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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Who Will Buy Sterling Silver for Scrap Value?

First, let me answer the question directly.
  • Step 1: At the top of this screen is a Google ad window. Scroll to the right in that window and you should see a number of potential buyers. Gold buyers also buy silver. Also, look for ads from people who sell silver; most are also buyers. Google attempts to display ads from businesses near your location.
  • Step 2: In the right column of this blog, enter "selling silver" in the Sterling Silver Web Search box and click the "Search" button. You might also add your city name to the search criteria.
  • A new window will appear. Click on the ads you see at the top and on the right side of the new window.
Now, let me pose another question:
  • What price should I expect if I sell sterling for scrap?
The reason I ask this question is because a potential seller of scrap often thinks that he or she will get the market price of commodity silver. Let's look at an example of what that might be. The commodity price of silver as of this date (Feb. 24, 2009) is about $13.85 per Troy ounce. Therefore, a Gorham Chantilly place fork weighing 51 grams has a scrap silver value today of about $21.00. If I take that fork to a scrap buyer, should I expect to be paid $21.00 for the fork? Of course not!

The scrap buyer is in business to make a profit. My guess is that a scrap dealer might be expected to pay half the value of the silver. So, maybe we could sell our Chantilly place fork for around $10.00. How about a Chantilly teaspoon? Maybe we could get $5.00 or $6.00.

Now that we have set a more realistic expectation of a selling price, we can think about a potential buyer. I've not sold much sterling for scrap but I would start with jewelry stores, businesses that sell used sterling flatware and pawn shops.

I've seen listings on eBay for scrap sterling so that might be a place to start. has lots of ads posted by buyers of flatware, jewelry, etc. Now and then we receive a piece that has had an unfortunate encounter with a garbage disposal. In such cases, we have been successful selling them on eBay, clearly marked as "scrap".

Comments with other ideas are welcome.

Note Added 7/29/2009:
A blogger has added a comment regarding selling to silver refiners - please read it. The comment implies that you can get a better price for your scrap sterling by going directly to a refiner. We have verified this.

By clicking on "Comments/Questions" below, you can see posted comments and add your own questions and comments.


Mr. Tom said...

Does anyone scrap silverplate on a consumer level? I got a bunch of pieces that are just clogging my closet.

Silver Jim said...

It's my understanding that the cost to recover the silver from silverplated pieces is too great relative to the value of the recovered silver.

Your best bet might be to try selling through or perhaps checking with local silver stores to see if they will buy it.

The secondary market value of a silverplated piece is highly dependent upon the manufacturer and the design, according to an appraiser I spoke with recently.

Anonymous said...

I agree, it is hard to find someone to buy sterling silver that will give you a fair deal. At Beverly Bremer,in Atlanta, GA, I found some fine pieces. They have a great staff and endless inventory. They have been buying and selling sterling silver for over 35 years. I would check there.

Anonymous said...

there are several reliable refiners who generally will pay 90% of the spot value for silver content of marked sterling pieces. So, if you have 1000g of sterling silverware (not including any filled or weighted pieces) you would calculate it this way: 1000 x .925 x .9 divided by 31.105 to get troy ounces x spot price (13.75 today) for approximately $368 for every kilogram of sterling silverware you send them.

Silver Jim said...

Referring to the comment about silver refiners, it would be great to have a list of several such refiners with contact information. Or, perhaps there is already a list somewhere on the Internet??

Anonymous said...

Mary about selling sterling silver broken spoons for scrap? Any information would be appreciated.

Silver Jim said...

This is to address Mary's question. I know that there are several scrap buyers who have Google ads appearing from time to time on this blog. To trigger more, enter "selling silver" in the Google search box and click on "Search". You should see a number of ads from people who will buy broken pieces.

Anonymous said...

I have several pounds of scrap silver, mostly marked sterling and a few pieces that the mark cannot be read that was recovered years ago after our houde burned.. Would it be economical to have this silver processed and made into bars to give to my children or would it be best just to sell it for scrap and buy silver already made into bars?

Anonymous said...

I have two comments.
1. Beverly Bremer prices are way to high in todays market. Ebay is your best avenue to purchase. There are sellers on Ebay that sell the same items for 1/2 or more less then BB advertises. I have compared them many times.
2. Midwest Refineries is your best best for scraping silver.

Silver Jim said...

With respect to the last comment, I agree that one can purchase things for less on eBay. I buy and sell on eBay all the time.

On the other hand, I have been disappointed many times buying on eBay. A seller may describe a piece as being in fine condition but when I receive it, it's often scratched, badly tarnished and sometimes bent.

With a shop like Beverly Bremer, I've found that one can depend upon a piece being in excellent condition.

This is not an endorsement of the Beverly Bremer shop. It's just a statement of facts as I see them.

Anonymous said...

