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Sterling coffee set: what am I missing here?


RacerCool

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So there's this auction I'm seriously considering.  The description says it's sterling, "Mexico Taxco J Torres sterling silver."

The covered sugar bowl and creamer are a matching set. Both are in good used condition no dents, dings or repairs.  The covered sugar dish is marked J.TORRES and creamer is marked SZS. Sugar container is 14.5 oz and Creamer is 7.7 oz, for a total of 1 lb, 6 oz, for a total of 22.2 oz.  Measurements: Sugar is 5 1/2 wide handle to handle and 4 3/4 tall, Creamer is 4 1/2 wide x 4 1/2 tall.

OK, so if it weighs a total of 22.2 oz, then that's (.925)(22.2) = 20.535 oz of silver.  The spot price is $17, so that's almost $350 for the silver.  The selling price is $340, with shipping.

As far as I can tell, it's solid sterling, not plated.  I looked into the J Torres brand, and they have other things made of solid sterling, as far as I can tell.

So...what am I missing here? 

sterling coffee 1.jpg

sterling coffee 2.jpg

sterling coffee 3.jpg

sterling coffee 4.jpg

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4 minutes ago, 5huggy said:

So...what am I missing here?  - with respect - -what are you looking for in the question ???

I think the OP is asking why it’s selling for less than spot

Decus et tutamen (an ornament and a safeguard)

YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5OjxoCIsDbMgx7MM_l4CmA

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So there's this auction - that suggests the price may yet go far higher - if it doesn't,  then yep its a steal - for the "melt" value  -  IMHO

I dont see you ARE missing anything - your Math does appear to be in order 

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most "foreign" silver has marks that UK people don't really know, and I've found that you can often find this type of silver under spot prices, because people are scared off. The knack is to know your foreign marks well enough to know if you are actually buying genuine silver items. "Mexican silver" is well known for not being what it purports to be. 

This is a superb site that lists most of the worldwide silver marks, check this out https://www.925-1000.com/mexican_marks.html

I don't see your marks there, so you take your chances. 

 

Edit. Actually I do see the eagle mark on the last pic, so it does indicate its a genuine item,  

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6 minutes ago, HighlandTiger said:

most "foreign" silver has marks that UK people don't really know, and I've found that you can often find this type of silver under spot prices, because people are scared off. The knack is to know your foreign marks well enough to know if you are actually buying genuine silver items. "Mexican silver" is well known for not being what it purports to be. 

This is a superb site that lists most of the worldwide silver marks, check this out https://www.925-1000.com/mexican_marks.html

I don't see your marks there, so you take your chances. 

 

Edit. Actually I do see the eagle mark on the last pic, so it does indicate its a genuine item,  

Oh, thank you much!  I didn't know about that site, but I've bookmarked it.  I appreciate you taking time to check into it. 

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OK, with the knowledge brought to the table by HighlandTiger, I looked further into the maker's mark, because the one in the photos I posted, and the mark in the photos on the reference website, didn't look quite the same.  The one in my photos looked like a weak stamp.  I found some other Taxco sterling items from other sellers with the same maker's mark, and they also looked weak.

But I also found this:

"The 925 sterling Taxco are usually fake marks because almost all if not all Taxco sterling jewelry is fabricated and signed by the silversmith with the first letter of his surname and a number as assigned by the Mexican government so you would have something marked TS-11. The T would be Taxco and the S for the first letter of his surname and the 11 for the 11th number given for that initial. If the piece of jewelry were made from alpaca and signed 925 sterling Taxco, a magnet would no good because it would not be attracted to  the alpaca and if the jewelry were silver plated copper, the same would hold true."

I also learned that "alpaca" is a silver-looking alloy of  60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc, and that this is commonly deceives buyers into thinking they have genuine sterling.  It passes the magnet test, for one thing.

Anyway, I'm going to pass on this offering, since I just don't know.  You guys are the best, I don't care what they say about you!

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I find it all a HUGE waste of time and effort.

