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Silver and Flatware/Getting an honest appraisal


Thanks ahead of time for taking the time with this. I have a few random pieces of antique sterling flatware that I was given. No complete sets, the patterns and makers are assorted. My wife and I decided to sell a few to help us through a tough spot so I tracked down most of the patterns and contacted what seems to be a reputable antique silver dealer and was given an estimate of $195 for the following eight pieces:

2 Durgin-Gorham Fairfax Gumbo Spoons. Monogrammed with either an H or an F
1 Gorham Etruscan Gravy Ladle. Not Monogrammed.
1 Shreve & Co. Napoleonic Cream Soup Spoon?/Gumbo Spoon? Monogrammed with either an O or a C with an S inside of it.
1 Gorham Jac Rose Tablespoon, 8.5in. Engraved on the reverse side with "Sister".
3 teaspoons, all marked sterling with a large squarish S (pretty sure it's the Stanford Univ. S) raised on the top-front. One of the three spoons has a mark above the "sterling" which looks to be a shield, inside of which looks to be a K and under it a Co.

I haven't been able to find any guides online that seem helpful, most of them seem to be geared towards general advice, and I'm trying to make sure we're not getting hosed, so to speak. I know most of the pieces go back at least two generations in my family, most probably a third, and if we're going to get taken I'd prefer to see if we can't find another way to get us through our tight spot. It's not that tight.

I realize you may not do estimates, but if you could let me know if the estimate seems fair in your eyes. Are any of the pieces rare, possibly worth trying to sell on their own? From my little research online, Shreve seems to be an uncommon maker. Would that make that piece more valuable? Any help on a next step would be appreciated.

Thanks again, Jim.

Hi, Chris.

Here are my thoughts:

1. You didn't list the weights but looking at this collection purely from a scrap silver point of view, I'd say the scrap value is around $275 at today's silver price. However, it's very difficult for an individual to get 100% of the scrap price. If this dealer was planning to scrap the pieces, he would want to make a profit and he may get charged a fee by the refiner that melts it down. So. $195 may not be out of line looking at it just from a scrap point of view. Even if the dealer is not planning to scrap it, he has the market value of silver in the back of his mind.

2. If the dealer plans to sell the pieces, he is going to have a problem with all the custom engraving. I think he probably is looking to sell them in the range of $300 to $400 but it's going to take a while from him to sell them.

So, given that a dealer always gives a low offer because he has to build in a potential profit, the offer may not be out of line.

There is an article in the list below that discusses calculating the value of sterling flatware. It might help in calculating a value range. Reduce monogrammed pieces by at least 25%.

Hope this helps.

Best wishes,


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-- Calculating the value of your sterling flatware:
-- Calculating the scrap value of sterling flatware:
-- Value of sterling pieces:
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- Silver content in knives:

-- Things to consider when selling your sterling:
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Silver and Flatware

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Jim Stringer


I answer questions about sterling flatware and other sterling pieces........... I answer value questions at I also author a blog at and write articles about silver at ........... Thanks to nominations from questioners, I'm listed in the Top 50 Experts for 2014 and 2015.......... NOTE: Please do not give me a verbal description of a pattern and ask me to identify it. Attach a picture if you need such help..........


Buyer and seller of sterling pieces for over ten years. Author of the blog, Sterling silver writer for

Publications;; "Selling_Your_Silver: A Guide to Finding a Buyer and Getting a Good Price (

BS, University of Alabama; MS, University of Maryland

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