resale value sterling silver

What’s It Worth? Sterling Silver Service

J.C. Grogan Co. Sterling Silver Water Pitcher

This charming silver pitcher was submitted by one of our followers in McLean, Virginia. It was a gift from her uncle, an avid collector and lover of antiques in Pennsylvania. It certainly has aesthetic appeal and functionality, but does it have a resale value in today’s marketplace?

Chris Lancette of Orion’s Attic says that determining the resale value of sterling silver items is dependent upon who’s buying it, and for what purpose.

Some sterling, particularly antique pieces like this one, can possess a “collector” value. Lancette says, “Personally, I like pieces retailed by (not necessarily made by) J.C. Grogan. The company dates back to the turn of the 20th century in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where it sold silverware, jewelry, clocks and “fancy goods. The condition for this particular piece is average by collector standards, and the monogram hurts it a bit, but I believe it would find a buyer at auction or online.”

Most dealers will pay accordingly for a piece with genuine collector value but, more often than not, buyers are paying for sterling based on its melt value. The majority of sterling sterling silver pieces – pitchers, platters, flatware, etc., are sold at prices based on their weight, known as scrap value.

“Dealers like us pay sellers like you a percentage of that value,” says Lancette. “We in turn sell them up the food chain to a refiner. It used to cause me great anguish to think that beautiful, hand-made sterling pitchers, trays and flatware got melted. I now accept reality and take solace in the fact that the silver at least takes on a second life.”

So, what’s it worth?

If you have a sterling silver pitcher that weighs 1 pound, the scrap value at the time of this writing would be about $207. The average dealer would thus pay between $103.50 to $144.90.

If you’re willing to wait long enough, you may possibly find someone willing to pay up to 20 percent more than the scrap value. Sterling goods by more famous makers like Paul Revere can skyrocket past that.  So, this little beauty could go for as much as $175.00.

Want to learn more?

Read a more detailed review of this item and get more information from our trusted professionals at  Orion’s Attic.

Downsizing specialists see silver and silverplate in clients’ homes quite frequently, and there are always questions about its value.  If you have a lot of silver items,  you may want to invest a small amount of time and money in learning how to:  

  • Distinguish between sterling silver & silverplate.
  • Read silver marks and identify your pieces.
  • Understand differences among international marks and commonly encountered marks.

Our trusted colleague Sarah Reeder offers an excellent online course that will give you the confidence to make decisions about your collection. 

Are you curious about the potential value of a treasured possession?  Send us an email with detailed photos, including any marks, and we may feature it on a future blog post!