Buying antique silver can be exciting and confusing. This is evident just by looking at some of the most commonly asked questions by antique collectors. Some of these questions include: how old an item should be to be considered an antique, how to differentiate between antique silver and antique sterling silver, are silver-plated antiques worth anything? Of course, there are many others, and it's easy to mistake a priceless sterling silver antique for a worthless piece of shiny junk.
The name antique is used to describe items that are more than 100 years old. Such items include statues, paintings, bronzes, and others. It is different from collectibles, a term used to describe items that are not as old but still desirable.
Any antique without "sterling" or "925" mark on it is most likely not sterling silver All American antique silver from the 19th and 20th century has the word sterling.
Note, there are silver-plated antiques that have insufficient precious metal to be valued based on their weight like perfect silver. Typically such items do not indicate that they are silver plated.
If you plan on collecting antique sterling silver for sale, it is good to educate yourself about them. Here are some important tips to help you make the right choice.
How do you determine the age?
If you want to succeed with sterling silver for sale, you must be able to determine the age of the item. If your item has a hallmark, it could be easy to decide on.
What are hallmarks? Hallmarks are tiny initials or designs stamped on the item. Mostly they are found on the backside or underside of the antiques. The initials mainly indicate a date, location, or the manufacturer. If the surface is damaged, you can find the marks by rubbing the surface gently with a cotton swab dipped in silver polish.
If an item doesn't have hallmarks, it is still possible to approximate its age. For instance, you can look at the design and see if it corresponds with some of the popular designs in your preferred era.
Wear and damage
Wear in sterling silver for sale does not affect value, but damage can. In the case of small damages, the value may still be intact. However, excess damage or tarnish will decrease the value. Knowledge of this matter is vital when buying antique silver online. It is common for sellers to hide visible damage and wear.
Antique silver buyers should find it affordable to collect antiques from antique jewelry dealers near me because they can check signs of wear and damage closely.
It is okay to buy a damaged antique sterling silver for your own. But the chances are that you'll develop a new taste in future thereby opting to sell and upgrade to a new collection. If you want to retain the value of your antique, go for antiques in perfect shape. You might find it very difficult to find a buyer for your damaged item. So, don't make this costly mistake when investing in premium sterling silver for sale.
Watch out for forgeries.
Among antique collectibles, silver and sterling silver are the most popular. There are very many items made of this precious metal that maintains its value for a very long time if well cared for.
If you don't know, out of the entire stock in the market, a good percentage is not authentic silver. So, as a matter of priority, you need to know how to avoid fake antique sterling silver for sale.
For a long time, silver has been seen as a possession for the wealthy and has been going for a fortune. Some items are, however, not all silver but silver-plated. Their pricing will definitely be different from genuine silver.
When looking for fakes signs, you should check the hallmarks first. But note, their presence does not mean you have the real thing. Experts will tell you that genuine antique silver has crafts made from steel dies while forgers use brass dies. What is the difference? Brass punches are softer. Talk to an antique silver expert to learn more about forgeries.
As always, educating yourself is the only way to collect valuable and genuine sterling for sale antiques. Alternatively, contact experts every time you are adding a new collection. Most antique silver items are premium — no need to take chances.