Sterling silver always retains it intrinsic silver value & usually a value also as tableware. Silverplate has no intrinsic silver value. It is not worth the refining costs to try to redeem the silver. It has very little resale value as tableware. Sterling will last forever if you want to use it and take care of it. Most Silverplate will last approximately 20 years or less depending on use with the proper care.
Having watched silverplate pieces being offered and sold (or not sold) on eBay and craigslist, I concur.
NOTE: See later post titled, "New Information on Silver Plate Value", June 7, 2009.
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