A prominent Sterling collector Association has said that so much Antique Sterling is being sold for silver value that current common sterling pieces will become rare.
So if you have a quality piece, whether antique (over 100 years) or just a bit old, you might consider holding on to it instead of cashing in right now. Rarity is one of the things that always drives prices up in antiques and collectibles. With the current low interest rates your Sterling might end up being a great long term investment, even if the price of silver goes back down.
For those with knowledge and investment money there is opportunity. You might consider forming a relationship with a metal buyer to let you look at any silver antiques that come in before they send it for melt. You might get a rare piece of signed American silver or very collectible piece, such as Tiffany, for metal value.
A metal seller should be happy to sell for actual metal value as they have to send it off and pay for it to be melted. They then do not get their money for period of time. So most would be happy to sell for what they would get from the foundry for an immediate payment.