In today’s article we’re going to discuss those “cash for silver” (or is it “silver for cash”) places that seem to be everywhere these days (there were three in my bedroom at one point last year!). Before we begin, I want to reiterate that if you don’t need the cash right now, then please WAIT. It is the summer of 2013 and we are still fiddling around with a bottom in the price of silver. When we do reach it (or if we have already), the price will soon be rising. If you can wait to sell silver for cash, then do. You won’t regret it.
You’ve seen the commercials, you’ve read the ads, you see the shops and the sign twirlers on the corner so you know that there is a market where you can sell your silver for cash. So who are these silver buying businesses? Who buys silver like this? Well, the bottom line is that these are business people who see that there are good profits to be made here. Some of them have been doing this for years. Many of these have been running jewelry stores and see this as another profit stream. Others have just popped up out of nowhere working out of storefronts or even out of hotel rooms for weekend appointments.
Scrap Silver is the name for silver that is headed for the smelter. They’re usually pieces that have little aesthetic or personal value and are no longer wanted for anything but their silver content. We’ve already talked about sterling silver that is supposed to be 92.5% silver plus some other metal(s). We’ve talked about “weighted sterling silver” that can be as little as 10% silver, and of course we know about .999 fine silver. You’re not going to be taking your fine silver to any cash for silver joint. You hear me!? Check out “To Sell Silver” for a refresher.
Cash for Gold and Silver
If you’re intent on selling scrap silver (or gold), here’s what’s going to happen. First off, before you get in there, you need to know exactly what you’ve got in your hands. Know the grade of your silver, because if you don’t, the buyer might tell you and might not be entirely honest with you. Know that you’re only going to be paid for the silver content. (Also, you’ll want to know the current price of silver per gram before you go.) Design, age, rarity, beauty, stones – none of it makes any difference to the buyer. That’s why you’re selling silver for cash. It’s the silver that matters.
Another thing to keep in mind is, unless you need the cash that minute, don’t take the first offer that you get. If you’ve got the time, shop around. That first price is a baseline. Go to other establishments (there are plenty around). Check with reputable jewelry stores who may be buying silver for cash. Go online and check Yelp or other websites for reviews. You will run into shops who will barter. They may try to throw a lowball offer at you and then raise the offer – making some excuse or another like market fluctuation – when you say you’ll shop around. Some shops will match an offer, so get offers in writing if you can. You might think that determining your silver value should be pretty simple, but oftentimes, the people running these types of shops have only been doing this a short while. Some of them have taken only a quick course and are far from expert. If you go to several shops, you’ll more than likely receive differing valuations. So don’t be surprised by that. Also, don’t be surprised that each of these cash for silver shops are going to want to pay you as little as they can for your silver. For this reason, be prepared for a very low number. These establishments make their money on the margin. They’re going to try to buy your silver for one half of what they can sell it for.
The number and popularity of these shops have been waning. Some say it’s because of the drop in the metals prices, but in actuality, these types of operations were declining in number even before then. I can tell you though, when the price of silver starts to take off again, you’ll see them coming out of the cracks ready to feed on whatever scrap silver you want to hand them. Just make sure that you’re prepared before you meet with them. Make sure you stick with reputable firms: Don’t deal with the fly-by-night, hotel room, silver/gold selling parties. Also, you probably want to avoid mail in businesses because you can’t get a second opinion once it’s in the mail.
Again, you might want to check out the Sterling Silver Price article that discusses scrap silver valuations. You also may find the sterling silver price calculator handy if you’re intent on selling your cash for silver.
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