Are you selling precious silver items for scrap prices? Read how & where to sell before you do

Do you have some silver items that you want to sell? There are a couple of different ways you can sell antique silver bowls and other silver items. The easiest method is to sell them as scrap silver. This involves finding a business that will buy the silver from you for its current value. They then melt down the items and sell off the silver to a company that will use it to make something else. A quick search for “where can I sell silver bowls” is likely to reveal a number of these businesses in your area.

Antique Silver

Is This the Right Method for You?

Selling your antique sterling silver bowls and other silver items as scrap may not actually make you the most money. If your items are truly antiques, they’re likely worth much more as they are. Before you sell them to a scrap business, make certain you’ve researched the piece and know what it’s truly worth. You may be able to get much more for it by selling to silver bowls collectors online.

Antique Collection

Understanding How it Works

When you sell to a silver scrap business, they usually pay you the current silver value per Troy ounce for your item. It’s important to know that it’s by Troy ounce, which is 0.911 of a U.S. ounce. Before you sell, determine the weight of your pieces in Troy ounces. Next, go online and look up the current value of silver per Troy ounce. Multiply that times the weight of the piece to get its value.

Take Premiums into Account

Remember, though, that you’re likely to get less than what you’ve calculated. Buyers charge a fee to purchase scrap silver. This covers their time in evaluating your items, the work it takes to melt them down, and provides them with a profit when they resell the silver. Some places charge as little as two percent, while others may charge upwards of twenty percent.

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.

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.

Silver Hallmarks & other Identifiers – 3 Tips for Reading Hallmarks on Silver

In order to properly identify your antique silver pieces, you need to know how to read the hallmark on the item. These stamps indicate the year the item was made, where it was made, and who made it. It can also include a few other pieces, such as a duty mark, although that’s not always the case. If you’re not certain how to tell what these silver hallmarks are, these tips will help you.

Antique Hallmark

How to Make the Mark Easier to Read

Reading the hallmarks of a piece is essential to identify it, but it’s not always that simple. The silver hallmarks identification process is much more difficult on older pieces because the hallmark may not be as clear as it once was due to age or damage. One trick to making it a bit easier to read is to gently blow on it. The warmth from your breath will cause condensation, making the mark clearer.

Know the Common Marks

There are a number of common marks that appear on many silver pieces. For example, the lion passant is standard to identify a piece as sterling silver. If this mark isn’t there, it means the piece is most likely silver plated. You can find a list of the common town marks, date letters, and other hallmarks online or in a number of different guide books. If you’re going to deal in silver, you’ll need to become familiar with them.

lion passant marking

Understand the History of Silver

Knowing the history of silver flatware and other items can be very helpful for reading hallmarks. For example, if you see a duty mark on a piece, you’ll know that it was made between 1784 and 1890. You can narrow it down even more if you know when that mark was the king’s head and when it was the queen’s. All of this is vital information that can be used in antique silver appraisal and in your own personal identification of items.

How to Sell Your Silver Bowl for More Than It Is Worth?

Selling your antique sterling silver bowls may seem like a great way to make some extra money, but you want to make sure you’re getting a good price for them. In fact, if at all possible, you want to get more for these bowls than what they’re actually worth. Otherwise, it might seem like a waste of time to find a buyer and sell the bowls. If you’re considering selling any silver bowls, here are a few tips for getting the maximum amount of money from the sale.

Clean Them Up

As with any silver pieces, before you can sell antique silver bowls, you need to make sure they’re completely tarnish-free. There are a number of different DIY methods you can use to get tarnish off of silver. You can also purchase special silver polishing cloths and other products designed to remove tarnish. Always give your silver a nice polish before you take photos of it, take it to appraisers, or show it off to potential buyers. You want to make sure it looks amazing, even if you know the buyer is simply going to melt it down.

Clean your silver

Learn What You Have

Do you know who made your silver bowls? Do you know when they were made? All of this information plays into the value of the bowl. If you want to sell it for more than it’s worth, you need to know as much about the history of the piece as possible. Learn if it’s silver plated or sterling silver—that’s very important since items that are silver plated don’t sell for as much. Determine if the silver is 92.5% silver. If it is, it’s considered sterling, and it’s much more valuable.

Who Are You Selling To?

If you do a search for “where can I sell silver bowls” online, you’ll get a lot of hits. Remember, though, that not all of these buyers are going to offer you the same amount of money. Companies that buy and sell silver will always try to buy for as low as they can. That’s because they expect to resell the items at a profit. The same is true for companies that plan on melting down the silver. They have less interest in the piece itself and are just looking for items that are sterling.

Antique Silver Collector

If you’re selling to a collector, though, that’s where you can get top dollar. This is especially true if the silver bowls you have are fairly old and rare. You may be surprised at how much a collector will pay for bowls that complete their set.

