You did do a good job saving that set from the garage sale. I just want to add a few points about its possible value.
The fact that the set has a matching tray (if all the marks are identical) is very important and adds considerably to the value of the set. I agree with Uncle Vic, that $5000 is conservative and you should have the set professionally appraised. Unfortunately, I don’t know any dealers in the States to recommend. (I’m based in the UK).
When you get the set appraised be sure to make it clear that you don’t want to sell the set. Otherwise an unscrupulous dealer might try to underestimate it in order to purchase it cheap. Its also important to understand that the set has two values, ‘replacement value’ and ‘probate value’. The probate value is the value you should hope for when you sell the set. The replacement value is the value you should insure the set for and is the price you would pay to buy that set from an antique’s dealer. You need an appraisal for the insurance value. Be sure to get this because, although Uncle Vic is an expert, the discussion on this forum will not convince your insurance company.
And now the bad news… You may have noticed that the fine art of afternoon tea has been in decline for about 100 years Tea sets, except for the most superb and grandiose examples, are not very desired these days. This means that although the replacement value of your set will be quite high, the probate value will be considerably less.
I hope that helps / Jonathan
Thanks for getting involved. Silver-collector is growing fast and Uncle Vic and Daniel are doing a great job of helping people. But what we really want is a community of interested people helping each other.
Best wishes for the new year / Jonathan