If you’ve recently come into jewelry or other household items, you could be in the possession of antique sterling. Jewelry is often composed of alloys of two precious metals: silver and gold. Gold and silver prices rise and fall in juxtaposition to market trends, but they can still be worth a hefty amount.
Household objects that have a cash-trade value are often things such as sterling silver tea sets, silverware, sterling candelabras, and other similar items. If you are looking to get these items appraised, the first step is to visit a shop that buys and sells precious metals. However, if you’re generally curious if what you possess has any significant monetary value, there are certain tells that will alert you to it’s value.
Sterling Silver Versus Sterling Plated
Many people believe that the items they possess are pure silver or something similar if they appear to be. However, many times these objects are simply covered in a layer of silver, rather than being composed of it.
If an object is considered sterling, or sterling silver, then it is composed of 92.5% silver. Sterling silver is inherently different then fine silver though, and the market price is actually based on a standard of .999, or 99%, fine silver. Sterling silver is referenced in troy ounces, which is about 31.2 grams per troy ounce.
Sterling plated items are commonly confused for being sterling silver, and many antique silver items such as sterling trays are actually plated and not pure. Sterling plated items are metal objects such as brass, copper, or nickel that have a thin layer of sterling silver bonded to the surface. Silverware is actually silverplatedflatware, more often then not. Many of these items will have markings to indicate that they’re silver plated, such as ‘EP’ or ‘EPNS’ etched somewhere. Some items may also state something such as “silver on copper” to indicate what metal is plated.
Even though sterling and sterling plated are two very different terms and you should know the difference, both can be worth something. Sterling silver tends to be worth much more because of it’s purity, but objects such as silver plated copper can also have value. The market prices for copper is raising so it may be worth it to hang on to any copper-based items for scrapping.
If you think your antique sterling may be worth something, contact today to find out.