Is Vintage Sterling Silver Worth Anything?

Silver is often used in the making of jewelry, coinage, electronics, and photography. Due to the fact that it possesses the highest electrical conductivity of any metal, it is a highly valuable material. Antique or vintage silver items can be worth far more than their silver content would suggest since they are made of silver, a precious metal.

Additional value is determined by the quality of the object, the skill of the creator, and the marketability of the silver item being sold. As more and more antique silver objects are melted down for their scrap metal worth, the value of those left objects will climb.

The worth of sterling silver may be something you’re interested in learning about whether you have inherited an entire set or perhaps scored a wonderful deal at a yard sale. Genuine antique sterling silver is always valuable, but you need to know a few things about it. Properly clean the silver to make reading the hallmarks easier.

Silver hallmarks are critical in identifying antique sterling silver. These small imprinted symbols on the back or underneath can inform you about the purity of the silver, the manufacturer of the piece, and sometimes the date it was made, or price information. Hallmarks are generally applied with a hammer and a punch, and a government authority in some countries regulates marking.

Silver has two types:

Sterling Silver: is stamped with the word “Sterling” on the reverse side. It indicates the silver is either pure or .925 silver with a small amount of copper added (.075 percent). After 1850, all American-made sterling will have one of three marks:

  1.     Sterling
  2.     .925
  3.     925/1000

Unless the silver is really old, it will not be sterling unless it has one of these marks. The only way to know for sure whether or not your silver is real is to have it acid tested by an expert. This will reveal whether or not the item is made of pure silver.

Sterling silver is valuable for two reasons: one, it can be refined, retaining the current silver price, and two, the flatware and other items often keep their resale value and appeal. Sterling silver is also valuable as an antique, sometimes much exceeding the value of the silver content.

Silverplate: a base metal of copper or brass is coated with a micro-thin layer of silver to give the finished product the appearance of genuine silver. If the piece is light in weight compared to its size, it is likely plated.

How can you tell whether something is silver-plated instead of real silver? An item is likely silver-plated if you don’t see the sterling mark. In comparison to silverplate, genuine silver has a duller sheen and a cooler luster. If parts of the silver are flaking off or becoming green, the object is likely silverplated.

If hoping to make a lot of money on sterling silver, your family labored to keep it clean for 50 years. Given the amount of silver used in plating and the cost of refining and remelting the silver to recover its precious metal, recycling silver-plated flatware to extract its silver is not currently deemed cost-effective.

Determining the Silver’s Market Value

After properly cleaning your silver, you may start looking for backstamps and hallmarks on it. To get a general idea of worth, check to see if the silver is stamped sterling. However, a professional, such as those at Biltmore Loan and Jewelry, will be needed for a precise appraisal and evaluation.

Tiffany, Georg Jensen, Puiforcat, and Buccellati are some of the finest sterling silversmiths. The value of well-known designers like Gorham and Towle is based entirely on the pattern; if it’s monogrammed, the value drops even further.

Look for a lion stamp or the numbers 925, 900, or 800 on the bottom of your pieces if they are English or European; these percentage figures represent the amount of silver used by European manufacturers.

To confound or thrill dinner guests, numerous silverware pieces were embossed with intricate alphabets or symbols. Few of these types of silver-plating marks should be given any attention, such as EP, EPNS, International Silver, IS, Sheffield Silver Triple, or Quadruple plate. Only some genuinely antique and beautiful English silver items have value in the plate market.

Studying silver hallmarks is essential if you’re interested in antiques. Your silver items’ worth, age, silver content, and history may all be learned from them. To understand your treasure fully, you should learn how to decode the hints contained in these markings.

Dinnerware made of sterling silver

Wallace Grande Baroque Sterling Service for 12

Wallace 1941 Grande Baroque sterling silver 72 piece monogrammed flatware service for 12.

Sterling silver flatware and plates have a distinguished history in antique sterling silver sets. Sterling silver flatware, in addition to its practical usage at the dining table, is a beautiful collection that may be quite expensive. Sterling silver flatware is typically handed down through families, but it may also be acquired from an antiques dealer or buyer.

Patterned flatware in sterling silver

Sterling silver flatware is often associated with luxury and even monarchy across the world. It used to be only sterling silver flatware would do when preparing a formal table for a special occasion. A dining set’s flatware includes things like spoons, forks, knives, and other serving pieces.

See Biltmore Loan and Jewelry for a sterling silver appraisal

Understanding how to see if your item is real sterling silver is just one aspect of determining its worth. You would want to submit your silver to a professional appraiser in your area for an accurate assessment and evaluation. Unless you do this, you will never know what the worth of your silver is exactly.

If you are ready to sell or get a loan on your sterling silver, be it antique, vintage, or contemporary, contact Biltmore Loan and Jewelry today. Our expert appraisers will provide a value analysis for your sterling silver or other items and give you a competitive offer.  You can be leaving our shop with money in your pocket in no time!