A century ago when sterling silver was a relatively cheap metal, it was used much more extensively than it is today to make all kinds of items that were used by people every day. Most every home had silver, or silver-plated flatware, salt and pepper shakers, candlesticks and candelabras, serving plates and dishes, barware and other items for daily use.Read More
Before you hop in your car and go looking for precious metals at home sales, in open fields, at antique stores and the other common places visited by people who hunt for gold and precious metals, why not ask this simple question? Are precious metals hiding right under your nose, right there in your home? The simple fact is, they could be. Here are some places that should be on your radar…Read More
Why would anybody bother to counterfeit sterling silver? After all, silver sells for lower prices than any other precious metal. Why would anybody take the trouble to counterfeit it? The simple answer is that counterfeiters have learned to take cheap, silver-plated tableware, stamp them so they look like they were made by prestigious manufacturers, then sell them to collectors for high prices. In other words, they are artificially inflating the collectible value, not the metallic value.Read More
Over the years, people have made all kinds of common-looking objects out of gold, platinum and silver. If you’re not alert, you could pass them by when you search for precious metal items in antique stores, estate sales, and even online auctionsRead More
Why look at online auction sites? Simply because they offer you the fastest way to examine hundreds and hundreds of different items that are for sale. You don’t have to travel to antique malls, estate sales, or live auctions. Just fire up your computer and start looking.Read More
Why would anyone invest in a set of sterling silver or silver-plated shot glasses, in a silver cocktail shaker, or in sterling swizzle sticks? It seems a little crazy. Silver tarnishes after all, and keeping it shining bright is a time-consuming chore. Why not just buy items made of glass or stainless steel and skip the tubs of silver polish?Read More
How much gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals were in those buildings before they burned? Are those valuable metals ever recovered, or are they still waiting to be found in the ashes and rubble?Read More
Gold, platinum, palladium, rhodium and the precious metals are trading for much higher prices per ounce than silver. But does that mean that you should write off silver as a profitable investment metal? Not at all. Here are some pretty compelling reasons why you could make more money in silver than you can with more glamorous precious metals.Read More
Be aware that if you find even one spoon or fork from one of these prestigious makers, your discovery could be worth a lot of money to silver dealers, individuals whose sets are missing the item that you found, or as sterling silver that we can recycle for you.Read More
Experienced silver-hunters tell us that they find much more silver at home sales than they find in antique malls, where everything has been picked over by antique dealers or estate sale specialists. If you’re lucky, you may stumble onto entire boxed sets of sterling silver tableware – you might even find an heirloom set of Old English silver.Read More
If you have been waiting to recycle or sell silver until trading prices rise, we invite you to consider a Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners Pool Account. Our Pool Account offers significant benefits, including the ability to sell your silver when prices rise in the future.Read More
In the last five years, I have been in two old buildings that contained large old safes that could not be opened. One building was a small inn in New Hampshire, the other was a former plumbing supply store in New Jersey. In both instances, the buildings had recently been purchased, so the safes and their contents belonged to the new owners. But those owners didn’t seem to be in a big hurry to bring in a locksmith to open the safes to determine what was inside.
If I owned those safes, I would have been in a hurry. What were the new owners waiting for? I have no idea, because “closed boxes” sometimes contain surprisingly valuable items. And “closed boxes” can come in many forms . . .
Clutter Lying Around the House
A cousin of mine who was cleaning up his basement storage shelves found a box that he and his wife had never opened. When he looked inside, he discovered a set of silver-plated candlesticks from a prestigious store. Where had they come from? Was it a wedding present that he and his wife had never bothered to open? He and his wife didn’t know, but they did know that they had something on their hands that was worth money.
Small Items Hiding in Drawers
When I open my dresser drawer and review what is rolling around in there, a lot of items appear worthless. But I also see a set of very old tuxedo-shirt studs that came from “somewhere” and look like gold. There is also an old set of cufflinks, which came from the same “somewhere.” I could use some cash for holiday spending. I should send them to a trustworthy, qualified gold refiner and recycler like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners for testing.
