Will Great Grandmother’s Silver-plated Tea Set Finance a Vacation?

Nothing is quite as thrilling as coming across an old family heirloom during a long-delayed round of spring cleaning. But before you jump for joy at the sight of great-grandmother’s old silver-plated tea set, you might need a reality check about the actual value of certain antiques. After all, items made from precious metals aren’t always worth their weight in gold or silver.

What’s the Market Value of Silver and Gold?

While watching day-to-day fluctuations in precious metal prices is enough to make your head spin, it’s easier to identify broad trends over longer periods of time. Most importantly, long-term economic uncertainty has supported gold and silver prices since the financial crisis of the late 2000s, and prices look likely to remain steady or rise as time goes on. Precious metals are widely touted as a hedge against inflation, so collectible items that contain large amounts of high-quality gold and silver can serve as alternative investment vehicles as well.

At the same time, many laypeople overestimate the value of items that contain some gold or silver. Silver-plated kitchenware antiques, including tea sets and serving platters, often contain small bits of valuable metal around a more “ordinary” core.

What About Silver-Plated Antiques?

Even if they’re quite substantial, silver-plated antiques aren’t likely to be worth much on the scrap market. Any silver in an old tea set or serving platter is likely to be concentrated in a razor-thin layer at its surface. At most, this material might command a few dollars after being melted down. However, the cost of removing it from the underlying material usually offsets a lot of the potential payoff.

The Difference Between Intrinsically Valuable Items and Collectors’ Items

It’s fair to say, then, that silver-plated items are far more valuable as collectors’ items than as scrap. Once you’ve made the choice not to melt down great-grandma’s old tea set, you’ll need to determine exactly how much it’s worth. You can make a preliminary accounting of its worth by identifying its manufacturer, determining its exact production date and researching its background for attributes that might make it more attractive to collectors.

However, figuring out how much your item “might” be worth isn’t enough. Our personal asset brokerage services can help you maximize the value of your heirloom and ensure that you do well by the memories of your loved ones.

Turn to a Silver Restoration Expert in Cheektowaga

Whether your great-grandmother’s silver-plated tea set is worth a fortune as a collectors’ item or would be better served staying in your family home, it’s important to work with a trusted authority who understands the value of antiques and collector’s items. With a century of combined experience, our precious metal experts are happy to give you a fair, honest assessment of your items’ value and help you choose the right course of action. Give us a call at (716) 204-8800, visit us online or drop by our convenient Cheektowaga location to learn more.