The Exquisite World of Antique Silver Tea Sets

I work in an interesting field: Antique dealing in the modern world. It wasn’t always that way – when I got started, over 25 years ago, I still had to go from place to place, auction house to auction house. But that’s how I fell in love with the world of antiques.

Some of you may know (and some of you may not) that despite my French sounding name, I was born and raised in England and so it’s no surprise that Antique Silver Tea Sets are a personal joy of mine!

English Tea Service is supported by a rich and diverse history which, inevitably spread across Europe and into North America. This history is not overly pressing when consulting a professional appraiser about the price of your antique silver tea set.

antique silver tea sets
antique silver tea sets


However, when dealing with such exquisite works of art, it will only enrich the experience to imagine where it came from. It’s certainly something many silver tea set buyers take a great pride in understanding.

I often talk about the many differing factors that determine the value of antique silver. With items like this, the history can hold a great deal of significance. The evolution of the tea pot from an almost coffee urn shape to the more modern ball or pear shapes help both determine the period from which it was crafted, to the kind of society it may have entertained. This is a great video you can watch on the history of Silver Tea Sets

When looking for silver tea sets for sale, or for interested buyers, you also want to consider how complete the set is. Smaller sets may contain just the tea pot and perhaps a creamer and sugar bowl. The more pieces you have in your set, the more ‘complete’ it is, the more drastically you will see the value rise.

Going back to my original thought of how the antique dealing world has changed, almost everything is done online these days. I get a lot of phone calls or e-mails from people who are rightly a little nervous about where to sell their silver tea sets online. It is a very impersonal experience. While I do, first and foremost, encourage people to take their time to find someone they trust and feel comfortable dealing with – I’ve made it my goal find a way to bridge these two worlds (the online and the offline).

Everyday I get e-mails from curious new customers who want to know more about their silver, I’ve contained my business exclusively within the state of Florida so that I can be available, not only through e-mail, but by phone and in person to offer the best price and instant cash on your silver and antiques.

I hope that, whether you are looking to sell your silver tea set or are looking for a stunning new addition to your next afternoon tea service, that you have a wonderful time discovering the vast history and artistry that has gone into countless styles of tea sets around the world.


Determining the True Value of Antique Silver Pieces

If you have some antique silver pieces that you are interested in selling, you might be wondering – how much is silver worth? In order to get the best deal for your antiques, it is important that you know the value of your items, and fortunately, there are many places to look for this information. If you need to know the real silverware value of your collection, try out some of these helpful suggestions.

Check Out Online Antique Websites

The Internet is a great place to find out more about the antiques in your collection, including what they might be worth. You can check out online sale sites like Live Auctioneers and eBay to see what similar items are selling for. There are a lot of websites that attract antique enthusiasts, so you might also want to connect with others in an online forum to get opinions on your antique silverware value.

Walk Through an Estate Sale

An estate sale that is selling antique silver pieces similar to yours might also be a good place to find out more about your antique silverware value. Do some research online to find estate sales with antique silver on the list of sale items so that you don’t waste your time, and then take a walk through to see how those items are priced.


Consult with an Antique Dealer

If you have an antique silver piece and want to know how much it is worth, an antique dealer will be a good resource. Whether you want the value of an antique silverware set or silver jewelry, an antique dealer will have the knowledge and expertise to determine how much your collection is worth. With experience in antique silver pieces, knowledge of popular hallmarks, and the skill to determine sterling silver from silver plated items, you’ll leave with a good idea about the worth of your item.

At Antique Silver Buyers, we specialize in providing customers with a market analysis of their antiques. We can provide you with a pure silver, silverware value, or the amount your collection would likely sell for at an auction. If you are interested in selling, we’ll place a bid on your collection for just under the value. You’ll leave with money in your pocket without worrying about finding a buyer for your items.

Visit an Auction House

Auctioneers have experience with a variety of valuables and antiques, and they sell them off to the highest bidder. Chances are good that a local auction house or auctioneer has sold antique silver pieces just like yours, and they may remember how much the item sold for. An auctioneer might even be able to verify the authenticity of your antique silver piece, which is crucial in obtaining maximum value for your pieces.

antique-auction buyers

Don’t sell your antique silver pieces for less than they are worth. If you want to get the maximum return on your antique investment, take the time to do your homework. When you know the true value of your antiques, you can work to get the best deal on their sale.

a piece of white gold jewelry next to a piece of silver jewelry

What is the Difference Between Silver and White Gold?

