How To Determine the Worth of Inherited Silverware

Worth of inherited silverware

Have you inherited a set of silver flatware, or maybe a silver tea set? Many people today buy stainless steel, but actual silverware in the form of flatware, trays, or tea seats was a luxury item that your parents or grandparents may have owned. If you have been lucky enough to inherit a set of silverware, you may be wondering how much it is worth. The answer lies in how it was made, influenced heavily by the age of the item.

The Beginning of Silver Flatware

Once upon a time, many years ago – 12th century England, to be precise, royal and highly wealthy families decided to use sterling silver as flatware. This was the same quality of silver that was being used in silver coins. During the Industrial Revolution, silverware began being mass-produced, making it somewhat more affordable and definitely more available. Members of the newly-growing middle class purchased silverware as a sign of their wealth and gentility. For over a hundred years, upper-middle-class families likely owned silverware that was ornate and nearly solid silver.

Silver Suffers in the Great Depression

When the Great Depression hit, people fell into financial trouble. Purchasing silverware–including all the work involved in owning it, such as hiring servants to polish it–was unaffordable. That’s when silver-plated flatware became popular. Flatware that is silver-plated has a thin layer of silver painted onto its surface, but it is primarily not a silver piece. Silver-plated items look pretty, but they cost significantly less than sterling silver. Therefore, they are worth less if you inherit them.

So How Much is Your Inherited Silverware Worth?

Now that you know some of the history of silver in the home, you can use the time period of your set to help determine its worth of your inherited silverware. If it has been passed down through the generations from the 1800s, there’s a chance it might actually be sterling silver. In fact, there are ways you can check for yourself if your silver items are sterling. Look at the bottom. If it says “sterling” or has the numbers 925, 900, or 800 inscribed in it, you’ve hit the silver jackpot–sort of. Chances are, your inherited set will end up being recycled for scrap metal. Very few silver flatware sets have real value today–they would need to have been made by a highly valued silversmith or be of an intricately beautiful pattern to be kept in-tact and not be melted down.

Most likely, though, your silver flatware, trays, tea sets, and other dining accessories are silver-plated. Silver-plated items have less worth than sterling silver, and a professional like the ones at Old and New Shop can help you decide if it is worth selling. If you do decide to sell, we can help you get the best price for your silver items.

How Much is Your Gold and Silver Worth?

How much is your gold and silver worth?

Amongst antique or gifted items in your possession might be items made of gold or silver. You may wonder how much your gold and silver is worth, and if they are worth selling or holding onto? Some of these answers are subjective. Does the item hold sentimental value? Naturally, you won’t want to sell such an item! Are you in need of some quick money? That may prompt you to sell now instead of strategically waiting for an opportune time based on the precious metals market. Once you answer these important preliminary questions, we come to the question at the crux of the issue: just how much does your gold or silver get you?

Precious Metals Trend Slowly

The upward or downward trends of gold and silver happen very slowly – a single trend can take twenty years before things start to go the other way! This is because gold and silver are not consumed like other goods, such as food items. People who buy gold and silver tend to hoard them, not use them up. Supply and demand does affect precious metals, but not as drastically the way it affects other commodities. Therefore, if you want to be patient and wait for an opportune time to sell, you may have to wait a while. However, there are some big rises in price from time to time, even during a downward trend. If you catch one of those rises, you could get lucky.

The Worth of Gold and Silver as Determined by the Spot Price and the Daily Fixing

Once or twice a day, the price of precious metals is “fixed.” That means that members of the industry decide on a set price for buying and selling precious metals or agree to maintain the current market conditions in order to regulate the price across the industry. Another way to determine the price of gold or silver is by looking at the spot price, which predicts the future expected value of precious metals. The spot price can change several times a day.

The Devaluation of Currency Raises the Worth of Gold and Silver

As markets change, the value of certain countries’ currencies can go down. When currency values decrease, investors look to gold, increasing gold’s inherent value. More than supply and demand, market changes and currency values heavily influence the worth of gold and silver.

It’s not always a simple decision when (and if!) to sell your gold or silver items. At Old and New Shop, our experts analyze the current market trends for gold and silver values. We look to buy solid gold and silver items including gold coins, silver flatware, silver tea sets, silver trays, and more, and we will give you the highest price for your items.

5 Elements to Consider When Determining the Worth of a Piece of Art

Determine how much a piece of art is worth.

