Many people do not understand where the term “silverware” actually came from, and don’t realize it has anything to do with silver. Using real silver silverware was a wonder tool for people of old to keep the utensils they ate from safe to eat from on an everyday basis. Even when using cleaners such as soap, most simply could not compare with the anti-microbial properties of what silver provided to them instead. For people who couldn’t get their hands on a good set of silver to eat from, wood was there to aid as a backup choice for these people.
The silversmith’s that created this silverware for use had to train for a great period of time to do the job of pouring cast molds of the silver without cracks or defects. Silver has never been “expensive” historically, and has always been fairly affordable to most who had the desire to obtain it for eating with. If you were to purchase silver today, you would find that it is quite expensive, but it is not because silver has fundamentally changed in its scarcity level. It is easy for people to decide the silver they have locked away is to be sold when they are in a pinch, much so that millions are doing it every day. Silverware finds itself as collecting dust in more cases than not, and almost never makes it to the dinner table. Silverware that may be damaged will not matter to the silver buyer if you decide to sell. The weight of the silver itself determines the price of the silver you have possession of, so you will have to weigh it to know its true value. There is a lot of fake silver out there, so you must look over your silver pieces to see if they have a sterling silver stamp on them. Since sterling silver pieces very clearly broadcast their silver stamp verification symbol, it will be easy to find it on the pieces your trying to identify. The junk metal content in a sterling silver set of silverware will never exceed the 20% range. Fake silver will be picked up faster than a fever in July by a trained professional, so don’t assume all sterling stamps are real.
Learning just where to sell the silver upon decision to sell is quite the battle for the average Joe. Ultimately, the pawn shop will be purchasing your silver for a moderate price, but not unless they have to. The overall goal of the pawn shop is not to simply resell the silver to another end user; it is only to resell to a real silver refiner. Pigs will fly before you ever receive a good deal on a set of silverware from a pawn shop on your local corner. I will testify, selling your silver online vs that evil pawn shop will net you at least 50% more for your silver by weight.