Who really pays the most for unwanted gold?

I have some old gold jewelry. Some is marked 18k, some 10k and some is not marked at all.

I see lots of TV ads claiming to pay the most for gold, but I am skeptical about mailing away my valuables, especially since I don’t know its value.

I don’t have a jewelry scale to weigh it accurately and I have no idea how to determine the gold content of the unmarked pieces.

I know of a few local gold exchanges I might try. My current plan is to drive all over town to get estimates from several places. If there’s a way to call these places instead, I’d rather do that. But I have no idea what questions to ask.

I’m not in a hurry, so what’s the smartest way to approach this if my goal is to get the most money for my gold?

Shop around. There are lots of places that make absurdly low offers.

Here’s a review of a net based gold buying company.

You could weigh it on a postal scale–just remember that you need the weight in troy, which means subtract about 10% from what the scale shows. An ounce is 20 pennyweights. Gold buyers quote prices in pennyweight.

We’re the largest buyer in the Akron/Canton region of Northern Ohio and we’re paying the public $35./pennyweight for 18K, $26./pennyweight for 14K, $16.50/pennyweight for 10K. Just call and ask how much they’re paying for the above. Most good ones should be paying a little less than our figures.

To get an avoirdupois ounce (what a postal scale will provide) in pennyweights, divide by 0.0548. (Yes, I said that accurately; that’s the multiplier factor for oz/avp to dwt.)

My impression is that most of these companies are “honest crooks” – they’ll do what they claim in their ads, but what you miss is that they’re payng bouillon price (lower) and making their money by reselling at jeweler’s price, both per weight. Sam, is that approximately accurate?

I don’t know if it’s like this in the US, but here (in Canada) you can also take gold to some jewellers, who pay more then the mail in type businesses.

Gold soup?

I’ve always found those commercials to be highly suspicious. “Send us your gold and we’ll send you…something!” It doesn’t seem to be a customer-friendly sort of arrangement, on the face of it.

I don’t know who pays the most. I have had satisfactory dealings with Garfield Refining and would not hesitate to recommend them.

How much for platinum? I find myself ready to sell the old wedding ring to help finance my daughter’s wedding, and it’s platinum. There is a coin dealer at my church who I will be taking them to for an estimate, but I’d like to know in advance what the ballpark is. And I don’t want to sell the diamonds…how do I get those taken out?

One of the TV stations around here took the same pieces of gold around to several different dealers and found that the top prices were all paid by local pawn shops.

I have taken some pieces to several places downtown. I am totally up front with them, and I tell them that I am going to several places, and that I’ll sell them to whoever offers me the most. They are always very courteous, and never charge a fee for the appraisal. The difference between the high and low offers can be as much as 30% or so, so do NOT sell until you’ve gotten several offers. I’d NEVER mail them away without getting a specific offer first, that’s just asking for trouble.

Several times a shop will revise their offer to come close - or even beat - the highest offer I’ve gotten so far. I never lie about what that high offer was. If they can’t match it, but come close, and the high offer was from someone far away, I’ll settle for it.

Remember - as long as you own it, it is yours. You have the upper hand. All you need is a few hours worth of patience.


You guys really need to switch to metric. :slight_smile:

Now, I’ve never owned any gold, but I thought that it was measured in grams, and karats were an indication of purity?

Thanks samclem, this is really good info. Also, thanks to the poster who suggested pawn shops.

For some of the older pieces that are unmarked, how do I go about appraising it? Would a jeweler just dunk it in water and weigh the displacement, then calculate based on volume?

How does the jeweler know the actual gold content? (assuming they don’t trust what I say or what the stamp marking says)

The jeweler takes the item, rubs it on a piece of (ceramic?) something, which makes a gold mark on the thing (and I suppose it also makes a negligible scratch on the jewelry). Then he places a drop of some liquid on the mark, and watches it. I presume that some sort of chemical reaction is taking place, which reveals to the jeweler that it is genuine gold.

It ought to also reveal the purity of the gold (18k? 14k? 10k?), but I’ve never seen him do it with varying liquids. Perhaps the color itself indicates the purity.

I have a couple of old gold tooth crowns. Are they worth trying to sell? How pure is the gold likely to be?

The one I sent in netted me nine bucks. That was sending in the whole tooth.

I sent three crowned teeth into Garfield last year and got a check for about $100.

Okay, I see that you are in Austin, TX, so the following might not apply. Still, my common sense tells me that a very similar scenario applies to the US, too.

They have a lot of these ads on TV in Germany, too, so one of our public TV shows about money* tested them. They first went to a certified appraiser, who made three tests bags with a value of 5 000 Euros. They sent the bags to different agencies from TV ads and also went to several Jewellers.
The send-in-by-post agencies offered one quarter to one half of the worth. The brick-store jewellers offered one half of the worth. None came close to the real worth.

So the advice was: shop around, but most importantly, if a jeweller appraises your stuff for free, he will cheat you on the price he pays you. Even if you have to pay the licensed appraiser a fee beforehand, you get an honest expert opinion by somebody who has no interest in lying to you.

Also, very important with jewelery, esp. old one: the worth can be far more than the net weight, because it’s art, and might be rare. That, like other art, depends on finding a seller wanting that piece, but it means, esp. if you are not in a hurry, to never melt down or sell for only the gold weight, but find out the real (relative) worth and try to get close to that.

You might also, besides jewellers, look at some specialist magazines or conventions of people who are interested in old jewelry, once you know the worth, and maybe sell directly there.

*Public TV in Germany is VERY DIFFERENT from US TV in terms of repubatibility, so please, no comments along “Don’t trust TV, it’s all on the level of Fox or CNN”, because it’s not. Think more BBC.

Well, but I expect that was money he stole from Jon . . . . :smiley:

But thanks, that sounds worth a try. They are certainly no more use to me

Crowns are bought as 16K. $9 sounds astounding low. You got had.

Garfield refining would probably pay you about what we pay our customers.

In the US, the guys who advertise on tv and you send in your gold—the absolute worst. They pay about 20% of melt. Pawn shops vary quite a bit. I’ve seen some that pay 40%, some that pay up to 75%.

We currently buy platinum rings at $50/pennyweight.

I think you might be able to pay for some flowers for the wedding if you’re lucky. :slight_smile:

If your diamonds are prong-set and up, then you can remove them with fingernail clippers. If they’re channel set or in deep, then you’ll probably have to pay to have them cut out. Maybe $20.