Most of us have had this happen at some point. We’re cleaning out some corner of the house, we find something that we haven’t seen or used in ages, and think, “I wonder if this is valuable?” If what you’ve found is made from gold or silver, the answer is probably “yes”.
It could be a couple of sterling silver spoons that you got as a baby present, or a bracelet that you’re pretty sure is gold but has been broken for years.
Even if it’s scratched or damaged, it could still be worth something to the right buyer; with a little homework, you may end up making a nice little chunk of pocket money!
To get an idea of what your options are, check out some of the pointers below:
How Much Money Could I Make?
Bad news first: the retail price will always be much more than the resale price, even for “antiques”. This means that those gold bracelets your mother picked up at an estate sale 30 years ago won’t have magically gained value just by sitting in a drawer.
Age won’t add value to something unless it’s from a very well-respected maker, or it’s a collector’s item; for most people, their old jewelry or scrap gold won’t turn out to be a long-lost treasure.
But here’s the good news: if you’re selling something that’s made from precious metal, especially if it’s gold, there will always be demand for it. That’s why even broken jewelry pieces can have a decent resale value – you can count on a baseline price for at least the weight of the raw material.
Even when an economy is weak, investment in gold remains strong because it’s considered to be a solid bet by investors all over the world. You might not get quite as much for silver, but it’s still considered a “safe haven” investment.
If you’re trying to figure out the rough value of whatever you want to sell, check for any stamps on the back, bottom, or inside: they should tell you either the karat value (how pure the metal is), or in some cases, the company that made the item.
With gold, the purest you can get is 24 karats – literally solid gold. With silver, what you want to look for are the numbers “.925”, meaning that it’s at least 92.5% silver, or “sterling”.
If a potential buyer can confirm that your items are valuable for the materials alone, then your chances of getting a good price go way up.
Where should I Sell My Items?
Well, that depends on how much effort you’re willing to put into the process. You could go the quick-and-easy route, which is faster but won’t get you as much money; or you could take a little more time, and get a much better gold price.
The easiest option is probably to stop by a pawnshop. They’re easy to find, and you shouldn’t have to wait to get an estimate. There are a couple of drawbacks to using a pawnshop, though.
The first one is that the business model depends on reselling their stock at the highest possible profit margin; they may not try that hard to determine the exact value of your items.
The second drawback is that they usually aren’t experts when it comes to appraising jewelry or precious metals. Even if they wanted to give you the best price possible, they simply might not be able to determine the value or purity of your items.
Another easy option would be to visit a local consignment shop. It doesn’t take much time or effort, but you’ll have the same issues as with pawnshops – the person who appraises your items probably won’t be qualified to know how valuable they actually are, and you won’t get a great price either.
If you want to take your time and get the best price possible, then online buyers are the way to go. Many companies that buy gold and silver operate online in order to minimize overhead costs, which makes it easy to get multiple quotes.
If you want an appraisal, all you have to do is mail your items to them; they take care of the shipping costs, and their appraisal is made for free by certified staff.
Many of these online buyers also offer guarantees to match any offer you get from a competitor. With this in mind, you can feel better about taking your time and getting estimates from multiple buyers.
Having your items appraised at one or two places might not give you an idea of what you could get, but if you get estimates from three or four places, you’ll probably know what your options are.
But what if the highest quote you got was from the second place you requested an appraisal from, and you’d rather save yourself the bother of shipping the items back to them? That’s where the guarantee comes in – all you have to do is show the most recent online buyer the quote from the other company, and they’ll match the offer.
Just make sure to confirm that the company you’re shipping to offers this guarantee, and you’re all set!
There are plenty of online buyers to choose from, and looking at their reviews is a great way to find out what you’re getting into. Any reputable online company that deals in precious metals will be up-front about what their customers think of them, and by checking the reviews, you can be sure that you’re making the right choice. Avoid people with too-good-to-be-true offers, and stick with the companies that have an established online presence.
This will be a big factor in the price you end up getting for your items; if you already know what to expect, you can put the appraisals you get into context. Once you’ve found the right buyer, all that’s left to do is sit back and figure out how you’re going to spend your extra cash.