Assessing the Value of your Preowned Silver Jewelry

June 27th, 2024

Silvers Buyers Tips: How to Find Out the Value of My Sterling Silver Flatware and Hollowware


Do you have several hand-me-down silver flatware and hollowware that take up so much space? Keeping them in good condition can take time and effort. You can consider selling them to silver buyers—they could be worth more than you think. 

If you are looking to sell your silver, you should know how to tell how much your pieces are worth. This article will investigate whether your sterling silver flatware and hollowware are worth the price you expect. We will look into the factors that affect their value. So, let’s get started. 

Understanding Silver

If you have silver ornaments, cutlery, or hollowware at home, you may want to know if they are sterling silver pieces. In the United States, sterling silver, an alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% another metal, was dominant during the early 19th and 20th centuries. 

Fine silver is 99.9% pure silver. While fine silver is the most valuable type of silver, it is less common than sterling silver because it can be too soft.  Sterling silver is commonly used for silverware sets and jewelry due to its tarnish-resistant properties. 

Before you sell your silver, make sure you have sterling silver, not silver-plated pieces. Silver-plated items typically are darker in color and lighter in weight. They have base metals of another material (not silver) and are simply coated with a thin layer of silver. 

Do You Have Sterling Silver? 

There are several ways to determine the purity of your sterling silver pieces. 

  • Smell 

Sterling silver does not have a strong metallic scent. So, if your silverware smells like brass, iron, or copper, it is unlikely to be sterling silver. 

  • Use a Cloth 

Genuine sterling silver oxidizes when exposed to air, causing a layer of tarnish. Rub your tarnished items with a white cloth. Tarnished sterling silver will leave gray and black marks on the cloth. With a bit of polishing, your pieces will regain their shiny finish. 

Silver-plated items will dull over time, and rubbing them will not improve their appearance. Instead, the silvery finish has likely worn away, revealing their metal base. 

  • Use a Magnet

Silver does not attract magnets. Hold a powerful or earth magnet near your tea set, and if the pieces are not attracted to the magnet, you will likely have a sterling silver tea set. If the items stick to the strong magnet, they are silver-plated items, and the magnet attracts the base metal. 

  • Look for Hallmarks

Authentic sterling silver pieces will have one or more hallmarks or silver marks to show their purity,  manufacturing date,  and sometimes the maker. Hallmarks are a surefire way of determining if your items are sterling silver. 

  • Purity marks. "925" or "Sterling" means sterling silver, which is 92.5% pure silver; "999" indicates fine silver, which is 99.9% pure silver; and "Coin Silver" signifies an older standard used in the U.S., typically around 90% pure silver. Any lower-number marks mean they are not sterling silver by US standards. 
  • Some American silversmiths or silver companies may stamp their initials or symbols onto their products.
  • Company Marks: Some silver companies may stamp their logos or names onto their products.
  • Some manufacturers may include date marks to indicate when the item was made, although this is less common in the U.S. than in other countries.

The absence of hallmarks does not necessarily mean they are not sterling silver. Older silver pieces may have been molded before hallmarks were implemented or accepted. 

Used David Yurman earrings for silver buyer
Learn to sell your silver online with this pre-owned David Yurman Renaissance onyx earrings in sterling silver

Determining the Value of Your Silver 

Sterling silver flatware refers to forks, knives, and spoons used for eating or serving food. Sterling silver hollowware includes larger, three-dimensional items for serving food or drink, such as pitchers, trays, bowls, and tea sets. These items typically have a hollow interior.

Here is how you can determine the value of sterling silver flatware and hollowware. 

  • Purity of the Silver

Ensure your silverware is sterling silver, as the value can vary for silver-plated or lower-purity items.

  • Completeness of Sets

sterling silver buyer typically offers a higher offer for complete sets than individual pieces. However, individual pieces that are harder to find, such as Demitasse spoons, carving knives, and forks, can also fetch higher prices.

You know you have a set of silverware when all pieces have the same engravings or marks. Pieces with different markings may be odd pieces accumulated over the years and belong to a different set. 

Maker’s Mark

Sterling silver pieces produced by prestigious manufacturers or renowned silversmiths have higher value due to their quality, reputation, and craftsmanship. Maker's marks or hallmarks indicating the manufacturer or silversmith can significantly affect the value.

Condition

The condition of the flatware or hollowware plays a crucial role in determining its value. Pieces in excellent condition, with negligible wear, scratches, or damage, typically command higher prices. Pieces with minimal dents, corrosion pitting causing tiny holes in the metal, and loss of polish will also hold a higher value.

  • Pattern

Elaborate or intricate designs and rare or unusual patterns can increase the value of sterling silver flatware and hollowware. Patterns that are highly sought after by collectors may fetch higher prices.

  • Rarity and Age

Antique or vintage sterling silver flatware and hollowware pieces are often more valuable due to their age, craftsmanship, and historical significance. 

  • Provenance

Sterling silver flatware or hollowware with a notable provenance, such as ownership by a famous individual or association with a significant historical event, may have increased value.

  • Market Demand

Market demand and trends within the antique and collectibles market can impact the value of sterling silver flatware and hollowware.

Sell Us Your Jewelry.com – The Top Silver Buyer

At SellUsYourJewelry.com, we pride ourselves on being the top sterling silver buyer in the United States since 1980. We are the best place to sell your silver flatware, complete tea sets, hollowware, and silver bullion coins because we have the expertise and vast experience to assess the authenticity of your sterling silver pieces and offer top dollar for them. 

We have an easy and quick selling process to ensure a good selling experience. Your sterling silver flatware and hollowware are in good hands with Sell Us Your Jewelry.com, whether you want to sell them outright, consign them, or trade them in. 

You can sell your silver online or visit us at 9595 Harding Ave., Surfside (Miami Beach), Florida 33154. You can also sell your silver for cash, on consignment, or trade-in. 

See Us Last! We offer the highest possible price for your sterling silver pieces! Get started now! 

Popular Sterling Silver Brands We Buy

We buy flatware, tableware, and hollowware from these world-renowned American silversmiths. 

  • Georg Jensen. Acorn, Blossom, Cactus, Acanthus, Bernadotte, Pyramid, and Scroll designs. 
  • Tiffany & Co. Faneuil, English King, Chrysanthemum, Bamboo, Audubon, and Wave Edge designs. 
  • Reed & Barton. Francis I, Burgundy, Spanish Baroque, Tara, Savannah, King Francis, and Bristol designs. 
  • Gorham. Chantilly, Strasbourg, Buttercup, Melrose, Versailles, Old English Tipt, and Celeste designs. 
  • Whiting-Gorham. Louis XV, Imperial Chrysanthemum, Japanese, Heraldic, Arabesque, Madame Jumel, and Violet designs. 
  • Dominick & Haff. Labors of Cupid, No. 10, King Edward, Renaissance, Queens, New King, and Mazarin designs.  

We are also interested in sterling silver pieces from other countries: 

  • Buccellati (Italy). 
  • Christofle, Puiforcat, and Cartier (France)

and more 

Sell Us Your Jewelry.com is the best of all silver buyers in the United States. Contact us today! 

 

 

Claudine Faifer: Estate Jewelry & Sterling Silver Specialist

Meet Claudine Faifer: Estate Jewelry & Sterling Silver Specialist

Meet Claudine Faifer an estate jewelry, watch and sterling silver specialist with a professional career spanning over 50 years, including an impressive 30 years career at Gray and Sons Jewelers, the premier destination for selling, buying, repairing and consigning luxury watches and estate jewelry… Discover the Expertise of Claudine Faifer in Estate Jewelry

 

 

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