The short answer generally is, "Yes". It's been my experience that custom engravings, the most common of which consists of a single-letter monogram, do cause the market value of used sterling pieces to drop by 25% to 35% when compared to non-engraved pieces. However, this is not always the case. Here are some points to consider:
- During the past couple of years, the market price of commodity silver has risen dramatically. This has caused the scrap value of sterling pieces to rise. Even for pieces that will not be scrapped (melted down), the market price increase has reduced somewhat the devaluation effect of monograms. Therefore, the decrease may not be as great as before for engraved pieces.
- For discontinued patterns where used pieces are hard to find, buyers may be willing to accept monogrammed pieces more readily. For example, a buyer looking for a specific rare piece may snap it up when it becomes available whether it's monogrammed or not.
- Sometimes when the pattern of a piece is quite intricate, the monogram may get "lost" in the design. It's still there but just not as noticeable because of all the flowers, swirls or whatever. Buyers may be willing to accept these monogrammed pieces.
- If the monogram is on the back, it's less noticeable and may not be a big problem to potential buyers.
- If the monogram is a popular initial such as an "S", for example, more potential buyers may be out there for which the initial matches their name.
So, monograms may not cause despair to a seller after all. A potential seller should look at sites like www.eBay.com to see actual sales of pieces in order to gauge the effect of monograms. Check this article: