Appraisal 101: How Much Is Your Silver Worth?

Appraisal 101: How Much Is Your Silver Worth?

People always ask me, how did you become an expert? How do you appraise? How do you figure out something's worth? I am a leading appraiser in the business but there many things I have never seen. My gift lies in solving the puzzle: I ask the right questions. Once I determine if it's authentic I can evaluate the price based on the market value of similar items. The price also has to reflect supply and demand. It's very simple, I apply the same logic to every type of collectible.

I recently came across an incredibly unique piece of Judaica, that I dubbed ‘the Jewish Swiss Army Knife’ for its many hidden components. It can be used for every one of the Jewish holidays including the Sabbath. You can't imagine how cool this piece is in person. It's from the late 1600s, given to a very prominent Rabbi who was burnt at the stake for not converting to christianity. I go into depth on this in our last blog post. That's how we appraise everything we study and look. If it's flatware/coins/jewelry we ask: what is the material? Is it gold, platinum, or silver? If it’s silver, is it sterling, fine, or german? Platinum, pure, 90, or 80?
Gold for example could be 24k or 9k. That's a huge difference. Although there are exceptions to this, a third of the content could be a third of the value.

We recently saw a set of sterling flatware come into the gallery. 12 place settings, 60 pieces by a company called Alvin. This was a special find because it's unusual to get such a set from a smaller company. Not Tiffany, not Cartier. It has a gorgeous engraved pattern here, beautiful, intricate, pretty, and attractive. This was a special find because it's unusual to get such a set from a smaller company. It's not Tiffany, not Cartier. It's from the 1960s so 75 years old, in perfect condition. It just needs a polish. The weight is 10 ounces per setting, 120 ounces total of puree sterling silver. We purchased this for $2400.00 and will sell it for 3500. We give everybody a great deal whether they are buying or selling with us.

The value is determined based on material. It is very easy to find out if Silver is sterling. 90% of the time it's marked with the word ‘sterling’ or a ‘925’ (92.5 is the equivalent of sterling). Sometimes you’ll see a ‘900’ which is the equivalent of fine silver (90%). Older items might have an ‘800’ which typically means its German silver (80%). We also determine this value based on what we can sell it for, at a reasonable price. If we can sell it for 3 grand we buy it for 2. This flatware is in extremely fine condition. Good for someone who just got married to serve their guests with. There are people that would sell this set for $10,000.00.

Even though Alvin is not an impressive name, what I like about this set is its fine design and intricate design on the back of the spoons. The knife is very pretty. There is a lot of weight to this. Buff it with silver polish and you're good to go. You’ve got yourself an incredible set for under 3k. If you have a set, or many sets, that you'd like to appraise, give us a call at 917-439-9610. That is how we do a sterling flatware set.