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Leading British makers It's an old adage that fashions come and go, but quality pieces retain their value throughout.This is particularly true if they are by a leading designer or maker.Surface patina should be glowing and unblemished, and breaks in patination are an almost sure sign of repair or alteration.
Ultimately, for an accurate appraisal and evaluation you will want to take your silver to a local appraiser.This will determine whether the item is indeed real silver. It does not have enough silver in it to have value to someone to melt down and generally does not have much resale value.If it is an heirloom, then it has sentimental value and you should use it often, with love.Sterling silver is valuable both because it can be refined and thus retains the current price for silver and because the flatware and other pieces usually maintain their resale value and desirability.Antique silver is also valuable as an antique, sometimes far beyond what the silver content would dictate.
Once your silver has been thoroughly cleaned, you can begin to examine it for backstamps and hallmarks.