Is Pewter Worth Any Money? Exploring the Value of Your Pewter Collectibles

Are you curious if the pewter piece you inherited from your great-grandfather is worth any money? You may be surprised to learn that the answer is yes! Pewter might not be as popular as gold or silver, but it’s a precious metal that has been used for centuries to create decorative and functional objects. Nowadays, pewter items can fetch a decent sum of money from collectors and enthusiasts alike. So, before you toss away that old pewter pitcher, it might be worth checking its value first.

The interesting thing about pewter is that its value is not only based on its metal content, like silver or gold. Pewter items can also be evaluated based on their historical significance, rarity, and craftsmanship. For instance, pewter objects made in the 18th century are highly sought after because of their intricate designs and historical context. Moreover, pewter makers who are renowned for their skilled craftsmanship can command higher prices for their pieces, which can become collector’s items.

In this article, we’ll explore the world of pewter and what makes it valuable. You’ll learn about the history of pewter, the different types of pewter objects, and how to evaluate their worth. Whether you’re curious about that old pewter mug you found in a thrift shop or you want to start collecting pewter pieces, this article will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to make informed decisions. So, keep reading if you’re wondering, “Is pewter worth any money?”

Characteristics of Pewter

Pewter is a unique metal alloy that has been used for centuries for crafting items such as plates, bowls, cups, and decorative pieces. Here are some characteristics that make pewter a unique metal:

  • Pewter is a soft metal, which makes it easy to work with and mold into intricate shapes and designs.
  • It has a low melting point, which means that it can be melted down and reused multiple times without losing its quality.
  • Pewter is a mix of tin, copper, and antimony. The amount of each metal used in the mix can vary and can affect the quality and value of the pewter item.
  • It has a unique luster that is different from silver or gold. Pewter has a dull and matte finish that can be polished to a shine.
  • Pewter can also be easily engraved or etched, making it a popular material for personalized gifts and commemorative pieces.

Pewter’s softness and low melting point make it vulnerable to scratches and dents. However, these marks can also add character and history to an item, making it more valuable to collectors.

History of Pewterware

Pewterware is an alloy consisting mostly of tin mixed with other metals such as copper, antimony, and lead. It has a long history dating back to the Roman Empire, where it was used to make utensils and containers for everyday use. In medieval Europe, pewter became the preferred material for making tableware. It was cheaper than silver or gold and could be molded into intricate designs to make decorative pieces.

  • Pewterware was also used to make buttons, candlesticks, and medallions, which were worn by nobility and religious leaders as a symbol of their status.
  • During the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution brought new techniques for mass-producing pewterware, making it more affordable and accessible to the general population.
  • By the 19th century, however, pewterware started to lose its popularity, as other materials like pottery and porcelain became more fashionable.

Despite its decline in popularity, pewterware remains a valuable collectible today. It is often sought after by antique collectors who appreciate its historical significance and intricate designs.

One of the factors that determine the value of antique pewterware is its age and rarity. Some pewterware pieces may be worth thousands of dollars, depending on the maker, the age, and the condition.

Pewterware Maker Estimated Value
Samuel Hamlin $10,000 – $20,000
Samuel Ellis $5,000 – $10,000
William Will $2,000 – $5,000

Another aspect that adds value to antique pewterware is its provenance. Pieces with a documented history and a connection to a famous person or historical event are often highly sought after by collectors.

In conclusion, while pewterware may not be as widely used or popular as it once was, it remains a valuable piece of history that is appreciated and collected by many. Its intricate designs, historical significance, and rarity make it a valuable addition to any antique collection.

How to Identify Valuable Pewter

Pewter is a popular metal used in the creation of a wide range of functional and decorative items. It has been used to make plates, candlesticks, mugs, figurines, and other items for centuries. However, not all pewter is created equal, and some pieces are more valuable than others. If you’re interested in learning how to identify valuable pewter, keep reading.

  • Check the marks: One of the most important things to look for when trying to identify valuable pewter is the maker’s mark. Nearly all pewter pieces are stamped with a symbol or series of symbols that will identify the maker. Some makers are more well-known and therefore more valuable than others, so it’s worth doing some research to see which marks to look for.
  • Examine the design: Beyond the maker’s mark, the design of the piece can also impact its value. Intricate, detailed designs are typically more valuable than simpler pieces.
  • Consider the age: As with many collectibles, the age of the piece can also impact its value. Generally speaking, older pewter pieces are more valuable than newer ones, especially if they are in good condition.

Now that you know what to look for when identifying valuable pewter, let’s talk about some common markings you might encounter.

