Shakespeare once wrote, “All that glitters is not gold.” If he had thought about it, he could have written something similar about silver, platinum, rhodium, and other precious metals.
The fact is that some shiny things that look like they should be worth a lot of money really aren’t. They either don’t contain any precious metals at all or they contain such small quantities that there is no point sending them to a qualified precious metals refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners, because the cost of extracting those metals will be greater than the value of the metals themselves.
So, what items look a lot more valuable than they really are?
Impressive-Looking that Are Not Worth Recycling
- Fool’s gold (pyrite) – We’ve written about fool’s gold before on this blog. It looks like it’s worth a lot, but it isn’t.
- Frames and furniture that are covered in gold or silver leaf – Yes, gold leaf is genuine gold and silver leaf is genuine silver, but the quantity of those precious metals per square inch is so miniscule that they are rarely worth recycling.
- Gold and silver-toned paints – To look at them, you might think that a few quarts of these paints would be worth a lot of money. But not so. Gold paint is really made of metallic flakes that are suspended in a gold-toned lacquer, while silver-toned paints contain metallic flakes that are suspended in clear lacquer.
- Gold and silver-toned makeup and fingernail polish – Like paints, they do not contain real gold or silver. Or they contain such small quantities that they are not worth recycling.
- Gold and silver-toned commemorative coins and medals – They look like valuable gold, silver or even platinum coins. But very, very few are. If you find some older coins that are stamped with hallmarks that indicate that they are made of karat gold or sterling silver, however, call us at 800-426-2344 and we will test them for you. Also, remember that many commemorative medals are made of bronze, which is not a precious metal and not worth recycling for much profit.
- Gold-plated eyeglass frames – Due to advances in plating processes, eyeglass frames made in the last few decades are plated with such thin layers of gold that they are not worth recycling. The exception? Older gold-filled eyeglass frames, made before about 1970, that have thicker layers of gold plate.
- Big solar panels – Some older photovoltaic (electricity-generating) solar panels contain quantities of silver that are worth extracting. But over the last 15-odd years, new manufacturing processes have made it possible to apply ultra-thin layers of silver-based coatings onto plastic panels, so newer solar panels don’t contain enough silver to recycle. However, some of the electrical contact points and circuit boards that are attached to newer panels can contain enough silver or even gold to recycle, provided you can get your hands on a large quantity of them.
- Gold-toned and silver-plated trophies – Genuine gold-filled trophies are worth recycling, as are solid-silver trophies and some silver-plated trophies. But newer trophies are usually plated with very thin layers of precious metals and are not worth recycling.
- Gold and silver-toned light fixtures, switch plates and other household items – Even a century ago when wealthy people wanted to decorate their homes lavishly, very few of them invested in gold-plated or solid silver home accessories like these.
Why Did We Provide this List Today?
It’s because we want you to avoid buying quantities of items that are not worth enough to repay your investment. However, we also provide the list to help you recognize items that really are worth buying – the genuine sterling silver trophies, karat gold jewelry scrap, and other items that you can sometimes buy for low prices and recycle profitably.
When you acquire promising items that you think might be worth recycling, give us a call at 00-426-2344 and speak with our expert consultants. When you do, mention our blog and ask about discounted or free shipping on items that you send to us for testing.
Can Gold Leaf Be Recycled?
Replacing Your Old Solar Panels? Don’t Throw Away Valuable Silver Too
What Are Your Collectable Medals Worth?
Gold Refining: Why It Takes an Expert to Evaluate Your Gold-Plated Items