Monday, 16 April 2012

Investing in Silver: Advice for the modern collector.

Investing in Silver: Advice for the Modern Collector.

There's no denying, financially speaking we live in uncertain times. The Credit Crunch has had many far reaching effects, but for most people with a little expendable cash, one thing holds true: putting your money in the bank yields little return. So then, what to do with it?
There are other investments to make, of course- stocks and shares, futures, commodities, fine wines, art and of course antiques.

A Sterling Silver Investment Bar
A Fine Silver investment Bar.

My area of expertise is, of course antiques. Specifically silver. We have seen the bullion price of silver and gold skyrocket since the Crunch, and this has certainly impacted on the price of silver antiques in many examples. But what does all this mean?

A little financial advice. What would I recommend? Well, I'm no financial advisor, but something that any investor should understand is that investment is always subject to risk. Many bright sparks will tell you that X or Y is a sure bet, and they are sometimes proved to be right. But the general rule is that there is no such thing as a sure bet. Investing isn't about sure bets, it's about risk management.
A set of Silver Goblets.
Sterling Silver Goblets
We also need to ask ourselves what we want to achieve. Do we want to make a quick killing, or do we want to put our money in to something reasonably safe?

Rule one of antique silver investment: Unless the value of sterling silver jumps again, antique silver is usually not a good short term investment. If you're thinking of putting your money in to something you will want to liquidate in the next five years, don't choose antique silver unless you wish to speculate on the price of silver.
The other important point to note of course, is that any investment that has the potential for high short term returns is likely to be high risk. Things which soar in price over a short period also crash. Making money isn't that easy, or everyone would be doing it!

There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. There always are. The work, and especially enamel work, of Gerald Benney has jumped up in value over the last five years. So has Chinese silver. Domestic Georgian silver, in general, has dropped. Large, heavy pieces of silver, which are usually valued in proportion to the weight, have increased in value. Four piece Victorian tea sets are twice the value they were five years ago.
If you're clever enough to identify these trends and jump on the bandwagon then good luck to you. You might need it though!

Rule two of antique silver investment: Buy things you like and will enjoy, and prepare to pass them down to the next generation.
A Georgian Silver Wine Coaster
A Georgian silver Wine Coaster
This is the real secret of antiques investment. Year to year, decade to decade, the value of silver antiques will rise and fall just like any other market. Some people enjoy operating within those fluctuations, buying and selling, chopping and changing.
But as they grow in age fine pieces will accrue in value, increase in rarity and become more desirable. This is where the smart money is. Buy the best you can afford, and allow it to become rarer and more important while you own it.
There is also the important issue of death duties. In the United Kingdom, antiques are not subject to death duties when you pass them down (provided they were not purchased within seven years of the time of death). Therefore they are an excellent way to ensure a financial legacy.

The real joy of antique silver though, is not simply financial. I always advise customers to buy what they love, and will enjoy owning, and even using! Investment is an important consideration when buying antiques, and the idea of handing down a legacy of fine and valuable objects is an attractive one. However, what could be better than putting your money in to something which is a joy to own and use, enriches your life, and at the same time a healthy way to protect your money?!

James Baldwin is owner of James Baldwin Antiques: Antique Silver, Georg Jensen and Old Sheffield Plate

A Sterling Silver Chess Set
A Sterling Silver Chess Set weighing just under 4 kilos


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  2. Silver's been around thousands of years and paper money has a chance to become worthless. Silver will never be worthless, the older it gets the more value it will hold in the future.

  3. Many of the experts expects silver price to rise above $100 in coming months or year because of its increasing demand in jewelry as well as industrial use. Silver is always a best investment bet of all precious metals.

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  5. Hey there! Keep it up! This is a good read. I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Georg Jensen silver in your area. I am glad to stop by your site and know more about Georg Jensen Siver.
    From childhood, Jensen had longed to be a sculptor and he now pursued this course of study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. He graduated in 1892 and began exhibiting his work. Although his clay sculpture was well received, making a living as a fine artist proved difficult and he turned his hand to the applied arts. First as a modeller at the Bing & Gr√łndahl porcelain factory and, beginning in 1898, with a small pottery workshop he founded in partnership with Christian Petersen. Again the work was well received, but sales were not strong enough to support Jensen, by this point a widower, and his two small sons.
    Styles include American, English, Early American, Continental and others, by some of the worlds most prestigious makers, such as Tiffany, George Jensen, Christofle, Sheibler, Gorham, Durkin, International, Reed and Barton, Steiff, Unger Bros., Wallace, Whiting, Towle and others.

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  6. Nice post, very helpful for us.I will come back here again & again...:)
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  7. Selling silver flatware requires first doing Internet research to determine the value and history behind it. Start by looking up the maker mark followed by the type of pattern.

  8. Investing in silver undergoes the same kind of cycle as most other investment vehicles. Whether people can still make money investing in silver depends on who you talk to.
    French Antique Sterling Silver


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