Now that the holidays are over, some are no doubt wondering whether to polish the silver or simply get rid of it.
Younger generations are increasingly choosing the latter, according to local antique dealers and silver and gold exchanges.
“We buy a sterling silverware set pretty much every week,” said Stephen Stierstorfer, owner of American Coin and Jewelry Exchange on Hulen Street in Fort Worth. “Younger people don’t care about it. They want to turn it into a big-screen TV or a vacation.”
I recently inherited my mother’s sterling silverware and also did not feel the need to hang onto it. So I set about going to local shops and browsing online to learn how to sell it. Here are 10 things I learned during the process:
Even though formal dining may be more a thing of the past, be sure to take a long hard look at your family and whether you would use it. Also, consider whether you want to pass down Grandma’s silver to your son or daughter.
Stierstorfer said about half of the silverware that comes into his shop is silver-plated, which is virtually worthless on the silver market. If the silverware is from another country, it might have “925” on it. This is a reference to sterling silver, which is 92.5 percent silver (the rest is alloys). Occasionally, Stierstorfer said, he sees the word “coin” printed on the back. This means the silverware is made from melted coins and is 90 percent silver.
Be aware that most knives in a table setting are only silver around the handles, which may be filled for additional weight. (The tops of knives are stainless steel.) Eight-setting sets can vary widely in weight and therefore value.
Look up historic value as well, if you have time to wait. For example, earlier this year, silver was selling at around $30 an ounce. Now it’s closer to $19.