Gold prices fluctuate with the economy, and a poor economy usually strengthens gold values. If you have old gold scraps or broken pieces, selling them in a strong market gives you cash for items with no aesthetic value. Selling antiques and family heirlooms requires more thought. These items are often more valuable because of the artistic merit or the provenance, and sale at gold value may not give you the best price. In a strong gold market and a weak economy, you can expect many resellers who want to purchase your gold to make a profit.
An important part of selling is in understanding the items and the value before you sell. Check items for damage and sort by karat. Hold out the quality pieces and jewelry with precious stones. Gold jewelry is 10k, 14k and 18k, usually marked on the inside of a ring or the backside of a pendant. Chains are marked on the findings or the catch area. Pins and brooches may be marked on the back of the piece or on the pin stick. Pure gold is 24k and too soft for use in jewelry, so 18k is 75 percent gold and 25 percent alloy. The 14k gold pieces are 58.3 percent gold and 10k is 41.2 percent gold. Set aside items you think might be gold that are unmarked. Weigh groups by karat with a gram scale.
Expect Bargain Hunters
Many gold buyers offer low prices to sellers, hoping the seller will not check prices or inquire elsewhere. Pawn shops and jewelry stores buy gold. Local shops are a good place to learn what you have. Selling locally avoids sending items through the mail and dealing with companies that cannot be located after the sale. You can make the best deal by visiting several shops and asking for advice and information. Shops have testing equipment and gram scales, electronic diamond testers and gemstone testers. Write out offers to take home and compare with the actual retail value.
Check a website like Kitco.com for the price of gold, as the price changes daily. You can calculate the value of your gold by using 31 grams in an ounce as an estimate. Gold selling at $1,240 an ounce is about $40 a gram (divide $1,240 by 31). A packet of 14k gold is 58.3 percent gold or nearly 60 percent. If the packet weighs 10 grams, then you have about 6 grams of gold or $240 at spot value or scrap value at the time you made the calculations. You can calculate 10k gold based on 40 percent for an estimate. That same 6 grams in 10k gold on that day is approximately $160 in gold. Ten grams of 18k gold is about 7.5 grams or $300 at spot value.
Expect 50 to 70 Percent of Value
Seventy percent of actual value is a good price for gold that allows the shop owner to make a profit in a strong market. CNN Money suggests that 50 to 60 percent gives the merchant a reasonable profit margin. If you have estate jewelry or good pieces in good condition, consider an auction house in a metropolitan area nearby. The owner signs an agreement with the auction company and receives a percentage of the sale price -- usually about 80 percent. You can expect spot price as the minimum selling price for fine gold estate jewelry and a higher price if you can prove the history or provenance, if it is by a known maker or if it contains precious stones.
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