Antique Sterling Silver from Nelson and Nelson Antiques

Nelson & Nelson Antiques

What Are the Common Reasons Why Silver Tarnishes?

November 4, 2021 10:23 am
Antiques : Decorative Art : Metals : Silver

Sterling silver is a highly collectible precious metal. You want to keep your antiques pristine for your collection. Therefore, it’s wise to ask, “What are the common reasons why silver tarnishes?” When you know the answer, you can protect your possessions well.

Chemicals React to Silver

Your silver will tarnish because of several chemicals that react when they come in contact with the silver. Sulfur is the most common culprit known to tarnish silver. You’ll find sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide in the air particles floating around us. Hydrogen sulfide has a distinct rotting egg scent and will form silver sulfide when it reacts with silver. This substance is what creates tarnish.

You can discover sulfur in many day-to-day products, including foods, cleansers, shampoos, and perfumes. Therefore, if you consume or use any products that contain sulfur and then touch your silver, you’ll slowly tarnish it.

Moisture Is in the Air

Silver won’t tarnish in dry air. The moisture in the air will react with silver and cause an accelerated tarnishing process. Therefore, the higher the humidity, the quicker the rate of tarnishing. If you live in a highly humid climate, it’s best to store your silver with silica gel packets or pieces of chalk to help absorb the moisture and keep the air around your silver dry.

Copper Reacts to Oxygen

If your antiques are sterling silver, you must know that copper reacts with oxygen. Sterling silver is 92.5 percent pure silver and 7.5 percent copper. Copper is what reacts with oxygen to create red copper oxide. This reaction could also cause your sterling silver to tarnish.

Various Acids Affect Silver

Another common reason why silver tarnishes is that various acids affect it. People have reported that their sterling silver antiques will quickly blacken if they wrap them in tissue paper. This problem arises because tissue contains different acids.

You must be aware of the acidity levels in your skin as well. Different pH levels in a person’s skin will result in different rates of tarnishing.

It’s essential to handle your sterling silver with gloves and care consistently. This way, you can protect your silver from tarnish. You want to keep it pristine until it’s time to sell it, after all. Nelson and Nelson is the perfect place to visit when you’re ready to sell antique silver in NYC.

How To Clean Your Sterling Silver Antiques at Home

November 4, 2021 10:19 am
Antiques : Decorative Art : Metals : Silver : Sterling

The most critical piece of information to remember about cleaning your sterling silver antiques at home is “easy does it.” You must proceed with caution, be extremely gentle with your antiques, and keep the cleaning to a minimum. Let’s get started with some simple guidelines to help you take care of your silver.

Cleaners To Use

It’s vital that you follow the instructions on the cleaners and only use the amount required. You can use more if needed. The following are silver cleaning products. You’ll find them listed from most abrasive to most gentle.

  • Silver wadding
  • Silver cleaning foam
  • Silver cleaning mitts or gloves
  • Silver paste polish

Expert Tips

Once you’ve cleaned the silver, a good dusting should be all it needs for a while. The best cleaning cloths for your silver are soft cloths such as microfiber towels or cotton dusters. Don’t wrap your antique sterling silver cutlery with elastic bands or store them in plastic bags because this will tarnish them quicker. One last tip for cleaning your sterling silver at home: don’t allow it to soak overnight in water.

How To Start Collecting Silver: Antique Dealer Tips

November 2, 2021 3:10 pm
Antiques : Decorative Art : Metals : Silver

Antique silver is a tremendous and valuable collecting focus. The variety found in silver collecting makes it easy to want to get started. The following are a few antique dealer tips on how to get started collecting silver.

Pick a Focus for Your Collection

With numerous options available, it’s easy to want to collect everything. It’s helpful for collectors, especially those who are beginners, to decide which direction to take their collection. If you’re in search of a focus, a few ideas include:

  • Pick a specific object, such as sterling silver spoons.
  • Choose a favorite era to collect from, like Art Deco pieces.
  • Focus on a favorite motif, such as lilies or geometric designs.
  • Pick a specific manufacturer, like Unger Brothers or Wallace, or choose another famous name.
  • Focus on pieces you’ll use daily, such as serving platters.

Learn To Determine Age

When purchasing items to add to your collection, it’s crucial to get a sense of the piece’s age. If your item has a hallmark, compare it to other known marks from that manufacturer to narrow down a date. Hallmarked items make this simple because many silver manufacturers will change their mark every few years.

If you find a piece with no hallmark, you’re going to have to look at design clues. Gather knowledge on your favorite era to gain a better understanding of what styles and motifs were popular. If you’re still in doubt, take the piece to get appraised by a professional.

