Silverware and fine china are possessions that sound great in theory, but are commonly found collecting dust on shelves, never being used more than once. If you are looking to clear these items from your estate, you definitely want to know their history and worth to receive fair market value. You shouldn’t expect to receive a good price for your belongings just by walking into a random antique store with a bag full of sterling silverware. Instead, you should educate yourself in order to maximize your profit. Here are some tips:
Know Your Silverware
There are two ways of selling sterling silverware: You either get the piece valued as an antique item or you can sell it per ounce by melting it down. Get a sense of the fluctuating market value of silver and always expect to receive payment equal to less than the market rate. If the item you have is not an antique you should consider selling it by its melt-weight.
Not all silver is sterling. You will be able to easily discern sterling by the identifying stamp, which can be seen easily through a magnifying glass. You may see the word ‘sterling’ or the number ‘925’. Make sure you are not compromising on price with any valuable pieces. If you have no knowledge about the manufacturer or how old your silverware is, you might let go of a rare piece for a very low cost.
Estimate A Proper Value
There are many ways in which you can identify the authenticity of your sterling silverware and establish an estimated value:
- Go to local antique shops and ask them for quotes in order to get an idea about the worth of your item.
- Search for professional appraisers who will charge some money for ethical appraising. They are not allowed to buy appraised items, thus ensuring you get an honest opinion.
- Look online! Find local auction houses and see if they provide free valuation. If it is a rare piece, they may offer to put it up on their next auction and split the profits with you.
How To Get The Buyers
Once you are done estimating the rough value of your silver pieces, perform a quick search for potential buyers and compare your results to get the best price. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- ‘Word of Mouth’ always helps in getting the right recommendation for whatever you are looking for. Talk with people around you and ask them if they have any experience in selling sterling silver items.
- If you live outside a major metropolitan region, check with the buyers in the nearest city.
Prices offered are generally lower at corner dealers and pawnshops. Jewelry shops also buy silver, but you cannot get the full value of an antique. You may get a good price at an auction house, but they usually don’t buy items directly; they would rather sell it to someone and get a commission. Private collectors and buyers are hard to find, but they are the ones going to give you top dollar. Do your research, place an advertisement online or sell it to an estate buyer.