92.5% Sterling Silver scrap value, and where to sell it to a precious metals dealer in the Seattle area: Any advice?
I have inherited a truly massive horde of sterling silver from an elderly relative. I am 99% confident that the silver in question is of the 92.5% silver content variety, and much of it was manufactured pre-1935. My questions are:
1) There appear to be several complete 60+ piece sets, complete with weird things like toast servers, giant ladles, etc. They closely resemble sets which are selling for $1400+ on eBay in the sterling silver category. Is it worth my time to take these to an estate sale/appraiser to see how much value they might have as antiques or collectibles, above and beyond their weight in silver? I have little to no interest in researching these sets' values, polishing them, photographing them and selling them individually on eBay myself.
2) In my initial research, I have read that it is common for certain items such as knives and candle holders to have steel shafts inside or hollow cavities filled with wax. If sold for scrap value, apparently these are usually cut up and the excess metal is removed before weighing?
3) I've found this website
which lists a "buy" price for sterling silver at $0.858 USD per gram. They do not work directly with consumers, the FAQ on the website says they only buy from refiners, pawn shops, jewelers and so forth. If I really have a bunch of sterling silver flatware to sell, how much less than $0.858 USD/gram would be normal to get paid from a local metal purchaser?
I am very hesitant to consider doing business with one of the scammy looking "cash for gold" type operations that have popped up around North America over the past several years. I also thing it's a bit sad that semi-unique pieces which may be 100 years old could be melted down for their silver value - but pure silver was at $12/troy ounce in 2009, and is currently hovering somewhere around $33.50/troy ounce right now. Judging by the weight of all this (unless much of it is not in fact silver) we might be looking at $5,000+ USD worth of silver.
Lastly, if anyone can offer contact info or a reference to an estate appraiser or reputable, honest broker of precious metals in the Seattle area, it would be highly appreciated.