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Is Your Hollowware or Flatware Collection Valuable?

Posted on November 7th, 2023 by Joe G

Stumbling upon an antique wooden chest in a tucked-away corner of your home can be like finding hidden treasure. Imagine opening it to discover shimmering silver flatware—knives, forks, spoons, possibly serving a party of 8 or even 12! Perhaps it was a cherished gift from a relative or a unique find from a thrift store.

With the current market value of silver hovering around $20.00 per ounce, this discovery could be your golden ticket to some extra cash. Before you decide to cash in on your flatware in Chicago, let’s help you decipher if your set is genuinely valuable Sterling Silver or just a silver plated replica.

The Telltale Stamp:

A quick glance at the back of a fork or spoon can reveal a lot. If it’s Sterling Silver, it will typically be stamped with “Sterling” or “Sterling Silver”. This stamp is accompanied by the manufacturer’s mark. Some notable names include Gorham, Reed & Barton, Towle, Wallace, and International.

However, don’t be deceived by age. Many renowned brands have, for centuries, created silver plated (other metals coated with a thin layer of silver) alternatives for budget-conscious buyers.

The Sterling Check:

Some serving pieces might have a stamp indicating “International Silver Company.” While International does manufacture Sterling, if it’s missing the explicit “Sterling Silver” tag, chances are you’re holding a silver plated item. Other indicators for silver plating include inscriptions like IS (Inlaid Silver), Silver on Copper, EP, Silver Soldered, and Triple. Brands like Community and Rogers Brothers are known for producing predominantly silver-plated items.

Knife Inspection:

For knives, your inspection will need a keen eye. Examine the junction where the handle fuses with the blade. If it’s Sterling Silver, it will often read “Sterling Handle”. Remember, a tarnished appearance doesn’t always indicate Sterling. It could simply mean the silver plating is wearing out.

European Sets:

European collections can be intriguing with their array of hallmarks. These require a more expert examination, which we’re more than happy to provide.

Although Sterling Silver flatware and hollowware in Chicago fetch a decent price, silver-plated pieces seldom hold significant value.

Come in For a Free Appraisal

Visit us at Chicago Gold Gallery. We’re open from 10 am to 6 pm, Monday to Saturday. Bring your tea set, sugar bowl, or flatware collection in for a complimentary assessment, and let’s help you convert your real Sterling Silver treasures into cash!

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Had a Great Experience

I have dealt in coins and metals since the 80s. Had dealings with many dealers. Got scammed by a few. Chicago Gold is the only one I would recommend to my family or friends. Have your valuables appraised by them before you sell.

Date: 05/12/2022 • 5 / 5 stars ★★★★★

Awesome place!

What a super knowledgeable gemologist. After all that experience also they are soooo willing to help and answer all the questions I had. Excellent experience. They went above and beyond for me. Highly recommended. Super trustworthy.

Date: 01/20/2022 • 5 / 5 stars ★★★★★

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Cashed in some silver coins and received a very fair exchange. Joe and Chris, were very friendly, and comfortable to deal with. Came back with some jewelry, and received a rough appraisal...again no pressure.

Date: 11/15/2021 • 5 / 5 stars ★★★★★

I would do business with them again

I found the Chicago Gold Gallery to be a very honest and reputable shop. I would highly recommend this store to anyone buying and selling their possessions.

Date: 05/01/2021 • 5 / 5 stars ★★★★★

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