Antique Sterling Silver from Nelson and Nelson Antiques

Nelson & Nelson Antiques

A Quick Guide to Valuing Antique Silver

May 21, 2019 10:28 am

sell your valuables

When you want to sell your valuables, you must analyze various factors so that you can get the best value for your products. One of the most common valuables that people have in their homes is antique silver. This is a rare metal that has been used in the across industries for years. Many people have been looking for antique gold jewelry for years due to its appearance and value.

It has been proven that in 3,000 B.C., people were mining for silver and other precious metals in Greece and Turkey. This is a clear indication that antique sterling silver is a valuable commodity that you should hold dearly before you decide to sell. Prior to selling your antique silver, you have to determine its value. Here are some of the commonly known methods of determining the value of antique silver before:


Every time you want to sell your valuables, you must analyze and determine their physical and chemical conditions. Silver's original condition is very important in maintaining its value. People prefer pieces of silver that are not damaged and never needed repairs. Similarly, silver pieces consisting of different pieces will typically result in lesser values.

One important aspect you should know when you want to sell your antiques is that personalizing silver could significantly lower its value. However, it is important to highlight that the quality of engraving could be important. A silver piece in poor condition could still attract a high value if it has been professionally engraved.

Age and Rarity

You should never sell your valuables before finding out how old they are because age is a major factor when it comes to determining the value of Tiffany silver. Older and common pieces of silver will always attract less value because they are less desirable.

However, rare sterling vases and silver items could result in a considerable amount of money because of its high market demand. It is important that you consider consulting experienced individuals before selling Tiffany silver so that you can determine its rarity and its actual market value.


A sterling trophy that has a good provenance can be worth a lot. Note that buyers will always be more likely to purchase antique silver that has documented history. Most of them would also prefer to buy antique silver that has a history of ownership and origin.

The majority of antique silver buyers do not have sufficient knowledge concerning some rarer silver pieces, which explains why they are searching for all the necessary information before they can decide to commit their resources. Therefore, it's important to find all the information concerning your silver piece prior to completing any transaction.

Silver Weight

The weight of the sterling tray will have an impact on how much money buyers are willing to pay, as well. Most silver buyers have a perception that the weight of the silver indicates its overall quality. However, it is worth noting that a sterling silver trophy has intrinsic value, meaning that you should not pay too much attention to the physical weight. Today, silver buyers are more concerned with the intrinsic value of silver than its physical weight.


Lastly, hallmarks and certain patterns could play a vital role in determining the value of antique silver. If you want to attract top dollar buyers, you must be able to show the hallmarks from your silver pieces. The only way to achieve this is to ensure that your silver pieces are thoroughly cleaned and all the coating has been removed. This will help you to see all the hallmarks and other stamps. There are online guides that will use the hallmark to identify the pattern and the manufacturer, which will help determine the value of your antique silver.

If you want to sell your antiques, make sure you're working with trusted buyers and are aware of its various properties. The above strategies will help identify the value of your silver pieces before buyers come into the picture. If you believe that you have rare silver, stick to your price and the best value will come your way.

Learn More About Buying Antique Silver

May 2, 2019 9:56 am

antique silverThroughout time, silver has been valued highly. In fact, in at least 14 languages, the word for "money" and the word for "silver" are the same. Many people are in the market for antique sterling silver. Finding someone who is selling silver may not be all that hard but there are still some things you can do to get the antique silver pieces you really want and make the most of them.

  • Decide what you are looking for. There are a lot of people out there selling silver so you should be able to find what you are looking for. If you are looking at sterling silver picture frames and do not see one that you really like, go ahead and ask if the person selling it has more pieces that are not being displayed.

  • Do not be limited by the original function of the silver pieces you buy. If you buy some antique silver pieces, you do not have to use them for their original purpose. A silver spoon can be displayed as a piece of art rather than used as a spoon. If you are looking for a piece to it in with a display you already have, you can talk to the person selling silver and they may be able to find something that works. Many people display a silver tea set with tray and it works.

  • Make a real statement with a central piece. If you find the right piece, you can use it as a centerpiece that wows everyone. A simple sterling candelabra, for example, can be the star of the show if you want it to be.

  • Small pieces can make a big impact. When it comes to buying antique silver pieces, you do not have to go big or go home. Small, delicate silver pieces can also be used as focal points in any display. An elegant silver bowl or vase can be dazzling when you add the right flowers. By the same token, a set of three small, sterling vases can look great in the center of a table or on a mantle.


Some other things to think about when talking to dealers selling silver:

  • Its value will not go down. When you think about buying precious metals it is important to note that silver is one material that is timeless. If you take the time to care for it the right way, it will not lose value over time. When you are looking at antique silver pieces, it is important to buy pieces that are in decent condition.

  • Buying antique silver pieces is good for the environment. When you buy them, you are not using any environmental energy. Buying and gifting antique silver pieces is one of the best kinds of recycling. Many pieces have been around for a long time so they have a unique history.

  • Have an expert take a look at pieces that are older. A number of sterling silver pieces are stamped with "925" or the word "sterling." If you find a piece with either stamp, it means it was manufactured during the 19th or 20th century. If you are not able to tell what a piece is worth or when it was made, there are experts out there who can help.

  • Get insurance for your purchase. If you are buying online and the items will be shipped to you, make sure the entity or person selling silver can pack it properly. You should also make sure the package is insured correctly. This will give you more peace of mind when your silver items are en route to you.

  • Clean your silver properly. Over the course of time, silver pieces can become tarnished. The good news is that there are products that can clean your silver products safely. If you are not displaying your items, they should be kept in a bag that is airtight. There are also cloth pouches that are made from a material that can keep the silver in tip-top shape.


Sterling silver items are beautiful and timeless. Antique silver pieces have a romantic story to tell and their age only adds to their beauty. They make great gifts. The right pieces can add class and style to any display.

Why You Should Only Sell Sterling Silver to the Experts

April 30, 2019 10:13 pm

antique sterlingAntique sterling silver is a wonderful gift for a wedding, baby shower, or other momentous occasion. Indeed, the two most precious metals that you'll find in jewelry are silver and gold alloys. But sterling silver has long been used in tea sets, vases, silverware sets, and more. Silver is also the gift traditionally given for one's 25th wedding anniversary. And here's an extra special fact about silver: it's formed in star explosions (supernovae). These stars are about 10 times the size of the sun, and when they explode, silver and gold are produced. So just think about that -- your silverware set is partially made of stars! Whether you're looking to buy or sell antique sterling silver, you want to know what to look for, where to get a fair price, and what kind of items are particularly valuable. 

What Defines Sterling Silver? 

Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper (though other metals can also be used in the alloy). Sterling silver exists because pure silver is actually too soft of a metal to be used in jewelry or tableware. You can tell what's true sterling silver from what's just silver-plated by the word "Sterling" or number 925 marked somewhere on the piece, something that dates back to the 19th century. 

What Pieces Should I Look For? 

If you're thinking of selling, make sure that your pieces are, in fact, all sterling silver (look for that 925 or "sterling" stamped somewhere). Antique sterling silver is of course, worth more, though some places may also buy depending on the total weight. You should certainly discuss with an expert, which we'll talk about more below. 

If you're in the market to buy, you likely want to get an object that's both useful and beautiful. Flatware, a tea set, pitchers, picture frames, and jewelry tend to be the best options here. 

How Do I Take Care of My Antique Silver? 

Above all, you want to keep your silver from tarnishing. Keep in mind that despite being alloyed with a stronger metal, antique silver can still be scratched, dented, or otherwise marred, so you want to be extra careful when cleaning. Always check your silver over for anything that might be loose or breaking before cleaning. 

Wearing clean cotton gloves and placing the silver on a soft cloth is definitely advised and try to not use silver polish too much since it actually can remove part of the silver as it cleans. Ideally, it should be dusted regularly with a soft cloth, but if you're trying to remove dirt or tarnish, warm water and some mild detergent is best. 

Try to avoid completely immersing a solid silver object and make sure that it's properly rinsed off and completely dried before putting back. Corrosion can be avoided in some cases by applying a lacquer. 

Do keep your silver in a dry place -- humidity and dampness can cause verdigris to appear, especially if it's a copper alloy. 

Why Should I Sell Silver to Experts? 

If you're looking to sell your valuables, you want to make sure you're getting a fair price. The experts understand the worth of your silver and won't try to cheat you of a fair price. Professional appraisers are one of the best ways to find a quote on how much your silver may be worth -- and they don't buy items they've appraised, so you can get a truly objective assessment. 

The best place to go is an antique shop or antique dealer or an auction house -- and those places may also appraise your silver. Private buyers and collectors can also be a good source to sell at a higher price than you could get at a pawnshop or coin shop. Selling to experts means that you know your silver will be in good hands and you're likely to get the best deal possible. 

Antique sterling can be both a beautiful gift and provide some nice revenue if you're looking to declutter or need some money. Research the best places to buy and/or sell before embarking on your silver journey!

Is Your Antique Sterling Silver Real? How to Tell

April 5, 2019 6:43 pm

antique sterlingThere are few things more beautiful than antique sterling silver pieces. But if you're considering selling an antique silver piece from your collection, it's important that you determine whether it's pure sterling or if it's been plated with silver.

