Why You Need to Sell Your Sterling Silver to a Certified Professional
Sterling silver is a precious metal, meaning that it always has value. If you own sterling silver, your asset should either be protected or sold.
What does it mean to protect your silver? Make sure your collection is properly protected by your insurance coverage. A blanket homeowner’s policy may not cover the total replacement value for your sterling flatware and hollowware. Create a detailed written and photographic inventory for scheduling an insurance rider. Without such documentation, you risk incomplete reimbursement in the event of a loss.
Many people no longer use or display their heirloom or “hope chest” tea service, platters, bowls and cutlery. If you wish to sell your sterling silver, find a respected professional to guide you. You will need to know the “spot” or “scrap” price at which the commodity is currently trading. The “spot” is the monetary worth of one troy ounce of 100% silver (a troy ounce = 31.2 grams). Like the stock market, the value of precious metals can change daily. On August 24, 2017, the price of pure silver was $14.20 per troy ounce. Today, less than one month later, the price is $17.66 per troy ounce! Scraps can add up significantly.
Sterling silver is less than 100% pure silver. It is usually bonded to a stronger metal. When selling silver for scrap value, it is important to ensure that the object is sterling silver beforehand. Hallmarks on the pieces will indicate the percentage of silver contained. Most popular marks are “.925” or “STERLING” or the British standard hallmark “Lion Passant.” There are MANY others.
Some silver objects can sell for value added to spot because of rarity and desirability. Certain “names” still excite buyers who are willing to pay more, like Tiffany, Georg Jensen or Paul Storr.
Beware of Cheating Scales!
By mistake or by design, unbalanced or uncertified scales can work to your disadvantage. Read our Fraud for Gold blog for more information. An honest professional will make sure their scale is properly calibrated and will use a scale which has been certified by their state’s Office of Weights & Measures. The scale will have a designated sticker and you can ask to see a Registration Certificate in any location offering to buy silver, gold, or other precious metals.
Kitco.com is an informative website regarding precious metal pricing. The proper calculation of silver percentage, the legitimate weight, the spot trade value and any enhancements (makers, designs) will determine the price you will be offered for your silver (or gold or platinum).
What is the difference between sterling silver & silver plate?
Silver plated objects are almost always less value than sterling silver.
Objects made of a base metal (copper, brass, white metal or nickel) covered with an extremely thin (microscopic) layer of real silver are called silver-plated. This means that the object is almost entirely made from a cheaper metal. For refiners, the value of the real silver content is significantly less than the cost to extract it from the item. Silver plated objects can sell at estate sales or antique shops. Markings that say “EP (Electro Plated)” “EPNS (Electro Plated Nickel Silver)” or “Silver on Copper” signify that your item is silver plated.
Meet with Drew
If you have sterling silver items and do not know what to do with them, talk to Drew Magnusson. Drew has over 20 years of expertise evaluating sterling silver & other pieces of personal property. His clients will tell you that Drew is generous with his prices, knowledge, and time answering questions.
If you have Sterling Silver, the Magnussons can help you! Call 973-425-1550 to learn how to protect, appraise or sell your sterling.
Co-Authors: Lynn Magnusson, ASA, AAA and Becky Lipnick, Communications Coordinator