What is Sterling silver?

What is Sterling silver?                               silver-tea-set

In recant months the silver buying business has been very strong. We have had many customers asking “What is Sterling Silver and what is the difference with Silver Plate?”

Firstly, Sterling is the term used to describe the purity of a silver item. Most silver items are not made of pure silver because it would be to soft. So a small amount of other metals are added to give more strength to the item.
Pure silver is rated as 99.9% Sterling is 92.5% That is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other (most often copper)
Sterling silver is the most common standard used it was established in Europe in the 12th century. Markings vary and it can be hard to tell if your item is sterling so my advice is to contact a dealer. Sarasota antique Mall is always happy to look at any item if you are interested in selling or not. www.sarasotaantiquemall.com or phone (941) 809-2388

Silver plate: This refers to an item that has been made of a less valuable metal and then a thin layer of sterling silver is applied over the surface to give the appearance of real Sterling silver This is usually to save money and yet have a good looking item. Silver plate items do not have any commodity value but may have an intrinsic value. Again it is sometimes hard to know if you have a plated item as the markings were often made to be misleading. Seek the advice of an expert.

Hear is an example of English sterling markings known as Hallmarks

Also some interesting infomation on some of the best American silver companys.

Tiffany

Gorham Sterling Silver

sterling silver hallmarks
From Sarasota antique mall

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What are Antiques?

Over the years I have bought thousands of Antiques. In-fact today I am still looking and buying antiques. My business survives on buying. If I don’t buy I cant sell and if I don’t sell then I go out of business. Having now stated the obvious lets get on with the real problem. What is an Antique? This may to some be a retarded question, but I don’t think it is. I think there is a lot of confusion out there about antiques. I think the thing is we all have our own standard. Some might say, “Well an Antique has to be over 100 years old” others may say, “something that isn’t made any longer” the webster dictionary has it as.
1. Existing since or belonging to earlier times
2. Being in the style or fashion of former times
3. Made in or representative of the work of an earlier period

I don’t think any of these disruptions are wrong but I don’t think they fully explain what an antique is ether. The truth is that each of us have our own idea and standard. I like to think that an antique is over 100 years old and has some rarity, it shows a high standard of craftsmanship and quality. Something that has a high value.
I don’t always stick to these standards but normally a combination of these things work for me

There are many misconceptions about Antiques out there and some I find quite humorous.
Just because its old doesn’t mean it antique or valuable.
(The wooden toilette seat from the cabin in West Virginia)

Just because it came from Grandmas house doesn’t mean it antique or valuable.
(Very nice old lady. Loved to shop at Kmart. Gave this to me just before she passed on, about 6 months ago. It has a “Made in China” sticker on it? Don’t know why she would have put that on it?)

Just because it was Grandmas prize possession doesn’t mean it antique or valuable.
( Small glass dish with engraving “Best bingo player of 1948”)

Just because it Antique doesn’t mean it antique or valuable.

These are all things I have been offered to buy and the man who was trying to sell the toilette seat was quite upset when I was not interested.

People collect all sorts of things,”one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

I think that if you are wondering if you have something of value maybe an antique and your not positive. Ask an expert. Most dealers I know are happy to share there knowledge, when approached in a polite way. If you have an item you are trying to get more information on or are trying to sell give me a call. I don’t charge for my opinion and you never know you may have an Antique. Give me a call (941)809-2388