I have silver candlesticks, should I sell them?
Perhaps you have some old candlesticks lying about the house, covered with wax like those in the photo below, or maybe recently received and shiny or possibly a little tarnished and damaged. If you do not use them and wonder if they could be worth some money, there are a few things to consider if you want to sell them.
Research for an independent market.
Please do some research on their value as objects. Before deciding to sell them for their silver, a little research will help you discover if they have any value as objects themselves. If they are not a matching set or have dents or damage, you will most likely want to skip this research and find out how to sell them for their silver content.
Depending on the Candlestick or Candelabra’s construction, the weight of the silver will be between 10 and 20% of the item, with 20% being typical.
When selling silver candlesticks, you should keep in mind that most of the candlesticks’ weight is this base, meaning they are not all silver. Most candlesticks are weighted to give them a solid and heavy base. It would generally be too costly to make a candlestick with a solid silver base, so artisans fill the base with lead or other heavy materials, using epoxy. There may also be a felted cover to prevent damage to any surface on which the candlestick might be placed.
Different designs may also be weighted in other places. Consider a candelabra with a solid base and long arms that connect a few candles. The base of the candelabras will be filled with lead or a weighted filling to prevent it from tipping, and those long arms may also be filled. If the candelabra arms are attached to another smaller base, that also might be weighted.
A reputable buyer will be able to give you a reasonable estimate of the silver content of a candlestick or candelabra,
A buyer of these items knows that Candlesticks with a solid filled base come in different lengths and that the filled base usually makes up most of the weight. Expect that the buyer will deduct the weight of the lead portion of the candlestick from the price you will receive for the item. As a buyer would not be able to know the exact weight of the filling, they will estimate the silver content based on their knowledge of the items.
Some people are uneasy with accepting an estimate and prefer to remove the candlestick’s weighted portion, but this requires damaging the candlestick and may result in exposure to lead dust. Suppose you can do this before bringing in your candlesticks. In that case, you could potentially receive more money but remember that a reputable scrap purchaser like those at Guardian International Gold has years of experience and many repeat clients who trust their judgement.
A clean item means a better estimate.
If there is wax or any other item stuck to the candlestick, this will often result in a slight weight deduction—typically, wax buildup results in removing a few grams.
A silverplated item can not be sold for scrap silver.
The cost of refining a silver-plated item is greater than the value of silver on the item. To find out if your silver candlesticks are silverplated, look at the item’s markings. If you see E.P.N.S, which is electro-plated silver or the writing silverplate or copper, this means that your candlesticks are not silver, but silver plate.