Antique silver

Techniques for Collector: How to Determine your Silver Worth?

Silver is a thing of beauty. Highly polished silver gleams like moonlight. It can be used as a mirror to show your reflection. It can made into beautiful jewelry and decorative items like candlesticks and elegant flatware. It can be made into valuable coins. Silver collectors know the value of silver. If you are looking to sell antique silver or join the ranks of silver collectors, you will want to know how to determine the value of silver. In this article we will explore techniques for determining the worth of your sterling silver.

sterling silver

Sterling Silver vs. Pure Silver.

Sterling silver is designed to overcome that flaw. It isn’t a pure metal it is an alloy. It is a combination of pure silver and other metals like copper, zinc or nickel. This generally results in a metal that is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of another metal. This makes the metal stronger and more useful for metal work. You might also come across items that are sterling silver plated, in which case the item is made of another metal and coated with a layer of sterling silver. That layer doesn’t last. It wears away.

There are other tests you can perform to determine if an item is sterling silver. Most precious metals, including silver, are nonmagnetic. That means that is an easy trick to identifying pure silver and sterling silver. A magnet will not be strongly attracted to pure silver. It will be attracted to the other metals in sterling silver. There is also an actual smell test that antique silver dealers know about. Since pure silver has no odor that means if you smell a metallic odor or the scent of sulfur the silver is sterling silver with other metals giving off the smell.

Which is more valuable to silver collectors?

So, understanding the difference between sterling silver and pure silver, which is more valuable? If you googled silver collectors near me and went to speak to the antique silver dealers you found in the results, what would they say? The answer isn’t simple. The fact is, pure silver is actually worth more than sterling silver because of the lesser value of the other metals that are in sterling silver. However, that is not the end of the story. The value of silver lies in what it can be made into. Pure silver is too soft to be useful when you want to make jewelry, for instance. Sterling silver is used instead. So, antique silver dealers who are looking for jewelry or other silver antiques will find value in sterling silver. For investors who are investing in silver as part of their investment portfolio, pure silver will be more valuable. The ultimate worth of your silver will depend on whether it is sterling silver antique that a collector or buyer would pay for, or whether it is pure silver bullion that is being purchased as an investment.

The Best Way to Clean Silver Jewelry: Tips & Tricks To Eliminate Smudge from Silver

Know How to Clean Silver and Save It

Are you tired of seeing smudges all over your antique silver flatware? If so, you probably spend a lot of time with a polishing cloth trying to get those smudges out. But what if there was a better way? There are a number of different old tips and tricks that you can use to get those smudges out of your favourite silver pieces.

Here are a few tips to clean silverware.




Olive Oil


Most people know that they can clean their antique silver using vinegar. It’s one of the time-testing methods that works incredibly well. It will also remove any tarnishing from your silver, leaving it looking brand new and smudge-free.



Olive Oil



This technique is great for cleaning items such as antique sterling silver bowls that are going to be passed around a lot. The olive oil will clean all the smudges off, but it does more than that. First, put a bit of olive oil on a soft cleaning cloth. Now rub the cloth against your silver, going with the grain. Then wipe it off using a clean cloth. You’ll remove a good amount of the olive oil, but very trace amounts will remain. These amounts will actually create a protective barrier that prevents future smudges. You’ll need to reapply every now and then, of course.

Use Proper Storage Techniques

If you don’t want to spend time cleaning your silver when you take it out of the cabinet, make sure you’re storing it correctly. All of the silver should be completely dry before you place it in the cabinet. Make sure each item is wrapped in special anti-tarnish paper or in flannel. Then put each piece into an air-tight bag. You can also add some of those small packets of silica gel to the drawer or cabinet. They will help reduce the humidity in the area.



Use Proper Storage Techniques


For items such as antique silver trays, you may want to get anti-tarnish cloth to place in between them when stacking. This is especially necessary if you’re not wrapping the entire piece in anti-tarnish paper. Silver scratches easily, so you want to make sure your items are protected.

Other Cleaning Methods

There are a lot of other common household goods you can use to clean the smudges off of your antique silver tea set and other silver items. Many of these techniques will also help you remove tarnish, so you can take care of two tasks at once.


Other Cleaning Methods


  • Use warm water and a mild dish soap.
  • Use soda water and a damp cloth.
  • Polish the silver with baby oil. Like olive oil, it will help create a protective barrier that prevents future smudging.
  • Use lemon juice.
  • Polish your silver with sheepskin.
  • Use a furniture polish wipe to remove smudges and other spots.
  • Clean your items with glass cleaner.

Many of these tips will work on all of your silver, but if you’re at all concerned, try the solution on a small, unnoticeable part of one piece of silver first.

Antique Buyers Near Me

Do Antique Buyers Near Me Buy Antiques at a Higher Price Than Online?

An antique can represent different things to different people. It might represent a piece of history that has been preserved to continue to be appreciated in the present. It might have a great deal of sentimental value and represent family history and departed loved ones. A fine antique can also be a good way to get some fast cash. The decision to sell can be a difficult one to make, however, once you decide to sell, you will obviously want to get the highest price possible for your antique. The question becomes, where to sell antiques. Will you get a better price if you sell antiques online or if find local antique buyers? In this article, we will explore where you will get a higher price, online or in person.

Sell Antiques Online

Advantages of Selling Antiques Online

Let’s begin by looking at some reasons why you might get a better price if you sell antiques online. To begin with, when you reach out through the internet you will find it incredibly easy to cast a wide net for antique buyers. You will find a much larger pool of potential buyers much faster online. That means you are more likely get a better price.

Additionally, people who buy and sell antiques online have a lower overhead than people who have a brick and mortar shop that costs a lot in rent, utilities, and the like. They might be able to make a greater profit from buying and selling antiques, and pass on the savings to you by offering you a higher price for your antique. If you make the rounds online and do some haggling, you just might find that you can drive up your selling price more than you can by just walking into a brick and mortar shop.

Looking at Local Antique Buyers

In the digital age we live in it may seem like doing everything online has become the default way of doing things but googling antique buyers near me may just get you the price you are looking for. There is an advantage to walking into a store and dealing with an antique buyer in person. Local antique buyers often have a wealth of experience and connections. Even if they aren’t interested in buying your antique or can’t afford to pay top price, they may be able to connect with someone who can.

Another advantage to selling at local shops is the ease of access. It is much easier to bring your antique to a local shop to be appraised and get quoted a price than it is to mail it to an online buyer. There is no risk of it getting lost or damaged in the mail. There is no expensive shipping and handling to be paid. If you can go directly to the buyer and haggle over the price in person with the antique right there with you. In the end, some old-fashioned leg work, combined with an online search might get you the best price for your antique.

Silver collections appraised

Antique Collectors need to get their collections appraised regularly. Here’s Why

Some antique silver collectors believe they know exactly what their collection is worth because they once had it appraised years ago. Unfortunately, these collectors are often shocked at the price they’re offered when they go to sell these pieces. That’s because going off an old appraisal isn’t a good idea. The value of sterling silver pieces isn’t set, and it’s possible you could make much more money than what you thought.

Antique Collector

Always Get an Appraisal Before You Sell

Before you sell any of your silver, you should always get a current appraisal. If you’ve had an appraisal done in the past six months or so, it’s unlikely the value of the piece has changed that much. Antique buyers are likely to do their own appraisal, too, but you can’t count on them to tell you if the value is higher than your selling price. They’re going to take the bargain if you don’t know any better.

Appraising Your Collection

Antique Appraisals

Even if you’re not going to sell, it’s important to have your collection appraised regularly. This will let you know the value of your silver, which is important for insurance reasons. The more valuable your collection, the more insurance you’ll want on it.

It’s also good to know the value of your collection so you can decide if you do want to sell or not. Even if you never had the urge to sell before, knowing the current value of your items might change your mind. When you find out how much your collection is worth, you might decide it’s time to find the best place to sell antiques near you!

What Changes the Value of Silver?

