Many of us have heard of Sterling Silver and Sterling Silver Flatware. But what is it? I bring this up because many people come into my store wanting to sell flatware only to leave disappointed to find out it has no value. Flatware just means eating utensils. They might consist of spoons, forks, knives, serving spoons etc.
What we usually are eating with in our everyday life are just standard flatware and not valuable sterling silver flatware. These everyday utensils that fill our drawers in our kitchens are usually a base metal or metal mixture giving it a silver color but not containing any actual silver. Many of these sets have model numbers on them and causing people to believe they are old. Some may have names or even say things like international silver. The thing is the word silver really does not mean much when dealing with flatware. In fact, silver is just a color.
So how do you tell if you have flatware of value. Well it is simple since almost all valuable flatware pieces have markings. The one you will see most often is the word “Sterling”. This word is usually found on the backside of the handle (the stem) of your spoons or forks and means the amount of actual silver in the item is 92.5%. There are a few other possibilities such as Coin Silver (90%) pure and created from melting down pre 1964 US issued dimes, quarters, and half dollars. Sometimes German made Sets will have the number 800 on them indicting they are 80% pure. Occasionally you will see a lion figure with his head turned along with several other stamps and this may indicate a set made in England and stamped with their international symbol of sterling. You may even see the letters STER however, mostly you will see the word “Sterling”.
If you are unsure feel free to bring your items by anytime. Save yourself a trip if you prefer, take a look and see what is stamped on the back of the stem. If it says “Sterling” …we are here to value and purchase your Sterling Silver Flatware.