Look at What Sellers Want

Look at websites created for and by silver bowls collectors online. Here, you’ll be able to get an idea of what silver bowls are currently selling for and which ones are among the rarest. You can use these websites to determine if what you have is truly special or if you’re better off selling it to someone who wants it just for the silver. Be sure you do your research—the last thing you want to do is let something go for much less than what it’s worth.

Cleaning Silver Trays – Basic Guide to Cleaning and Caring for Silver Trays with Stuff from Your Kitchen

Silver trays can look gorgeous. The finely etched pattern makes them the centerpiece of almost any table setting. But what do you do when these silver trays get tarnished? You can either run out and buy expensive silver cleaning products, or you can use a few things you likely already have in your own kitchen. Silver trays dealers around the world use these little DIY tips and tricks to keep their silver looking great without spending a lot of money.

Dish Soap

You may be able to remove some light tarnish simply by dipping the tray into warm (not hot) water combined with standard dish soap. You only need a few drops, so don’t go overboard or you may risk damaging the tray. Make sure that the soap is fully diluted in the water, too. Then dip your tray in, pull it out, and dry it off with a soft cloth.

Aluminum Foil and Baking Soda

One of the easiest methods for cleaning antique silver plated trays involves four basic ingredients from your kitchen. All you need is a tablespoon of baking soda, a tablespoon of salt, a sheet of aluminum foil, and two cups boiling water. Line a pot, baking dish, or even your sink with the aluminum foil. Mix in the baking soda, salt, and hot water. Then add in your silver tray. Let it sit for a minute or two, then carefully pull it out with kitchen tongs. A very large amount, if not all, of the tarnish will have transferred from the tray to the aluminum foil!

image of baking soda


While some people aren’t as fond of this method, others swear by ketchup. Just squirt some of this condiment onto a paper towel and gently rub at the tarnished areas of your antique sterling silver trays. You might be surprised at how much of the tarnish comes off! For trays that are heavily tarnished, you can leave the ketchup on for about 15 minutes. You can also use a soft bristle toothbrush to clean tarnish out of crevices. Rinse the tray off with warm water and dry with a soft cloth once you’ve got the tarnish off.


Another common kitchen ingredient you can use to clean tarnished silver trays is cornstarch. Mix a little cornstarch with water to create a paste. Then apply that paste to the tarnished area and let it sit until it’s dry. Once it is, rub it off with a towel or cheesecloth. If you don’t have any cornstarch handy, you can use cream of tartar.

Lemon-Lime Soda

image of generic lemon lime soda

Another common item you can use to clean your items before showing them to potential silver trays buyers is any type of lemon-lime soda. You can let your trays sit in a bowl of this soda for about an hour. Then remove the tray and rinse it clean. A good amount of the tarnish will rinse right off. Pat the tray dry with a soft cloth and you’re ready to sell it.

Antique Dealers Advice – 5 Must Look Into Considerations when Buying and Selling Antique Silverware

If you’re thinking about buying or selling antique silver, there are some things you should consider before you jump right in. If you’ve never purchased antique silver before, you may not know all of the little tips and tricks there are to making sure you get the best deal. It doesn’t matter if you plan on becoming one of the many full-time antique silver buyers or if you’re simply looking to sell some silverware that you’ve inherited—knowing how to get the most out of your silver is important.

Get an Appraisal

You can learn about your silver pieces online and estimate what they’re worth, but having a professional antique silver appraisal is much easier. The professionals who do this will be able to give you an estimate for your specific pieces, taking into account damage and whether or not you have a complete set of silverware. It’s a good idea to get an appraisal even if you have an idea of what your items are worth.

Are You Attached to the Pieces?

Before you decide on if you want to sell your silverware or not, decide if you have any sentimental attachment to it. There’s no reason to sell it if you have any kind of sentimental attachment. Even if you don’t, would someone else in your family want it? Silverware is very durable, and many families do pass down full sets of it. Make sure no one would want your collection before you sell it, especially if you sell it to a smelter who is going to melt it down.

image of someone looking at a piece of antique silver

Is It Sterling?

One of the things many antique buyers are going to want to know up front is if the pieces you’re selling are sterling. Look on the back of the flatware for “sterling” or “ster.” This indicates that the silverware is at least 92.5% silver. It may even have 925 on it to indicate that it’s 925 out of 1,000 parts silver. Anything that’s silver-plated isn’t going to be worth nearly as much. If you see “coin” stamped on your silverware, that means it was created by melting down silver coins. It’s more likely to be about 90% silver. It won’t be worth quite as much as sterling silver.

Are the Pieces Historic?