One of the most well-known pewter makers is Reed & Barton, which began producing pewter pieces in the 1950s. Pieces created by this company often feature a circular, foil sticker with the company name and a letter or number code. Other common markings you might see include the word “pewter” or abbreviations like “PWT” or “PEW.”

Maker Marking
Wilton Armetal “Wilton Columbia PA. Artesitic Handcrafted” or “Columbia PA Wilton RW-BM”
Boardman “BOARDMAN CORP” (1947-1957), “BOARDMAN CO” (1957-1980), “Boardman Pewter” (1980-Present)
Stieff Pewter “S.P” or “S. Kirk and Sons Inc.” (1930s-1979), “Stieff Pewter” or “Stieff” (1979-1995)

If you’re interested in collecting pewter pieces, investing in a good price guide or conducting thorough research before making any purchases is a good idea. By doing so, you’ll be better equipped to identify valuable pewter and avoid overpaying for pieces that aren’t worth much.

Collecting Antique Pewter

If you are a collector, you know that finding valuable pieces to add to your collection takes a lot of time, dedication, and knowledge. Pewter is no exception, and collecting antique pewter can be both rewarding and challenging. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are interested in collecting antique pewter:

  • Know your pewter: One of the most important things to keep in mind when collecting antique pewter is to know the difference between antique and modern pewter. Antique pewter was made before the 20th century and contains a higher percentage of tin, while modern pewter often contains other metals such as copper and zinc. Knowing the difference between the two can help you determine the value of a piece and avoid purchasing fakes.
  • Research: As with any other collectible, research is key. Take the time to learn about different makers, marks, and styles of antique pewter. Attend antique shows and auctions, and talk to other collectors to gain knowledge about the market and find out about new pieces. Information is power, and it can help you make informed decisions when purchasing pieces for your collection.
  • Condition: When collecting antique pewter, condition is a major factor in determining value. Look for pieces that are in good condition with minimal damage or repairs. Pewter is a soft metal and is prone to denting and scratching, so it can be difficult to find pieces in perfect condition. However, avoid pieces that are heavily damaged or have significant repairs, as these can decrease the value of the piece.

What is the Value of Antique Pewter?

The value of antique pewter can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as age, rarity, condition, and maker. Some pieces can sell for tens of thousands of dollars, while others may only be worth a few hundred dollars. Here is a table that shows the estimated value of antique pewter based on the maker and time period:

Maker Time Period Estimated Value
Samuel Ellis 18th century $10,000 – $50,000
Joseph Copeland 18th century $5,000 – $15,000
James Yates 17th century $20,000 – $100,000
Thomas Danforth 17th century $5,000 – $25,000

While these values are estimated, it is important to keep in mind that the actual value of a piece will depend on a variety of factors as mentioned earlier. It is important to do your research and consult with experts to determine the true value of a piece before purchasing or selling it.

Value of Decorative Pewter Items

Pewter, an alloy comprised mainly of tin, is a popular choice for decorative items such as figurines, plates, and tankards. However, many people are not aware of the value that some of these items hold. Here, we will explore the value of decorative pewter items, including factors that affect their worth.

Factors that Affect the Value of Pewter Items

  • Rarity: The rarity of a pewter item is one of the most significant factors determining its worth. Items that are no longer produced and difficult to find are more valuable.
  • Age: The age of a pewter item can also influence its value. Older items are likely to be rarer, and thus, more valuable.
  • Condition: The condition of a pewter item can make a significant difference in its value. Items that are in excellent condition with no major damage or corrosion are more valuable than those that are damaged or corroded.
  • Maker: The maker of a pewter item can also impact its value. Pewter items from well-known makers such as Reed & Barton, Wilton Armetale, and Royal Selangor are generally more valuable.
  • Subject Matter: The subject matter of a pewter item can play a role in determining its worth. Items that depict popular or historical figures, places, or events may be worth more than generic items.

An Example of Valuable Pewter Items

An excellent example of valuable pewter items is the antique English pewter collection from the 18th and 19th centuries. These items, produced during the peak of the pewter industry in England, are highly sought-after by collectors. Some items, such as tankards, flagons, and plates, can fetch thousands of dollars at auction. For example, an 18th-century English pewter flagon sold at auction for $2,500.


In conclusion, the value of decorative pewter items varies depending on several factors, including rarity, age, condition, maker, and subject matter. While some items may not be worth much, others can be quite valuable. If you have any decorative pewter items and are curious about their worth, it is recommended to have them appraised by a professional. Who knows, you may have a rare and valuable piece sitting right in your home!

