All types of forks and spoons used in dining are referred to as flatware. Sterling flatware is made from a 92.5 percent pure grade of silver. Although silver plate flatware might look similar to sterling items at first sight, their value is far less because of the lower percentage of silver. Values for sterling flatware vary widely, but a few key areas reliably affect prices and demand.
Maker and Date
Maker and date play a big part in sterling silver flatware valuation. Older items by respected manufacturers often reach the highest sale prices. Symbols, known as hallmarks, stamped in the surface of the silver help determine maker and date. Look for hallmarks on the back of flatware stems. Flatware items marked with the stamp "925" or "Sterling" are made from sterling silver, though other international hallmarks also can represent sterling. Look up hallmarks online at the 925-1000 website, or consult a specialist hallmark guidebook.
Condition and Matching Sets
As a general rule, the better the condition of the flatware, the higher the value. Of course, some general wear is expected on antique sterling flatware. Flatware was designed to be used, after all. Fork tines may be blunt and spoon rims can become worn. Flatware that makes up a full dining set, or forks and spoons by the same maker grouped together will often attract higher prices from collectors.
Demand and Design
Fashions fall in and out of favor. Sterling flatware design also goes through phases of demand. Though antiques will usually outsell modern items, some recent styles currently might be in vogue. For example, the straight lines and edges of art deco flatware from the early 20th century is a popular style in 2010. Some ornate 19th designs are less in demand.
The provenance of a flatware item can increase its value. Provenance refers to the origin of the object, with verifiable proof of its history. For example, a spoon might have been passed down through successive generations, traceable back to a significant person from history. Wills, letters, contracts or receipts are usually required to back up any claims.
Auctions and Guidebooks
Auction houses often sell sterling flatware as part of specialist silver sales. Larger auction houses might display their final sale prices on their websites. Checking these prices is a good indication of current demand and general flatware value. Similarly, guides such as the Miller's Antiques and Collectibles website offer estimates on value and popularity. As with all collectibles, prices can fluctuate.
- Photo Credit Three spoons image by Stepanov from Fotolia.com
How to Identify Sterling Silver Flatware
Sterling silver flatware can be found in garage sales, heirlooms or in a forgotten box in the attic. Pieces handed down from...
How to Find the Value of Sterling Silverware
Sterling silver is generally divided into two categories: holloware (shaped pieces such as teapots, bowls and plates) and flatware (flat items such...
Where to Sell Silver Flatware
How Do I Sell Sterling Silver Flatware? How to Calculate the Value of Sterling Silver By Weight; The Easiest Way to Clean...
How to Calculate the Value of Your Sterling Silver
How to Find the Value of Sterling Silverware. Sterling silver is generally divided into two categories: holloware (shaped pieces such as teapots,...
How to Find the Value of an Antique Spoon
"Warman's Sterling Silver Flatware: Value & Identification Guide;" Phil Dreis; 2009; ... Collectible sterling silver spoons may be full-size or demitasse spoons.
How to Sell Gorham Sterling Silver
American Sterling silver flatware is a fascinating area of research whether you're a ... Though silver plate trays are worth less than...
What Is Silver-Plated Flatware?
Silver-plated flatware is made of a base metal like stainless steel, ... Silver-plated flatware, unlike sterling silver, has no intrinsic value.
The Value of Silver Plate Silverware
Silver-plated items are usually worth less than those made of sterling silver. Sterling silver is 92.5 percent pure silver, whereas silver-plated items...
The Best Way to Sell My Sterling Silver Flatware
Trying to sell your sterling silver flatware and getting a fair price can be confusing if are not sure where to begin....
Value of Oneida Silver
Information on the Value of Silverplate & Sterling Flatware. ... How to Value Sterling Silver Flatwear. Few objects carry the cachet of...
How to Estimate Sterling Silver's Value
How to Find the Value of a Sterling Silver Silverware Set; Print this article; Things You'll Need. Scale with ounce measurements; Acid...