An antique silver dealer will pay much more for older pieces that are rarely found on the market. Do some research into the pieces you have to make sure they’re not rare or hard to come by. Those that are can be sold for more than most other pieces. You’ll definitely not want to sell these items to smelters since they have some historic value.

image of historic silver

Look Online

Before you buy or sell any silver pieces, go online and see what the items are selling for. You may find that you have a rare replacement piece that someone needs to complete their set or that you have a pattern that is fairly popular. On the other hand, you might find that what you have to sell isn’t really worth that much. Either way, it’s important to know what you have or what you’re thinking about buying before you do so.

Antique Silver Tea Sets – Best Tips for Prolonged Use and Beauty Retention of the Set

One of the most beautiful pieces of silver you can have is a sterling silver tea set. These sets are elegant but also quite functional. Antique silver tea sets are often passed down through families and come to be known as treasured heirlooms. Unfortunately, as with any silver, these tea sets need to be kept in good condition in order for them to remain looking as great as they do. If you have an antique silver tea set, here are some tips for keeping it looking beautiful and functional.

Use It

One of the best ways to keep your silver tea set looking great is to use it regularly. While some antique silver tea set collectors are concerned that regular use will result in the set tarnishing, the opposite is actually true. When you frequently use your silver tea set and clean it properly, it will actually remain looking as elegant and beautiful as the day you inherited it.

Polish It Regularly

Whether you use it frequently or infrequently, you do need to make certain that you polish the tea set at least yearly. If you use it more often, you may want to polish it after each use or at least every few months. When you see spots on your tea set that look brown or light gold, you know it’s time to give it a polish. The best way to do so is to use standard silver polish and a soft cloth.

You can use some basic household items such as toothpaste or cornstarch to polish your silver, but you can also buy specific silver polishes. Just make sure the polish is designed for use on silver. This is the safest option to keep your silver tea set looking amazing. For tea sets that have very intricate etched designs or have areas that are hard to get into, you can use a cotton swab or even a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean it.

Rinse Out the Set After Use

Many silver tea set buyers look inside the tea pot and carefully inspect each item to make certain they were cleaned after use. Always rinse out your tea set before you put it up, but also be sure that no water is left. Wipe out all of the water before you put your tea set up since it can cause spots to appear. Make certain you clean your tea set if it comes into contact with anything that contains citrus, vinegar, or other corrosive foods. These foods can quickly cause damage if left in contact with the silver.


If you’re looking to buy sterling silver tea sets online, always ask how the tea set has been stored. Silver needs to be kept away from excessive heat and air. Ideally, it will be kept in an airtight chest or drawer. Many silver sets designed for use with hot beverages actually come with some kind of airtight container to store them in. Again, make sure that the tea set is completely dry before you store it in any of these containers. You should also wrap each piece in felt, cotton, or an acid-free paper before storing it.

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.

Selling the Family Silver: Beware of Smelters Who Can Smelt Your Treasure into Trash

When you start looking for antique buyers for your silver, you’re likely to come across some people who offer to purchase your items sight unseen. If pushed, they may admit to buying silver by the ounce simply to melt it down. These companies often advertise that they buy gold, silver, and other specialty metals to recycle them. They will buy your family silver flatware along with silver coins, jewelry, and much more. They don’t really care what state it’s in, they simply want to melt it down and sell it as silver.

That might seem like a great deal. After all, you don’t have to do any research on the items. You just take in the family silver and walk out with a nice amount of money. But there are some reasons why these smelters may not be the best deal for you. In fact, they may turn your family treasures into trash.

antiques sale

They Don’t Care About the Pieces

If you’re selling to antique silver collectors, they’re going to value the age and rarity of the pieces. You’re likely to get more money for older items, especially if they’re items that the collectors have been looking for or that complete their sets. With smelters, that’s not the case. They don’t care if something is hundreds of years old or if it was made yesterday. If you’re offering them something that’s sterling silver (at least 92.5% pure silver), that’s all they care about. They pay the same no matter how old or how rare the item is.

They Don’t Look at History

That can be disastrous if you’ve got a rare piece that’s worth much more than the silver it’s made from. You could get a lot of money from the right collector. There’s also the fact that you may have a piece of history that is quite rare. In some cases, a museum may pay a nice amount for your silver. It’s always best that you do some research and learn about the history of the pieces you have before selling to smelters. Otherwise, you could not only accidentally lose a good amount of money, but you could also help destroy something that’s priceless.

antique silver item

They Don’t Pay Well

If you search for the best place to sell antiques, you won’t find smelters on the list. That’s because they don’t pay that well. That’s because they will likely resell any silver they buy from you after the melt it down. This means they have to have some room in the price to make a profit. If you’re looking to get top dollar for your silver, smelters and anyone else who plans on reselling the silver later is not the place to go.

If you know the silver items you have aren’t worth very much, smelters may offer you the best price you’re going to find. However, make certain that you’ve done some research on the items and even had them appraised by a silver expert first. The last thing you want to do is sell valuable silver items to a smelter for next to nothing.