Short Answer: Pewter is generally worth around $4 per pound at scrap yards. Antique and vintage items made of pewter typically have a higher value to antique collectors (up to thousands of dollars); prices vary depending on the style, age, and condition. For more details about how much pewter is worth and how to identify it, see below.
How Much Is Pewter Worth?
Not all scrap yards will accept pewter. Beyond their scrap value, pewter items often have value as antiques. In use since Roman times, pewter is commonly found in kitchen and household items like chalices, jugs, spoons, buttons, tankards, candlesticks, and inkwells.
The older your item and the better its condition, the more collectible it will typically be; factors like manufacturer also matter in the valuation. Everyday items like dishware from the mid-20th century often sell for under $100, while specialty items like sculptures, figurines, and vases can fetch up to $5,000 or more on the antique market.
Identification & Valuation
Depending on whether it’s polished, pewter can look similar to many other metals, including silver and bronze. It can also serve as a base for silver or gold plating, which can make it challenging to identify. Keep the following tips in mind to determine the value of your pewter item(s).
Your pewter may include three different types of marks: the pewterer’s mark, capacity/verification marks, and ownership marks.
The pewterer’s mark might include the maker’s name, initials, hallmark, label, or number. Capacity and verification marks show that the piece was inspected by the government. Ownership marks, as the name implies, were sometimes stamped by the original owner of the piece and usually include a monogram design or the person’s full name.
Note that your piece may include one or more of these marks or may not be marked at all. While identifying marks can help pinpoint the age and origin of your pewter, some makers didn’t follow legal requirements like capacity marks. If you’re unable to decipher the marks yourself, you may want to consult a pewter expert.
Pewter is silver in color but will darken over time, so you may be able to estimate the age of your piece by its color as well as its markings. It doesn’t tarnish, instead darkening evenly, which can help you identify your piece as pewter rather than silver. In style, pewter ranges from simple to intricate, depending on where and when it was made. For example, Early American pewter is known to have a simple, utilitarian style.
If you’re unable to identify a piece based on its marks or other features, consider reaching out to an organization like The Pewter Society or a Pewter Collectors’ Club member-dealer for an expert evaluation. There’s always a chance that your piece might be a more recent reproduction, even if it looks old; an expert can help you find the true identity.
How to Sell
The best way to sell pewter is through your nearest certified antique dealer or antique fairs. The Pewter Society holds two auctions a year exclusive to members. Antique dealers have the expertise to appraise the item and give you an accurate price estimate. When navigating antique fairs, keep an eye out for true pewter specialists — otherwise, you might not get a fair price.
There are also several online resources for pewter sale, such as PewterSellers.com and online auction sites like eBay. You can browse eBay’s collectible pewter page to compare your own pieces to similar items for an idea of what you might earn.
When selling online, it’s important to include high quality, professional photos of your pewter. Pictures of your item can make or break a sale. Photographs should have good lighting and focus to accentuate color and texture. The pewter’s surface condition is critical to buyers, so take notice of dents, scratches, or corrosion patches; these will decrease the value. Also, don’t forget to call attention to any touch or capacity marks to ensure authenticity.