Silver place settings consist of the various spoons, forks and knives used in a dining set. Sets range from a just few pieces to over 10 in one set for each diner. Full place settings for an entire dining table may include dozens of items. Pricing old silver place settings depends on a number of factors including the item's age, condition and current demand.
Gather all of the items together to ensure you have a full set. If you're missing a spoon or fork it may reduce the set's value. The larger and more complete the set, the more likely it is to reach a higher sale price.
Turn each item over and look for a hallmark on the stem or curve. All the hallmarks should be the same. If there are discrepancies in date letter and maker the items aren't part of the same set.
Identify the hallmarks by comparing them to online or book hallmark guides. Guides may list maker, location and date marks. Some marks to look out for include the English Lion Passant, the word "Tiffany" or the initials "PS" for Paul Storr.
Search for the marks "EPNS", "EPBM" or "A1". These show that the set is silver plate and not sterling silver. Look for the mark "Sterling" or "925". Sterling silver items commonly feature these marks.
Inspect each item for signs of damage or refurbishment. Some wear is expected on very old items. Solder, tears or dents will lower value.
Look for unusual or desirable patterns. For example, fiddle patterning is common and less sought-after, whereas Queen's patterning is rarer, according to Bryan Douglas Silver.
Consult recent prices from auction websites. Compare your silver set to get an idea of current prices. Check Miller's Antique Price Guide for a rough estimate on your set after you have checked hallmarks and condition.
- Online or book hallmark guide
- Magnifying glass
Try and gather as much information as possible about your silver place settings. Additional details such as verifiable previous owners can increase sale price.
Beware of forgeries. Send your silver place settings to a specialist if in doubt.