How to Sell Antique Sterling Silver Holloware on eBay

By eHow Contributor
Antique Sterling Silver
Images by Diane Cass, silver seller on eBay

You can sell your antique sterling silver holloware on eBay and receive the best prices. Holloware is utilitarian or decorative items like, tea sets, bowls, and candlesticks. There are many collectors willing to pay premium prices for good items on eBay. I am a successful seller of antique sterling silver on eBay. Follow my instructions and you WILL get a good price.

Antique Sterling Silver Bowl

Hunt for treasure around the house. Go around the house and gather up the antique sterling silver you want to sell. Items should be in good condition and usable. Small dents can be easily fixed. Any severe damage (pieces that are corroded, torn, twisted or crushed) may mean that you will have to scrap it instead.

Clean and polish the silver. Use a good quality cream polish and an old washcloth. The washcloth is soft and nubby so it gets into crevasse and will buff the piece to a gorgeous shine. Silver that is shiny is more attractive and usually sells for much higher prices than dirty tarnished silver. Cleaning will also reveal any condition problems. Make a note of major scratches, missing or misaligned lids, or dents to be put into the description.

Antique Sterling Silver Mark

Identify the type of silver your item is made of. Make sure your piece is really antique sterling silver by looking at the hallmarks. Almost all American sterling is marked "Sterling", or "925", or "925/1000". If there is no such mark, assume it is silverplate. Marks such as 800 - 900 are solid silver of a lesser quality than sterling, called "Coin Silver". They are likely old and can be very valuable. List them under Antiques, Silver, Coin Silver.

British Antique Sterling Silver

Identify whether you have British sterling. Britain and other countries have their own way of marking antique sterling silver. British Marks look like the one in the image. The British used a system of symbols representing the silver quality (a running lion), the city of assay, a date mark and the initials of the maker. Use a hallmark guide to properly identify the age and maker of the silver.

American Antique Sterling Silver

Identify the maker of the antique sterling silver holloware. The maker can have a huge impact on what your antique sterling silver is worth. Makers such as Tiffany, Unger Bros, Gorham, and Reed & Baton, are highly prized by collectors. Some marks are easy to read, like Tiffany and Company. Gorham has a mark in Symbols; a Lion, an Anchor and capital G. Many marks are just symbols. Look them up in a good hallmark or online at websites devoted to silver hallmarks.

Antique Sterling Silver Tea Set

Take good quality photographs of your antique sterling silver. include a lot of close-ups showing any special details and the maker's marks. A plain black background will really show off your sterling silver.

List your antique sterling silver on eBay. Put them in the "Antiques" category, with the sub-categories of "Silver/Sterling", and then the type of item it is. List any additional identifiers like maker's name

Create a proper title for your listing. List the Name of the maker, the type of item it is and any special features, like "Figural" (figures of birds, animals or people), or "Repousse" (beautiful hand-worked, 3-dimensional details). If you know the time period it is from, put that on as well. Use the sub-heading if you run out of room. It will cost a little more, but will bring more buyers to your listing.

Describe your item completely. A full and complete description of the antique sterling silver items must include: it's beautiful features, the maker, the time period, and mention any condition problems it might have. Also, give the measurements of each piece.

Set your starting price low and let it get bid up. Put a reserve if you have a set amount it has to sell for. There are additional fees with that, so use it sparingly. Research what other similar items have sold for before you list to get an idea of what kind of price you might achieve.

Decide which shipping method you will use, either flat fee or calculated by distance and weight. Some sellers offer free shipping to entice buyers to bid. Always ship valuable items with insurance.

Pack your items properly to reduce the possibility of damage during shipping. Use good strong boxes and bubble wrap. Fill the box completely, stuffing gaps with newspaper to keep the item from shifting.