Hi. I am new to this forum. I have a question concerning an item I have. I bought this over 30 years ago at a yard sale, and recently found it in a drawer. I was considering selling it on e-bay, or ??? I have researched a bit, and I know it is Mauser silver, 999. I believe this means almost pure silver?? The top, I believe, is probably plated, due to the color on the inside of the top. This item was probably a gift, as it is engraved with the name Leafie, and the date Nov. 3rd '93. Because I know I bought it in the 1980’s, I realize this dates it to 1893. On the back is the Mauser unicorn, Sterling, and 999. I am looking for an idea of how to sell this. Because of the unique engraving on the top, I fear it is not valuable for WHAT it is, but perhaps for the silver content? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.
Hi there and thanks for joining us. Mauser Mfg. Co. was started in 1887 by Frank Mauser and then moved to New York whre it was in business until 1903. I consider Mauser to be right among the top American silver makers during the “golden age” of American silver, say from about 1880 until 1910. To my knowledge they never made silver plated good, only sterling silver.
The “999” is the pattern or model number, not the purity, which is denoted by the word “sterling” which means the metal is 92.5% silver and 7.5% another metal, usually copper. The top is most surely sterling and the gold-ish color you see on the inside is gold, called “gold washing” that is a very thin plating that was common in those days on the inside of jars, etc. I have several Mauser dresser jars with similar gold washed interiors. The gold washing is very fragile and just normal polishing can remove most of it.
As for selling it, eBay is probably your best bet. Do a search for Mauser silver and watch the “completed auctions” to see what similar items are selling for. Mauser remains very popular and seems to fetch a price somewhat above some other American makers. My wife says it has become valuable because I’ve bought most of it…as for the engraving, if its fancy, artfully done, my view is it actually enhances the value vs. diminishes it. Such engraving is fast becoming a lost art, and after all, most silver is art.
My morning paper says pure silver was selling on the commodity market yesterday for about $35 a troy ounce and our rule of thumb is that an honest scrap dealer will give you about 83% of that for sterling.
I’d urge you to keep it as a family heirloom, polish it up, use and display it.
I’m leaving shortly for another of my extended fishing trips (I’m retired, thank goodness) and won’t be back near a computer for about a week.