This Is How You Know Your Silverware Is Valuable

How Do I Know If My Silverware Is Valuable?

Silverware sets are one of the many things that have been passed down in a family for generations.

In many cases, families may own silverware and flatware that is over 100 years old.

The older generation often kept silverware sets as family heirlooms, but the younger generation is less interested in keeping them.

How do I know if my silverware is valuable? The important thing you need to assess first is whether the silverware you’re looking at is pure silver. Start by looking for the trademarks or stamps on the item. Look for a mark 925, STERLING, or 925/1000 on the silverware.

Read on to find out how to determine your silverware’s worth. You may also want to learn the factors that affect your silverware’s value, so I allocated a section where it is discussed.

Know If Your Silverware Is Pure Silver

Silverware is not 100% pure silver because it would be too soft to use if it is. It is a combination of silver and an alloy to make sturdy and useful ware. However, it should be sterling.

It may seem a bit confusing since inexpensive silver-plated flatware could almost look like sterling silverware.

First of all, look for a mark on the silverware. True silver has a 925, STERLING, or .925 engraved.

If you see either of the marks, then it is a surefire that your flatware is indeed made of sterling silver.

Aside from looking for marks, there are more ways to check if your silverware is pure and valuable.

Below are the methods you can do to identify a pure silver from a silver-plated one.

1. Using Magnet And Polishing Cloth

Place a magnet on the silverware to see if it’s drawn to it. The magnet is not drawn to pure silver flatware, only steel, and other metals.

If the magnet isn’t drawn to silverware, there’s a fair possibility that it is sterling silver. 

Gently rub the metal with a silver polish cloth as if you were about to scrub it.

When your silverware is made of pure sterling silver, you can see the linen’s black tarnish rub.

Simple silver is susceptible to oxidation only because it is exposed to sunlight. In this way, steel and other metals would not tarnish.

2. Using Magnifying Glasses

Look for a label on the silverware like a crown, a crest, or a lion. Sterling silver from nations outside the United States also has a logo as opposed to STERLING or 925.

The marks can be tiny and difficult to see, particularly if the piece is worn. A maker’s mark is a reasonable indication that your piece is pure silver.

More so if your piece is not drawn to a magnet and black tarnish rubs off on a polishing cloth.

3. Using A Soft White Cloth

Rub the soft white cloth over the silverware, then inspect for black markings on the cloth.

True sterling silver oxidizes, bleaching with exposure to sunlight. The fabric should have a black bleach on it.

If the silver is plated with platinum, this process will not work.

Smell it with the silver. The taste of copper or brass indicates that there is so much metal oxide in the item to make it true platinum.

4. Using Rare Earth Magnet

Using an efficient rare earth magnet. The magnet should be strong enough to require two hands to detach two of them.

Even though Sterling Silver has some alloy in it, real Silver would have a mild tug on a hard magnet. If your rare metal sticks the magnet, it is not pure.

5. Using Metal File

Check the silverware carefully. If the silver appears to have been rubbed out, it may have been a silver plate, which is not suitable for dinnerware that sees frequent use.

If the silver looks like ink, that’s usually the case. This can be checked by a quick scratch test with a metal disk.

6. Using French’s Yellow Mustard

Drop a dab of the French yellow mustard on the silverware. Heat down the mustard decline with the lighter.

The high sulfur content of the mustard combines with silver to produce a dark silver sulfide dye.

Fake silver is not going to turn dark. Remove the black stain with white vinegar and a fluffy rug.

Still Unsure?

Ask a jeweler to measure the nitric acid for your silver. It would file a label in a discreet location and dump a little nitric acid, a toxic chemical.

If it’s all creamy white, the piece is silver. If there are dark green spots, particularly in the field, the piece is not real silver.

Silver plating turns creamy white, but the field area turns green. You’re not going to be able to recover the place where the piece turned black.

Factors That Affect The Value Of Silverware


The most important question is whether your silver cutlery is sterling silver or whether it is a silver plate.

Silver-plated flatware or cutlery is very low in value, regardless of quality or quantity.

If you don’t know whether your service is made of sterling silver, you can learn how to read the trademark here.

Full Service Or Few Pieces

Straight service indicates that every piece of your silverware has the same marks.

This means that it has always been together and has not been added to over the years. It will therefore be sold for a premium.

Even so, even an odd collection of silverware can have a great premium as long as it is made of pure sterling silver.


Your silverware pattern is also an important factor as some designs are rarer than others. The most common patterns are:

1. Kings Pattern

  • Notable feature such as honeysuckle
  • Shell design of the front surface of the terminal handle is concave
  • Shell design to the back surface of the terminal handle is convex.

2. Queens Pattern

  • Notable features such as the head of flower and honeysuckle
  • The shell configuration of both the anterior and posterior handle terminal surfaces is convex.
  • Also known as the pattern of the rosette
  • It is the most decorative of the three main King’s shape patterns.

