A tea set is, at minimum, made up of a teapot, a cream jug and a sugar bowl, although some sets have up to nine pieces.
Antique sterling-silver tea sets are considered the most valuable; however, certain mass-produced older sets are less desirable and fetch lower prices.
Check that the teapot lid fits onto the base; if it doesn't, it may be a mismatch.
Antiques often have a little bit of natural wear through age and use.
This guide comes out every year and lists approximate values.
Keep in mind, however, that trends and values can change rapidly in the antiques business.
Named sterling-silver tea sets are generally more desirable, increasing the value of the set. Search for dents, holes, splits in teapot spouts or signs of obvious repairs.
English and some continental sterling silver isn't stamped with "925"; instead, these types of silver boast other distinguishing hallmarks, such as a lion passant for genuine English silver.
Hallmarks number in the thousands, so it's important to get an accurate comparison.
For example, English sterling silver may have a lion hallmark, but it may also have a letter for the date, a symbol to represent the town of origin, and some additional lettering to show the maker's name.
Antiques will have the highest value, but items in poor condition won't sell as well as more pristine samples. Websites for international and local auction houses may list previous sale prices.
Large auction houses include Sotheby's, Christie's and Bonhams.