Are you ready to learn a few expert tips on differentiating between real sterling and silver plating? Keep reading for a quick education.

Why is telling the difference important?

Before we get into how to tell the difference between sterling silver and imitations, it's necessary to discuss why this is important. While sterling silver is not as expensive as other precious metals like gold, imitations can be found all over the place. Silver plated pieces are typically the most common source for this. And while silver plating looks passable as real sterling silver, it deteriorates much more quickly. This is due to a very small amount of actual silver content. As such, buying or selling a silver plated piece could be an issue if you're looking for true antique silver. It's especially an issue if you're paying a pretty penny for it without knowing it's simply plating..

How can I tell the difference?

Fortunately, there are a number of tests you can run to see whether the item you're interested in buying or selling is truly antique sterling or not. While polished silver reflects 95% of the visible light spectrum, the following tests may be a bit more useful in your determination:

  • Magnetic Testing - True silver is not magnetic. So if you hold a magnet up to the piece you're examining and it's attracted to it, you're likely looking at a silver overlay. Either that or it's been made with less than 92.5% silver.

  • Weight Testing - If you own an antique silver item of similar size, compare its weight to that of the piece you're testing. If they weigh about the same, it's likely that you're working with real silver.

  • 925 Silver Testing - This is the simplest way to identify true sterling silver. A 925 imprint means the piece is composed of 92.5% pure silver. In that case, you're dealing with the genuine article.

Whether you're dealing with a sterling trophy or a silver tea set, understanding your metals can make all the difference when it comes to silver. Are you prepared to put your antique sterling to the test?

How to Buy and Sell Antiques Like a Pro

April 1, 2019 10:18 am

buy antiques"Everything old is new again" could be the unofficial mantra of antique collectors and sellers. After all, antique store revenue represents 13% of all U.S. resale industry revenue, a sector that brings in an estimated $17.5 billion every year. But if you're looking to add to your growing collection or to unload some historic pieces, how can you be sure you're paying or fetching a fair price? In today's post, we'll provide a few tips for when you want to sell or buy antiques. Follow these tips and you'll be able to sell your valuables or accumulate some older pieces like a pro.


Tips for Antique Buyers

  • Always Inspect and Inquire: When you buy antiques, you should be prepared to physically inspect and handle an item. This can provide you with valuable information pertaining to the condition of the piece or signs of its legitimacy. You should also make it a habit to ask the seller about any damage or signs of restoration. If you don't spot it or ask about it, the seller probably isn't obligated to be upfront about it. Gathering as much information as possible can allow you to avoid overpaying.

  • Ask For a Receipt: Whether you pay with cash or with a check, you should always obtain a receipt from your purchase. The receipt should list the condition of the item, its era or age, the material(s), any restoration or damage, and its value. This can provide you with a chain of custody if you ever decide to resell the item or you want to have it professionally appraised later on.

  • Buy From Reputable Sellers: This is especially important when you buy antiques online, but it can certainly apply when you go to flea markets or antique fairs, as well. You should buy antiques from sellers who have a good reputation in the community, who have positive ratings from previous buyers, and who can provide ample information about the item in question. If something seems "off" or the seller doesn't seem to know much about the piece, you may want to hold off and conduct your own research. It's possible that by taking the urgency out of the equation that you might avoid getting scammed when you buy antique jewelry or decor items.


Tips for Antique Sellers

  • Perform Some Research: If you plan on selling silver or other antique products, you'll need to conduct thorough research into the origins of the piece and how much similar items are typically worth. You may actually want to get the item appraised prior to selling it, as this can give you a clearer idea of its value. Whether you sell your antiques on your own or go through a third party, you'll want to know how much you can expect to make from this sale, given the current market conditions and the condition of the piece.

  • Consider Seasonal Challenges: Although there are many pieces that will retain their value regardless of when you sell, you may want to consider seasonal demand when you sell your antiques. For example, antique holiday decorations probably won't be in demand during the summer months, but you might fetch a higher price for them once customers are starting to plan for the winter season. Certain collectibles will be easier to sell (and will sell for more) when they become available during certain times of the year. Consider the timing before you try to sell.

  • Work With a Dealer: Selling antiques yourself can be a huge challenge, especially when you have limited experience and very few industry connections. That's why many people opt to sell their antiques to a reputable dealer or someone who specialized in antique sales. This can be a good way to alleviate stress while making sure you get a fair price for these items. Instead of having to sell the item far below market value or simply donating it just to make room in your home, you can sell it to someone who is passionate about antiques and will ensure that it will eventually go to someone who's thrilled to have it as part of their collection.

Whether you want to sell or to buy antiques, we're here to assist you. For more information, please contact us today.