When you’re talking about antique silver pieces, value is based on demand and rarity. Items that collectors desire more than others are going to have a higher value. This is somewhat due to trends. Pieces that aren’t worth much now may become more valuable as collectors decide they want to own those patterns or items from that manufacturer.

New and Abstract Forms of Bronze Sculptures in the 20 th Century

For centuries, bronze has been (and continues to be) the most popular metal for casting artistic sculptures. It can be used in any shape or size, can be colored as the artist likes, and can be used for relief sculptures or sculptures in the round. Many artists have tried their hand at working with the metal, but the game changed in the 20 th century when new artists began creating new and more abstract statues. One of these artists was Henry Moore, a revolutionary who changed the face of bronze sculpting for years to come. In fact, Henry Moore’s first sculpture, West Wind (commissioned by the school he had been working for), is still a recognizable figure today.

Bronze Sculptures

Who Was Henry Moore?

Henry Moore sculptures highly influenced the development of bronze sculptures, but to understand what he created, you need to understand him as a person. Henry Moore was born and raised in Yorkshire to a non-artistic family as the 7 th of 8 children. In fact, his parents originally did not want him training to be a sculptor at all. Moore was a humanitarian who was a soldier, a physical therapy instructor, a teacher, and finally an artist. He saw all kinds of walks of life and experienced many art forms. Moore spent years working with bronze sculpting, but eventually moved on to more modern methods when creating sculptures, such as direct carving. Henry Moore’s bronze sculpture period, though, had many influences and proceeded to influence many others.


What Impacted Moore?

Every artist gets their “spark” so to speak from somewhere. For Moore, he found a large part of his inspiration from the people around him. He had a deep sense of humanitarianism and found many of his ideas through visuals of mothers with children along with analogies he created, combining someone with the landscape around them. He also drew inspiration largely from non-western art he saw at the British Museum. He took inspiration from predominantly Latin American art as well as Egyptian and African. Many bronze workers at this time focused on very detail oriented and realistic creations. Moore introduced a new element.

Bird Basket

While working with Bird Basket, Helmet, and other antique bronze pieces, Moore spread the idea of semi-abstract art. Many of his pieces had a basic shape that one could see clearly and put a name to. However, they did not follow precisely what you would expect to see. They involved elements of internal and external forms. They also used different details than you would traditionally expect, or neglected them entirely.

His Legacy


As his work progressed, many found faults because of just how nontraditional it was. After his death, his work became even less well-known, liked, or reputable. His bronze work is also often overshadowed by his other means of production. However, these new ideas and concepts that he introduced prevailed, inspiring others to continue with the forms where he left off. Those who worked closely with him, such as Anthony Caro and Phillip King, were highly influenced by his artistic mind and undoubtedly learned from his work.

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A Great Way to Sell the Family Silver Flatware for Big Bucks with Some Easy DIY Solutions

A Great Way to Sell the Family Silver Flatware for Big Bucks with Some Easy DIY Solutions

Selling your antique silver flatware can be a source of extra money when you really need it, but you want to make certain that you maximize your profits. You can only sell your flatware once, of course, so you want to be sure you get as much for it as you can. Before you begin the selling process, there are a few DIY solutions you can do to make sure you truly get the most out of your silver.

A Great Way to Sell the Family Silver Flatware for Big Bucks with Some Easy DIY Solutions

Know Its Worth

Before you post your antique silver flatware for sale, it’s a good idea to have a rough estimate of what it’s really worth. That way, you won’t sell it for less than you should. This means doing some research into any markings on the pieces to determine the manufacturer, the year of manufacture, and if the items are sterling (92.5% silver) or simply silver plated. You can find some of this information online, or you can take your items to a silver appraiser. Either way, learn as much as you can about your set as possible since you may also need to answer questions potential buyers will have.

