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Silver Sold By Dealers And Auction Galleries
If a dealer has been in business for many years and if he has the confidence of well-known collectors and museums, you can trust him. His reputation will always be more important to him than the sale of an article he would not want to have come from his shop. A reputable dealer will always give you a bill of sale stating plainly what you have bought and by whom it was made, if it is marked. If he is not willing to do this, do not buy from him. No honest dealer would put his name on a bill for silver that was not what he claimed it was. This bill is not only your proof of what you buy, it is also his good will and a record of your silver for tax and inheritance purposes.
If you get in the habit of going to a reliable dealer, let him know that you are serious about buying, but also tell him that you want to learn. To show good faith, do not take up too much of his time without making a purchase once in a while. It will be his pleasure to give you the best he can for the amount you wish to spend. He would like you for a customer and he would also like to see you get what you want. You will find that the average dealer is a pretty nice person. He likes his work or he would not have a shop. He gets fine things because he knows them and you are sharing his knowledge and his good taste. Do not buy from any shop which uses high pressure salesmanship. Old silver like other things of value should never b.e bought quickly or without due consideration.
You can also buy from auction galleries of established reputation. Catalogues clearly state what a piece is and if it is not what it is claimed to be, the galleries are obliged to refund your money. Naturally they make few mistakes. It is wise to examine goods offered for sale.
Your dealer will show you how to use a book of marks and will help you identify a piece of silver even if you have not bought it from him. If you want to buy at auction and are not sure of how to do it, you can have your dealer buy for you at a small percentage and even so you will probably save money. A dealer is used to buying at auction; you still have to learn, and it takes knowing. You could even sit in the gallery while he buys a piece or two. This will, be an education for you. In a short while you will learn not to be overeager and so pay out of proportion to worth. The uninitiated should leave auction buying to the experienced. It is a highly specialized business. Many collectors of the choicest silver leave buying at auction to a favorite dealer.
However you buy, avoid accumulating silver you cannot use or enjoy. This is not true collecting. Acquire one good piece rather than several not of the best design or workmanship. Have a good reason for collecting; strive not for quantity but quality. Buy the best you can afford and study as you buy. Learn about silver from every source available. Go often to museums where collections are on view. Watch for the acquisitions and always remember silver is a good investment, one of the few material things that will increase in value with the years.