Household Silver: How to Oxidize Sterling Silver with 4 Simple Tricks

Many people love the look of shiny sterling silver. The brightness of the metal is why many purchase these pieces. On the other hand, sometimes people want their silver to look more like an antique, especially if it’s jewelry. To get that look, you can oxidize your silver pieces. There are a few ways you can do this at home without damaging the items.

Oxidize Sterling Silver

Use Boiled Eggs

This might sound odd, but boiling eggs can also oxidize your silver. Put two eggs in some water and get the water boiling. After about ten minutes, take the eggs out and put them in a baggie. Squish them up until they’re in fairly small pieces. This releases sulfur, which will oxidize your antique silver items when you put them in the bag. Just leave the item in the bag for several hours—the longer it stays in contact with the eggs, the more oxidized it will get. When you like the color, remove the silver piece, wash it, and dry it thoroughly.

Use Liver of Sulfur

Liver of sulfur is a mix of a variety of different things, including potassium thiosulfate, potassium polysulfide, and potassium sulfide. You can purchase it as a gel and add a bit of it to hot water. Then simply drop your silver household items into it until it’s the color you want. Don’t leave the items in too long, though, or the oxidization can start to look spotty.

Use Luster Gel

Luster Gel is a fairly new product that’s actually designed to change how your silver pieces look. It can oxidize them, but it can also be used to change the silver to many other colors. Simply select the color you want (the gel comes in a variety of shades) and follow the directions.

Go to a Spa or Hot Spring

This may not be an option for everyone, but antique silver buyers might accidentally oxidize everything they’re wearing by going to a hot spring or a spa! The high sulfur content of these natural areas will evenly oxidize anything silver in just a few minutes!

Decoding Hallmarks – A Guide to Reading Hallmarks on British Silver

If you’re thinking about purchasing silver made in the UK, you want to make certain that what you’re buying is pure silver. Otherwise, you may be paying a lot of money for something that isn’t worth much at all. In order to identify the pieces you’re buying as true silver items, you need to understand British silver hallmarks. Here’s a quick rundown of what these marks include.

Hallmarks on British Silver

A Standard mark

The first step to identifying silver hallmarks is to look for the standard mark. There were five different marks used on British silver, and they’re easy to recognize. They are the walking lion, the standing lion, the thistle, the crowned harp, and the symbol of Britannia. If you can’t find one of these marks on the item, it was likely silver plated or was made elsewhere.

The Town Mark

The next mark to check for is the town mark. This mark identifies where exactly the piece was manufacture red. There are a number of these silver hallmarks, so you may need a reference guide to determine what town the mark on your item represents.

The Duty Mark

The duty mark was only used between 1784 and 1890. It indicated that a duty was paid on the silver. Older items may have the King’s head, indicating that the item was made between 1784 and 1837. When Queen Victoria took the throne, the mark was changed to the Queen’s head. These antique silver hallmarks are useful in determining when a piece was made.

The Date Letter

This letter indicates when the silver piece was made. The letter changed periodically, and each town often used a different font or even a different letter. Again, this is something that you will need to use a guide for, and you’ll need to determine the town mark first.

The Maker’s Mark

Finally, there’s the marker’s mark. This mark is the symbol or initials of the maker or manufacturer. It’s the final piece needed to determine exactly where, when, and who made the silver piece.

American Silver Marks: Deciphering Marks on Sterling Silver and Silver Plates

Unlike silver items made in the UK, Europe, and some other parts of the world, American silver doesn’t have as many unique marks that make it easy to determine the manufacturer and other information. The U.S. doesn’t have assay offices, and up until 1905, there were no federal rules requiring silver manufacturers to place any type of quality guarantee on items.

Deciphering Marks on Sterling Silver

Silver Coin Marks

Prior to 1868, most silver in the U.S. was created by melting down silver coins. That meant the pieces greatly varied in purity. The coins used were, at the time, only sometimes marked with a standard mark. Even then, that mark often only said “Coin” on it and told nothing about the silver purity. The antique silver value of these pieces can be very difficult to tell, especially if you don’t have any information about the piece.

