Antique Pawn Shop

Smart Ways to Sell Family Silver for Cash

When you decide it’s time to sell off your family’s antique silver, you want to be sure you get the best value for it. Selling silverware, teapots, and other similar things is a bit more complicated than just heading down to your local pawn shop—at least if you want to get top dollar.To sell silver and get the most out of it, you need to know a few things. Here are a few tips on finding antique silver buyers in Florida, and getting the money that your family silver is truly worth.

Finding Out Where to Sell Silver

Second, the people who work in pawn shops are kind of a jack of all trades when it comes to purchasing and selling goods. They don’t have the trained eye that is required to truly evaluate the worth of a piece. A pawn shop employee may believe that he or she is offering you a great price and unknowingly underbid you for your family silver.

Antique Pawn Shop

Before you take your silver in, spend some time polishing it. A trained eye will see the silver’s value, regardless of whether you polished it or not. Still, silver buyers are people, too, and leaving a good impression will never hurt your position.

Never settle for the first offer you get. Remember, these people make a living by buying low and selling high. Get two or three offers, then consider which one you feel is best for your situation.

An alternative to this would be to take your family silver to a silver dealer for an evaluation as to its value. Be very clear beforehand that you are willing to pay him or her for his or her expertise in valuing the silver, but you will not be selling to him or her (that removes any incentive to provide a lower than usual valuation). Then, using that valuation as a baseline, shop around and see what kind of offers you can get.

Christofle silver marking

How Do I Know if My Christofle Silver is Silver vs. 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.

Where can I sell my silver flatware

Your First Step To Understanding the Buying and Selling World of Antique Silver Flatware

Antique silver flatware remains among some of the most collectible types of antique silver on the market. With intricate craftsmanship and impressive presentation both decoratively and in treating your house guests to a special evening, antique silver flatware collectors can place very high values on these items.

Today, I want to talk about both sides of the market. What you might expect for prices on antique silver flatware, and to help answer the question, “Where can I sell my silver flatware?”

Where can I sell my silver flatware

You’ll find lots of valuable information on my site and within these blog posts about determining the value of your silver. How to identify the quality of your silver. Even who the best buyers of silver flatware are and what selling sterling silver flatware may entail for you.

As I’ve mentioned time and time again – you can easily take the first step yourself. Silver markings or Silver Hallmarks can, in many cases, be quite easy to identify. This is an important first step as it will help you understand the purity of your silver.

This is important as I’ve seen silver plated flatware sell for as low as $50 whereas a beautiful set of Rogers sterling silver flatware could be valued at $3000 or higher. Unfortunately there is no hard and fast rule. Silver value (your silver’s weight value) and the value added by it’s history, condition and demand can drastically alter the price
an antique silver flatware buyer may be interested in paying.

silver flatwares

Once you’re somewhat confident in a basic understanding of what quality or rarity your silver may have, I always recommend that people talk to a professional to get a better, more complete picture.

If you are looking to get the best price for your antique silver flatware at a local jeweler or pawn shop, you may need to look hard to find one that pays you the true worth of your item; if you are looking to sell from the convenience and comfort of your own home, you can send me photos and information on your silver and I’ll surely give you the best deal on antiques.

If you’re looking sterling silver flatware for sale, you’re options are also plentiful. I often recommend auction houses as you can see the items in person and stand to potentially get them for a good price. Online auctions are also quite popular.

However if you prefer the more personal touch there are many local antique and pawn shops you can explore. This is a secret pleasure of mine as the process itself is becoming antiquated in its own right and once and a while you might just stumble across a great little treasure.

Either way, whether your buying or selling, I wish you happy hunting!

Sterling Silver

What Exactly is Sterling Silver?

Sterling silver is a type of metal compound that is most often used when describing jewelry. Sometimes simply referred to as “sterling” or “925”, the term sterling silver indicates the content of the compound. So, what exactly is sterling silver?

The Composition of Sterling Silver

Like gold, silver is delicate and soft when found in its purest form, and unfortunately, this doesn’t make it a durable material. To make it more useful, pure silver is often combined with metal alloys like copper as a way of increasing the strength and durability. When pure silver is combined with less than 7.5% alloy, it is referred to as sterling silver. Sterling silver will contain at least 92.5% silver.

