HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


Sterling silverware

I would like to buy sterling silverware. Preferably antique.
The problem is i don't know where. I live in NYC. Please help.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. There's lots on ebay.

      1. More info please :) Do you want all the pieces to be of the same pattern or do you want to mix and match, which I think is charming and can save you lots of money. There are patterns that are quite old that are still being made; I have Gorham's Chantilly. You can go to stores and see things you like and narrow down your choices. You can walk into all sorts of antique and consignment shops. I wouldnt consider buying online (which I have done) until you narrow down what you like and don't. It will be a lovely pasttime. Have fun.

        1. This one of those areas where Ebay rules. I bet you can get a whole chestful (including the chest) for under $100.

          10 Replies
          1. re: pengcast

            And boy, would you be wrong! I just spent a half hour looking and sighing. Nothing like you imagined. But I really really really truly wish you had been right! '-)

            1. re: Caroline1

              Yeah, I've looked in the past for Chantilly and there were rarely any "deals" on eBay for silver. Less than retail but then ya gotta see what shipping is.

              1. re: c oliver

                Yes, c. ALWAYS important to check shipping. A lot things that look like good deals really aren't.

                Following up on what you and Caroline had to say, I've never felt comfortable buying on ebay. But a few people have mentioned that they've gotten good deals on LC, so I went to look this morning, for grins and giggles. I saw two instances in which participants had bid the price--these were new items--up past the prices at which I *know* I could currently get those items online from retailers. Then, there was another piece which had a "buy now" price above the current retail.

                Now I know people here have described some really good deals that they've gotten, but I know from the threads that they're good comparison shoppers. I guess the bidders on the items I saw today aren't! Just surprised me and taught me; I can't assume the price on ebay is a good one.

                1. re: Normandie

                  I've been watching the Le Creuset on Ebay for quite a few months, now, and right now there really aren't any bargains to be had...I think it's the "Julie and Julia" Effect. ;-)

                  I got some great pieces earlier this year, and you almost always can get a deal on the more ordinary USED LC.

                  1. re: Beckyleach

                    I work for an indie retailer. Every year LC has a price increase. We choose to date our stock of LC thast we have on hand and sell it at the retail price it was when we received it. Great bargains no but fair. PS. I FB with Julie, she has no LC.

                    1. re: Candy

                      I was referring to Ebay, and to the movie... and the fact that Le Creuset is featured prominently in the film. Many news articles recently have reported a surge in LC sales, directly attributed to the movie. The demand ON EBAY thus is stronger, and thus the bidding prices tend to go higher.

                      I haven't paid any attention to the prices in retail stores, as I never buy from them...

              2. re: Caroline1

                Actually the trick is to add an alert for the pattern you are looking for and that way you will know when it comes up. If you are patient, there are deals out there. But it does often come down to shipping. I don't think I would bother getting a case shipped. They can be found at flea markets all the time.

                But this is not the time of year for deals as everyone is getting ready for big dinners at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

                1. re: pengcast

                  I am always watching. I check patterns I collect almost daily. I nearly had a heart attactk last week when I saw an add for a 45 pc. service for Wallace Lion for something like $345. On closer examination it turned out to be stainless.

                  Don't just look for flatware watch for hollowware too. I got a pair of salt and peppers, Shreve, Crump & Lowe, monogrammed with a K, (hand engraved) it is my maiden initial, for about $45.00. They probably date to the early 50's, extra heavy silver, not weighted. What a find. Silver junkies unite!

                  1. re: Candy

                    Wow, that does sound like a deal. I wouldn't care if something were monogrammed with an initial other than mine.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Inherited silver (linens, etc) all have initials different than mine, but it makes them even more special because I remember all the stories about Great-Aunt So-and-So's idiosyncrasies, cousin XYZ's quirky wedding and how these pieces came to be in the family.

            2. Sabina, I have had *excellent* experiences mail-ordering antique silver from a company named "Antique Cupboard" in Waukesha, Wisconsin. I believe it is family owned and the service has been very good. For the patterns I've been interested in, I've also found their prices to be some of the most reasonable around.


              1. Try jeanssilversmiths.com. They're at 16 West 45th.

                1. Look online to see if there is a website listing estate sales in New York. I know there's one for Chicago so you probably have one too. Every week it shows upcoming sales and shows pictures and lists of major merchandise. It is not unusual for this to include sterling silver flatware. Sales may also be listed in the classified section of a local paper but online is more reliable. Craigslist New York might have some listings too. Just know what you're buying. If it is sterling made in the United States since 1860 it has to say "STERLING". If it's English it will be hallmarked---marks are also online. and are easily learned. Don't buy it otherwise eg "we tested it and we know it's silver". Don't buy "German silver" as it's either a cheap alloy or Continetal silver which is only 850/1000 silver (sterling standard is 925/1000). Don't buy "EPNS" as it's plated (electro-plated nickel silver). If it's really silver, it's marked as I indicated. By law.

