When selling silver and silverplate always do your research first! Invest in some good books for looking up makers marks and patterns. Rainwater's is one of the best for looking up makers. It gives their marks, when they were in business and some background about the company. Tere Hagen's books on silverplate and sterling flatware are excellent for identifying patterns. The American Encylcopedia of Silver Plate is another great source for pattern identifying and shows some hollow ware as well as flatware. Check any book store, Amazon.com or Ebay for these!
Never, ever list without researching first! I almost listed a cup I was told was silver plate for ten bucks. After much cleaning and three weeks of research, it tuned out to be a very, very rare piece of Martele Sterling Silver. I sold it to a man named Larry who has a huge web site devoted to this line for $2,500.00. No, I never told the "antique shop" I bought it from for five bucks what they sold me, their bad for not bothering to clean such a gorgeous cup and doing a little research!
The Antiques Board is an excellent source for help. Just be sure to post a clear picture of the item and all markings on it. With out a picture it is next to impossible for the great folks over there to help you out.
Before listing your item always polish it with a quality polish like Wright's silver polish. Never, ever use Tarnex! it will eat away at the silver, and take all the lovely dark "pantina" that is in the crevices that collectors treasure. If your piece is covered in tarnish potential buyers can't see any flaws there may be. Tarnish may also hide any plate loss. Do a search on Ebay for similar items before listing. This will give you an idea of which category to list in, a good starting bid and what your item may bring. You can also go to advanced search/completed listings to see what similar items sold for.
Take as many pictures from as many angles as possible. Use the "macros" mode on your camera, as this cuts done on glare. Describe your item like there is no picture and take pictures like there is no descrption. Always remember to take measurements of your item! A lot of buyers will hit the back button rather than email to ask a question. A great site for using for auction listings is Auctiva.com. It is very user friendly, no HTML is required and offers great fromats and backgrounds. Your listing look like they were done by a professional. Always use spell check! It is a free site and enables you to have as many pics as you like! So you only pay Ebay's listing, insertion fee and gallery fee! So you can have twelve pictures and save yourself a LOT of money on Ebay fees! Always use the gallery feature! I have tried with gallery and without. Using a gallery picture increases traffice 50%, and bids!
When listing your shipping and handling always take into account the time and amount of packing materials you will need. Invest in a good digital scale! Wal-Mart has one for $29.99 and Ebay has hundreds. Pack your item in paper, then bubble wrap. Never, ever tape directly onto the silver, it leaves marks.
Most importantly, never us the word Sterling in your title, then say it is silerplate in the listing. This is deceptive and considered "key word spamming", not to mention it will get a lot of buyers very mad and make them less likely to look at your other items. Be honest in your listings. Use the boards for help, they are the best source for information. After two years I still go ther for help on shipping, feedback, TOS and identifying items.
Well, I hope this guide is helpful to you. Enjoy Ebay and have fun with it. Make as much money as you want and always be fair!........................BadKitty