How to Figure Out if You Have Real Silver

Sterling Silverware

Sterling Silverware


Lots of folks call Houston Gold Merchants and want to sell their silverware. The first thing we tell them is before you throw everything in your car and schlep it over to the store, let’s make sure it’s the real thing. Silverware has specific markings that show you it’s real.

So here are a few things to look for on your forks and spoons and knives – the word STERLING.

That’s pretty much it. If it doesn’t say that, it’s probably either really, really old or it’s not silver. But let’s talk about a couple of things that you might THINK are good, but aren’t. These are the things you don’t want to see:

1) If you see the letters “EP” separated by a crest or a star or a mark of any kind, that’s bad. That means it’s not sterling silver at all, but SILVER ELECTROPLATE, a process that coats a base metal, often copper or brass in a thin silver coating. The coating is so thin, there’s almost no value in trying to recover the silver from the item. So if you see “EP”, that’s bad. NO GOOD

2) If you see the word “plate” or “silver-plate”, that’s also a bad thing. As I mentioned above, there’s no value to the item. Even the various antique stores around town won’t pay you more than a nominal fee for items that are silver-plate. NO GOOD


3) If you see no indication at all, that’s bad. Because even though some items will have no mark, unless the item is very old, it will always be marked. This is because all silversmiths who spent time crafting something want you to know the value of the item you paid for. He WANTS you to know it’s valuable. So they will inevitably stamp it with the word “STERLING” No indication is NO GOOD

Of all the items that have come through the door, only one item has had the word “STERLING” on it and later turned out to not be genuine. So if the word STERLING appears on your piece, you’ve likely got a winner!!! GOOD GOOD GOOOD

On silverware, forks knives and spoons will all have the word “Sterling” on the stem. On pitchers, plates and other items, it’s in the middle of the item, usually on the back. GOOD

If you see the word “STERLING” or the numbers “925” you’re probably GOOD.

If that’s the case, you can sell your silver to Houston Gold Merchants and walk out with hundreds if not thousands of dollars. The last silverware set I bought was a 72-piece dinnerware set that netted the customer $2700 in about fifteen minutes.

Not everyone has the high end silverware sets and not everyone makes $2700 – but it’s worth trying to sell your silver at Houston Gold Merchants to see if you have the right stuff!!

If you have ¬†questions, you can call me at 832 259 7225. We’re open from 10-6 M-F and 10-2 on Saturday. You can always sell your silver at Houston Gold Merchants.