Sterling Silver Flatware Makes a Fun and Profitable Collectible Activity.
Silver flatware is reminiscent of a time almost forgotten, one where families dined together at an elegantly set table. It was a time when dinner was not a rushed activity, but instead an event to be enjoyed, a time to relax and partake in the company of loved ones.
Today, many people have put away these pretty family dining customs. However, whether it’s in memory of a more gracious time or purely because of the monetary investment, silver flatware collecting is a popular pastime.
Learning to choose silver flatware is essential to make a collection both serviceable and a wise investment, a true heirloom to hand down to the next generation. However, before buying your first set of silver flatware you need to think about what you want. You should ask yourself,
“Do I want an antique flatware set?”
“Should it be a well-known name like Gorham, Wallace, Tiffany, Towle or any of the other designers?”
“What size flatware do I need?”
“How can I tell if the flatware is really silver?”
Design or Non-Design
One of the benefits of buying silver flatware made by well-known designers is that your set will not lose value. Most designer sets are collectible because of their design value as well as the silver content of the flatware. Buying flatware from a designer like Tiffany, Whiting, Dominick and Haff, Durgin Reed and Barton, Lundt or any of the other famous designers, is an investment because you are buying heirloom pieces which increase in value over time.
When choosing a style, don’t focus on the collectible value, or on the manufacturer themselves, instead choose a pattern based on your taste and lifestyle. Some flatware sets have a modern, sharp look, while others are more filigreed and whimsical. The set you choose should depend on the design style you like.
Antique Silver Flatware
If you are considering antique flatware as an option, you’ll need to decide on a style, era or maker that you like best. Some collectors decide to select pieces from a certain pattern or maker, while others prefer to mix and match.
Is it Real Silver?
Be sure you select a real sterling silver set, as these will always retain their intrinsic silver value as well as their tableware collective value. However, determining whether the set is sterling silver can be a little daunting, especially for new collectors or purchasers.
If a set was manufactured after the 1850s determining the silver content is fairly easy as there is usually a sterling mark. It is usually a print or emboss of .925. or sometimes 925/1000. If this mark does not exist, then it isn’t sterling silver.
If you are still unsure, you can test the silver with an acid to determine its content. You should note, however, that while forks, spoons and most serving pieces are solid sterling silver in a set, knives usually have stainless steel blades and hollow handles, so only the outside of the handle is made of sterling silver.
Sterling silver flatware can be a fun collecting activity as well as a valuable one. Before you simply start buying silver tableware you should read up on different design collections and patterns. This way, you can search for those hard to find items that have greater monetary and collectible worth.The Silver and Gold Exchange answered my questions via email in a very timely fashion. My check arrived sooner than promised and now I have a brand-new beautiful recliner instead of an old box of mismatched sterling flatware! Thank you Silver and Gold Exchange! – Sue A., Mentor, OH