Sterling Silver

Identifying Sterling Silver

Do you have a piece of silver jewelry or silverware and wonder if the piece is actually sterling silver? There are a few steps that you can take to test your item:

  • The white cloth test. Use a soft white cloth to gently rub down your item. If there are black marks on the cloth when you pull it away, this is a good sign that the material is sterling silver.
  • The nitric acid test. Adding drops of nitric acid to real sterling silver won’t have any effect, but the same can’t be said about non-silver metals. When nitric acid is added to other options, they will lose their color.
  • The magnet test. This is a fairly straightforward test, as magnets don’t have an effect on silver. If you hold a magnet up to your silver piece and find that the item is attracted to the magnet, this should be a clear sign that you don’t have a sterling silver object.
  • The smell test. Take a whiff of your silver item. Smell something metallic? That means you’ve got something other than sterling silver, as too much copper is present. Sterling silver should not have an odor.
  • The hidden marking test. Real sterling silver – especially jewelry – will have a hidden marking on it stating “Sterling Silver,” “925,” or “Ster.” If you don’t see any of these markings, you should be wary about whether or not you have the real thing.

Sterling silver doesn’t come cheap, and it requires a considerable investment, regardless of whether you are buying a silver antique or silver pendant. Fortunately, it is a worthwhile investment, as the value of the piece will increase with time.

Cleaning Your Sterling Silver

There are many metals out there that are tarnish-resistant, but unfortunately, sterling silver isn’t one of them. If you have a silver piece that you don’t wear or use often, it is possible for tarnish to build up on the surface. Regular polishing using a silver cleaning is a simple and effective solution, and it is important to clean off the tarnish before it has the chance to build. Otherwise, you may end up with long-term damage to your sterling silver piece.

You can save yourself time, money, and hassle by purchasing your sterling silver jewelry or antiques from a reputable dealer. This way, you can ensure that you are making a sound investment.

Silverplate Marks and Sterling Hallmarks

Antique Silver Tea Set Markings

Tea sets made from silver are quite the addition to an enthusiast’s collection. Whether you set it on display or gently use your antiquated set on special occasions, knowing as much as possible about the tea set will bring it back to life. But how do you know what your set is worth and where its story begins? There are many books that catalogue the various antique silver tea set markings, but seeking a knowledgeable professional will save time and money.

Where to Begin

The short story is that the first silver teapot that we know of is dated only to 1627. The cups and saucers that complement the teapot weren’t even considered until 1648. To get a better understanding of why silver tea sets are not much older despite the precious metal being mined and refined for thousands of years to that date, you have to look at the history of tea.

Silver tea pot with stamp

Tea has its origin as a medicinal drink in the Orient. While many myths date the source of tea back to 3000 BC, the official story dates the birth of tea to the Han Dynasty, sometime during 206-220 BC. They used porcelain bowls, lacking in the handles we think of today. Sometime during the Song Dynasty, 960-1279 AD, the first tea pot for brewing emerged. As tea became more and more popular, making its way into different parts of the world through trade, the tea set began to emerge into what we know it as today. But tea was expensive to drink. Records indicate that one pound of tea was worth $100. It is no surprise that tea sets were only held by the wealthy enough to afford the affluent brew.

Origin of Antique Silver Tea Set Markings

It is when tea made it to Europe and the British monarchy around the turn of the 18th century that the silver tea set was revealed in all its propriety. Queen Victoria unveiled the first known complete silver tea service set that included the full six pieces of the teapot, sugar bowl, kettle, creamer, coffee pot and bowl for waste. As a result of an abundance of silver from a recent silver boom, silver tea sets began making their way across the parlors of society’s affluent. These handcrafted sets were subject to the establishment of the hallmarking system set in place a few hundred years earlier.

There are usually two to four markings stamped onto the set to denote a few distinguishing characteristics. The first being whether or not the set is sterling or silver-plated. As tea became even more popular, tea sets were manufactured using a less expensive method of silver plating so the middle classes could enjoy the beverage.

Another marking would tell you who made the piece and another would show when it was made. An assayer’s mark will reveal where the piece was assessed for purity and duty marks will show if a tax was paid to the crown or not. Sometimes more than one duty mark was stamped to show the tax paid multiple times.

There is a rich history to tea and the birth of silver tea sets. The place to start in revealing the history behind your antique silver tea set is to have it assessed by a professional appraiser.

Antique Silver Collector

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.

antique-silver-tea-sets

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.

antique-silver-estate-silver

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.

antique-silver-estate-silver

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.