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Intrinsic Value
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We recently received a box of antique silverware from a relative who told my wife and I that they didn’t have time to sell it. We were happy to take the box of goods and I immediately began to study the contents. We decided to sell most of it. “This should be a snap. I’ll just go online and identify all the pieces and determine the value.” Easier said than done!

The first thing I learned in my search was to look for marks (or hallmarks) to identify the silverware. These little symbols and letters are pressed (usually) into the back of the handle of the item and often tell you the name of the maker, origin and date of manufacture. Sometimes I had to use a magnifying glass to get a clear picture of what I was looking for.

Next I went online to study silver hallmarks. This was not as easy as I anticipated. I first spent time looking for reputable lists with pictures. There are many websites (who want your money) that do not provide much information. I also discovered that there are many slight variations in hallmarks from different manufacturers—little changes in the exact spelling and punctuation that make a big difference. The best way to identify your goods is by looking at an identification guide.

Silver Voyage

Here are a few things I found out on this silver voyage! First, not all silverware is equal. Sterling silverware is .925 pure silver and worth much more than “inlaid” or “plated” silverware. Second, even if your silverware is tarnished, if it is .925 it has intrinsic value. If a buyer complains about tarnish, walk out. Even dents don’t matter to those looking for pure silver.

Did you know the Bible compares us to silver? In the parable of the woman who lost one of her ten silver coins, she carefully searches her home until she discovers the precious object. She is so happy she calls her neighbors to rejoice with her. Jesus then says, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).

We are all sinners searched for by God. We all have been lost and the Lord is far more diligent than we can imagine in searching to save us from eternal loss. Like coins and silverware, there are hallmarks on each of us. “Child of God” is stamped on every heart. Jesus places intrinsic value on each person, no matter how marred, tarnished, or dented. Each of us has great value in the eyes of our heavenly Father.

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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