Silver is one of the most prevalent items we find in significant quantities in our clients’ homes. There is a big difference, though, between sterling silver and silver plate. This is actually one of our favorite things to discuss and present in our version of the CMFTO™” Road Show.”
To start, there is a simple and general way to look at silver:
Of course, this is over-simplifying things a bit, but it generally holds true. One of the things we have found in most houses is that the sterling and the silver plate are often mixed together. So, the first step is to separate the sterling silver from the silver plate. They key to doing this is to identify the sterling silver by its hallmark. (To learn more about sterling silver hallmarks, visit this site; or this site to learn more about silver plate markings.)
Once all the silver has been sorted, the next step is to identify what to keep. Highly-polished silver adds a great decorative touch to any table.
The final step is to contact a silver buyer for the remaining pieces.
When we coordinate this service for our clients, we lay everything out on a table for the buyer to review. We don’t need to polish things for the buyer, as they are well aware of worth regardless of patina.
Some buyers will take silver plate in good condition, some will not. Depending on the size and status of your collection, you may also need to consider donation or a garage/estate sale.
For flatware sets, it might also be worth considering consignment. Often, we have found consignment stores are more willing to accept silver plate flatware sets, because of its marketability. Check with your local organizations for details and specifics.
All my best,