For many years, I have been appraising and advising on all kinds of residential contents, but one item has always eluded my imagination. So, I thought I would share it with you in the form of a little “Show and Tell” now that I have a good example.
When people think of sterling silver, they think it has value. They would be correct, but in some cases, the value is not necessarily as great as one might think. Because the spot price of silver is currently down, many people are collecting scrap silver or scrapping family silver pieces for quick cash. This is done by weight only, so families may think that mom’s candlesticks are very heavy and therefore must be worth a fortune!
What most people don’t realize is that many pieces that mom or grandma have are “weighted” sterling. If you look at the base of the sterling candlesticks, footed bowls, or candelabra, you will see a base that is actually filled with cement, a composite of some sort. The sterling silver over that base is actually foil thin. If you turn over the piece, you will see it says “weighted silver.”
This piece was broken and found in the trash.
I peeled the actual foil-thin silver off, so you could see the “weight” was not silver at all, but just a lump of resin/cement. By the time you peel off the good silver, it weighs about a third of an ounce (if that), or approximately $6.60 in scrap silver, because the weight was removed from this broken base. If the piece had the top portion, it would have been worth more. I wanted to demonstrate that scrap silver is not that easy to accumulate; you have to know what can be scrapped and what can’t.
I hope you enjoyed this. I never knew what the inside of one of these candlesticks actually looked like!
©2014 The Estate Lady®
Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.
No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent. Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com