I know people who inherited “stuff” from parents or grandparents, and who have never quite gotten around to taking a close look at it or having it appraised. They have just put it all aside. It can be a good and very profitable idea to review what you have inherited, especially if you are lucky enough to have acquired items like coin collections or chests of jewelry. If you open them up, you might find one or two small items that are worth a lot of money.
Items Hidden in Older Homes
This is a long shot, I know. But I also know that when some renovations were being completed in the old house where I grew up, we found a collection of old books hidden behind a false wall by the basement stairs. They were not worth much of anything. But if you have an old house, it could be a good idea to look around. In the old days, it seems that people liked to hide valuable things in houses. That newer patch of cement in the basement floor could be hiding something. So could a floorboard in your bedroom. Remember, metal detectors can be used indoors as well as outdoors. If you have an old home, you could turn up something quite valuable.
Keys to Safety Deposit Boxes
If you have inherited the personal possessions of an older relative who has passed away, have you taken a close look at his or her keys? If any of them are stamped with the name of a bank, you could have the opportunity to discover things of value like gold jewelry that your relative wanted to protect in a safety deposit box.
A Note on Unclaimed Safety Deposit Boxes
If you search online for “unclaimed bank safety deposit box auctions” you will probably find them in your state. Don’t get your hopes up too high, however, that you will buy an unopened deposit box and discover piles of gold in it. The problem is that in virtually all cases, those boxes have been opened by the bank so that their contents could be turned over to the state agency that attempts to return unclaimed property to its owners. The items that go on sale at auction are those that could not be returned – and if they are worth a lot of money, they have already been “discovered” and will be selling for high prices.
Find Something? Call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners
Even small items that contain precious metals can be worth money – money that could come in very handy at the time of year when the holiday shopping season is about to begin. Why not contact Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 to learn more?
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Checklist of Places to Look for Precious Metals in Your Home
Do you tend to leave a certain number of things unfinished? I know that I do, because I sometimes procrastinate. One example? I have two old snow tires that are leaning against the back wall of my garage. They don’t fit on my current car. I really should figure out what to do with them – sell them on Craigslist or take them to my mechanic to see if he can give me a few dollars for them maybe – but I never quite get around to it. I also have some nice old picture frames that I could cut down and use on some pictures that I have in the house. But do I do it? Of course not.
Another Class of Things You and I Should Attend to
Those are just a few examples of some of the loose threads that need to be tied up in my house and my life. Are you anything like me? If you are, then you have left some things undone too. So you and I should turn our attention to “loose threads” and put some extra dollars in our wallets right now, just in time for holiday spending.
I’m referring to loose threads that involve precious metals that could potentially be refined and recycled. In my life, they include . . . .
- A box of old silver-plated tableware that my wife and I inherited from somewhere, about 10 years ago. We don’t like it, we don’t use it, but it’s still sitting around. If I got it together to send it to a top silver refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners, I would probably get some cash for it, just in time for the holidays. How much money would I get? I don’t know, but Specialty Metals could tell me in no time at all. And just in case you thought Specialty Metals only deals with businesses, you would be wrong. They work with individuals like you and me, too.
- A weird little gold charm that I inherited from my parents after they died. Maybe it belonged to my grandfather? It looks sort of like a dragon, only it has a little compartment in its stomach where it is possible to keep . . . a pill, maybe? Not too sure what. I don’t know whether this strange little item is 18K or 24K gold or just what, but a top gold refinery like Specialty Metals could tell me in no time flat. Who knows, it could be worth a very nice chunk of change. If you look in your dresser drawers, you might find something similar.
- A large old gold-toned salad fork and spoon that I ended up with somehow. They’re in a drawer in my dining room. I don’t even know where I got them. I doubt that they are made of gold. It’s much more likely that they are silver with some kind of thin gold plated finish on them. Are they worth $5 or $500? I have no way of knowing. But I do know that I can find out very fast by sending them to Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners to be tested. And again, it would be good to have a little extra cash for the holidays.
What Are You Procrastinating About?
It’s one thing to be stalling about old snow tires, and another thing to be procrastinating about recycling items that could potentially contain very valuable quantities of precious metals.