                  1. I am a silver junkie, I admit it, it is almost as bad an addiction for me as is fine china and casual stuff. To give you a example I have settings in 1 pattern for about 16, in another 8 and another about 6 but it is growing. I also buy antique sterling that does not match anything but I love, a 18th century sifting spoon from Birmingham, England I use as an olive spoon for example. Replacements will not be doing you any favors price wise. They are my last resort when I cannot find what I want (need) anywhere else. First, do you know what pattern you want to collect? Second do you already have dinnerware and stemware that will work with it? Example, my M-I-L sent me all of her wedding stemware, Fostoria Chintz. Gorgeous etched optic lead crystal which paired beautifully with my Towle Grand Dutchess but none of my dinnerware. I spent the summer buying Minton Haddon Hall from numerous sources. When I first started 35 years ago, Towle had just come out with Celtic Weave with out the tacky gold embellishment and I chose Royal Doulton's Sarabande to go with it and Waterford Curraghmore, that just wasn't enough I needed more options. Be careful, this is a bug that can bite hard. When I am looking for any table top pieces I Google up maker and pattern name and then compare. A few years ago I got 10 strawberry forks for $50. Who uses strawberry forks>? I don't know but tghe are perfecr for escargot. I am sure my partner in crime, jillp will join in here before long. Hmmm maybe we need a tabletop board, it is different from cookware and tips on where to find things and uses for archaic tabletop items would be fun.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Candy

                      I think a tabletop board is an outstanding (and dangerous) idea. Yes, very different from cookward but just as chow-related.

                      1. re: Candy

                        man-o-man, candy! how i'd love to wander in your tableware stacks!!!

                      2. In Manhattan, Tepper Galleries is an auction house on 23rd Street - handles a lot of estates, and tends to be less expensive than other places.


                        1. Wow, thank you everybody.
                          I learned two things. One, is that I know nothing about silverware and need to learn about it more before I buy. Two, most of it is really out of my league.

                          Oh well.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sabinaHahn

                            Sabina, if you're really interested in it, and are more interested in purchasing items that are aesthetically appealing to you (versus current market value), then don't give up. Some of these sources will sell even a single dinner utensil at a time. (Often, they may have found only one piece at a time, anyway.)

                            I'm interested in vintage placesettings from the Gilded Age, never monogrammed, particulary Tiffany but also some of the other (less pricey) American makers. There are times when I've placed an order for a single butter knife...it all depends on what the seller has and how the household budget's doing that month :-). But sometimes I have spent as little as 25-30 dollars for a single transaction.

                            So, again, depending upon what your own interest area is, this is something you can get into slowly, build over time and trade up pieces as something a little more expensive grabs you.

                          2. In my earlier reply, I should have mentioned buying used silver. Once you have educated yourself about the different types of silver and know what you want, you will be able to buy with confidence.

                            Many years ago, our family and friends used to frequent the shop of a man who sold estate silver and jewelry. Sam bought both individual pieces and whole lots. He was a cross between pawn shop and antique dealer; abrasively honest and outspoken. "Don't buy that pattern" he warned a bride-to-be, "it's too fahncy-schmancy and you'll get tired of it". You might try to find a "Sam" in NYC, I'm pretty sure he exists in all major cities. Great selection, unsolicited advice and the best prices I found anywhere.

                            1. I originally found the silver pattern I collect on eBay ... my stainless came as a set with only one serving spoon, which wasn't working out :P So I decided to get sterling ones, and took a look at everything currently available. The pattern I now collect was the one I liked that was most reasonably priced ... and it is fairly reasonably priced everywhere. What you don't want is a Tiffany or Georg Jensen pattern ... probably just about no one has ever gotten a bargain there.

                              If you don't mind a monogram, that will save you some money.

                              What I like about Replacements (and in some cases btw they can be a bargain compared to other sources for, say, rare dinnerware) is that the quality control is pretty good, and if something isn't up to snuff (in the case of silver, scratched), they tell you so & give you a discount accordingly. I have bought rare dinnerware pieces at a discount, and I've always been quite pleased with what I got. Most recently I got a butter dish for 50% off ... it looked crazed, but actually it was just dirty. Major bargain ... and a piece I have never seen for sale anywhere else.

                              I have a silver reference book that I've found to be helpful.

                              Silver is also a great thing to ask for for Christmas and birthdays. My family have a hard time buying for me, and I don't mind a little patina ... that's how I've gotten almost all my silver.

                              I have a sideboard with a newly felt-lined drawer ... I don't really like separate chests, because what do you do with them? My mother kept hers under her bed, but that is reserved for dogs and dust bunnies at my house :D You could also buy the felt and line one of your built-in drawers.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: foiegras

                                You can buy the silver cloth (Pacific Silvercloth by the yard. The fabric is impregnated to help keep tarnish at bay. I have found for larger pieces, you can buy silver cloth bags, but plastic zip yupe bags work very well. i rarely ploish a piece of silver.

                                If you live in an area where coal is burned or have smokers around, keep your silver welll protected. The fumes tarnish silver quickly and in some cases can actually damage the silver and pit it.