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Silver and Flatware/silverware sets


I had a question about some antique silverware. My mother recently passed away and we are dividing her things. She had two sets of silverware. A newer set with 16 complete settings and an older set with 12 complete settings. I was not paying attention when my sister and wife divided up the silverware. They ended up dividing up the sets, 1/2 of each set. When I found out what they had done, I said that was crazy and that the sets were probably worth more in complete sets. Can you tell me if this is true?

Stewart Leonard


It often depends upon the specific pattern and also how much time you want to devote to selling a set. For very large sets, the value could be greater for the complete set. However, there is a large market out there of people who want to buy a few pieces to add to their existing set. Selling a complete set excludes these buyers.

If the sets you have in mind are made of sterling, it's worth investigating on sites like eBay to see what sales have been recently. If the sets are made of silver plate, it's highly likely the value is not great under either sales option. Again, it depends upon the pattern.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,


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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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