So with the holidays coming up soon, today could be the day for you and me to get moving. Let’s call 800-426-2344 to turn the stuff we’ve been stalling about into cold cash.
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We’ve written about tank plating on this blog before – the process of plating a metal onto metal items that have been placed into plating tanks. For that process to work, the items to be plated must be electrically charged – in other words, they must be made of metal.
So that leads to an interesting question:
How can metals be plated onto surfaces of non-metallic materials like plastics, ceramics, or composites?
You have doubtless seen non-metallic items that have been plated with metal – they are nearly everywhere. There are metal-plated disposable plastic drink cups, plastic radio knobs, toys with bright shiny metallic coatings, and many other items.
Let’s look at some of the ways that precious and other metals can be coated onto non-metallic surfaces.
Sputtering and Other Vacuum Processes
Sputtering is the process of choice today for depositing thin films of silver and other metals onto plastics, ceramics, and other non-metallic materials. Sputtering is done in the vacuum chamber of a special machine, in which atoms are ejected from a metallic disc called a “target” onto the surface of the material to be coated. Sputtering is now widely used to deposit thin films of silver onto photovoltaic solar panels. (The good news is that used sputtering targets that have outlived their useful lives on production lines contain trace amounts of the silver or other precious metals that they contained. They can be profitably recycled by a qualified precious metals refinery.) Interesting: A variety of other vacuum-coating processes have long been used to coat plastic surfaces with aluminum and other metals; in those processes, atoms of the coating metal are dispersed into a vacuum chamber, where they adhere to the surfaces to be plated.
The word “electroless” looks like a misspelling, but it is actually a word that was invented to describe a chemical process that deposits a metal onto plastic. In it, the plastic items to be coated are “etched” by being immersed in a special chemical solution that prepares their surfaces for plating. The items are then immersed in a chemical bath that contains the metal that will be used to plate them. Interesting: Electroless plating looks a lot like tank plating, only no electricity is used.
Yes, ceramics and plastics can be electroplated with gold or silver. It can be done after those materials undergo the process of electroless plating (see just above). Once they have a thin metallic coating, they can be tank plated, just as metal objects are. Interesting: The items that have been plated using this process are often quite durable. One example? Chrome-plated plastic door handles that are used on automobiles.
Two different spraying processes – arc and flame spraying – can be used to apply metallic plating to nonconductive surfaces. In most cases, a powdered form of the metal is heated and then sprayed, using special equipment. Interesting: Spraying technologies can be used to apply a metal coating to just one part of a ceramic or plastic item; just as a painting technician can mask off parts of an item so they receive no paint, parts of the item to be spray-plated can be masked and receive no coating.
Precious Metals Can Be Recovered from Plastic Items
In virtually all cases, metals that have been applied to inexpensive plastic items are not precious metals. (Think of the shiny chrome-like finish that is applied to the bumpers and other bright pieces that you will find in a kit for a model car.) If, however, you own a quantity of ceramics or higher-end materials that have a coating of what seems to be silver or gold – and you do not know exactly what they are – they could be a source of valuable precious metals that can be extracted by a qualified precious metals refinery. Why not call us at 800-426-2344 to learn more?
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It might surprise you to learn that until the middle of the 20th century, silver was not widely regarded as a precious metal. Prices were so low back then – in fact, historical data from The Silver Institute shows that silver was selling for only about 75¢ per troy ounce in 1950. Such giveaway prices explain why silver was used so extensively as plating and in pure form. The price of silver has fluctuated widely since then, but has been on a steady rise. By 1999, it was selling for nearly $10. And these days, it is trading for between $18-$20 on the London Fix.
To summarize: once silver was cheap, today it is not. That situation has created an opportunity, because older silver and silver-plated items that date from the days of cheap silver can be found just about anywhere – in estate sales, antique stores, auction houses, and elsewhere. If you can find those items and recycle the silver they contain by sending them to a silver refinery like Special Metals Smelters and Refiners, you can end up with a lot of money thanks to of today’s high silver prices.