Although sterling silver may look just like white gold, the truth of the matter is that there is a crucial and distinct difference between the two precious metals. If you were wondering why white gold is sold for more than silver—even though they look pretty much the same—read on.

White gold behaves differently than silver does

For one thing, silver tends to be harder than white gold. This means that, while they may look the same, the silver is more difficult to use when a jeweler is making precision engravings. Frequently rings, brooches, and other items of jewelry are crafted with names or messages engraved inside them. It is difficult for jewelers to pull this off with silver, so they turn to white gold.

a piece of white gold jewelry next to a piece of silver jewelry

In addition, silver, as you know, can tarnish over time. If you look at a piece made from antique sterling silver, you can easily see the need for polishing to remove the tarnish. On the other hand, gold does not tarnish. So, for a piece of jewelry that will never need to be polished, white gold is the metal of choice.

White gold and silver are composed of different elements

While this might seem so obvious as to not even need noting, the fact of the matter is that white gold is composed primarily of, well, gold. Gold is inherently more costly than silver.

What we call white gold is actually a mixture of gold and other metals. Because the core element is gold, by extension it makes sense that white gold would be more costly than silver.

White gold is very easy on the skin. Some people tend to have a reaction when wearing jewelry made out of anything other than gold. While white gold is not pure gold, it is composed of a large enough percentage of gold to make it usable by people such as this. Further, while some people may experience some skin discoloration from silver (or other) jewelry, white gold will leave no such discoloration. Because of this, white gold is ideal for use by people with sensitive skin or allergies to some other types of metals.

Should you choose silver or white gold?

So then, which one is better? The answer is that it depends. Silver does have some applications where it would be preferred. Remember, silver tends to be harder than gold, so it holds up better to the wear and tear of everyday use. On the other hand, because white gold is composed of gold, it is more costly and has the positive attributes of regular gold.

If you are in the market to purchase jewelry, the determination of whether you want silver or white gold will really depend on your personal needs. If you tend to have sensitive skin, it’s a no-brainer that you would choose white gold. Likewise, if you are not very thrilled about having to polish your jewelry, it’s best to steer clear of silver.

What precisely is sterling silver and how does it differ from real silver?

If you’ve seen something marked as sterling silver, you may assume that it’s no different from regular silver. However, that’s not the case. These two terms may sometimes be used interchangeably, but they’re not truly equivalent.

Sterling Silver Vs Silver

There is a difference between sterling silver and standard silver, and if you’re buying a lot of different silver jewelry, you should know exactly what it is you’re purchasing.


Sterling Silver vs Real Silver

Antique Silver Vs Sterling Silver

What is Pure or Fine Silver & How Pure is Sterling Silver

If you’re purchasing something that is advertised as pure silver, that means it has 99.9% silver in it. It’s as pure as you can get there’s no such thing as 100% silver with no impurities. Fine silver is not used in jewelry because it’s simply too soft. The items would be too malleable by hand. That’s why the silver jewelry and other items you purchase will be made from a mixture of silver and another metal (or several metals).

Know What is Sterling Silver?

Sterling silver, on the other hand, is a silver alloy. It’s made when pure silver is mixed with copper. The result is an alloy that is not as soft as pure copper and is much more durable. Sterling silver is generally 92.5% pure. That means only 7.5% of the mixture is another metal. While copper is the most common, zinc and nickel are also often used in making sterling silver.

In many cases, items that are made out of sterling silver are actually coated with pure silver. This thin layer improves the look of the piece by making it shinier. However, these products should never be labeled as pure silver because they aren’t.

You should also look for the term “sterling silver plated” on products. These products are not made of sterling silver. Instead, they’re made out of other metals such as copper or nickel. They’ve just had an outer layer of sterling silver applied to them. Over time, this layer is going to start wearing off, leaving the item looking much less attractive.

What is Coin Silver?

If you’re researching sterling silver vs. pure silver, you may also see the term “coin silver” come up. This is another type of silver alloy. However, it’s less pure. Coin silver is generally no more than 90 percent pure silver, so it’s not used in jewelry that often.

How Do You Tell the Difference?

Reputable silver makers should always stamp their creations. On fine silver pieces, you’ll find a number that shows the amount of silver per hundred parts (or thousands, in some cases). The higher the number, the more silver is in the product. Pure silver should have a high number such as 999 (some items are marked as 99.9 or as .999, but these are all indicative of pure silver). On sterling silver, you should see 925 (or, again, 9.25 or .925). If the number is any lower than that, it shouldn’t be marked as sterling silver in the U.S.

