Maybe you recently visited a garage sale and found a great deal on a set of silver flatware. Then again, perhaps you inherited the family silver from a grandmother or aunt. When it comes to silver flatware, how knowledgeable are you? Would you know an antique silver flatware set’s value if you needed to? There is a bit of investigation involved if you're trying to find out how valuable your silverware is. With any luck at all, the dollar amount could creep into the thousands. But not necessarily.
Though there are specific details involved, a completely valueless antique silver piece is uncommon.
So that you can more easily read markings and back stamps, the silver should be gently cleaned, first of all. As to a piece of silver’s worth, important clues can be deemed from silver hallmarks. Silverplate and sterling marks reveal important aspects regarding value. You’ll likely encounter one of the following:
A trained specialist can “acid test” a small inconspicuous area on your silver piece if you are convinced it's extremely old, but it has no mark.
There is no inherent value where silver plating is concerned. No one's going to melt it down for its silver. You may treat it with love if it has sentimental value, however.
The current melt value for silver is carried by sterling silver pieces. Particularly popular with silver collectors are certain manufacturers and patterns. So valuable are some pieces that, beyond what the silver content would dictate, they are higher priced as an antique.
To find out whether or not the value of a silver piece goes beyond its silver content, you'll need to determine the pattern and manufacturer. Look for a manufacturer’s mark on the back of your silver. It will differ from the stamp. You may consider using a silver hallmarks online encyclopedia.
You'll need to find the pattern in addition to the manufacturer. You may be able to get help:
If an antique is valuable beyond simply its silver content, the condition could come into play. Look for the following (probably with a magnifying glass) after gently polishing the piece:
Any of these may devalue your piece somewhat.
At Wm. Roland Appraisers & Estate Advisors, we provide professional estate buying services which use fair market value for the evaluation and purchasing of items.
Contact us today if you’d like to find out more by phoning 212-425-0221.