Quick Way: How to Value Sterling Silver flatware and serving setsFriday, 3 Jun 2011
Don’t go into a store blind when selling your sterling silver flatware or serving sets! Take these easy steps to understand what you have before hauling your silver booty to the buyer. To understand what you have requires information and basic tools: bathroom scale, item identification.
To start with, as the seller, you need to know what it is you are selling. This is not brain surgery.. what you are looking for is basic information about your items. The last thing you want is to walk into a store not knowing what you have and relying on the store’s buyer to tell you. It is important to know if the items you are selling have ready buyers. Today, the market is seeking flatware and serving sets that are sterling silver which means 925% pure silver. If your items are stamped ‘inlaid’ or ‘plated’ or do not say ‘sterling’ or ‘.925’ be suspect. The market will not want to purchase these non silver items and you’ll end up wasting your time.
Once you’ve identified sterling silver it is time to separate the items: pure sterling silver vs. items that are partial sterling silver. If you have flatware some of it will not be sterling silver: knives, serving utensils, candlesticks, salt & pepper shakers and the like. These items need to be separated and measured in their own group because much of their weight is steel, cement sand or some other non-silver metal. Use a bathroom scale or a shipping scale. The word ‘weighted’ or ‘steel’ is a good sign that the item is not all sterling. We tend to take the weight of these items and discount 75% to come up with a silver quote.
The other items that are clearly stamped ‘sterling’ or ‘.925’ can be weighed together as these are the items that a buyer is most interested in. Again, use a bathroom scale or a shipping scale to estimate the weight in dry pounds. Let us assume you have 15 lbs of sterling silver which is .925 pure silver… now figure out the troy ounces. This is simple: 14.5 troy ounces roughly equals 1 dry pound so a 15 lbs flatware set = 217.50 troy ounces (t.oz). We are currently paying $23.11 per each t.oz so this set would be worth $5030. This price changes daily as silver spot prices change.
Don’t worry about the condition of your silver. The buyer won’t or should not care about tarnish or dents. If the buyer complains about the condition – walk out! All of us are buying these items as metal and we don’t care about superficial issues like tarnish or dents. And don’t panic if the buyer wants to cut into something to assay the item. This is a part of buying and selling… the buyer will need to know what you have. Unfortunately, most of this sterling will be refined… only the best of the best will survive the fire.
To conclude, valuing your sterling silver flatware or serving sets is relatively easy. You can do it at home in just a few minutes with tools you already have. Just identify what you have, weigh the sterling items and convert to troy ounces. Go to this page http://usjbsf.com/page/latest-buy-prices to find out what we are paying that day for silver and there you go! This will give you a good idea of how much your sterling silver is worth. If you have questions please contact me and I’ll try to help.