Note that sterling silver sold in other countries may have a purity lower than 925. Not all countries have the same purity requirements that the U.S. has.

Antique Silver Flatware

Antique Silver Flatware: Where Is The Best Place To Sell My Sterling Silver Flatware?

Do you have some antique silver flatware you’d like to sell, but aren’t sure where to take it? There are a number of different places you could sell your silver, but not all of these places are going to give you what it’s truly worth.

Antique Silver Flatware

To Collectors

If you know someone who collects silver pieces, you may decide to offer your silver flatware to them. Collectors are going to be very particular about what they buy, though, so don’t expect to get a good offer if your silver isn’t in good condition, isn’t a complete set, or isn’t that old. They may also attempt to negotiate by pointing out defects or discussing the rarity of your set. Be cautious when selling to collectors, especially if you don’t know them well.


If you type “where to sell antique silver flatware” into a search engine, you’ll likely get a number of online dealer sites. You can put your silver pieces up for sale here, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you have to have excellent pictures that truly show the condition of the flatware. Second, remember that many serious buyers don’t really shop online since they can’t examine the quality of the pieces themselves. You may get less than you’d like selling online.

At an Auction

Another way to get cash & money for silver pieces is to take them to an auction. While there may be serious bidders here, remember that you will have to pay a commission to the auction service.

To a Buyer

Finally, there are some professional antique silver flatware buyers out there who purchase pieces to later resell. They often know the value of the pieces and are willing to pay that amount, especially if they know someone they call sell the flatware to for a profit.

Lion hallmark

Is Your Antique Silver Solid or Plated? A Guide

You have a prized silver antique collection, but do you know if it is solid silver of simply silver plated? Does it really make a difference? It does if you are concerned with the value.

Silver plating was developed as an inexpensive way for people who couldn’t afford sterling (or solid silver) to enjoy the beauty of the metal without the hefty price tag. In fact, some manufacturers got so good at creating silver plated items that it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the two. Unfortunately, when it comes to the value of your antiques, whether you have solid or plated silver makes a big difference, so it is important to be able to differentiate between the two.

Look for a Stamp

If your antique silver technique is truly sterling silver and not simply plated, it will be stamped with a telltale hallmark. Typically found on the bottom of the piece, a silver stamp may include:

  • The words “Sterling Silver’
  • A numeric value (800, 900, 925, etc.)
  • A lion hallmark

Lion hallmark

If you notice a stamp on your antique silver, use a magnifying glass to inspect it closely. International sellers commonly use the numeric values, as they will indicate the percentage of fine silver that is found in the piece. For example, a piece stamped with 925 will indicate that the item is 92.5% silver.

If your antique silver doesn’t have a stamp, you should be leery about its silver content. It may have simply been produced in a country that doesn’t stamp its solid silver products, but you should follow up with an additional test.

Perform the Magnet Test

A strong magnet can be a good tool in determining whether your silver antique is solid silver or plated. Silver exhibits weak magnetic effects, so if you hold a magnet up and it sticks to the piece strongly, you can feel pretty confident that the piece isn’t silver. Similarly, if the magnet doesn’t stick, you shouldn’t automatically assume that you’ve got the real deal. There are plenty of materials that resemble silver and are not magnetic.

Use Some Ice

Another great way to test whether or not you own a solid silver piece can be performed with something that is probably already in your freezer – ice cubes. Silver is an excellent conductor, meaning it relays heat and cold quickly. Put some ice on or inside of your silver item, depending on what it is, and wait to see if it gets cold. Sterling silver items should be cold in less than a minute. This is an especially helpful method when you have two items that you can compare, such as a sterling silver spoon and a spoon from a silver plated set.

Get Your Piece Evaluated

If you still aren’t sure about whether or not your antique is solid silver or silver plated, there are a variety of great professionals out there that can give you some insight. An antique dealer, auctioneer, appraiser, or estate sale company should be able to examine your item and tell you about its silver composition.

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.

Tips on How to Care for your Antique and Vintage Silver Flatware Sets

Caring for your antique sterling silver flatware isn’t that difficult, but it is something you have to make sure you do. Otherwise, your silver may tarnish or be damaged in other ways. Here are a few tips that will help you keep your silver looking amazing.

Clean Silver

Use Your Silver

The first tip for caring for a set of silver flatware is one that surprises some people: use it. If you regularly use your silver, you’ll notice when it needs cleaning. If, on the other hand, you leave it in a drawer and only take it out for a special occasion every now and then, it has a lot of time to tarnish. Silver flatware collectors understand that silver was meant to be used, and they keep some of their sets in the kitchen for regular use.

