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Find Gold, Silver, Copper, Platinum, and Palladium at Goodwill Outlet

Updated on September 5, 2014

This may seem like a gimmick. Who in their right mind would just give away gold and other precious metals? Believe it or not, it's hiding in those bins. Where? Mostly in the electronics bins. If you're like I am when I go shopping, you look in all of the bins. This is a good idea if you want to find the odd electronic item in other bins that were put there by mistake or oversight.

You're looking in the electronics bins. Still don't see the good stuff? It's inside the electronics! There are loose power and RCA cables galore filled with copper! Those small blood glucose meters that don't turn on? The PC board is plated with a ton of gold. Same with old cell phones, cell phone batteries, and printer ink cartridges, if you know how to harvest the gold. You can also often find old sound boards, video boards, memory, etc, all with gold fingers and/or gold connectors. Speaking of old boards, even the old ones may have something.

Weight the cost of the items per pound against the visible precious metal content. It's not always worth buying. In fact, some items, if they work, may be worth more whole than scrapped. If you carry a smartphone around, maybe do a quick search and see how much you might be able to get for the item. Some items will skirt the line and it is prudent to research it before throwing it in your cart.

A little bit of research beyond this article may show you other things you can find metals in. Copper and gold are the easy ones to spot. However, some boards contain what are called monolithic capacitors. These babies have palladium in them. Hard drive platters may be plated with platinum. High-end electronic switches may have silver-plated contacts. Over time with experience (and a good metal testing kit) you will know exactly what to buy when you see it.

So what do you do with all of these boards, ink cartridges, etc? You could sell them to specialized companies that send them off to harvest the metals. This is one of the easier routes, but you will get less money this way. In this event, you will have to way the value of your time against the money you may gain by harvesting the metals.

You could sell part or all of the items on eBay or Amazon. For example, the whole item will get you a decent price. But you have to wait until someone is looking for it. If you're okay with this wait time, go for it. An eBay listing will relist up to three times for free. That gives you about four months for someone to grab it up. You can also break down the item into smaller parts and sell those. Some people want to just buy the gold finders off of memory boards to chemically harvest the gold from them. You can also find a market for the monolithic capacitors, hard drive plates, and even other parts from the item like model-specific components for replacement.

What about the cables? Or other copper-containing pieces? Well, you can either strip the cables or see if your local scrap yard will pay you a decent price per pound for the unstripped cables. In most events, you will make instant profit just buying and selling the cables without stripping them. However, some people prefer to keep the copper and save for a day when prices go up (insider tip, copper is projected to rise in years to come due to dwindling mine supply). Pull the copper out of transformers and motors. Sometimes a snipper, properly sized, can make the job easier. Always wear gloves!

Now how do we get the gold and silver? Gold plated onto boards can be removed chemically. There are a slew of YouTube videos that will show you how to do this. You can get the chemicals from places like the dollar store, pool store, hardware store, etc. If plated on to metal, you will need to design a deplating apparatus that will use electricity. You will need either an automotive battery charger or a fully charged car battery. Again, YouTube videos can show you how to deplate.

Now what do we do with the plastic, metal and parts left over? You may be able to sell some of the parts on eBay as replacement pieces. Other metals go to the scrap yard, and you can likely recycle the plastic.


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