• While many people hold onto their sterling silver flatware to use for holidays and special occasions, it's not uncommon these days to want to sell it. Whether you have lost many pieces of your flatware set and no longer want it, or you just don't have the time to keep up with the care and maintenance, you'll need some general tips on how to sell your sterling silver.

    Know Your Flatware

    Research as much as you can so you are educated about the pattern, date and country of manufacture and current availability. The easiest way to do this is by searching online. If you have no or limited information about the flatware, use as many descriptive terms as possible until you find a match. There are also numerous books listing literally thousands of patterns (with pictures) that you can check out from the library or buy, such as Sterling Flatware: An Identification and Value Guide, by Tere Hagan. If all else fails, local pawn shops and silver brokers might also prove useful in providing information. You'll also need to know if your flatware is weighted or pure. Weighted flatware is a combination of silver and some other metal. A seam along the handle will indicate whether the center metal is not silver.

    Random Pieces

    If you possess only a handful of random pieces of flatware, you are likely sell it faster if you contact a precious metals buyer (or scrap dealer). Since these buyers are going to melt down the pieces, they generally don't care about the pattern or age. Offers will be tied to the current market price for silver. If the price you are offered seems too low, contact a silver broker for a quote. These brokers buy thousands of pieces, often to complete certain sets. You might find they will offer you more money because you have a piece they need to complete a pattern.

    Complete or Rare Sets

    If you possess a large sterling flatware set with serving pieces, such as a pickle fork, gravy ladle and baked potato fork, or if you have a few serving pieces of a known rare pattern, contact an auction house to determine the value. It's uncommon to be in possession of a complete estate set of sterling flatware and the wooden box that stores the set. If you're lucky enough to have this large and complete of a set, get several quotes from reputable auction houses before selling.

    Selling Yourself

    If you decide to try your luck selling your flatware yourself, check out online auction sites, such as eBay. According to Georgia Silver, in Atlanta, you'll maximize your chance at getting top dollar if you take the time to search the auction site to find comparable pieces to yours (especially completed listings). Also note if sellers seem to have better luck selling their flatware in lots or by the piece. Look at eBay's seller resources for specific articles and advice pertaining to sterling silver.


    Silver Chatter

    Sterling Flatware: An Identification and Value Guide; Tere Hagan; 19998

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