What is my best option for selling sterling flatware?
June 15, 2021 8:08 PM   Subscribe

I have a set of Kirk Stieff sterling (not silverplate) flatware, 8 place settings plus a few serving pieces, in virtually unused condition. If it matters, the pattern is Old Maryland Engraved and the pieces are unmonogrammed. What is my best option for turning this into money? Replacements.com? Ebay? Bulk silver buyer? Something else?
posted by HotToddy to Shopping (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is time an issue or just maximizing value? Assuming moderate time pressure (I would like to get this done in about a month's time), I would first find out what the sterling is worth to a precious metals buyer. Then, I would see what the market it for the flatware as flatware. If I were to offer it on a selling site, I would offer it at a price that makes it worth it to hang on for some time rather than selling it to the precious metals person. Although I have not sold flatware to a metals dealer, I would assume the transaction could be completed in a day. So, if say you can get $1,000 for it from a dealer, price it on a selling site such that waiting for a buyer for a month is worth it to you. If it were me, I would want at least a 20% markup over spot metal price. If you assume some value to keeping it as flatware for some sentimental or other reason, then price it at or slightly above precious metals. The issue would be that if you price it below the metal value thinking it will remain as flatware, the buyer could just be arbitraging you.

The spot price for silver is, as of when I looked this evening, $27.74/oz. So expect to get slightly below that. Probably at a local shop, closer to $27/oz
posted by AugustWest at 9:18 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


You'll do vastly better selling it as silverware. A metal dealer will give you the melt value, minus their profit. Assume a fork weighs an ounce, that's maybe $20. Replacement value is an absolute minimum of $100, and could easily be twice that. Don't destroy something beautiful and lose money at the same time.
A friend inherited all of his parents' silver, and hired a 'we put it on ebay' service. He wouldn't tell me afterwards how much he got, but I'm pretty sure it was a very small percentage of what he expected.
I'm trying to accumulate enough silver to leave each of my children a set. Most people don't like sterling. I think it's beautiful. I assume keeping it is out of the question?
posted by AugustusCrunch at 10:58 PM on June 15 [3 favorites]


Replacements.com will give you an estimate/offer based on your description of what you have; that would presumably be useful as a benchmark. I assume selling to Replacements.com is kind of like selling your car to Carmax - you probably won't get the absolutely best possible price but you could do worse and you can trust that they're not going to completely scam you.
posted by mskyle at 5:03 AM on June 16 [7 favorites]


This is always a good place to start (eBay completed sold listings)
posted by chasles at 5:41 AM on June 16


chasles usually I'd agree, but those were all listed as fixed price with best offer, so you don't see the price they actually sold for (unless I'm missing something).
posted by altolinguistic at 5:52 AM on June 16


We completed a silver set by buying from Replacements.com. Definitely check them out - it is easy to complete the transaction if you like the price. If you aren't in a hurry, You could then try listing it on ebay for something in between what Replacements.com will buy it for and what they sell it for and see what happens.
posted by metahawk at 3:30 PM on June 16


Just note that the market for table silver is not what it used to be since social patterns around entertainment and wedding presents have shifted to more casual.
posted by metahawk at 3:32 PM on June 16


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