In today's down economy many families find themselves in a,"need cash Now", situation. Unexpected medical or other bills always seem to appear at the worst possible time. When the budget is "busted", and you find yourself thinking, I need money, it is easy to lose perspective and make rash decisions.

It is during these situations that bad decisions are made such as grabbing one of those "payday loans" that never seem to get paid back but just keep adding more financial difficulty.

You may find an answer to a short term financial problem by selling items from the home that will bring cash now and solve a problem. Sterling silver items are selling well in today's economy and if you are fortunate enough to have decorative items or more likely sterling silver flatware, you can usually find a ready buyer and receive the cash you need to help solve the need cash now problem.

Where can you sell sterling silver items? You have a number of choices. However you will first need to determine if the items you have are actually sterling silver.

What Exactly Is Sterling Silver?

Sterling silver is an alloy metal that contains 92.5% by mass of silver and 7.5% of other metals most often copper. The alloy is added to give the silver strength and add other benefits such as anti corrosion and certain benefits during casting processes.

Almost any item that is made from sterling silver after 1860 in the U.S. will have the word "sterling" stamped on it. Sterling silver flatware is usually marked as "sterling silver" Some items will be marked with the number 925 to indicate it is sterling silver.

Many times sterling silver items will be purchased for the value of their silver content and will be melted down unless the piece has exceptional value. Silverplate flatware which is the more common silverware found in many homes does not have enough silver to make the melt process worthwhile and is therefore much less valuable. You may find a private buyer who will purchase silverplate flatware if it has a popular pattern but many silver dealers will not be interested.

Don't Be Confused By All The Technical Terms

As you began your search for a buyer and attempt to determine the value of your sterling silver flatware or other items you will run into a number of terms that can be confusing.   

Silver price per ounce, price of silver today, troy ounce silver, scrap silver prices, sterling silver prices, silver melt value and others. The only term you need to consider is what is called the spot price. All of those other terms describe values that are determined by a number of calculations that can be confusing and meaningless to an amateur. You only need to know the spot price to be sure any prospective buyer is offering a fair purchase price.

A good source of the daily spot price is this website,, which lists the spot prices in a number of currencies.  

If you would like to find an estimate of the value of your sterling silver items, which is referred to as the melt price, and you have a fairly accurate small scale such as a good postal scale you can find a calculator at this site.

This site will actually calculate the melt value of your sterling silver. You choose the weight type and put in the gross weight of your sterling silver. The software will subtract 7.5% of the weight to compensate for the alloy metal and convert the remainder to troy ounces followed by a final calculation of the troy ounce plus the spot price to give you an estimate of the total melt weight.

A Number Of Choices For Selling Your Sterling Silver

Where to sell your items once you have located the spot price and calculated the weight? You have a number of choices and the proper choice will depend on the amount of time you can spare to investigate or pursue each venue.

If time permits you could seek a private buyer. Newspaper ads or listing the items on eBay or Craig's List could be beneficial if you have a large amount of silver items. If you have a local auction service you might receive a decent price after action fees.

Since the price of gold and silver have risen to historic levels lately there are many gold and silver buyers in almost any city. While you will not make as much from these dealers as you would from a private buyer this is normally the quickest sale you can make. You simply take your items to their location and they offer a price and pay you on the spot.

You can also contact a number of online silver buyers for advice and an estimate. One highly recommended sources is Michele's Estate Jewelry and Silver located in  Texas. They maintain a helpful website here

Local pawn shops are always an option but expect to receive the lowest price from them than from almost any other option. Of course if you have the potential to reclaim the items a pawn shop may be an option for a short term loan.

If you have time it is always a good idea to get two or more quotes from different buyers. Don't allow the stress of the financial crises cause you to make a bad decision. 

Finding yourself in a need cash now situation is always stressful. Try to stay calm and consider all your options. A quick search of the home will often reveal items that while they may be keepsakes could solve the immediate crisis.