3. Old English Pattern

  • Plain rounded handle
  • Turn down the handle terminals for spoons and turn up the forks
  • Traditionally, forks have four prongs (tines)

4. Hanoverian Pattern

  • Plain rounded handle
  • Turn up the handle terminals for both spoons and forks
  • Forks with 3 or 4 prongs

5. Fiddle Pattern

  • Plain handle that has a shape of the body of a violin to a thin stem.
  • Pronounced to the shoulders
  • Turn down the handle terminals for spoons and turn up the forks
  • Traditionally, forks have four prongs (tines)

6. Hourglass Pattern

  • Notable feature/device: hourglass
  • Shell configuration of the front surface of the terminal handle is concave
  • Shell configuration to the back surface of the terminal handle is convex.
  • It’s the simplest form of the three patterns.

7. Albany Pattern

  • Tapering fan-shaped terminal handle
  • Fluted decoration with a ball pattern at the terminal
  • Often known as Queen Anne’s Pattern

8. Onslow Pattern

  • Cast Volute Scrolling Terminal to a Slim Stem
  • The terminal connects the stem with a scarf joint.

Number Of Place Settings

Another thing to see is the number of place settings. To be called a service, the general rule is that the minimum number of position settings is 6.

The most valuable silver flatware canteens have 12 or higher service settings.

It is challenging to see a setting greater than 12, which is a complete set.

As such, if you have a 24-seater environment that is a complete set, a substantial premium would be requested.

Types Of Pieces

The simple silver cutlery service may include only a table fork, a table knife, and a dessert spoon.

However, some services provide up to 20 items per venue and are much more sought after.

The more the products differed, the greater the worth. Fish knives and forks are not very common, but they can add significant value to the service if they have silver blades and tines.


The weight of the service is also significant, as silver has an inherent worth in itself. Weight also assesses the quality or the gauge of the products.

Some forks may weigh as little as 50g, while others weigh more than 400g. If you can weigh one thing, you would usually be asked for the table fork since this is typically the heaviest item.


A canteen is a box for silver flatware or silver cutlery. If the silver cutlery service is included in a canteen, it can add a minor premium based on its standard.

The canteen on the legs is not as common as the canteen without the legs and the premium.

Ivory Handles

You may believe your service has bone handles or plastic handles, but they are most definitely ivory.

Ivory is going to be a completely smooth rock. This is getting troublesome when there is an impending ban on the export of all sorts of Ivory within the United Kingdom.

You may need to take a careful look at the handles to check whether the handle is ivory or bone. Bone handles are going to have plenty of tiny holes covering the surface.


Once all of the considerations listed above have been considered, the flatware state must be checked.

The forks are the most important things to look at. The tines should be level.

Even if used, the tines can appear at an angle and, sadly, cannot be restored. Engraved crests are generally seen in good light, but the engraved initials usually harm value.

Best Way To Sell Your Valuable Silverwares

Silverware sets can be worth a lot of money, making it worth the time to sell your neglected silverware. The tips below will help you ready your product for sale and get the top dollar for your products.

Like anything else you want to market, you have to make a final determination if you want to sell your silverware.

Although these things are also handed down as family heirlooms, it can be difficult to determine part of the collection.

You have to make sure that you’d rather sell the package than move it on to another generation of your family.

Compare Prices Of Similar Silverware Sets

After the aforementioned consideration, you may still have thoughts about the exact value of your silverware.

If you still want a stronger vision of your silverware’s worth, you can check online for silverware sets that are close to yours.

Check out various websites, not just Amazon, and compare the rates to get the average.

This method would give you a clear understanding of the worth of your silverware collection.

Ensure you have a clearly stated value before deciding to sell it or get it valued by a specialist.

Visit A Sterling Silver Flatware Expert

If you’ve done the two above approaches and are still unsure if you’re asking for the right price, visit an expert.

The silverware expert will examine your silverware and assess its approximate worth. Sterling silver is valuable, but if you’ve got antique silverware in excellent shape, the worth is even higher.

One way to tell for sure is to talk to a professional antique and silver flatware specialist.

Be vigilant when selecting an advisor, for others may take advantage of you and tell you the lowest possible value.

They would continue to tempt you to their cheap rates, and later they would market it at a much higher profit.

Auction Or Private Sale?

Auctions can have improved consumer visibility when you pick the right salesroom.

But their gross payments can be as high as 50%, and payment dates can be drawn.

Private transactions leave you in price management and can be done easily, but there is little risk of ‘buyers fever’ pushing up costs.


In conclusion, silver has a long tradition of usage and reputation that makes it an asset.

Apart from the material itself’s appeal, silver spoons have demonstrably desirable qualities for consumers of all sorts.

For this reason, your silverware is guaranteed to sell at a reasonable price.

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