How To Sell Silver

There are basically five places to consider when you’d like to sell your sterling flatware. Here are some pros and cons for each:

1. Coin Shop or Jeweler

This option is convenient because you can take your silver right in and get a price. But you must keep in mind that they’re only buying it for the specific value of the metal, and they have to make a profit. Chances are they will sell your Silver to a Sterling Matching Service (see below).

2. Smelter

While one step better than a coin shop – you’re cutting out the middleman and getting a better price – smelters want really large quantities in the neighborhood of a thousand ounces minimum to make the purchase worthwhile. Also, you do not get the benefit of any intrinsic value in the pattern of your pieces; they are valuing the material based solely on its silver content.

3. Road Show Dealer

Every city has these come through periodically: A group will come into town, advertise on TV and radio and take out huge newspaper ads. They typically rent space at a hotel or convention center, hire security, and might even pay a “celebrity” to appear. These expenses are huge, and that overhead means they have to reduce the price they pay for silver by up to 50% in order to make the operation profitable – not the best option for you if you want to get full value for your silver.

4. “Cash for Gold” Envelope System

You have very likely seen the sales pitch on TV: “Put your gold or silver in an envelope and send it off to us.” This is just about the worst choice you can make for selling your silver. A local TV station recently did an expose where they bought a gold ring for $500, then took it to coin shops where they were offered about $100. Then they sent it to a “Cash for Gold” outfit and got $5.20 for the ring. The same holds true for silver; it’s simply not a good way to maximize your investment.

5. Silver Matching Services

This is the best way to sell your silver. You get not only the value of the silver content taken into consideration, but also the desirability and rarity of the pattern. Of course, if the pattern has low desirability or rarity, you won’t get much more than you would from a smelter, but Silver Matching Services are certainly worth consulting. Also, you should consider getting more than one offer for your material; it’s always smart to get at least three offers from three different services. Get their prices; check their reliability; then make an informed choice.

Two examples of how you do much better selling your silver to a Silver Matching Service than selling to the smelter came into the Antique Cupboard shop just recently. One was a “Cactus”piece from George Jensen. The silver value from the smelter for this knife is about $7. We paid $76 for each knife. Another knife, not so well known, is the “Ripple” design by Hans Hansen. Even a design that is not considered popular can bring a good price via Silver Matching Servicies. To the smelter the knife is worth $8; we paid $25 per knife.