Sep 6, 2018 12:20 am
Many of us have legacy dinner plates or other flatware handed down to us by our grandmothers or grandfathers. Sometimes it’s just one or two pieces of silver crockery, and other times it could be an entire set of dining silver, complete with utensils. But does this inheritance hold value for you over and above its nostalgic worth? Could it also have a monetary value? It depends on several factors, including the age of the silverware, and how it was made.
A Brief History Of Silverware
In the 12th century, silverware first became popular in England among the noble families. As they were made from the same quality of silver that was used in coins at the time, that is pure silver, they were understandably very expensive and could only be afforded by royalty.
The Industrial Revolution brought about a change in the prestige of silverware. For the first time, silverware could be mass produced, and hence began to lose much of its luxury status. At the same time, more families being able to possess silverware actually also increased their own status, resulting in a much larger middle class. From the mid 19th century, silverware became a common way for families to display their wealth, as well as their status and improved standards of living.
Then came the Great Depression. The broad category of middle class found it difficult to maintain their luxurious lifestyles, with numerous varied types of silverware which mostly served only one function like butter spreaders, bouillon spoons and pastry forks. In addition, labor costs skyrocketed and it was becoming less viable for families to afford the number of workers needed to care for all the silver. This brought about the advent of silver-plating as opposed to sterling silver pieces. Silverware designs also became much simpler as ornate designs required hand polishing to maintain their look.
A Rough Idea Of Silverware Value
Silverware from the 12th century is the most valuable, and not only for its meltdown value due to its silver composition (usually sterling silver or pure silver). If the silverware has been well-maintained and is in good and original condition, it would actually be highly valued above its intrinsic value by museums and collectors for its historic and antique properties.
For mass-produced pieces of silverware, they would still have a high scrap value due to a high silver composition, or even gold composition if they had been heavily gilded. These tend to also be beautifully made and ornate, and could fetch a good price in the resale market if still in good condition. However, silver-plated flatware would likely have greater emotional value to your family as an heirloom, rather than a significant meltdown value or collectors’ value.
Get A Proper Valuation
To find out for certain what the potential meltdown or collector’s value of your silverware truly is, approach a reputable jewelry buyer such as Global Gold and Silver. We purchase silverware sets with historical value and can offer you a handsome price for it. Speak to us today!