Silverware, particularly antique items, can sell for thousands of dollars to the right buyer. Before you sell your silverware, however, find out how much it could be worth in the current market. That way you'll get the highest possible price. The best sale option depends on the value and the type of silver. For example, selling rare antique sterling silver on a classified ad website is not necessarily the best way to get maximum profit.
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Collect all of your silverware together. Check to see if you have items that make up a full or partial set, such as flatware or tea sets. These can fetch higher prices and should be sold together.
Check the hallmarks on your silverware against those displayed in a hallmark guidebook such as "Bradbury's Guide to Antique Silver." Find out as much information as you can about the marks, including maker, date and location.
Visit the Miller's Antiques and Collectables website. Check for items similar to yours. Miller's offers information on current demand and prices. If your item is considered high value, then it should be sold through auction or a specialist dealer.
Take valuable antique silver to an auction house. Look for auction houses with specialist silver departments and dedicated silver sales. Auction houses will usually offer free estimates if you suggest you will put the item into their sale. You may get lucky if two collectors decide to bid on the same item at auction. Bear in mind that auction sales deduct fees as a percentage of the sale. Set a reserve to ensure that your silver doesn't sell for a low price. Choose this option for high-value antique silver.
Try eBay for small, lower-value items. Take clear photos of your item, including closeups of any hallmarks, patterns and unusual features. Categorise your item in the "Antique Silver" section of the eBay site. Larger items may cost a lot of money to package and send, and may require additional postage insurance costs.
Bring your silverware to an antiques dealer. Antiques dealers may offer lower prices than auctions or private sales. However, they will generally offer immediate cash and will purchase high-value and heavy items. Ensure you have some idea of value before entering negotiations.
Advertise your silver for sale online via a classified service such as Craigslist. Include a picture of the item and a clear description, including dimensions and weight. Alternatively, list your items in a newspaper or in a free ad paper.
Consider using a scrap metal dealer for poor condition or low-value silver. For very quick sales at relatively low prices, try local pawn shops. These aren't suitable options for rare pieces.
Tips and warnings
- Clean your silver if selling on eBay or through classified ads. Do not clean if taking to an auction house or specialist.
- Make sure you do your research. Not understanding the full value of your item could lead to you losing out on lots of money.
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