Clean Up Your Silver

Before you start looking for antique silver flatware buyers, you want to make sure your silver items look their best. There are a number of different DIY methods you can use to make your pieces shine. One of the most common recipes used to clean silver without spending a lot of money on expensive silver cleaner involves aluminum foil, water, and baking soda. Simply boil the water, add in a tablespoon of your baking soda, and then place some aluminum foil in the pot. Drop the piece of silver in so that it comes into contact with the aluminum foil. After about ten seconds or so, pull it out using a pair of kitchen tongs. You should see that most of the tarnish is gone!

If you have a piece that has more tarnish on it, you may need to create a paste out of two tablespoons of water and about a fourth of a cup of baking soda. Apply this mixture using a damp sponge. Let it set for a few seconds, then rinse it off and pat the piece dry. Your sterling silver flatware sets should be tarnish-free in no time with these simple DIY cleaners.

A Few Other DIY Polishers

If you want to polish up your silverware before you try to sell it, you can use a few common household items. Toothpaste and hand sanitizer can both help. Add a few drops of either, then use a soft rag to polish up the pieces. Window cleaner also works. Just be sure you don’t scrub too hard, and never use anything abrasive. A cloth is all you should need.

DIY Selling

Some people do take their antique silverware to auction or sell it through a middleman, but you do have to pay a commission on that. Instead, you can sell it yourself online. There are a number of auction sites dedicated to selling silver, plus you can always turn to sites such as eBay.

Christofle silver marking

How Do I Know 🤔 if My Christofle Silver is Silver 🆚 Silver Plate?

Do you have a prized Christofle silverware set that you save for special occasions? If so, it is quite possibly one of your most valuable possessions, but is it sterling silver? Christofle was responsible for an innovative new technology that created silver plated items, providing customers with luxury at a more affordable price. While both sterling and silver plated Christolfe pieces are beautiful, you’ll want to know the difference between the two, especially if you intend to sell your pieces in the future.

Evaluate the Silver Marks

Since the early 1800s, Charles Christofle used a series of unique markings in order to identify his products to the world. However, this mark has varied with time, so an experienced antique silver buyer is sometimes needed to identify exactly what the mark means. Early markings included the initials “GC” or “CC” along with a scale in the center. Later silver markings included the word “Gallia” above a cockerel for the Gallia silver range. Many pieces also include a stamp of the word “Christofle” next to the maker’s mark.

The markings can also distinguish silver versus silver plated pieces. A sterling silver mark on a Christofle piece will usually be printed as “925” – an indication that the piece is composed of 92.5% silver. If this mark isn’t present, or if there is another number (800, for example), you can feel confident that your item is actually plated rather than sterling silver.

Christofle silver marking

Use a Magnet

If the markings on your Christofle are no longer clear, you can perform a simple test at home that will give you a good idea about the silver composition. Silver does not have strong magnetic effects, so if you hold a magnet up to your Christofle and it sticks strongly, you should feel confident that the piece is only silver plated. Likewise, if the magnet doesn’t stick, it is more likely that you have a sterling silver piece.

If you aren’t confident that your silver piece is really Christofle, the magnet test won’t necessarily mean that you have a sterling silver piece. There are many other materials that aren’t magnetic and simply resemble silver, and other manufacturers use these metals to produce Christofle-esque items.

Listen for a Ring

Sterling silver tends to make a lovely sound similar to a bell ringing when you tap on it. This is especially true when you tap it with another type of metal. Plated silver will produce more of a dull, thumping sound.

Get a Professional Opinion

If you still aren’t completely sure about whether your Christofle piece is solid or silver plated, there are many professionals out there that can provide insight. An auctioneer, antique dealer or estate sale business could examine the item and tell you more about the origin and its composition.

Whether you have a Christofle silver plate, flatware, or another antique piece, the experienced Florida silver buyers at Antique Silver Buyers can help. In addition to telling you more about your piece, we will also provide you with a market analysis of the value.

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925 sterling denmark 192

Silver Markings : Demystifying the Hallmarks

Your silver is worth money. But there’s so much more to it than that. Over the nearly 30 years that I’ve spent discovering fascinating new pieces, I’ve taken it upon myself to try and share this deep appreciation of not only the value of some items but the rarity, craftsmanship, history, and stunningly brilliant beauty of the collections people bring to me.

