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How to Sell Gold, Silver, Platinum and Other Metals for Scrap

Updated on July 8, 2013

In search of money?


Want cash and have spare metals?

Many people need extra cash during financially challenging times. One method people often turn to in tough times is selling precious metals like platinum, gold, silver and sometimes palladium. In bad economic times, these metals also tend to increase in price.

Copper also fetches money which results in much crime, sadly. Thieves have stolen radiators, building materials and even materials of existing buildings to scrap copper.

Broken or kinked jewelry and dental gold make ideal candidates for scrap. Family heirlooms should be retained if at all possible. Antique or heirloom jewelry should not be scrapped as their value will not be received by those buying scrap metals. Reusable jewelry can also potentially get more money but will take more time to sell.

Determine Spot Price of the Metal

In every paper or online, the spot price of a metal can be determined. In my local paper, the Denver Post, this information is located in either the "Financial" section or the "Money" section. In any case, it shall be listed close to stock trading information.

Spot metal prices fluctuate during the day as stock prices do. Not that much, normally, but when an incident like 9/11 happens, expect metal prices to shoot up! Also extended recessions as we periodically experience have been experiencing boosts metal prices.

If you are looking to sell to a local precious metal buyer, I suggest you do some homework:

  • Reputation of the buyer. Many use contorted scales to weigh the metal.
  • Ask what is the rate paid not by ounce, but by gram. Regular ounces are exactly 28 grams per ounce. Jewelers use "Troy ounces" which are about 31.1 grams per ounce. Your precious metal will be substantially less than a regular ounce upon selling for weight.
  • If you have an accurate gram scale, you are in luck. Divide the stamped Karat value by 24, the maximum Karat value. Multiply this by the Karat, such as 14 for 14K. Multiply this number by the weight in grams. Call your metal scrapper with the information.
  • When you sell to a metal scrapper, you will only be getting a percentage of this value. This is because recovering the metal from used metal must be mixed with jeweler's "pure" metal. You will never get 100%. Ask your potential buyer how much percentage he/she pays according to the spot price.

Things that are Ideal to Sell

The things that are ideal to sell include dental gold, broken jewelry (you may want to remove any precious gems prior to selling) and damaged contruction material containing silver.

You may have access to scrap copper. At one time, there was substantial amounts of copper in car radiators and is typically used in electrical wiring, etc.

You can also save aluminum cans and take them to a metals salvage yard. We here in Denver have several. If you go on Saturday, there is a wait. Call first for their hours or perhaps they have a website containing this infomration.

Try Not to Sell Heirlooms

Much heirloom jewelry contains very little of a metal. Such pieces should be sold as heirlooms. There is for items over 20 years or your local (hopefully trust-able) jewelry dealer.

Remember that these items were saved for you. If there is any other way for you to hang on to your fmaily's jewelry, you should do it.

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    • Laura in Denver profile image

      Laura Deibel 6 years ago from Aurora

      I wish I could sell good farming land in Albuquerque!

    • Bella DonnaDonna profile image

      Bella DonnaDonna 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I wish it were possible to sell swamp water.