Buying Antique Silver: The Different Types Of Silver And Their Values

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Antique Silver

Starting a silver collection can be daunting because of the different types, grades, and colors you need to know. By doing your research before starting a collection, you can make choices that are suited for you and what you want your collection to look like. You should decide how pure you want your silver objects to be and familiarize yourself with the various shapes, sizes, colors, and hallmarks available.

To preserve silver’s value and beauty, understanding how much is silver worth proper care must be taken. It can tarnish over time if it’s not properly cared for, so it’s important to learn how to properly clean and store it. By understanding the many forms of silver, you’ll be able to start and maintain a lovely collection that will last for generations.

In the next sections, we’ll go over several different varieties of silver, so you can choose the best one that fits you.

  1. Sterling Silver

Sterling Silver

There are a few different types of silver that are commonly collected. The most common type is sterling silver, which is an alloy of silver and other metals. It is the most popular choice for silver jewelry and other decorative items and also a good choice for investment purposes, as it tends to hold its value well over time.

The purity of sterling silver is typically 92.5%, meaning that it is 925 parts pure silver to 75 parts other metals. The other metals are usually copper, zinc, or nickel. The purity of sterling silver can be determined by looking for a mark on the piece, such as “925” or “sterling.”

It is also known for its durability and brightness and can last for many years if it is properly cared for. If you’re struggling to make a decision on the best type for you, sterling silver is a safe place to start since it’ll hold its value so well.

To keep it looking great, it is important to clean and polish this silver regularly. You can purchase a commercial silver cleaner or polish, or you can make your own at home.

Thanks to its durability and bright appearance, you’ll find a whole range of products made from it. Everything from jewelry to flatware, serving pieces, and ornamental items.

  1. Silver-Plated

Silver Plated Utensils

Silver plating is a thin layer of silver that is applied to a base metal. It is usually less expensive than sterline silver, but it can still be a beautiful addition to any collection. It can tarnish over time, so it’s important to learn how to properly care for it.

The purity of silver-plated items is lower than sterling silver, as the thickness of the silver layer is usually only a few microns. The base material underneath can be any number of metals, including copper, brass, or nickel. The purity of silver-plated items can be determined by looking for a mark on the piece, such as “silver plated” or “EPNS.”

Keeping your silver-plated items in a good condition requires special care. Polishing regularly with a soft, lint-free cloth will help to remove any tarnish that has developed, and avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives, as these can damage the silver plating.

To store these items, you need to put them in a cool, dry place and avoid exposure to humidity, as this can cause the silver to tarnish more quickly. Finally, be careful when cleaning silver-plated items not to scratch the surface.

Some popular examples of silver-plated items include trays, silverware (like forks, knives, and spoons), and candlesticks, used for decorative purposes. You can also find pitchers and tureens, which are used for serving food. All of the items mentioned above can be quite valuable, depending on their age and condition.

  1. Fine Silver

Fine Silver

Fine silver is at least 99.9% pure silver, making it a very high-quality metal. It is often used in coins, bars, and other investment-grade items. However, because it is so pure, it can be quite soft and prone to scratch easily.

When it comes to taking care of fine silver, it is important to keep it stored in a cool, dry place as well. It is also a good idea to wrap it in acid-free tissue paper or a soft cloth to help protect it from scratches. To clean your silver, use a gentle polish specifically designed for silver – never use harsh chemicals or abrasives, as these can damage the metal.

There are a few things to watch out for when buying fine silver, as there are many scams that exist. One common scam is known as “silver plating,” where lower-quality metals are coated with a thin layer of silver. This can make the item appear to be made of pure silver, but it will be worth far less than an actual piece of fine silver. If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to ask for a professional opinion before making your purchase.

Fine silver is a popular choice for use in jewelry and other decorative items because of its beautiful shine. However, it’s not as durable as sterling silver and can be more difficult to care for. It’s generally better suited to statement pieces rather than daily-wear jewelry.

  1. Coin Silver

Silver Coins

As the name would suggest, coin silver is a silver alloy used to make silver currency. Generally, it must be at least 90% pure silver, with the other 10% being made up of a limited number of other elements — typically nickel and copper.

These can be a great entry into silver collecting as they tend to be hardy, easy to clean, and can offer a low-budget entry to collecting. Of course, that doesn’t mean silver coins are low value — the most expensive silver coin in the US is from 1794 and sold for $10m USD!

Now that you’re familiar with the different types of silver, you can start to narrow down your options and choose the pieces that are right for you. Remember to do your research and learn about how to properly care for your silver as well as how to spot fakes.

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Jinally Shah is a co-editor at MyDecorative.Com. She is a role model, especially in Social media Optimization in business and primary tasks, with an understanding of communicating and executing all activities related to referral searches. She works closely with the team and looks after the quality and growth of off-site factors like Social Media Marketing that drive referral growth. In addition, she analyses and creates strategic recommendations for social media promotions.

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