And if that isn’t of interest to you, you’ll be interested in knowing that by being able to identify these traits can help assure you that you get exactly what your silver is worth.

Today we’re going to talk about Silver Hallmarks. Just a drop in the bucket, since this is an entire specialty of knowledge, but an excellent foundation.

Related Blog – Selling Gold and Silver: 4 Rules for Dealing with Antique Buyers

Silver Hallmarks, Silver Markings:

Sterling Silver

Essentially every new silverware set, tea set, etc. you will come across is marked with a stamp called a silver hallmark. The purpose of a silver mark is to tell the buyer (or in this case, you) what the purity of the silver is. The most common markings for sterling silver are fairly easy to decipher:


– 925 or .925

Sterling Silver

This indicates a 92.5% silver purity. Silver is often blended with other metals for increased strength. You may also see lower percentages of silver, such as 900 or 800. This indicates a lower percentage of silver and is no longer considered ‘Sterling’.

Fine Silver and Silver Plate

Fine Silver, quite simply, is composed of 100% pure silver. Pound for pound this is the most valuable silver you can find. We’ll learn next time what can give ‘pound for pound’ a run for its money. However, for today we’ll keep things simple. Fine Silver can just as easily be identified with the markings such as Fine Silver or Pure Silver. Rogers sterling (often marked Wm Rogers – and also indicated ‘Sterling’) is actually pure silver. Whereas Rogers plated silver is not.

Fine Silver or Pure Silver

Be wary of items marked as Stainless, Triple Plate, IS, Silver, EPNS, and the like. These indicate that your items are made from stainless steel, electroplated, or are simply silver plated. While these may be beautiful items they are not all that valuable. You may simply want to keep them in your home for your own enjoyment.

Unique Markings

Here’s where things get interesting. Remember what I said in the beginning? There is so much more to Silver than it’s weight in… silver. You will not always come across a marking that is as simple to read as what I’ve outlined above. Markings from around the world vary in more ways than just the country it comes from.

There are literally thousands of these unique markings offering insight into:

–  The age of a particular item
–  Place of origin
–  Rarity
–  Manufacturer
–  Significance

And so much more.

For a quick example, the image below is a silver marking from the Kirk firm, founded in America in 1815. Samuel Kirk introduced a unique type of repousse decoration that has become known as the Baltimore Style and as since become highly imitated. This marking indicates both the year, location, manufacturer, and historical significance of the piece.

Kirk silver marking

I hope you found this all very informative and exciting! I look forward to sharing more of my appreciation and knowledge about the wonderful works of silver soon. We’ll discuss markings from all over the world and the difference in significance between them.

If you’re eager to discover the true value of your silver right away, I always encourage people to consult a respected expert or two. You can also contact me directly and I’d be happy to answer any of your questions.

Watch for Fakes

Best Way to Sell Antiques: 10 Tips for Making Money from Antiques

Are you looking for a way to start making money from antiques & collectibles? While some people see the buying and selling of antiques as a hobby, others have turned it into a lucrative side-job or even their main career. There are a lot of different ways you can get into dealing in antiques, but if you really want to turn this into your main source of income, you’ve got to go about it the right way. By following these ten tips, you can get your new antique dealing job off to a great start.

1. Do Your Homework

Make money from antique

Before you go out and purchase someone’s antique collection, you need to know what’s valuable and what’s not. You’ll find a lot of information in books on collectibles and online. Learn as much as you can about dealing in antiques and collectibles before you spend any money. That way, you’ll know what’s worth buying and what’s not.

2. Focus on One Area

why to focus on one area

The terms “antiques” and “collectibles” are very broad categories. It can be very difficult to learn everything there is about all the different types of antiques and collectibles out there. That’s why a lot of people focus on one area. For example, you could deal in antique furniture or Disney collectibles. By narrowing down your focus, you’ll be better able to know what’s valuable and be able to find specific buyers to sell your items to.

