Get a Grip on Your Silver Investments

As you know, silver is a beautiful precious metal with a lovely white sheen. It can be fashioned into almost any shape you can imagine, and embellished with all kinds of decorations.

But silver has some shortcomings too. It is soft and prone to scratches and abrasions. It also tarnishes quickly and frequently needs to be polished.

Imagine rummaging through an estate sale and finding these five silver-handled walking sticks. Image credit: Christies Auction House.

Imagine rummaging through an estate sale and finding these five silver-handled walking sticks. Image credit: Christies Auction House.

When you consider those traits side by side – beauty, softness and a tendency to tarnish – it explains why silver has often been used to fashion handles for a variety of objects that you should be on the lookout for when you go hunting for precious metals in house sales, antique stores or estate sales. You will only rarely find knives with silver blades, for example, they wouldn’t hold up well. But you will find many of these objects...

Silver-handled sets of carving knives and forks – It has become common practice for manufacturers of these items to mount steel knife blades and functional fork ends in decorative silver handles. So if you come across any carving sets, be sure to take a close look to see whether handles are made of silver.

Silver-handled dinner knives Many makers have produced them over the years. They’re dinner knives with silver handles and steel blades. It’s a mistake to look at knife blades quickly and conclude that they are made entirely of steel; if you look for silver handles, you could uncover something of much greater value. Be on the lookout for silver-handled cake servers too.

Silver-handled barware – Stirring spoons, swizzle sticks, lemon zesters and other items of bar equipment are often made of silver, or have silver handles.

Silver-handled canes and walking sticks – They’re another common source of silver. Also be sure to look at the ferrules (metal rings that are fitted at the tip of canes and walking sticks), because they are often made of silver too.

Silver-handled makeup brushes, mirrors, and other beauty accessories – We know a precious metal collector who recently snapped up a large quantity of makeup brushes that had smooth sterling silver handles. At first glance they looked like stainless steel or silver plate but closer investigation showed that they were worth much more.

Silver lipstick cases and makeup compacts – They are also easy to overlook. But if you find one that is white-hued and shiny, it could be silver.

Antique silver-handled hairbrushes and combs – If their bristles or comb teeth are worn out, it’s tempting to think that they’re worthless. But look again. If their handles are silver and you can snap them up for only a dollar or two, you can double your money or better.

Silver-handled bells – Believe it or not, tens of thousands of silver and silver-handled dinner bells have been manufactured over the last few centuries. Why? Because when Madame wished to summon guests and family to the table when dinner was served, all she had to do was tinkle her little bell instead of raising her voice. You’ll be surprised how many of these items you will find if you keep your eyes open.

And when you find silver-handled treasures...

Call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344, tell us what you have, and ask whether you can send us your discoveries for testing for free or discounted shipping costs. Our one-stop, one-call silver refinery is here to help you get a handle on all your silver investments.

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