The most common questions we receive about silver are:
* Is my silver sterling or silver plated?
* What is the difference between sterling silver and silver plate?
* Do you buy silver plated?
The answer is that all sterling silver (except jewelry) made in the US is marked as such. This page will help you determine the composition of almost any silver you are likely to have. While there are some exceptions, this page will cover almost everything.
The difference between sterling silver and silver plated is that sterling silver contains 925/1000 ths pure silver. That is 92.5% silver mixed with another metal, usually copper. Silver plate is a cheap base metal with a thin, almost microscopic, coating of silver over it, usually applied using electricity.
Want to sell sterling silver?
~ view our prices ~We do not buy silver plated items because unfortunately they have no precious metal value. Unfortunately they usually have little or no value of any kind.
We know many people will be disappointed to learn this cold, hard fact, but it is true. Believe us… if Silver Plate had any value whatsoever, we would be thrilled. People offer to sell us pounds and pounds of silver plated items every day. We have piles of it sitting in our offices with no way to sell it. Nobody wants it!
Now that we know the difference, how can YOU tell what you have?
The odds are probably about 99% that the silver you have was manufactured in the United States. In the US, all sterling silver is required to be marked as such. The markings for sterling silver will be one of the three listed below, in order of most common usage:
- “STERLING” (most common)
If you have silver bullion, it will be marked .999 or .999 Fine.
If your silver was made in the USA and does not have one of these three marks on it, it is silver plated.
From time to time, we receive silver that was manufactured in England, Ireland, or Scotland. These items will have one of the stamps below:
If your silver was made in England, Ireland, or Scotland does not have one of these marks, it is silver plated.
If your silver was made in a different country, you can refer to the link below. This will bring you to an excellent reference site that shows silver marks from all over the world.
There are many ways to tell if your silver is plated in addition to the absence of the sterling marks above.
Here are a few silverplate marks/ words to watch out for:
- Heavy Plate
- 1847 Rogers Bros (it not only isn’t sterling, but it wasn’t made in 1847 either!)
To recap -
If your silver does not have “sterling” ”.925″ ”925/1000″ (or .999 for bullion) and was made in the US, it is not sterling silver and does not have value.
If your silver was made in England, Ireland, or Scotland, and does not have one of the symbols pictured above, it is not sterling silver and does not have value.
There is silver manufactured in Europe, Asia, South America, etc that have different marks and purity levels.
If you have silver from one of these areas or if you are still uncertain of the composition of your silver, call us at: 800-266-9395 we will be happy to help you identify your silver.