Spoons, Forks & Knives: How much is your silver flatware worth?
Alan, my name is Logan. I have some silver flatware in my house, that I’d like to sell. I have a matching flatware set with 12 soup spoons, 12 coffee spoons, 12 dessert spoons, 12 canape spoons, 12 dinner forks, 12 salad forks, 12 dessert forks, 12 dinner knives, 12 butter knives, 12 canape knives, 3 serving forks, 3 serving knives, 1 cake slice server, and 3 canape servers. In addition to that, I also have another antique cake server, nicely embellished with a snail decoration and a small candelabra. Alan, how much is silver flatware worth? Where can I sell my silverware for a good price?
Logan, you have a beautiful silver flatware collection. The huge set comes in a wooden box and seems to be complete. The other parts are not matching. I’m guessing you, or the previous owner collected silver items to decorate a table for holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas. In the 1970s and 1980s silver was very popular. Owning silver flatware or silverware was a status symbol. The more decorated a dinner table was with flatware and silverware, the more respected the host was. But that doesn’t apply to just the 1970s and 1980s. Since the 18th century, silver flatware has been a very popular status symbol. Back then, wealthy farmers hired silversmiths to produce flatware and silverware by using old coins as commodity. Logan, flatware and silverware are an important part of American history. Your silver items are very nice, and I imagine I could find a special item in your collection.
reDollar appraiser, Alan Jensen
Logan wants to know, how much is silver flatware worth?
Logan: Alan, we have some silver flatware here that we plan to sell. The matching parts make a really nice set in their special wooden box. My grandparents bought this silver flatware set in Norway, in the 1930s. Grandpa was working for an international wood trading company based in the boreal zone. I really don’t want to bore you, but the boreal zone is one of the largest environmental zones and covers about 13% of the world’s land surface. You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you that. The wood from my box comes from this area. As you can see from the copy of the certificate I’ve included in my email, the flatware was a gift from the company my grandpa worked for to honor his efforts. My grandparents passed away when I was a toddler, so to be honest, there is no sentimental value for me. For this reason, we plan to sell the flatware—but only if we can get a good price. How much is this silver flatware worth?
Alan: Logan, thank you very much for all the useful information. I have never heard about the boreal zone before, but it’s always very interesting to find out the provenience of a piece that I appraise. The flatware is very nice and all pieces are clearly marked as .925 silver. I see hallmarks saying “NORWAY STERLING SILVER.” That’s fine, but what I’m missing from the collector’s perspective is more information about the silver flatware. There is no information about the company or the silversmith. That leads me to assume that your flatware is not very rare or special. It’s very beautiful, but there is no demand for collectors. I’m pretty sure that a set like this will sell for the silver value. When I make an appraisal, I check all important price-building factors. First, I check if the piece was made by a special designer, for a special anniversary, in a special design, or for a well-known family or person. I do that to find out if there is a special demand for collectors. Second, I calculate the value based on the material price. Because I don’t see a collector’s demand in your silver flatware, I’d calculate the value of your flatware based on the silver price. I asked you to weigh your items because in this case, the weight gives us the main information we need to calculate a price. If you were offering us a silver flatware set by Tiffany & Co., for example, then we would not calculate the value by weight. We always pay a premium for pieces from famous designers or producers. Your silver flatware weighs 77.28 ounces, excluding the knives. The knives weigh 27.36 ounces. We have to weigh knives separately because they include base metal parts like the edge and filling materials inside the handles. Our article “How much silver is in a knife handle” contains very useful information on that topic. Based on the provided weight, I think we have a selling value in the range of $1,455.61 for the flatware and $515.54 for the knives.
Logan: That’s awesome, Alan. I fully understand your explanation. What about the snail-looking item? Can you unlock this mystery?
Alan: Oh yes, I can. I know such pieces very well, and the purpose of your “silver snail” was simple but effective. It is a spoon warmer. But it’s not a snail; it’s a nautilus shell. Spoon warmers were used in past and are not common anymore. I asked you to weigh this item too. You told me a weight of about 150 grams, which equals a value of about $90.34. I think that there is a collector’s demand for this nice silver spoon warmer, which is why our company would pay 15% more than the silver value. It’s not a very exceptional piece, but it is very nice.
Logan: I’m very satisfied with your appraisal, Alan. My quick stop at the local pawn shop was a waste of time. They were unfriendly and also inexperienced, I think. Your explanations are much more qualified and professional.
Alan: Thank you for your friendly words. I know that many gold buyers and pawn shops pay little money for such items. Logan, please consider that our team of experts are truly that—experts. We are specialized in our fields and have the relevant work experience. Please let me finish my appraisal with your antique cake server. It’s made of sterling silver and can be used as a cake server as well as a jelly server. The server is ornamented with a lovely piercing in the spade-form blade. The server is hallmarked on the back of the handle with “PAT” and “STERLING.” The server is in fine antique condition with nice pattern details: lily blossoms and art nouveau leafage. The material value is around $40, but because this piece has a collector’s value, I think $150 is a realistic price for your silver cake server. Our company would pay around $120 for such a piece.
Logan: I appreciate your honesty. What about my candelabra? How much is my silver candelabra worth?
Alan: The candelabra is a very nice piece, but unfortunately, it’s not made of solid silver. We have some silver plated candelabras here. There is some value, but because it’s not made of solid silver I think it has very little value. We would buy a piece like this for about $35, but in these cases we often recommend our customers keep the item or try to sell them to private buyers instead of selling to a commercial buyer.
Logan: Thank you very much for your help, Alan! You helped me a lot and I really appreciate your professional support.
Alan: You’re very welcome, Logan! Anytime you need my help, please don’t hesitate to contact me. It’s my pleasure to help you.