Do the Dishes Promptly

It’s important that you clean your silver flatware after using it. If you let it sit, especially if it sits in water or has food on it, it can begin to tarnish quickly. Rinse it off using hot water after using it and dry it off before you put it away. To make sure you don’t decrease your antique flatware worth, only use a mild dish detergent and don’t leave it to soak in water.

Be Careful what You Wrap it in

If you’re only using your flatware every now and then instead of daily, make sure you store it in a flannel bag or a box that is lined with flannel. This will help prevent your antique silver flatware patterns from being scratched or damaged. You also want to make sure you never wrap silver in anything that contains a lot of sulfur. It can turn the silver black if you do. You also want to avoid wrapping silver in newspaper or plastic or using rubber bands to hold pieces together.

Set of Silver Flatware

Antique Silver & Vintage Silver – Differences you need to know before you look to sell?

Do you know the different between an antique silver flatware set and a vintage silver set? Unfortunately, many people assume that the terms “antique” and “vintage” are interchangeable. They aren’t, and the difference between the two can be a very large sum of money. You need to know how antique differs from vintage before you sell your silver flatware.

Antique Silver

Flatware Has a Long History

Sterling silver flatware sets have been around for centuries. This means the idea of what’s an antique is different than it is for other things. For example, the Antique Automobile Club of America considered a car to be an antique if it’s 25 years old. That’s definitely not true of silver!

Set of Silver Flatware

There’s Not a Set Standard

One thing antique silver flatware buyers often try to do is convince those who aren’t collectors that their flatware isn’t old enough to be considered an antique. The reason why this is fairly easy to do is because there’s no set standard of when flatware becomes an antique. It can also depend on the flatware manufacturer, the country it was made in, and more.

A Helpful Definition

While there’s no set standard, many people do follow a common scale for judging flatware. If it was made after 1950, it’s definitely not antique or vintage—it’s a set of modern flatware. For sets made prior to 1950 but after 1900, give or take a decade or two, vintage is usually the term used. If you have true antique silver flatware for sale, it should have been made before 1900.

How it Affects the Value

Obviously, the older the flatware is, the more valuable it can be. An antique set of silver flatware that can be dated to the 1850s is more valuable than a vintage set from the 1920s. Of course, condition and whether or not you have the full set does play a part in the value. Overall, though, older silver generally fetches a higher price.


Uncovering the Real Value of Your Parents’ Antique Kitchenware

Hold up just a second before you go ditching that antique silver spoon collection your Mom handed down to you, or scrapping the antique kitchenware, you might want to do a quick search for “silver buyers near me”.

There’s a world of difference between silver buyers of antique silver and scrapping, pawning, or selling silver in a yard sale. Doing some research on the subject of Antique Silverware Buying & Appraisal is worth its weight in gold.


Antique Silver and Silver Tea Set Buyers

A fortune could be hidden in your parent’s (and even grandparent’s) kitchenware. Antique silver potentially has much more value than if you sell it by weight alone. Antique silverware buying and selling is big bucks when there’s a history behind the piece or pieces. Even the decorative artwork on your antique silver can boost the value. It’s best to consult a silver tea set buyer or antique silver buyer when you are in the market to sell.

Finding a Trustworthy Buyer of Antique Silver

Unfortunately, especially with the boom of online silver tea set buyers and antique silver buyers cannot all be trusted. Even selling to a local buyer can be risky. You’ll want to check out any potential buyer you plan to do business with.

Find out if the business is local, or if it’s online, be sure there’s a longstanding internet presence that’s not flighty. Look for verifiable references that aren’t just on the company’s own website or social site. Check for credentials and length of time in business too.

Why Trust Antique Silver Buyers?

Antique Silver Buyers is a name you can trust as a silver tea set buyer, antique silverware buyer, and buyer and appraiser of antique silver of most any kind. We’ve been in business for 25 years and have a myriad of happy customers that sing our praises. Many are repeat customers we’ve had for years.

Based in Florida, Antique Silver Buyers is dedicated to doing business face to face. We believe that the appraisal, selling, and buying of antique silver should be a personal encounter that can only be conducted properly when it’s done eye to eye. We want to meet you and make your experience an ultimate one.

When it comes to selling your antique silver, turn to a trusted buyer you can trust. Turn to Antique Silver Buyers.