Become Familiar With Silver Content and Plating

Before making a single purchase, you must familiarize yourself with the various types of silver. Solid silver is far too soft to hold up, so it’s doubtful you’ll find any. You’re more likely to encounter silverplate or sterling silver.

It’s easy to see why many collectors choose to collect silver. You have so many options ranging from silver serving dishes to sterling silver wall hooks. Use these tips to start collecting silver today.

Determining the Value of Your Silver Tray

September 30, 2021 1:31 pm
Antiques : Decorative Art : Metals : Silver : Plate

Determining the value of your silver tray has many factors. Who designed and manufactured the tray being one, and the condition and date of the tray being another. Trends also affect the value of the tray. Some extremely old trays designed by specific makers will sell for thousands of dollars at auctions.

Check the Marking

Look on the back of the tray to find the hallmarks. Sometimes there’s only a single mark, and other times there are several alongside each other. You’re looking for digits, pictures, and letters. All the different markings refer to specific information that can help determine the value of your silver tray.

If you find a .925 embossed into your tray, this signifies it’s sterling silver. Sterling silver is the highest quality silver and will typically bring a higher sale price.


Purchase a hallmark guidebook to compare the markings you find on your tray. Notably, if the silver tray is over 100 years old or by a coveted designer, such as antique Tiffany silver, it’s most likely going to be a higher value.

Condition of the Tray

Search and feel around the tray for dents or bumps. A tray in poor condition is a lower value. If you find evidence of solder, it’s a sign of imitation or forgery.

Believe it or not, the heavier the silver tray, the more valuable the tray. The patterns appearing on the tray are also important indications of date and style. If your tray has a border with a silver rope twist, it could be from the desirable early 19th century. If your tray has sharp lines and angles, then it could be from the less desirable art-deco style of the early 20th century.

Current Demand

Checking different auction house’s websites is a fantastic way to understand the current sale prices and demand for silver. Look at the other silver trays that have recently sold or will sell soon. You can always consult with your local dealer or auction house to get a professional opinion and evaluation. Remember that these prices are estimates and dealers offer lower prices because they need to make a profit.

Best Items To Pass Down: Family Heirloom Examples

September 20, 2021 10:50 am

A family heirloom is a treasured item families can pass down from one generation to the next. It can be anything from valuable antiques to simple photographs. Below you’ll find some ideas for the best items to pass down.

Digital and Paper Photographs

The world’s switch to digital only makes storing photographs and videos easier. While you can hire a company to digitalize all the pictures and videos if you choose, flipping through a photo album is nostalgic and reminiscent. Your family will love reliving memories.


This doesn’t mean saving every toy your child owned, but keeping a few that meant a lot to them is a beautiful idea. They could be toys from a memorable event, ones they can’t part ways with, or a toy future generations may enjoy. Asking them which ones they’d like to save is a great idea.

Fine China

Most people don’t have a set of fine china anymore—but if you do, then it’s instantly more valuable. Passing down something associated with great memories around the dinner table results in a great family heirloom. Whoever receives such a wonderful heirloom as fine china will be very lucky.


Phone calls and text messages quickly replaced sending physical letters, but if you have any, you should definitely save them. Letters accompany family stories that get passed down through the generations. They’re capsules of a different time and are therefore always fascinating, which is a great reason to pass them down to someone who will treasure them.


If you have collectible pieces of artwork your children have made, they’re definitely items worth passing down. However, perhaps keeping every single one wouldn’t be a good idea, so make sure the pieces you decide to keep are meaningful. That way, they’ll be worthy of being called family treasures.


Maybe it’s your grandfather’s baseball cards or a parent’s coin collection, but these should be kept in the family. Your kids can even add to them. Collections are fantastic windows to the past, whatever they may be composed of, which is why they’d make for a great family heirloom.

Sterling Silver

Vintage sterling silver is something people go to great lengths to collect and treasure. It can be mysterious, regal, and beautiful—all in all, something great to pass down. Additionally, sterling silver makes an excellent keepsake for the family because it’s high quality and long-lasting.


Many families have a special piece of jewelry that’s been passed down. It could be a grandmother’s engagement ring or a necklace filled with sentimental value. It’s the story behind the jewelry that makes it a treasure.


It’s more than just the recipe that makes it valuable. It’s the handwriting, the stains on the recipe card, the smell wafting through the house. A recipe can bring a memory to life instantly. If you have some precious ones, they would make fantastic heirlooms.

There’s no right or wrong family heirloom. It’s whatever your family treasures and inherits—whether that’s something new or old. If you’re stuck about what items would make good heirlooms, refer back to these best items to pass down for ideas.