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The Michael Ivankovich Guide to Selling Silverplate

Here are some important points to consider when selling Silverplate.

  • Silverplate may have "Decorative" value but has no real "Precious Metal" value.

  • Silverplate is not covered with real silver; rather is it a cheap base metal with a decorative silver overlay.

  • Silverplate has many different forms and names, along with many different markings which identify it.

  • Silverplate is not nearly as easily sellable as "Sterling" silver.

  • The value of Silverplate will depend upon many different factors.

  • The value of Silverplate has been dropping in recent years for a variety of reasons.

  • If you are unclear how to differentiate between Sterling Silver and Silverplate, or if you need help identifying unmarked items, we can help.

Silverplate Vignette/Testimonial

Our clients who were downsizing their home brought a RubberMaid tub to our offices, stating that it contained wedding gifts they had received nearly 40 years ago. The tub had been sitting un-used in their basement for decades and they had no idea whether there was anything of value. We sorted through the tub, separating the Sterling Silver from the Silverplate and Pewter items. We returned the Silverplate and Pewter to the clients, recommending that they sell it at a garage sale. We then liquidated the Sterling Silver for approximately $4,500.00.

"...We were shocked at how much money these items brought. Thanks for helping us to deal with these things..." Malvern PA

We Can Help

If you are selling Silverplate. or if you have silver items and are unsure whether they are Sterling Silver or Silverplate, we can help. We suggest that you first read the article below to better understand Silverplate. Then, if you still feel that you would like our help, call us at (215)-264-4304 to further discuss your needs. Distance should not present a problem as we serve the Greater Philadelphia tri-state Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Delaware region, as well as many national clients.

Our Silverplate-Selling Services include:

  • Sorting the Sterling and other Silver from the Silverplate and Pewter.
  • Estimating the actual value...before selling.
  • Recommending your best selling options and helping you negotiate the actual sale of your items.

The Michael Ivankovich Guide to Selling Silverplate
Michael Ivankovich, GPPA, MPPA

Let me begin this column with a very simple statement: "Silverplate" may have "Decorative Value", but it has very little "Precious Metal" Value.

A common definition of Silverplate is that it is "flatware or decorative accessories coated with a plating of silver". And a very common misconception with Silverplate is that it has value because it is "covered with silver". This is simply not true because the precious metal value of the silver coating is worth far less than the expense of recovering and refining it.

Therefore, you need to look at Silverplate as a "Decorative Accessory" rather than a "Precious Metal" asset.

There are many forms of Silverplate including:

  • Nickel Silver
  • Electro-Plated Silver
  • Electro-Plated Nickel Silver
  • Quadruple-Plate
  • German Silver
  • Alpaca Silver
  • Britannia
  • Sheffield Plate, etc.

Some of these silvers may be more valuable than others, but all have more of a "decorative" than "precious metal" value. Silverplate has so many markings that books have been written about them, but you should simply understand that most Silverplate can be quickly identified by its markings or weight.

The value of Silverplate items today is based upon several factors:

  • Age or Era: Is it 100+ year old Victorian Silverplate or a late 20th century wedding gift?
  • Maker: Is it a better-known or unknown maker?
  • Style: Is it high-end & ornate, or plain & simple?
  • Form: Is it a Coffee Pot, Tea Pot, Bowl or Coaster?
  • Condition: Is it mint & polished or dented & tarnished?
  • Desirability: Is the younger generation interested in it today?

Unfortunately, the value of most Silverplated items has been dropping in recent years for a variety of reasons:

  • Changing Times: Decorative Silverplated items simply don't fit in with today's "Paper & Plastic" dining culture.
  • It's Work: Silverplate must be polished to keep it shiny and few people today are interested in polishing silver on a regular basis.
  • Objects No Longer Used: Items such as Silverplated Punch Bowls, Candelabras, Serving Trays, and Coffee & Tea Sets are no longer in vogue and are rarely used when entertaining today.
  • 21st Century Households: Most Silverplated objects were 19th-20th century formal dining room accessories and the formal dining room is simply not used as frequently today as it was in past generations. As a matter of fact, many new houses today are being built without a formal dining room what-so-ever.
  • Dust Collectors: The younger generation, those who are setting up households today, simply look at Silverplated items as "Dust Collectors" and relatively few have interest in owning them today.

The bottom line is that since there is no real "Precious Metal" value in Silverplate, and since there is far less interest in Silverplate today than in years past, both interest and prices have been falling quite dramatically in recent years.

Still, you have to be very careful when dealing with Silverplate. While things like Silverplated Serving Trays may have little value today, Sterling Silver Serving Trays can be worth many hundreds of dollars. So you have to understand how to read the markings and be very careful that you don't throw out, or sell too cheaply, your better items.

If you need help sorting through your things to determine what is Silverplate, what is Sterling Silver, what is Un-marked Silver, or what is Pewter or other metal…we can help. Call to set up an appointment for us to review your items.

Published Gold & Silver Articles by Michael Ivankovich

Published Gold & Silver Articles by Michael Ivankovich: For more information on selling your precious metals, we invite you to read Mike's articles found on this Web Site:

  • The Michael Ivankovich Guide to Selling Gold: How the Scrap Gold Game is Really Played
  • The Michael Ivankovich Guide to Selling Silver: How the Scrap Silver Game is Really Played
  • The Michael Ivankovich Guide to Selling Household & Estate Coins
  • The Michael Ivankovich Guide to Selling Jewelry
  • The Michael Ivankovich Guide to Selling Precious Metals: Scrap It? Sell It? Or Auction It?
  • The Michael Ivankovich Guide to Selling Silverplate
  • More Gold & Silver Articles Coming Soon

Michael Ivankovich, GPPA, MPPA
Personal Property Appraiser

P.O. Box 1536 * Doylestown, PA 18901
Office: (215)-345-6094 * Cell: (215)-264-4304

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