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How do you determine the value of silver-plate pieces?

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Quick Answer

The value of a silver-plate piece is determined by the condition, pattern, rarity and popularity of the piece, while the actual silver content does not determine the value. The weight of silver on a silver-plate piece is very small. For example, on one silver-plated fork, there is only one or two grams of silver. Ebay.com suggests that the price of an individual kitchen piece is about $5 to $30, with higher prices for larger items.

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Full Answer

As of 2015, ThePriceGeek.com provides additional updated listings of the most recent silver-plated items sold on eBay to give a more detailed picture of current market value. Historical silver prices are widely available online on websites such as MacroTrends.net. Silver prices reached historical heights during the global recession of 2008, and silver is generally seen as a safe store of value in periods of instability and uncertainty.

Silver plating is the process of covering a conductive surface with silver. It is used to decorate objects, for corrosion inhibition, to improve solder-ability, to harden, to reduce friction and to improve paint adhesion among other things. In the instance of silver-plated silverware or kitchen plates, the process is mainly used for corrosion resistance and ornamental purposes. Silver plating provides a cheaper material than solid silver for kitchen utensils. In high-humidity environments, a silver layer that is porous or contains cracks can allow rapid corrosion of the underlying copper and can cause the plating to flake off.

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