There is no doubt that identifying antique silver even for the most trained eye, can be quite a challenging or daunting task especially when a lot of factors or variables have to be taken into consideration.
Estimating its true value at first, can be a nightmare too and it is not uncommon to find many antique collectors and silver enthusiasts talking of how they could have gotten a better deal had they known better.
Even selling antique silver itself can be quite tricky if one is not fully aware of the interplay of supply and demand in the market as well as the intrinsic and extrinsic value of the antique silver.
It is true however, that identifying antique silver, estimating its true value and even selling it for a phenomenal profit, need not be hard if a few simple tried, tested and proven guidelines are followed well and in a timely fashion.
Antique silverware of any shape or form will normally have at least a few signature designs or markings that are skillfully and artistically engraved on them whatever their function or size.
Silver is generally a soft metal that is easily malleable under some ample amount of heat or pressure, and molded into any kind of shape or form. Because of this, the patterns or engravings on the antique silverware, will generally look blurred from long use or age, and regular polishing to maintain its luster.
Antique silver is also known to have a soft glow to it, a patina, rather than the normal brilliant hard finish of newly made silverware; and an experienced antique silver collector or dealer, will consider all these facts in the process of authentication and identification.
Of course, age is the utmost determinant of value when it comes to antique silver as it authenticates its rarity, but that is not all.
The older the antique silver, the more evident is the fact that the piece of art has survived several ages or seasons of varying signature events, changes in fashion, social trends, wars, historical uses, political tensions, depressions and many other life events that add spice to its fame, valor and general antiquity.
Its weight also matters a great deal as it helps to gauge the silver’s intrinsic or actual market value without the antique aspect of it; and other additional values can stem from this.
Unique marks or engravings such as stamps, silverware patterns, court of arms and hallmarks also play an integral role in determining the overall value of the antique silver being appraised.
It is important to note that hallmarks are especially important in determining the value of antique silver as they provide a reputable indication of the age, marker and quality of the piece in question.
It is considered by many appraisers as the best indication of whether the antique silver is solid or plated.
Buyers of all backgrounds are demanding antique silver everyday, and one can make a very handsome profit selling with antique silver instead of melt / scrap silver.
One can find a host of ready-buyers by visiting reputable antique silver dealer websites online, and dealing with buyers who are BBB Accredited for example.
These websites also provide guides on the shipping process, and if there are several competing buyers, one stands a better chance of getting a better deal.
By Mike Ferreira on July 1st, 2013