Question: What does 555 stamped on a sterling silver tea set mean? From Terry in Chicago, IL

Hi Terry,

Because there are so many different stamps for silver items such as tea sets, serving dishes and silverware, identifying what all these mean can be difficult. You have to consider that silver has been produced for centuries in several different countries. Also, these items are always alloyed with another type of metal, so the trick becomes determining how much actual silver your items contain compared to other non-precious, alloy metals such as copper and nickel.

From our experience as precious metal refiners (not antique dealers or silverware experts) a stamp of “555” does not indicate sterling. Instead we usually look for a “925” to indicate sterling silver. Our best advice would be to do the following:

  1. Check if you items are in fact sterling silver. This will probably influence the value of your items the most, especially if you are going to sell to a refiner for the silver value.
  2. Check to see if your items have any collectable value or value as antiques. Sometimes pieces can have value beyond the precious metal value.
  3. Based on the answers you find in 1 and 2, decide what the right place is to sell your items. As precious metal refiners, we cannot give returns on silverware that is plated.

*Images displayed are only a representation of the items described in this blog post and may not be true images of the items in question.

While we are happy to give estimates on precious metal items, we are NOT antiques dealers, researchers, or retail sellers. As a precious metal refiner, we only consider the weight and amount of precious metal available to extract during the smelting and refining process.