How To Appraise Silver

Valuable silver coins

Silver is one of the easiest and more lucrative metals to collect. It only has a few basic appraisal guidelines to help you identify, collect and deal it. After reading this short guide, you will have a good grasp on appraising a silver item’s purity, condition, age, weight and shape. This basic appraisal know-how will help you assess and identify silver easily. Here are some of tools of trade that will make appraising so much easier for you: weighting scale, magnifying glass and acid silver tester kit (this one is optional though).

  • Estimate the value by weight. Get the estimate of the silver’s value at current price by weighing it on a scale. One troy ounce is nearly thirty-one grams. Multiply the current market value by the weight in troy ounce. Remember the formula is to convert every thirty-one grams in one troy then multiply it by the current market value.
  • Figure out the purity. To know the silver’s purity, look closely for markings in its body. Number or words in the markings indicate the silver content of jewelries and other silver items. Usually, bullions are marked, 99.9 or .999 percent silver content. It is also noted that majority of the earlier United States coins were 90 per cent silver. Coins’ silver content does vary per country always check the local currency for better transactions. To get the actual melt value of silver in an object, spot the purity percentage in the marking and multiply it by the current market value.
  • Know its history. Sometimes the rarity or the collectible nature of the object outweighs its silver content. The increase in value is because of the scarcity of the object and its age. For example, ancient Roman coins can be more valuable than the silver they are made with. Be sure to know more about an object’s history to clearly compare and contrast with its silver content.
  • Do the test. Use the acid silver tester kit to be sure. This kit contains a chart that maps silver’s purity, stone and nitric acid. Begin the test by rubbing the silver onto the stone. Then pour a small amount of nitric acid over the stone’s area where the silver made contact. Compare the change in color on the stone to the chart’s guide to determine the purity.
  • Due diligence. Before purchasing silver, check the seller thoroughly. Always keep in mind that the deal might be too good to be true. It is quite easy to replicate rare objects. These sellers cover replicas with silver plate to give the same look and almost the same feel as the original. For situations like these, always check for authentic certificates and double check with trusted dealers. Do not be afraid to back away from the deal if in doubt.

Silver is easy to identify, scrutinize and deal with much result and gain. But it is quite easy to duplicate and use to cheat on unknowing victims. Keep these tips handy when dealing with silver. Always review, focus, have a keen eye and be objective.


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