Selling Pewter for Profit

While pewter may not be as expensive as it once was, it can still be worth a decent amount of money if you know how to sell it. Here are some tips for selling pewter for profit:

  • Research the Value – Before selling your pewter, it can be helpful to do some research to determine its value. You can check online auction sites, antique stores, and other resources to get an idea of what similar items are selling for.
  • Clean Your Pewter – When selling pewter, it’s important to make sure it’s clean and polished. This can help increase its value and make it more attractive to buyers.
  • Find a Reputable Dealer – If you’re not comfortable selling your pewter on your own, you may want to consider finding a dealer to help you. Look for a reputable dealer who has experience with pewter and a good track record.

Another option for selling pewter is to go to a pawn shop, but this may not always be the best choice. Many pawn shops will offer a low price for your pewter, so it’s important to do your research before going this route. You may be better off selling your pewter online or through an antique store.

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when selling pewter:

  • Be Prepared to Negotiate – When selling anything, it’s important to be prepared to negotiate. Set a minimum price for your pewter and be willing to haggle if necessary.
  • Consider Auctions and Estate Sales – If you have a large amount of pewter to sell, you may want to consider selling it through an auction or estate sale. This can help you reach a wider audience and potentially get a better price for your items.
  • Be Patient – Selling pewter can take time, so be patient and don’t get discouraged if your items don’t sell right away. Keep promoting your items and adjusting your prices until you find the right buyer.
Selling Option Pros Cons
Online Auctions Wide audience, potential for high prices Risk of not selling, shipping costs and logistics
Antique Stores Expert evaluation, potential for high prices May take longer to sell, commission fees
Pawn Shops Quick cash Low prices offered

Ultimately, the key to selling pewter for profit is to do your research, clean and polish your pewter, and be prepared to negotiate. With a little patience and perseverance, you can find the right buyer and get a good price for your items.

Caring for Pewter Pieces

Caring for your pewter pieces is essential to maintaining their value. The following are some tips for keeping your pewter pieces in excellent condition.

  • Wash with Warm, Soapy Water: Pewter items should be washed with warm, soapy water and then rinsed thoroughly. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubbers that can damage the surface of the pewter.
  • Dry Thoroughly: After washing your pewter pieces, be sure to dry them thoroughly with a soft cloth to prevent water spots from forming.
  • Store in a Dry Place: Moisture is the enemy of pewter. Store your pewter items in a dry place where they won’t be exposed to humidity or moisture.

In addition to these general tips, there are some specific concerns you should be aware of depending on the type of pewter pieces you own.

Caring for Antique Pewter: If you own antique pewter, it’s important to remember that it is delicate and can be easily damaged. Avoid using any harsh cleaning products or abrasive cleaners. Dust antique pewter regularly with a soft cloth to keep it looking great. Avoid touching antique pewter with your bare hands, as the oils from your skin can damage the surface.

Caring for Contemporary Pewter: Contemporary pewter is often dishwasher safe and can typically withstand more aggressive cleaning methods. However, be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations before putting your pewter in the dishwasher.

Type of Pewter Cleaning Method
Antique Pewter Wash with warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly. Dust regularly with a soft cloth.
Contemporary Pewter Check the manufacturer’s recommendations. Most contemporary pewter is dishwasher safe.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your pewter pieces remain in excellent condition and maintain their value over time.

Is Pewter Worth Any Money? – FAQs

1. Can Pewter Be Valuable?

Yes, it can. The value of pewter depends on its age, rarity, and scarcity. Also, the makers of pewter have a great impact on the value. Some antique pewter pieces can be sold at very high prices.

2. What Are The Factors That Affect The Value of Pewter?

The age, rarity, condition, and maker of pewter are the primary factors that affect its value. The historical significance and origin of the pewter item also affect its value.

3. How Do I Identify If My Pewter is Valuable?

To identify whether or not your pewter is valuable, determine its age, condition, and maker. The maker’s mark and the age of the piece are significant indicators of the value of the pewter item.

4. Is It Possible To Sell My Pewter Collection?

Yes, it is. You can sell your pewter items through online auctions, antique shops, or directly to collectors. You can also use the services of an auction house to sell your collection.

5. Are Modern Pewter Items Valuable?

Some modern pewter items can be valuable, depending on the maker, scarcity, and rarity. Handcrafted modern pewter items are often more valuable than mass-produced pewter products.

6. How Do I Take Care of My Pewter Items?

To maintain the value of your pewter items, you should clean them regularly, avoiding harsh chemicals, and store them in a dry place. Avoid putting your pewter items in a dishwasher or soaking them in water.

Closing Thoughts

We hope these FAQs have helped you understand whether or not your pewter is worth any money. Remember, the age, rarity, maker, and condition of the piece are the primary factors that determine its value. If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to contact us. Thank you for reading, and we hope you come back soon!