How Much Gold Can Be Recycled from Rare Books and Manuscripts?

Last year, we visited the remarkable rare book collection at Saint Bonaventure University in Olean, New York. During that visit, we were privileged to get a close look at some extremely rare old books and manuscripts.

More than just books, these old documents are works of art. It seems that during medieval times, monks in monasteries spent lots of time painstakingly copying Bible texts onto thick sheets of vellum and even sheepskin. Their work was truly a labor of love and deep devotion.

And we noticed another thing. The craftsmen (and maybe craftswomen?) who labored over these manuscripts also decorated them with gold. That’s right . . . real and actual gold.

What Is the Gold Worth in Old Manuscripts?

Even though old documents like the ones we examined do contain real gold, it is generally not a good idea to try to recycle it, for a few reasons . . .

  • First, the quantity of gold that rare books and manuscripts contain is extremely small. The scribes who created them used only gold leaf, which is gold that has been beaten into the thinnest sheets possible. (Remember that one of the most notable qualities of gold is that it is malleable; just one little nugget can be beaten into a sheet of gold leaf that can cover the floor of a decent-sized room.) So even though a viewer is wowed by the sight of real gold when looking at a rare old gilded manuscript, only a tiny quantity of gold is there.

  • Second, the value of old manuscripts is found in their historical and collectible worth, not in the gold that they contain. So if you find a rare old book, call a rare book seller or a museum to find out what it is worth instead of contacting a precious metals refinery like Specialty Metals.

However, We Can Extract Valuable Gold from Most Every Other Place You Find It

Printed circuit boards . . . old gold and gold-plated jewelry . . . gold-decorated glasses and plates . . . gold-plated silver cane handles . . . we can extract the gold they contain. First, we can test them and issue you a report about what they contain and how much money you can get by recycling them.

So call us at 800-426-2344 to learn more. If you have a rare book, donate it to a museum or cherish its beauty. If you have most anything else that contains gold, be sure to give us a call.

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