flatware
Just because your flatware is sterling silver does not mean it is worth a lot of money. There are other factors to take into account when trying to gauge the value of your sterling flatware:
- Condition: The condition of the pieces has an impact on the value of the set. It is common for silverware to have small scratches and dings, but any further damage can cause a serious loss in value. Do not worry if your silverware is tarnished, this can be fixed with polish. However, it is better not to try and polish the silverware yourself because you could ruin the factory finish.
- Market Price of Silver: The price of any silver objects is always going to be tied to the market price of silver. Check the current market price of silver before you sell your silverware to get an idea of the current silver price. Weighing your silverware and converting the weight into troy ounces will give you a better idea of its value.
- Patterns & Designs: The patterns on pieces of flatware can add to the value substantially if they are old or rare. Resources like http://silverpattern.com can help you determine the style and age of the pattern.
- Monograms: You should check the flatware pieces to see if they include any monograms or custom markings. Monograms can actually lower the value of your flatware set.
- Individual Pieces: If you do not have the complete flatware set, you can still make money selling the individual pieces. Common pieces like forks, spoons, and knives are worth less than hard to find pieces such as cocktail forks, carving forks and knives, barware, demitasse spoons, and other pieces.
- Complete Set vs. Individual Pieces: If you have a complete sterling flatware set that includes serving pieces, you can get a higher price selling the entire set than by selling the individual pieces.
Compare Prices of Similar Silverware Sets
If you would still like a better idea of the value of your silverware after considering the above factors, you can look online for silverware sets that are similar to yours. Check several different websites, not just eBay, and compare the prices to get an average. This process will give you a good idea of the value of your silverware set before you try to sell them or have them appraised by a professional.
Visit a Sterling Silver Flatware Buyer
When you are ready to get an appraisal for your flatware, bring your set to a trusted sterling silver flatware buyer like PGS Gold & Coin. Our precious metals specialists will weigh and evaluate your silverware and immediately offer you a fair price based on the condition of the set and the market price of silver. We are ready to offer top dollar for sterling silver flatware sets as well as tea sets, holloware, candlesticks, and vintage or antique silver items.