Metal Monday: Is Silverware Really Silver?

silverware scrap metalEver find silver plated utensils, plates, bowls, or other dinnerware items? We have heard a lot of questions of whether or not these items can be bought as silver or how you should sort and separate them. Most of those previously mentioned items are plated on top of copper and brass and the silver is put on in such a thin layer that it gives the allure and look of “silver.”

Most companies that produce silverware or other silver coated items all do so on top of brass and occasionally copper. Even large companies like Tiffany’s plates most of their items on Brass…and that is what you will end up selling the items for, whatever metal is underneath.

The next question generally is whether or not you can sell the item for the silver value…and that answer is generally no. Unless you have a few thousand pounds we do not recommend trying to find someone who will buy the material for the silver that is on top.

Copper and brass tend to be the most commonly used item, but sometimes you will see silver plate on aluminum or a Tin product. The easiest way to figure out what you have is just to scratch the item with a file and you will see what copper is underneath it.

  • Red = Copper

  • Yellow = Brass

  • Silver = well…Silver/Tin/or Aluminum

If you don’t know what you have ask your local scrap yard to help you and they will get you a better answer.

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