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Follow These Tips to Transform a Set of Genuine Silverware into Cash

A set of Sterling silver flatware can bring years of joy and delight to users. Sterling silver brightens and adds elegance to any dining experience, connects users with intimate family or regional history, and can be downright satisfying to buff and shine!

But if you’d prefer to transform your silverware into cash, there are a few things to note before finding a buyer. In this article, we’ll outline some tips that will help organize Sterling silver flatware and holloware in advance of a sale, all with the hope that it saves you time and helps optimize your return.

But First, a Word of Advice …

No matter if your silverware has been part of your family for generations, it’s a recent gift or discovery, or you’ve come across individual items (or complete sets) at a garage or estate sale — the best piece of advice is to bring all items to a professional buyer of gold and silver and other precious metals.

Don’t waste your time with pawn shops or online marketplaces. Instead, find a brick-and-mortar storefront that specializes in evaluating and offering transparent prices for all types of tableware. To get started, use veteran buyers Muzeum as a guide for the kind of professionals you should be speaking with. Not only can they answer your questions about legitimacy, care, storage and the history of your item, but they’ll treat you with the courtesy you deserve.

Organizing Silverware for Sale

Take out your magnifying glass and do some sleuthing to see if you can find hallmarks and maker’s marks on the collars, bases, handles, and other parts of your wares. See if you can match that information in a digital collection or guide, and make good notes on the region, history, and producer. This is a fascinating part of the discovery process. But it will also help you understand if your silverware is genuinely silver, very old, or merely plated in silver or stainless steel.

Next, count and weigh each piece (for your records and peace of mind), then sort per maker’s mark and by the type of item. Ignore bulk or bundle deals you hear about since these overlook individual quirks and will probably lose you money in the long run. Having everything organized neatly helps expedite evaluations from experts.

Handling Your Silverware Before the Sale

Here are some tips to keep your silverware in excellent condition before you find a buyer.

  • Avoid humidity and moisture.
  • Keep in a dark place (out of sunlight).
  • Don’t store in close contact with anything made of rubber or stainless steel to avoid a specific type of corrosion.
  • Never cover in plastic wrap; use pieces of soft-fibred cloth to wrap individual items.

If you’ll be holding on to silverware for a long time, let it stand in vertical slots or purchase strips that provide anti-tarnish protection.

Cleaning Your Silverware

The short answer? Never attempt to clean silverware of any type if you’re hoping to turn it into cash!

If the silver isn’t worth reselling for a collector, it will be melted down and recycled, meaning your careful cleaning efforts will be wasted. And if the silverware is worth something to a collector, cleaning might ruin a coating, botch an intricate design, degrade or stain the surface, or warp things out of shape.

Obviously, some sets of silverware might be unearthed from some heinously dirty environments. In these cases, imagine that you’re dealing with an extremely sensitive archeological artifact. In filthy situations, use warm water, mild detergent, and a soft cloth, then dry things well. But that’s the absolute limit!

We hope these basic tips will steer you in the right direction. Ultimately, the best advice when dealing with any precious metal is to speak with a professional. In particular, look for one who offers a free evaluation so you don’t spend one cent more than you need to.