I've been told by a jeweler that
scrap value can be determined by
subtracting the percentage of
non-silver content from the
weight and multiplying by .830.
So say you have a 100 gram object
at fine .095 sterling. This
would be worth 95 grams of silver
at the .999 pure spot price
multiplied by .083 (95 x .83 = 78.9grams at spot value. This does not
include any artistic/craft value for the object and also assumes the silver is being valued as is, that is, not for silver recovery. Scrap silver purchased for .999silver recovery must be valued at considerably less due to the cost of the reclaimation process.

Gunther said...

Vonharringa collects antique sterling silver dinner and dessert service sets. Our company will pay spot price for sterling silver sets made by Tiffany and Co., Cartier, Georg Jensen and Buccellati. See below for contact information:

Vonharringa LLC
493 Greenbelt Pkwy
Holtsville, NY 11742

Phone: 516.724.7554



Anonymous said...

Go to and see that silver recyclers do not only pay 50% of current spot price for silver. They pay only a bit less than spot price for any silver that is .999, whether it is in a generic silver round, coin of the realm, or jewelery.

Silver Jim said...

This is in response to the previous comment.

At the web site mentioned, it states that they do not buy or sell precious metal. The web site calculates the market spot price but does not state exactly what a recycler would pay.

Anonymous said...

What would be useful for silver buyers is a service that consolidates flatware collections.

For instance, I have a 107 piece Birks Saxon Set, 55 piece Birks Lond Engraved, 49 piece Wallace Rose Point and 20 piece Birks Gadroon Sterling Flatware.

These are quite beautiful pieces that should still grab more than spot at auction if the set is complete (such as the Saxon set).

Everyone is just melting them.. which is really too bad. If we could match sets up amongst silver buyers, we could complete sets and then ship to receiver at a much higher price.

Anonymous said...

The fact is that recyclers will pay only a tiny fraction of the spot price of silver if you are selling sterling silver flatware for scrap. Here is a national website that puts it's price on the website:

You will see that they will pay $0.60 per pennyweight, which is just their way of obscuring what a ridiculously low price these recyclers will pay. 1 oz on a postal scale (not troy oz) is 18.22 dwt (pennyweight). That means that 10 1-oz teaspoons for example, would be worth $337 at the current spot price of $37 per troy oz. But the refiner will only pay you $91 for these ten spoons, or $9 each. Scrap value is thus about one quarter of the spot value of pure silver, even at today's extremely high prices. When prices are lower the return is even less, as melting and shipping costs don't decline, and the price a refiner will pay is a smaller fraction of the spot price.

Silver Jim said...

This is in response to the previous comment. The poster is correct that many buyers of scrap precious metal pay a small fraction of the actual market value.

However, to be fair, there are some who pay much higher rate. This is typically a business who does the actual refining, or melting, of the metal. 90% of the spot market price for silver is paid by several. Some of these refiners do not deal with the general public; some do.

Anonymous said...

I challenge you to name one refiner that does this. You're wrong, I'm right. Claims to the contrary are just part of the scam. No refiner in the USA pays even half the spot price of silver for the pure silver weight in sterling silver flatware for scrap.

Silver Jim said...

This is in response to the previous comment.

NTR Metals has offices across the country. Check with them to see what they will pay. One caveat - I believe they do not deal with the general public, only businesses.

craigk said...

For those that have partial sterling sets, will purchase partial pieces. Their price depends on actual manufacturers, demand for those pieces and whether they have them in stock.

Vonharringa said...

Go to for helpful information concerning how to sell sterling silver flatware and tea sets.

Anonymous said...

To all: Either Northern refineries, or Midwest refineries will pay 90% of the actual silver content for scrap sterling. You can get a check as settlement or request coins/bars with an small added premium. You won't find better than 90%.

Silver Jim said...

This is in response to the previous comment regarding two refineries.

I stand by my recommendation to send small test batches to any refinery to see what kind of results you receive before sending large batches.

I have received complaints from readers about some refineries regarding weight and/or analysis of silver content.

Anonymous said...

I agree Midwest refineries is great... I found them to be very honest and provide a quick turn aroun. Just keep in mind that while they provide you with 90% of the scrap value that you still need to mail the SS to them and insure it against lost so that factors into what you actually get and it really adds up. Still they are great to work with and if you have any questions or concerns you can just call them up or email them and they actually respond. I'd definately do business with them again.

Estate Sterling said...

Informative blog! This blog keeps valuable and descriptive stuff about worth of Sterling Silver Flatware. This is very useful blog for antique collectors and dealers. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

4 silver wear items with sterling on all them, r. Wallace 1835.. They seem to be a turkey cutting set.real heavy. Dark colors. Worth anything ?

Silver Jim said...

This is in response to the question regarding four pieces of Wallace sterling.

Yes, they have some value. Based on your description, some or all pieces may not be 100% sterling. For example, a carving knife probably has a stainless steel blade and the handle will be filled with a cement compound to hold the blade in place.

I suggest searching eBay to see if you can find comparable pieces for sale. This will give you and idea of value.

I'm not sure what "dark colors" represents but it could mean the pieces are tarnished.

Best wishes,