Sterling Silver and the Introduction of Marks

Following 1868, sterling silver became the standard for coins, and in 1907, a standard sterling silver mark was introduced. The Federal government now required manufacturers to mark sterling silver pieces with a “925” mark, guaranteeing that the piece was at least .925 or 92.5% silver. This acted like an assay mark.

A Variety of Marks

Soon, different silver manufacturers began marking items in their own unique way. Tiffany & Co. was the first to add their own mark by adding “Sterling” to the 925 stamp. Soon, other manufacturers were adding their company name or creating unique marks to place on their items. There were no regulations on these marks, though, so the information provided did vary from company to company. Some included the year or location where the piece was made, but others didn’t.

This can make it difficult for antique silver buyers to easily determine information about their sterling silver pieces. Fortunately, experienced appraisers are often familiar with many of the manufacturer marks.

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.

Online

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.

4 Quick Ways To Tell “Real” v/s “Fake” Silver

When you purchase a piece of antique silver, you want to make certain it’s a true antique and that it’s really made out of at least 92.5% silver. Some pieces may look like true silver, but they’re not. They’re simply pieces designed to look great but also be quite affordable. How can you tell if something you’re buying is really silver? Here are four quick ways.

4_Quick_Ways_To_Tell_Real_Fake_Silver

Look for the Mark

Silver should be marked with an assay mark that identifies it as pure silver. “Sterling,” “92.5” or “925” are required for silver made in Europe and other parts of the world. In the U.S., these marks weren’t always required for silver identification, unfortunately.

Tap It

Silver makes a ringing sound if it’s tapped. This sound is easily identifiable to those who know what to listen for. You can carefully tap silver plates, bowls, and other items to get a bell-like sound that’s fairly high pitched. To inspect silver coins, tap them with another coin or flick them up in the air. Always be careful, of course, that you don’t damage the silver. Any scratch or dent will decrease the value of antique silver.

Does Ice Melt on the Silver?

Another trick antique silver buyers often use is the ice trick. Silver is a great conductor of heat, so if you put ice on it, the ice should instantly start melting. If you put ice cubes of the same size on a ceramic plate and on a silver plate, the cube on the silver should melt much faster. Just remember to dry the plate after you’ve done.

Polish the Piece

When you polish a piece of silver with a soft cloth, you should see some black marks appear on the cloth. That indicates that you’ve rubbed off some of the tarnish. If you don’t see this, it’s a good sign that the piece isn’t silver.

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.

How to get the actual and not by-weight prices for Antique Sterling Silver Trays?

If you’re planning on selling your antique sterling silver trays, you want to make certain you get the correct value for your pieces. There are two different types of prices for silver: the actual value of the piece and the by-weight value. There is often a very wide gap between these two prices, too. So how do you determine which is better?

Trays

The By-Weight Price

The by-weigh price is literally how much the silver that makes up your antique silver-plated trays is worth. If you took the trays, melted them down, and sold the silver, this is the price you would get for it. It’s determined by weighing the piece in Troy ounces. One Troy ounce is .911 of a U.S. ounce. For a tray that is pure silver (at least 92.5% silver), the price per Troy ounce is around $16.00 as of March 2018.

Sterling Silver Trays

But the Actual Price May Be Much more

Say you have a silver tray that was made in the early 1800s. You could melt it down and get a little bit of money for it, true. However, you would be losing a lot of value. The tray is likely worth much more to silver tray dealers. If it’s a rare find or in outstanding condition, you’ll get a lot more money for it than if you sold it for the silver.

Determining the Actual Value

So how do you determine what silver tray buyers are likely to pay? There’s not an easy formula for figuring the actual value. Instead, you have to do some research. You need to examine the tray and determine when it was made and who made it. Then you need to research and determine how rare the piece is and if there’s a major demand for it. You can see what other people have paid for similar trays, too. This research should help you determine exactly how much the tray is worth to collectors.

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.