Oh, I'm sure there are bargains to be had if you are very astute and willing to stalk auctions that end during Happy Hour on a Friday night.. but in general the effort required is better put towards other endeavours which can reap far greater rewards than the occasional steal of a genuine coin below spot.

It's like shopping at the duty-free.. people who think they're getting a bargain are actually getting ripped off

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14 hours ago, RacerCool said:

I also learned that "alpaca" is a silver-looking alloy of  60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc, and that this is commonly deceives buyers into thinking they have genuine sterling.  It passes the magnet test, for one thing.

This sounds very similar to German Silver (No offence to our European Buddies - thats just its name)  

There are many names for "NICKEL SILVER" - - 

Nickel silver, Maillechort, German silver, Argentan, new silver, nickel brass, albata, alpacca, is a copper alloy with nickel and often zinc. The usual formulation is 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc. Nickel silver is named due to its silvery appearance, but it contains no elemental silver unless plated.

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4 minutes ago, vand said:

I find it all a HUGE waste of time and effort.

Oh, I'm sure there are bargains to be had if you are very astute and willing to stalk auctions that end during Happy Hour on a Friday night.. but in general the effort required is better put towards other endeavours which can reap far greater rewards than the occasional steal of a genuine coin below spot.

 

Gotta agree @vand- and I think @RacerCool has made a wise decision, in walking away - - I always think - if there is too much doubt - "leave it out"!

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15 hours ago, RacerCool said:

OK, with the knowledge brought to the table by HighlandTiger, I looked further into the maker's mark, because the one in the photos I posted, and the mark in the photos on the reference website, didn't look quite the same.  The one in my photos looked like a weak stamp.  I found some other Taxco sterling items from other sellers with the same maker's mark, and they also looked weak.

But I also found this:

"The 925 sterling Taxco are usually fake marks because almost all if not all Taxco sterling jewelry is fabricated and signed by the silversmith with the first letter of his surname and a number as assigned by the Mexican government so you would have something marked TS-11. The T would be Taxco and the S for the first letter of his surname and the 11 for the 11th number given for that initial. If the piece of jewelry were made from alpaca and signed 925 sterling Taxco, a magnet would no good because it would not be attracted to  the alpaca and if the jewelry were silver plated copper, the same would hold true."

I also learned that "alpaca" is a silver-looking alloy of  60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc, and that this is commonly deceives buyers into thinking they have genuine sterling.  It passes the magnet test, for one thing.

Anyway, I'm going to pass on this offering, since I just don't know.  You guys are the best, I don't care what they say about you!

I wouldn't worry too much about that ebayer saying Taxco sterling marks are usually fake as it's only fairly recently that Mexico started using the letter and number id system - Something like the past 40 years.  They used the eagle with a number in it to id the maker from not long after wwii until around 1980 before this.  Pre late 40s they didn't often id maker and sometimes just marked things Mexico or Town, silver/sterling and/or a purity like 925.

 

I've picked up a bit of silver lately for around 80% of spot or just above including postage from ebay.  One or two are more obscure marks, only show the weight in pictures or not at all and required me to estimate the weight but in those cases I err on the low side if possible.

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1 hour ago, Murph said:

Of course your 20.5 oz converts into 18.7 ozt which is what the silver price you quoted at $17 is listed in so the total scrap value is more like $318.

 

It's 22.2 oz x .925, which is 20.535 oz of actual silver. If it's actually made of sterling, which is unknown at this point. 

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5 hours ago, vand said:

I find it all a HUGE waste of time and effort.

Oh, I'm sure there are bargains to be had if you are very astute and willing to stalk auctions that end during Happy Hour on a Friday night.. but in general the effort required is better put towards other endeavours which can reap far greater rewards than the occasional steal of a genuine coin below spot.

It's like shopping at the duty-free.. people who think they're getting a bargain are actually getting ripped off

You might find it a HUGE waste of time, but 5 mins a day can find me underspot silver, in fact I find  more than I can actually afford to buy. 

