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Junk Silver Vs Sterling Flatware

 
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Author Previous TopicReplies: 13 / Views: 696Next Topic  
Valued Member
Canada
217 Posts
 Posted 01/15/2022  08:52 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add rockfish to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Greetings,
I noticed on a couple of online silver buying companies that the buy offer for junk was generally a bit less than melt, but that the buy offer for sterling flatware was about 65% of the melt value. Why is this so? I assume it's no more work to dump forks and spoons in the smelter than Mercury dimes? Why the discrepancy? Thanks in advance.
Pillar of the Community
United States
2233 Posts
 Posted 01/15/2022  09:12 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add trdhrdr007 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Junk silver can be bought & sold in it's current form. Flatware has to be processed into bars, rounds, shot, etc before it can be resold. Having said that, I'd stay away from any online company that only offers 65% of melt. In most good sized towns or cities you should be able to find a silver buyer that will pay 90% or more for sterling.
Valued Member
Canada
217 Posts
 Posted 01/16/2022  12:36 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rockfish to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the reply. Yes seemed a little low to me. Not that I was intending on doing that. I collect sterling flatware to save it from the smelter!
Pillar of the Community
United States
2512 Posts
 Posted 01/16/2022  10:44 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add thq to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I collect sterling flatware patterns I like, as well as coin silver. You can't eat a salad with a coin.

I don't sell much of the flatware, but have noticed that the price paid is lower than for coins. Some of this may have to do with the meaning of the word "sterling". Government issued coins have a specified silver content, while tableware doesn't. I have seen tests on some of the 19th century San Francisco marked sterling at below 80% silver content.

Silver hollow ware has its own problems, due to base weighting. Some candlesticks are little more than silver foil filled with clay.
"Two minutes ago I would have sold my chances for a tired dime." Fred Astaire
Valued Member
Canada
217 Posts
 Posted 01/18/2022  1:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rockfish to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks thq, I did not know that. Which gives me pause, since the only non British hollow ware I have are some early Shreve pieces!
My feeling is the lion passant on the British sterling is a little more reliable regarding purity? What are your thoughts?
Pillar of the Community
United States
2512 Posts
 Posted 01/19/2022  9:58 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add thq to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have more respect for the regulated UK system than the American one, but that hasn't brought me any advantage when selling UK sterling.

I used to use eBay bucks to buy silver flatware since I couldn't buy coins with them. At first I bought bargains, but after a while I started buying select pieces I wanted. I kick myself for not picking up a set of Adler that our local coin/jewelry store had taken in, but it seemed like too much money at the time even though it was priced fairly close to melt. I really like Modernist patterns like Towle Contour and Wallace Discovery and Adler has some of the best patterns.

Silver flatware junk boxes are as interesting to me as coin junk boxes. I've gotten several odd Towle Candlelight pieces for melt. Far better prices than eBay and Replacements.

"Two minutes ago I would have sold my chances for a tired dime." Fred Astaire
Edited by thq
01/19/2022 9:59 pm
Pillar of the Community
Canada
608 Posts
 Posted 01/21/2022  4:26 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add coinman91 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I also have noticed major bullion dealers in my area only buying junk 90 for 60%.. junk 80 looks even worse ofc.
RCNA Member

There's always two sides to the coin if you have the patience to see. -Kathryn Budig
Bedrock of the Community
Australia
19592 Posts
 Posted 01/21/2022  5:44 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Silver flatware as I understand it, applies to solid silver tableware.
An example would be a set of silver knives forks and spoons and were originally sold as a cased set through leading retail jewelry stores.
As such, silver flatware finds it real value in the antique auction market place (and not the junk silver trade), where it should be submitted for sale at public auction, and bought from that venue if you are buying. Silver pricing for silver flatware at antique auction is usually many multiples above bullion pricing.

If you are lucky enough to buy any hallmarked silver for junk silver pricing, that is an opportunity that should always be acted upon. You will always make a decent profit if you re sell back into the antique auction market.

For me, junk silver is damaged and/or very worn silver coins and bullion, traded for their ASW.

I have a small but rather attractive collection of hallmarked silver in a display cabinet,
and about a kilo of junk silver coins tucked away, in an accumulation over many years, that is not part of my coin collection.
Pillar of the Community
United States
2512 Posts
 Posted 01/23/2022  10:57 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add thq to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Silver flatware sets were traditional wedding gifts in the USA up until the 1970's when the price of silver started to rise. People also shied away from it because it needs polishing and many of the patterns are dated and ugly. So massive amounts of it were dumped for melting. Most of the old-line makers are gone.

Avoid buying hollow handled knives and candlesticks. The silver content is far less than melt by weight.
"Two minutes ago I would have sold my chances for a tired dime." Fred Astaire
Valued Member
United States
454 Posts
 Posted 03/28/2022  01:47 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jaxenro to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Recently bought some small goblets marked "sterling" below melt value. Is there an easy way to ensure they are solid silver and not plated?
Pillar of the Community
United States
1839 Posts
 Posted 03/28/2022  08:38 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CoinHunter53562 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I collect sterling flatware patterns I like, as well as coin silver. You can't eat a salad with a coin.


And you can't buy a salad with a fork.
Pillar of the Community
United States
2512 Posts
 Posted 03/30/2022  09:42 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add thq to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If I ever sell any of the American colonial spoons I'll be eating a lot of salads. Or, more likely, buying more coins. The best part is tracking them down. They're extremely rare compared to coins. Most people that have them are specialists who know exactly what they have. But not always.

jaxenro, a pawn show or used jewelry dealer could value them for you. If they're obviously solid, and don't have a hollow foot, they'll be worth more. But in selling junk estate candlesticks marked "sterling" with a hollow base I got almost nothing. The buyer crushed them to remove the clay inside before weighing them.
"Two minutes ago I would have sold my chances for a tired dime." Fred Astaire
Edited by thq
03/30/2022 09:52 am
Valued Member
United States
454 Posts
 Posted 04/04/2022  08:22 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jaxenro to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
So I bought 4 forks yesterday 189 grams for $125. My handy dandy melt calculator puts that at about 10% under melt. Gorham sterling so a known pattern and quality. Forks are solid so no voids to be weighted. My goal is to keep my sterling purchases like this
Pillar of the Community
United States
2233 Posts
 Posted 04/04/2022  7:09 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add trdhrdr007 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Several years ago I picked up a late 1800's Scottish repousse tea set. It was a beautiful set In fact, it was so nice I didn't want to ship it off to the refiner. At the time melt value was around $2400. After 3 years of attempting to sell through various venues I ended up selling it for $1400 on eBay. That was about 15% more than melt and fees ate up most of the 15%. The popularity of sterling flatware and holloware is no longer what it was. The days of selling most sterling for multiples of melt are pretty much gone. The exceptions would be pieces from well known makers, colonial pieces, mid century modern pieces, etc.
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