Do you own or have you inherited several paintings or other forms of art? You may be wondering if your art is worth anything. The thing about art is that it’s super subjective. You may feel that the art you own is a masterpiece, or at least looks absolutely stunning, but the beauty of your piece of art doesn’t always dictate its worth. In fact, there are a variety of factors that are important in determining the value of your art piece.

1. Authenticity

Authentic antique paintings are rare, but they’re out there. The interesting, and somewhat problematic, issue of authenticity of paintings is that master painters sometimes had their students paint copies of their pieces or contribute to the original, and then all those pieces were sold under the master painter’s name. Leonardo da Vinci is famous for doing this with his painting Virgin of the Rocks. That means that many “authentic originals” out there are actually copies or collaborations. When discovered, these paintings become labeled “inauthentic” and their worth goes down.

2. Size

Amongst more contemporary artwork, the size of the piece often plays a significant role in its price. Smaller works are usually priced lower, and works that are too big to comfortably hang in a residential home are also priced lower because they are more difficult to sell. Large works that hang nicely in someone’s home will often have a higher price tag.

3. Medium

Oil paintings are extremely durable, which gives them a higher value. In addition, paintings done on canvas are worth more than those done on paper.

4. History

What is the history of the piece? Is it an original? If it belonged to anyone famous or significant, that will drive up its value. In addition, does the artist have an interesting backstory? Is the artist still alive? These are all important questions to consider when thinking about how much a piece of art is worth.

5. Artist

The popularity of the artist is a strong determining factor in the value of a piece of art. Has the artist been to several exhibitions? Won any awards? Is the artist popular right now?

Ultimately, whether or not you keep a piece of art is a highly personal decision. If you do decide you want to sell it, the experts at Old & New Shop will help you determine its worth and pay you the same day we pick it up. Either way, it’s always interesting and useful to know the history and worth of any piece of art you own!

What is the Difference Between Precious and Semi-Precious Stones?

precious and semi-precious stones

Do you have jewelry passed down to you or that you don’t want anymore that you are looking to sell? If you have jewelry with gems, it can be helpful to know more about the kinds of gems they are and what they might be worth. Since the 1800s, gemstones have been classified into two main categories: precious and semi-precious stones. Precious stones generally refer to diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. All other gemstones are considered semi-precious. The differences between the two categories can be subtle, and there is some controversy over whether or not this classification system is legitimate.

Why Are Some Stones Considered “Precious” and Not Others?

The most important thing to understand is that the basis for this classification is commercial, not scientific. Some people may argue that the value of precious stones is higher, or that they are rarer, but this is simply not true. There are several semi-precious stones that are harder to find than precious ones, or that cost more to buy, but that doesn’t bump them up to precious status. The fact is that for marketing reasons, the jewelry world arbitrarily assigned certain gems “precious” status so they could charge more for them.

Does It Matter If the Gems on my Jewelry are Precious or Semi-Precious?

Not really. There are many variables that go into the worth of a gemstone, including cut, quality, size, and clarity. Additionally, some semiprecious stones are actually rarer or worth more than precious stones. The designation of precious and semi-precious is arbitrary at this point, but the world is so used to this classification that it is nearly impossible to change.

Sell Your Jewelry With Confidence

There are many avenues for selling your jewelry, but many of them won’t give you that much in return. At the Old & New Shop, our antique and jewelry buyer will make sure you get the proper value for your jewelry. We give you top dollar based on fair market value. If you are not sure about selling, we give you a free quote with no obligations, so you can make an informed decision.

Top 5 Ways To Dig Up Valuable Yard Sale Finds

Valuable yard sale finds

Summer is the season of yard sales, and you’d be surprised what kinds of treasures you may discover. While most of what people are selling on their front lawn isn’t actually worth particularly much, if you’re a savvy buyer, you may be able to score some valuable finds at yard sales this summer. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your yard sale shopping.

1. Get There Early 

Generally, antique dealers are the first ones to get to yard and estate sales, and they’ll likely scoop up any antiques worth having. If you want to get in there and claim some antiques for yourself, you’ll have to be one of the first shoppers at the sale.

2.  Shop in Older Neighborhoods 

Is there a town nearby that has families who have lived there generation after generation? Members of these older neighborhoods are more likely to have antiques that were passed down to them from previous generations and that may end up on their yard sale tables.

