How to get the most when selling gold and silver


The silver and gold market often rises as the economy weakens. Image: sirquitous/Flickr/CC BY

As the economy continues to struggle, more and more people are considering gold and silver as alternative investments. But just because it is a seller’s  market does not mean that a seller should go in unarmed. Knowing the market will help greatly in getting the best return on precious metals.

Gold rises when the economy weakens

On Tuesday the price of gold hit an all-time high of $1,600.90 per ounce. Summer is traditionally a slow time for the gold and silver market, but news of debt problems in Europe and the U.S. has given the industry a boost this year. Silver, though not selling for nearly as high as gold, operates in much the same manner. As the mainstream economy weakens, it tends to go up in value, making it an excellent source of economic insurance.  Tuesday silver sold for $40.21 an ounce.

Economic insurance

“Just like you would have house or car insurance, you hope you never use it, but it’s there in case,” said Oklahoma gold buyer Mike Anderson. “Gold can play that role for your portfolio. … If you feel like the government is going to print too much money, then you should own gold. The more dollars they print, the lower the value goes, and so as dollars go down, gold goes up.”

When selling gold, sell smart

The website recommends putting your gold and silver into separate piles. Separate the coins from the jewelry, flatware and other forms of bouillon. Next, determine the purity of the gold and silver. The purity of gold can be determined by knowing its karat value: 24 karat gold is pure, 12 karat gold is 50 percent pure, etc. Record the weight of each pile in ounces. Look up the current value of gold. Multiply that price for the number of ounces to be sold. Shop your gold around to several dealers, and if they are not meeting the price you want, try selling directly to collectors on auction websites. Any scrap that doesn’t interest collectors can be sold to a precious metal refinery for the value of its weight.

It is safest to first sell any jewelry that is broken or from a mismatched set. Then you can be more sure of a price based on the value of the metal rather than the jewelry. Antique pieces and those by famous designers should not be sold for weight. They often hold much more value as is.

Coins should not be sold by weight

Generally, coins are worth far more in their original form than when sold for weight value. Coin dealer Brian Reppen advises doing your research. A search can begin at the website of the American Precious Metals Exchange (, where sellers can search for specific coins they have to see current buy and sell values. Once a reasonable value of the coin has been determined, take it around to local coin dealers and see what they offer. But first make sure they are certified by the Professional Coin Grading Service by checking at


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