While silver plated items can have high value depending on a few factors like their history, manufacturer, rarity and demand, Sterling Silver is often valued at a much higher price.
Typically, Sterling Silver pieces have a hallmark, or silver mark, with the numbers, “.925” imprinted on it. This refers to the fact that your piece is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper alloy. These hallmarks, or silver marks, can also include symbols which denote where the piece was made and by whom. Silver Plated items are marked with “EP” or “EPNS”. If an item has no marking, it is also likely Silver Plated.
There are many types of Silver items that originate from countless sources that it can be difficult to tell them apart. Telling the difference between Antique and Estate Silver is no exception. Items are often misidentified and sold for far less than they are worth by buyers who are unaware, or inappreciative of their historical value.
As we at Silver Antique Buyers frequently buy Estate and Antique Silver, we make it our business to know everything about the history, significance and value of your Silver.
So, what is the difference? Simply said, it's this:
Estate Silver usually refers to pieces that have been previously owned, thought not necessarily from the estate of the deceased. This can often carry some historical significance.
Vintage Silver is essentially classified as items that were manufactured between the 1940's and 1980's.
Antique Silver, just to make things more complicated, generally refers to anything manufactured over 100 years ago. Estate Silver can be Antique, while Antique Silver is not necessarily Estate Silver.
Silver Antiques can carry a great deal more value than their weight in silver. This is determined by numerous factors including, but not limited to, the demand of your particular pieces (Silver Flatware can be in greater demand than Silver Trays for example), the condition of your piece, the historical significance your silver antique may carry, and who the manufacturer was.
There are many dealers who don't consider these details, or who are simply not knowledgable enough. Before you sell your silver, it is important to talk to a trusted and experienced expert in the field.