Siam Sterling: Pricing Guide


As with all collectibles and jewelry, pricing depends on many subjective (and a few objective) factors, such as rarity, fashion, beauty and condition. These elements result in an element called "demand", although there are situations where demand seems not to relate to the above factors. For example, when an Egyptian Artifacts "supershow" toured the US, most Egyptian antiques rose dramatically in demand (and price).

Rarity of Siam sterling is very difficult to determine. My experience, and information from dealers and other collectors, have helped determine rarity for these pieces.

Beauty is most often in the eye of the beholder, but there are some guidelines for Siam pieces; complexity of the silver design, filigree, and size are factors which may affect one's perception of beauty of these pieces.

Condition is more easily measured. Any noticeable scratches, cracks, dents, corrosion or wear greatly affects condition, although just a few pieces the author has seen are in less than "XF" (Extra Fine) condition. Any condition less than "F" (Fine) usually reduces the value of the piece by at least half.

Tarnish of the silver is not a pricing factor; some collectors clean their pieces, while some prefer to leave the tarnish (especially on truly antique sterling items).

Size usually affects pricing, not because the larger pieces have more silver, but because the larger pieces are usually more impressive, and are often more rare.

Location also affects pricing. The lowest prices for Siam Sterling (and most other collectibles) are found in the countryside of the US Southeast (especially at collectibles shows and flea markets), and some out-of-the way places in the Northeast and Midwest. Highest prices are in the larger cities; New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, especially at "upscale" dealers.

General Pricing Guide

Pricing is a difficult and uncertain process. Here are some suggestions for buying and selling Siam sterling Nielloware:

For Collectors

With a knowledge of realistic pricing, you can intelligently bargain for fair prices for these Siam sterling pieces.

Arguing with dealers about prices is not appropriate, nor is it effective. However, discussing some facts surrounding Nielloware may be helpful:

1 - Most of these pieces are not very rare.
2 - They are not currently as popular as other sterling silver collectibles.
3 - They are not very old.

For Dealers:

Fair pricing will increase your chances of intelligent purchases and sales of these items.

Here is some information to share with potential buyers:

1 - Nielloware pieces are interesting items - significantly different from any other silver jewelry.
2 - They show good craftsmanship.
3 - They tell an interesting historical and cultural story.
4 - Pieces can be easily "matched".
5 - Most pieces are not currently being produced.

The listing provides a range of pricing information for almost all types of Siam sterling Nielloware items. It is divided into three pricing ranges:

Lowest: These prices are what is expected at flea markets, pawn shops, and country antiques/collectible shows.

Average: These prices reflect what may be found at antiques shows and mixed antiques/collectible shops.

Highest: Prices found at upscale antique stores and upscale antiques shows.
The listing is up-to-date as of mid-1997.

Item Type Lowest Prices Average Prices Highest Prices
Ash Tray $25-45 $40-70 $65-100
Belt (Fancy) $120-200 $150-275 $250-375
Belt Buckle $15-$25 $20-$40 $35-$65
Bracelet (Small) .$7-$15 $12-$20 $20-$45
Bracelet (Large) $25-$45 $40-$60 $50-$95
Bracelet (Very Large) $50-$85 $80-$135 $130-$250
Buttons (4) $15-$25 $20-$35 $30-$55
Cigarette Box $100-$150 $140-$200 $190-$250
Cigar/Cigarette Case $65-$90 $85-$125 $120-$225
Compact $45-$85 $75-$110 $90-$175
Cufflinks .$5-$10 $10-$18 $15-$35
Earrings (Small) .$4-$10 $10-$18 $15-25
Earrings (Medium) .$5-$12 $12-$20 $18-$35
Key Fob $10-$18 $15-$25 $20-$35
Letter Opener $15-$35 $25-$45 $40-$75
Lighter (Cover) $20-$30 $25-$45 $40-$75
Necklace (Medium) $25-$45 $35-$55 $45-$90
Necklace (Large) $45-$125 $75-$150 $120-$225
Pill Box $15-$30 $25-$50 $40-$100
Pin (Small) .$7-$15 $15-$25 $20-$40
Pin (Medium) $10-$20 $20-$35 $30-$55
Pin (Large) $16-$30 $25-$45 $45-$75
Ring $10-$20 $15-$25 $25-$50
Tie Clip/Tie Clasp .$6-$15 $10-$20 $15-$35
Tie Pin (Tac) $5 - $10 $10 - $15 $15 - $25




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Copyright 1999, Charles Dittell. All rights reserved.