sell the family silver

sell the family silver

If you accuse someone of selling the family silver, you mean that they are getting rid of something valuable in order to get a quick advantage when it would be better to keep it for an advantage in the future. He accused the government of selling the family silver by allowing foreign investors to purchase the buildings. As Maureen Freely says, from bitter experience: `Writing about these things is like selling the family silver. You can only do it once.'
See also: family, sell, silver

sell the family silver

part with a valuable resource in order to gain an immediate advantage.
In 1985 , the former British prime minister Harold Macmillan made a speech to the Tory Reform Group on the subject of privatization (the selling off of nationalized industries to private companies). He likened it to the selling of heirlooms by impoverished aristocratic families: ‘First of all the Georgian silver goes…’.
See also: family, sell, silver