Getting the best scrap gold prices from a refinery, dealer or pawn shop means keeping up with the metal markets and figuring out the recycled item’s market value. Selling scrap gold to pawn shops, to gold dealers, or even directly to a gold refinery can be a source of quick cash.
But exactly what price the recycled gold jewelry or dental scrap commands depends on many factors. The purity of the gold – how much of the metal is gold as opposed to base metals – weighs in, as does the location of the buyer and seller, and more.
In essence, the best price for scrap gold is offered to those selling their 10k, 14k, 18k, and 24k gold when all the conditions are right. Although the price paid to a seller per ounce or gram is directly linked to the daily price of gold, it will never be 100% of that price unless the seller plans to sell this recycled precious metal on the open market after melting it down himself or herself.
Selling to a refiner or dealer means the buyer takes a percentage cut of the value for handling the refining process and resale. The cut that the buyer takes typically varies from 20 to 50%.
Gold purity is measured in karats. Sort the gold scrap into groups of 10k, 14k, 18k, and 24k units.
Do not include gold plated items. Weigh each unit in grams.
Check the current market price of gold for the day. This value is typically reported per troy ounce. To get the gold price per gram, divide the day’s current gold price by 31 grams.
For the 24 karat gold unit, multiply the weight of the gold times the price of gold per gram just calculated.
For other karat units, to factor in the purity of the gold alloy, multiply the weight of the gold in grams times the price in gold per gram, then times .4167 for 10 karat gold, .5833 for 14 karat gold, or .75 for 18 karat gold.
This is the price of gold scrap per gram on the open market, which will be the basis for the amount a dealer pays the buyer.
The state of the economy has an effect on scrap gold value. When supply is low and demand is high due to high gold prices, the value rises, and sellers can expect a larger percentage of its market value. As more people decide to sell this precious metal the supply rise and the percentage offered by dealer’s decrease.
Similarly, in an economy in which the price of gold is falling, fewer people will want to sell. Supply stagnates and, despite the low value of the metal, one could expect the percentage offered to people willing to sell to increase somewhat. Still, the optimal time to sell is when gold prices are up and dealers are hungry for customers.
Scrap gold value is more than just what the market price is. As with any commodity, the true value of recycled gold hinges on what the buyer is willing to pay and what the seller is willing to accept. If quick cash is needed, and the supply is high, the value of the precious metal declines, since sellers will take what is offered.
Convenience plays a big role. If the seller must visit pawn shop after pawn shop to compare offers, one would expect a different percentage than if the seller enjoys the convenience of shipping the gold by mail to a refinery or buyer. Different dealers offer different percentages; the price varies enough that it’s worth it to shop around.
When selling recycled gold, there’s always the possibility of being taken for a ride or falling victim to a scam.
Check with the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission to verify the reputability of the gold scrap dealer. Read all the fine print in the transaction documents to make sure there are no additional fees before agreeing to sell at the offered price.
Dental gold, gold jewelry, extra gold from a jeweler’s supply shop, even gold coins may be sold as gold scrap, to be melted down at refineries. Yet simply the fact that a refiner is willing to melt it down doesn’t mean that this will yield the best prices.
Heirloom jewelry and gold coins, especially those with established provenance, tend to have significantly more value when sold as collector’s items than simply for the spot gold value.
Recycle gold for cash ideally when a goodly quantity is obtained, when the market conditions are right, when the scrap gold value on the open market is about the same as the item’s resale value, and when the dealers are in good standing with the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission.
Jack R. Landry has a PHD in financial services and has written hundreds of articles relating to financial products and selling scrap gold. He has been a consumer advocate for 25 years.
Jack R. Landry