3. Don’t Pass Up Less Obvious Antiques 

When you hear antique, you probably think of furniture or jewelry. But antiques come in a variety of categories and you may stumble upon some pretty valuable finds unexpectedly at your next yard sale. Examples include antique ornaments, sports memorabilia, fishing equipment, art frames, and books.

4. Judge the Weight 

Heavier items tend to be authentically older, as materials commonly used long ago were bulkier and more weighty than ones used today. Anything that feels light in your hand probably isn’t an authentic antique.

5. Look for Identifying Marks 

Antiques will often have markings on them put there by their manufacturers. These marks help identify the maker and the time period. Certain language on backstamps was also used by specific countries in different eras, so study those backstamps if you see them and do some research to help you decipher these clues.

Confirm Your Potentially Valuable Yard Sale Finds

Remember that once you bring home your potentially valuable finds from yard sales, get your items appraised. The experienced buyers at Old and New Shop will give you a fair and accurate price for your antique pieces. Then you can make an informed decision on what to do next – do you want to sell and make some money? Or hold on to it and potentially pass it down in your own family? 

Is Your Antique Furniture Authentic? Top Three Categories to Consider.

authentic antique furniture

If you have an antique piece of furniture in your home, you may want to know more about it and learn how much it may be worth. There are several different criteria to consider when evaluating the authenticity of a furniture antique. Below are the top three important categories of elements that can help you learn if your antique furniture is authentic – or at least if it is worth bringing to a professional appraiser! 


Consider the Era


There are several different styles of furniture from different time periods, and each piece has its own story to tell. Furniture is usually considered antique if it is over 100 years old. Identifying the era from which your piece of furniture comes can help you determine if your piece is authentic and how much it may be worth.


Queen Anne and Chippendale styles are both from the 1700s and were popular in the early American colonies, particularly Boston and Philadelphia. They have subtle but distinct differences from one another in their shape and details. 


Eastlake furniture came later, towards the end of the Victorian period. Charles Eastlake, who wanted to move away from the ornate Victorian styles, designed furniture that was simpler and more practical. Famous manufacturers of Eastlake furniture were the Herter Brothers, though they added elaborations to the classic Eastlake style. Any piece of Eastlake furniture manufactured by the Herter brothers will be worth more than other Eastlake pieces.


Eames furniture is more modern and also quite collectible. Charles and Ray Eames–husband and wife–highly influenced modern American furniture, creating functional and affordable furniture out of plywood in simple, comfortable designs that embrace the clean mid-century modern style.


Examine Its Construction


Antique furniture was made before machines, which means the edges will not be 100% perfectly straight. If you check inside the drawers of your furniture piece, you may notice irregular dovetail joints. In addition, multiple types of wood were often used in antique pieces, as artisans would not use expensive wood in areas that weren’t seen, such as the bottom of chairs.   


Evaluate Its Condition


Antiques are old and they look it. They often have uneven coloring as well as black marks indicating water damage. Nicks and scratches can also indicate a piece is a true antique, although anyone can nick or scratch a piece of furniture to make it seem old, so be careful with that criteria. Drawer runners will usually be worn from so many years of use, and hardware pieces will frequently not be completely identical. Check the insides of drawers or the underside of your piece for any labels or markings that can provide clues as to when and where the piece was made.

A Professional Can Help Figure Out If Your Antique Furniture is Authentic

At the end of the day, a professional is probably the best person to tell you if your furniture is a true antique piece or a reproduction. At Old & New Shop, our professionals can help you determine the true history and worth of your piece of furniture.

How Can You Determine Your Antique’s Worth? [A Comprehensive Guide]

What are your antiques worth?

You’re cleaning out your attic and you find that old writing desk you stuck up there years ago when you updated your decor. Or maybe you have a pair of lamps you picked up from a yard sale that looked funky at the time but is now sitting in your basement. Whatever your antique item might be, you’re probably wondering if it is actually worth anything or if it’s just a novelty that won’t get you much. There are a few elements to consider when deciding an antique’s worth, and a good appraiser will help you. That said, be careful, as some appraisers may give you a lowball price so that you’ll sell to them and then they can get even more for it. Make sure any appraiser you use is reputable. The main characteristics to consider when thinking about an object’s worth are rarity, quality, authenticity, history, and condition.


The less available something is, the higher its worth usually becomes. There are a few reasons an item might be considered rare.

  1. Only a few items were made. Artisans or manufacturers may have only produced a small number of certain items because, long ago, only royalty or nobility would have used them. Additionally, certain famous or highly-regarded books only have a few early editions out there before they became popular.
  2. The item has an unusual feature. Certain artists or manufacturers used specific styles or elements in creating their pieces but sometimes ventured into a different style for a short while. The products with a more unusual feature for that artist are rarer than items that follow the artist’s usual form. For example, a piece made in a different color than usual or using a different material that is perhaps more expensive or difficult to work with.
  3. Many of the original items have become lost or destroyed. Objects made of crystal, glass, porcelain, and other fragile materials may have become damaged or broken over the decades (and even centuries), leaving only a few objects remaining that are in-tact.


Quality has to do with the standard of materials used to manufacture the item. Certain materials and gems are considered to be more precious or of a higher standard than others. For example, gold or platinum jewelry pieces are usually of higher quality than silver jewelry. An antique’s worth increases if it is made of higher quality material.


As you enter the world of valuable items, there are bound to be counterfeit pieces. Some items will have markings on them from the artist or manufacturer that prove their authenticity. There are also experts who are able to tell real signatures from fake ones, or who will know with certainty which time period a piece is from. The more you can prove your item is authentic, the higher you raise its value.


Some items may not be valuable on their own, but the story they carry gives them worth. You may have an item that was once owned by a celebrity or that can be traced back many generations to a historical politician or another influential figure, or even to a specific time period. Additionally, the more you know about an item’s history, the greater ability you have to prove the item is authentic.


The condition of the item in question is important in determining its worth. Something in mint condition means it has no small cracks or damaged areas, the paint or coloring has not dulled or flaked off, and it is generally in perfect condition without any repairs or restorations done to it. Your item may have small damaged areas and may even have been repaired somewhere along the line, making it in either excellent or good condition. Anything below good condition is probably not worth very much.

Experts Can Tell You Your Antique’s Worth

Whether you are looking to sell your antiques or you just want to learn their value, it is always important to consult an expert. At Old & New Shop, our professionals will be able to determine the value of your antique pieces and will take them off your hands the same day if that’s your wish. No matter what you decide to do with your antiques, don’t underestimate the value of what may be sitting in your attic!


One way of getting rid of items that you no longer need or want is by selling them to a dealer. There are many reasons why a person might sell some of their possessions to a dealer. You may be decluttering or downsizing, or you may even need some quick cash. Whatever your reason, selling through a dealer ensures you get the most fair price for your items.

1. Decluttering

In the era of Marie Kondo, everyone seems to be getting rid of things from their homes. Some items get tossed, some get donated, and some get sold. According to Ms. Kondo, living in a tidy, organized space can actually make you happier and more organized about all the other aspects of your life. It can bring peace to your home. So it’s no wonder so many people have jumped on board. Even if you don’t follow Marie Kondo’s method, there’s no question that decluttering your home can be therapeutic and elevates your home’s atmosphere. In the process of decluttering, it is common to come across items of value that were either passed down to you or were gifts that you no longer use or just have no need for (or maybe you don’t even like). These items are worth bringing to a dealer, finding out their cost, and actually making a profit on them.

2. Earn Cash

It can be a beneficial strategy to turn to your attic or storage space when in need of some money. Maybe there’s something of value up there that’s been forgotten about until now? Selling antiques, certain jewelry, or pieces of art can bring in a surprising pay day.

3. Downsizing

As we go through life, we tend to accumulate possessions. Some of those possessions still hold value to us throughout the passage of time, but some turn into clutter, or just lose their value or purpose in our eyes. When a person downsizes, many of those accumulated items need to go. A dealer can help discover the true value these items and pay you what they are worth, rather than taking your chances in a yard sale.

4. Inherited an Estate

If you inherited an estate or part of an estate after someone passes away, there can be an overwhelming amount of furniture, antiques, jewelry, silver, artwork, and other items that you need to figure out what to do with. Some items are obvious for the trash, some you may want to donate, and many others can be sold at auctions or to dealers who will pay you a fair price for them.

Antique Dealers Are The Experts

Antique dealers are experts at determining the value of an item so you can get a fair price for it. It is easy to undervalue antiques, old furniture, and other possessions that you have no use for. At Old & New Shop, our dealers will offer you top dollar for the items you no longer need or want. No estate is too big or too small, so make sure you get a fair price for your items by working with the experts.