Silver tea sets, vases, jewelry and other objects can be sold at many jewelry stores and antiques shops for their meltdown value. Sterling silver has been about $21 an ounce, but in mid-2015, it was down to about $14 to $15.
Of course, most collectible silver in good condition is worth more than when it's melted down, and pieces made by important companies like Tiffany or Georg Jensen will sell for many times the scrap value. But as older collectors downsize and young buyers search for useful furnishings for new homes, some things have gone down in price. Few brides today ask for a silver tea set or even a set of silverware, so those pieces are selling at bargain prices.
It is the lucky couple who inherit a sterling water pitcher by Tiffany & Co. Even luckier are those who get Tiffany silver in Art Nouveau patterns. A water pitcher with raised catfish on a hammered background was estimated at $2,500 to $4,500 at an auction in Lambertville, N.J. There were dents, lost patina, a repair and a monogram, all damage that lowers the value. The unusual pitcher, 8½ inches high, sold for $18,750 because of the fine workmanship, unique design and fame of the maker.
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Prices are from shows nationwide.
Target game, Buster Brown, multicolor paper lithograph, cartoon characters, wood, 10 by 23 inches, $60.
Chinese export porcelain dish, blue and white, center waterscape, flower borders, octagonal, 18th century, 9 inches, $185.
Erector Set, No. 8 1/2, electric, contents new in red metal box, Ferris wheel, A.C. Gilbert Co., postwar, 12 by 20 inches, $295.
Sterling-silver sugar and creamer, George III, straight gadroon border, reeded handles, ball feet, gilt wash interior, Alice and George Burrows, 1805, 4 by 8 1/4 inches, $480.
Television, Philco, Predicta, tube, bulbous screen, turquoise console speaker base, cloth front, 1950s, 49 by 24 inches, $710.
Food chopper, heart pierced, forged iron, copper, maple, elliptical handle, bell-shaped blade, about 1720, 11 1/2 by 5 1/4 inches, $950.