3. Only Buy from Dealers with a Good Reputation

Only Buy from Dealers with a Good Reputation

This is especially true for those who are considering buying an antique collection online and can’t personally inspect the items. Always buy from someone with a good reputation to avoid getting ripped off.

4. Buy What You Like

Buy What You Like

5. Go for the Rare Items

Go for the Rare Items

Collectors want to own things that very few others will have, so always look for rare items. While you’ll probably have to spend more to buy these, you’ll be able to sell them for a lot more.

6. Watch for Fakes

Watch for Fakes

You never know when someone is going to try to slip in a fake antique. There are a number of different ways these forgers can use to make items look older than they actually are. Learn about these techniques and how you can spot them. If you’re unsure of something’s authenticity, think twice before buying.

7. Understand the Restoration Process

Understand the Restoration Process

You also need to know how the items are restored and what signs of restoration look like. Those who want to know how to make money from antiques might be surprised that people pass off restored pieces as originals, but they do.

8. Get Insurance

Get Insurance

Be sure you insure your most valuable items or your collection as a whole. If you’re transporting these rare collectibles and they’re damaged, you’ll be glad you did.

9. Understand Auction Costs

Understand Auction Costs

If you’re buying items from an auction house, make sure you know what additional fees and costs are involved. Many auction houses charge a fee called a buyer’s premium in addition to the amount of your bid.

10. Look for Specialty Trade Shows

Look for Specialty Trade Shows

There are a number of trade shows out there that focus on one particular niche. For example, if you’re collecting rare comic books, make sure you attend a number of comic cons. You can find rare finds there to add to your collection, plus you may be able to become a vendor yourself.

Silver Plate Cleaning Methods

Important Tips For Cleaning Your Silver and Antiques

Do you have a silver antique that has seen better days and needs to be cleaned? Are you looking for a way to polish your antique silverware to give it a shine that you’ll be proud to show off? There are many safe ways that you can clean your silver and antiques, all at an affordable price. If you are interested in the best way to clean silver plate, follow some of these helpful tips.

Silver Plate Cleaning Methods

There are a ton of ways that you can go about cleaning silver plate naturally, which is one of the best ways to clean your antiques without worrying about damage to your pieces:

  • Vinegar. If your silverware or silver jewelry has lost its shine, you can soak it in a solution of 2 tbsp. baking soda in ½ cup of white vinegar.
  • Lemon. For silver that sparkles and shines, mix one tablespoon of lemon juice with ½ cup instant dry milk and 1 ½ cups of water.
  • Corn starch. A mix of water of cornstarch and water can create a paste that will make your silver antiques look like new again. Allow the paste to dry on the silver, and then rub it off with a mildly-abrasive cloth.
  • Tomato paste. Dunk small silver pieces into tomato paste and scrub with a toothbrush. You’ll get a thorough cleaning and the silver will sparkle upon completion.

Many of these items are probably already in your pantry, providing you a simple and affordable way to clean your most prized silver possessions.

Silver Plate Cleaning Methods

How to Polish Your Silver

After cleaning your silverware, you may want to give it some extra sheen with a good polish. There are a variety of safe silver polishes available for purchase, including Wright’s Silver Polish, Twinkle Silver Polish, and Goddard’s Long Shine Silver Polish. While these products are safe, others, including all-purpose metal cleaners, are too abrasive and may scratch your silver antiques.

After washing and cleaning your silver thoroughly, follow these tips to polish appropriate:

  • Apply the polish using the instructions on the container. You should always use a soft and clean cloth and apply the polish with a circular, gentle motion.
  • Use hot water to rinse off the polish and dry the piece thoroughly.
  • Using a soft cloth, buff the silver to create a soft luster. Remember that aggressive polishing could rub off the hallmark or damage the silver-plating, significantly altering the value.


Cleaning your silver and antiques doesn’t have to be an expensive process, but you should be sure to take proper precautions. A clean and well-polished antique will look more valuable and is more likely to sell at an auction or estate sale. If you are interested in selling, bring your antiques in to Antique Silver Buyers, where we will provide a market analysis of your collection – the total that they are likely to sell for at auction.