What to Do with Unwanted Antique Silver

Days like these afford us lots of opportunities that may have passed us by in the past —like taking stock of our family silver collection.

Take a look at the silver pieces you have in your home. We all have family heirlooms that will be passed down to the next generation. There are things we use every day. Then, for one reason or another, there are silver items in our home that we don’t need or want anymore.

Don’t throw those things out! There are many ways to preserve that silver and give it a new life, while still cleaning out your cabinet.

And, for goodness sake, please don’t melt that unwanted silver.

“Some artisan poured their heart into that piece, and you can see the craftsmanship after it’s cleaned up a bit,” say the Biros. “We believe in preserving as many of those pieces as possible.”

The first option to consider is donating your antique silver to a charity — perhaps a church or school raffle. This is a great way to give back to the community while preserving the legacy of the silver industry.

Another option is to work with one of the fine estate auctions and consignment showrooms in your area to find your antique silver a new home.

Martin Codina, the CEO and Founder of Fine Estate Inc., elaborates on what makes silver valuable: relevancy.

“There are several aspects of relevancy,” Codina explains, “the first aspect of relevancy is if it’s silver, then it becomes relevant to the worldwide spot metal marketplace.”

While a professional can help, you can do some homework on your own.

To help you identify these aspects of relevancy for your silver, you can check out websites like the 925-1000 and silvercollection.it to research maker’s marks and patterns, says Codina. You can also use Google to identify popular silver patterns.

First, look for a 9-2-5 stamp or the words “Sterling Silver” on it, Codina suggests.

Next, figure out who made it, how it’s marked, where it was made, and uncover the pattern.

“The more popular the pattern is, the more desire there is in the marketplace for people who want to add to their collection,” Codina says.

Here at Biro and Sons, we invite people to bring in their silver for us to evaluate as a complimentary service. Of course, we can also polish and restore these pieces to increase their relevancy.

Once that research is done, it’s time to look into local fine estate auction houses.

Here are some that we recommend:

#1. Fine Estate, Inc.

At Fine Estate, Inc., Codina and his team start by asking their clients what their goals are. Depending on their goals, they’ll research the piece, find out if there’s a premium value that can be added to it, photograph it, and put it in one of their showrooms or auctions.

Fine Estate, Inc. recently sold this Tiffany bowl that we cleaned up for $18,000.

#2. Mureta Antiques

We’ve highlighted these folks before as an iconic San Francisco place to find and buy unique antiques, but they will also purchase your fine sterling silver. They’re looking for estate jewelry, in particular.

#3. Laurel House Antiques

Laurel House typically accepts items for consignment weekly (of course, they are not open now), but require that silver is polished and in good condition.

That’s what we’re here for!

#4. San Rafael Auction Gallery

The San Rafael Auction Gallery offers free market price evaluations of your silver. They hold six Fine Estate Auctions throughout the year — dates to be announced as more is known about the recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak.

They handle insurance, research, cataloging, photography, and marketing for free as part of your consignment agreement.

Unless a piece of silver is badly damaged beyond repair, we rarely advise that it’s scrapped for the value of the metal. Instead, explore the options above to preserve legacy antique silver.

Once our doors reopen, we are happy to evaluate your silver pieces free of charge. Please email or call us if you’re interested.