Selling the Family Silver

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.

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