I find it a huge WASTE of time drawing lines in graphs after things have happened and claiming to predict the future. But hey, each to their own ;)

 

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6 hours ago, RacerCool said:

It's 22.2 oz x .925, which is 20.535 oz of actual silver. If it's actually made of sterling, which is unknown at this point. 

As I said, if it is 20.5 oz avoirdupois (approx) this is roughly 18.7 oz Troy which is what silver prices are quoted in.  Using your 17 dollar price per ozt this makes the selling price a little over - I meant under - scrap as I previously mentioned.

Given you say this is an auction and it’s not an estimate range it sounds like it may well be an eBay auction where people list their own items and often use oz avoirdupois instead of Troy as they either want to make their item sound as heavy as possible or they are unaware of Troy weights.

 

 

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Just now, vand said:

I knew good ol' @HighlandTiger  would chip in and remind us all that there is never-ending supply of under-spot eBay silver which only his propriety super-secret search terms can uncover LOL ^_^ 

Pmsl, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to put in a lot of search parameters. 

Do yourself a favour, instead of being blase about it. Have a look at the sold listings under silver in antiques. You will find quite a bit of it goes under spot.

But I suppose a billionaire like yourself is far too busy telling the world how to get rich. 

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4 hours ago, Murph said:

As I said, if it is 20.5 oz avoirdupois (approx) this is roughly 18.7 oz Troy which is what silver prices are quoted in.  Using your 17 dollar price per ozt this makes the selling price a little over scrap as I previously mentioned.

Given you say this is an auction and it’s not an estimate range it sounds like it may well be an eBay auction where people list their own items and often use oz avoirdupois instead of Troy as they either want to make their item sound as heavy as possible or they are unaware of Troy weights.

 

 

Ok I understand what you mean. I don't know if they meant troy ounces. Thanks for clarifying. 

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I never said it was not possible to get a bargain on eBay; and to his credit @HighlandTiger is quite correct that its often possible to pick up old sterling silver for below spot prices. I had a look last night.. difficult to tell the frequency which this stuff comes up; sterling tea trays seem to be the most common item that gets flogged below spot. If that's your thing then great. I have a few nice set of sterling teaspoons myself that I picked up for around spot a few years ago, but I don't consider them investment grade silver that I can easily liquidate

 

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17 minutes ago, vand said:

I never said it was not possible to get a bargain on eBay; and to his credit @HighlandTiger is quite correct that its often possible to pick up old sterling silver for below spot prices. I had a look last night.. difficult to tell the frequency which this stuff comes up; sterling tea trays seem to be the most common item that gets flogged below spot. If that's your thing then great. I have a few nice set of sterling teaspoons myself that I picked up for around spot a few years ago, but I don't consider them investment grade silver that I can easily liquidate

 

I watched a sterling tray, of 469g go for £160 just after I posted yesterday, (it was the first thing that popped up on my search) it would have gone for less but I put in a bid of £158, (I didn't have any spare cash so I put a silly bid in just for giggles), and if I hadn't bid the winner would have paid probably in the region of £140. The buyer paid around 20% under spot. Normally I pay around 10% under spot, so the guy got a bargain even with me costing him a few quid more. 

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A 490g tray containing  453g of silver that went for £160 plus 5.45 postage is all I could see close to that.

Then there was also a 337g tray which went for over spot at £149.50, a 1081g for £878.50, a 635g for 331.18 so I don't know why a item listed as a sterling silver tray just like all the above would show up above these yesterday.

Unless you're saying there is some method of searching items by weight, price and ending time all together that would throw items ending soon that are below spot up first so you didn't have to look through descriptions for weights and then take a chance that a few people won't all bid in the last few seconds and push the price away up?

 

It's easy to point out items that went for under spot afterwards but much harder to point out a number of items that will go for under spot beforehand which would show that you can do so frequently.  Yes posting this publicly would skew the results but that's easily overcome.

It's far from a five minute task to find and win an item well under spot most of the time.

 

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