sell the family silver

sell the family silver

To sell or part with a very valuable resource for a quick and immediate gain or advantage, rather than holding onto it for future use or to accrue even greater value. Unfortunately, the government sold the family silver during the economic crash, auctioning off some of the most valuable land in the country to private investors to help meet its debt obligations. To avoid bankruptcy, the company had to offload some of its most valuable intellectual property, but many investors worry they may have doomed themselves in the long run by selling the family silver.
See also: family, sell, 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
References in periodicals archive ?
However, as things stand today, this right is 'bought' easily by the rich and wealthy, while the less fortunate are left either to the vagaries of fate or sell the family silver for the sake of education.
Then Whiplash Maggie turned up and ruined it, despite Harold Macmillan warning her not to sell the family silver.
Rangers are going to have to sell the family silver to catch Celtic," said Steven, who was involved in eight of Rangers' record nine title wins, missing only the 1991/92 season after a year in France with Marseille.
The party needs to get back to its roots and not sell the family silver.
Shows this magical don't come around very often, so if you have to sell the family silver to get a ticket, do it.
Mr Raymond said: "When you sell the family silver there's no more silver left to sell.
TO support dwindling council budgets, Kenn Winter (Letters, September 24) proposes to sell the family silver, both literal and metaphorical.
The Earl of Grantham realises he must cut costs after visiting a neighbour who had to sell the family silver to make ends meet.
Lord Grantham, played by Hugh Bonneville, and his wife (Elizabeth McGovern) see they must cut costs after visiting a neighbour who had to sell the family silver to make ends meet.
We wouldn't sell the family silver if we didn't think it was the right thing to do.
The City of Coventry should not sell the family silver to this hedge fund who have shown no respect for the fans, as demonstrated recently when they insulted our intelligence by giving the feeble excuse of confiscating 'flammable' banners from anyone who disagreed with them.
If we sell the family silver we'll never get it back, it's gone for ever so if we sell something we want the right price for it.
It is about reaching the right conclusion for the next 100 years, not for the next few months as you only sell the family silver once.
Then it could raise prices through the roof, making the drug inaccessible to most of the world, but maximizing its take from rich people willing to sell the family silver for a bottle of the pills.