If you walk into an estate sale or antique shop, chances are good that you will find trophies, class rings, beer steins and tabletop cigarette lighters. They all found their way into many American homes in years gone by.
Those items are so common that it is easy to forget that they often contain significant quantities of silver and gold that are well worth recycling.
Gold and Silver Class Rings
When students graduate from high school or college, their families want to buy them something that has enduring value. That explains why Balfour, Jostens and other makers still sell rings that are made of 10K or 12K gold. In earlier decades, rings were often made of gold too, so it pays to be on the lookout for rings that you can find in junk shops or estate sales. Some recent gold class rings listed on eBay include a 10K gold 1945 class ring from the University of Detroit, a 12K gold 1928 ring from Redwood Falls High School, and many others. These rings each contain gold that is worth about $250-$300 at current trading prices. It is also not uncommon to find sterling silver class rings that contain silver that is worth $25, $50 or more. The lesson? Keep your eyes open, and call us at 800-426-2344 if you find something interesting.
Silver and Silver-Plated Trophies
Trophies that are made today usually contain only a thin plating of gold – in most cases, not enough gold to be extracted by a qualified gold refinery. In years past, many trophies were made of either solid sterling silver or silver-plated base metals. A recent review of trophies for sale on eBay found a solid sterling silver trophy cup that contained 125g of silver, worth about $60 in pure metal. There was also a Victorian silver trophy cup that contained 335g of pure silver, worth about $170 at current trading prices. Again, keep your eyes open and call us to learn more.
Silver Beer Steins
It can be a mistake to assume that all old metal beer steins are made of low-cost pewter, an alloy made up of 85%+ tin and copper, lead, or other metals. (Please remember not to drink from antique pewter beer steins, which could contain dangerous amounts of lead.) Silver steins are worth much more if you can find them. One example? On eBay, we found a sterling silver beer stein that contained about 40g of silver, worth about $20. That might not sound like much, but if have a set of silver steins, you could have a collection that could be profitably recycled by our expert silver refinery.
Sterling Silver Lighters and Ashtrays
Not too many years ago, many smokers owned large, heavy cigarette lighters that were made of either solid sterling silver or silver-plate. Silver and silver-plated ashtrays were popular too. Today, it is easy to find those items in estate sales and antique stores. One example? We found an antique tabletop lighter on eBay that contains about 3.5 ounces of silver that is worth over $50. That sounds like small potatoes, but if you can snap up a group of such items at giveaway prices, you can recycle them profitably.
Contact Specialty Metals Smelters & Refiners about Recycling Your Silver and Gold
We are here to answer all your questions about gold and silver items that you have found. Call us at 800-426-2344 for a complimentary consultation.
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