"What's my silver or silver plate item worth?"
We receive numerous inquiries daily wanting to know the value of a particular piece of silver or silverplate or an identification. Please, read this entire page. This information is provided and is intended to guide and educate you in a very basic way.
For an on-line appraisal (value) and accurate identification, click here.
Abe Silverman's Antique Silver Shop does not personally conduct value appraisals or identifications of quadruple silverplate, Victorian silver, or estate silver plate items, flatware identification or glass or china patterns identifications.
Many people believe their silverplated heirlooms are sterling silver. Unfortunately, this is mostly not true. Silver makers are very proud of their sterling silver crafted items and practically always mark the item in a clear and most conspicuous way. The general rule is: "If it is not marked sterling; it is not sterling silver."
- Most "silver" produced is actually silverplated and not solid, or "sterling" silver. Sterling silver is an alloy of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper.
- Silverplating became very popular in the mid-1800's in the USA and is still being produced today. "Silverplate" or "electroplate" refers to a product produced by electrochemically applying a very thin layer of pure silver over an object made of a base (non-precious) metal.
The following are even more tips that will help you make a decision for yourself:
- If you can locate the word "sterling" or "925" on your piece, it is very likely that it is ("solid") sterling (925/1000) silver.
- If you can locate the initials EPC (electroplated copper) or EPNS (electroplated nickel silver), your piece is silverplate.
- "Nickel silver", "German silver", and "Alpaca" refer to white metal alloys which, despite the use of the word "silver", contain no silver at all.
- "A1" and "quadruple" and "quadruple silver plate" or "quadruple silverplate" are terms found on silverplate.
- "Silver soldered" refers to a manufacturing process of silverplated wares where the various base-metal parts are soldered together using silver solder.
- British sterling silver is marked with a series of hallmarks, as can be silver from Europe and other parts of the world. There are, unfortunately, many "pseudo-touchmarks" (or fake hallmarks) on silver, which seem to have the appearance of an official hallmark, but are not authentic.
(Silverplate) silver plate is not solid silver. It is a ware made of a metal, such as nickel or copper, that is covered with a thin coating of silver. The letters EPNS are often found on American and English silver-plated wares. Sheffield is a term with two meanings. Sometimes it refers to sterling silver made in the town of Sheffield, England.
Due to the high volume of email we receive we regret not being able to address individual questions about your pieces. We do offer, however, a wide range of valuable tools and reference material on this page and others.
- As a service to our many valuable customers, we have dedicated a section just about Silver Manufacturers to give you a bit of historical information about many of the silver and silverplate manufacturers of days gone by, in addition to recommendations to identify your silver or silverplate maker including silver hallmarks or touch marks.
Abe also keeps an up-to-date list of various silversmith companies which can repair your silver, replate your silver and professionally recondition and polish your silver or silverplate items.
- An interactive Weight Conversion Chart is also provided for your convenience. This will allow you to convert weights into 14 other units of standard measures - troy ounces, grams, kilograms, ounces, pounds and many more.
- And finally, Abe's compiled a list of highly recommended research Books about Silver that we ourselves use! Instructions about how to properly clean and polish your silver flatware, sterling silver and silverplate holloware can be found here. Great silver polishing tips!
If you are unsure of exactly what your silver or silver plate item is called, we suggest that you use Google search engine and enter as much information as you have on your item (Silver manufacturer's name, pattern number, etc.) to locate a similar item. Also, your local public library is chock-full of reference books on and about silver, antique silver, china and other items. Locate the reference section.
Man's timeless fascination with silver stretches back 6,000 years. As early as 700 B.C., the Mesopotamian merchants used silver as a form of exchange. Later, many other civilizations also came to recognize the inherent value of silver as a trading metal.
The ancient Greeks minted the drachma, which contained 1/8th ounce of silver; and in Rome, the basic coin was the denarius, weighing 1/7th ounce. And let's not forget the English shilling "sterling," originally denoting a specific weight of silver, which has come to mean excellence.
Today, millions of people throughout the world recognize silver's intrinsic value and have made it popular as an affordable investment.