Smaller Antique Items, Including
- The handles and tips of walking canes
- Letter openers
- Lighters and lighter cases
- Belt buckles
- Cigarette and cigar cases
- Eyeglass frames and cases
- Commemorative plates and medals
- Serving platters
- Salad-service spoons and forks
- Handles of carving knives
- Sterling silver silverware and silver-plated tableware (to help you understand their value, check out a post that appeared on this blog on March 24, ”Do You Own Silver-Plated or Pure Silver Items? This Online Encyclopedia Helps You Identify them Fast”)
- Jewelry of all kinds
- Hair pins and combs
- Pocket watches, fobs and chains
Home Decorations, Including
- Candlesticks and candelabras
- Picture frames
- Light fixtures and switch plates
- Mantle and wall clocks
How to Cash In on Today’s Higher Silver Prices
Gather up your silver items and call Specialty Metals Smelters and refiners at 800-426-2344. Your collection of small silver and silver-plated items could be worth much more than you think.
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Why Big Dollars Could Be Hiding in Small Quantities of Silver Tableware
Sometimes it is easy to see precious metals when you come across them. You see some bright, shiny gold dust in the sand at the bottom of a stream for example, or open a dresser drawer and find your late aunt’s silver dinnerware there. Or maybe you open a box in an old jewelry factory and it is full of shiny silver wires that were once used to manufacture rings and chains.
But many precious metals are not so visible to the naked eye. Some of them seem to be “hiding in plain sight,” or just plain hiding.
Here is a checklist of some of the hard-to-see and hard-to-remember locations where precious metals can be hiding . . .
Pipes that are used to move electrolytic fluids to or from plating tanks can have valuable deposits of precious metals inside, where you can’t see them. Depending on what those plating tanks have been used for – for gold plating, for example – those deposits can be well worth recycling.
In Worthless-Looking Used Industrial Mesh
When mesh made of palladium and other precious metals has outlived its life on the production line, it looks worthless – like discolored powder. But the fact is that even worthless-looking quantities of used mesh often contain quantities of precious metals that are valuable.
If you looked at chemicals that are used in photo processing, for example, you would never know that they contain quantities of silver that can be profitably recycled. You can’t see the silver, but it is certainly there.
In Industrial Waste and Sludge
How could something with an unglamorous name like “sludge” be worth much of anything? But it can, if it has accumulated as a result of gold or silver-plating operations. If you send in a small sample of sludge to Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners, we can quickly tell you whether it contains gold, silver, or another precious metal that can be recycled.
In Unprocessed Deposits of Mine Ore and Sand
If you have visited an old gold, silver, copper or coal mine that is no longer in use, chances are that you have seen quantities of unprocessed mine waste. If it’s lying there unprocessed it must be worthless, right? Well not necessarily. Take copper mining. Anode slimes that result from copper mining often contains small amounts of gold, silver, platinum or other metals that can be recycled, even if those metals were not the primary product that the mine was extracting from the earth.
We’re Experts at the Unexpected
After 32 years of turning scrap into gold, we’ve seen it all from our customers across a wide variety of industries and manufacturing sectors. Send us a sample and let us tell you’ve got profitable precious metals hiding where you least expect it. Click here to start the process.
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Gold is currently trading for over $1,300 per troy ounce, platinum for over $1,500, and rhodium for over $1,100.
Silver, in contrast, is trading at about $21.
In light of those statistics, it’s tempting to think that you’re likely to get a lot more money by recycling gold, platinum and rhodium than you will ever get from recycling silver. But that kind of thinking is a mistake, because silver is contained in a surprising number of items that you could have on hand.
All you need is a top silver refinery to extract a lot of value from items like these . . .
- Anode slimes, including those that are by-products of copper refining and smelting
- Electrolytic silver flake, found in silver recovery columns, residues left over from film processing, and other sources
- Photographic and x-ray films of all kinds
- Silver alloys that are found in silver inks, silver tungsten contacts and elsewhere
- Silver cadmium compounds that are found in silver contacts, silver brazing wire, and elsewhere
- Silver plated scrap items like tableware and cutlery
- Silver salts that are used in many photographic processes
- Used silver sputtering targets that have finished their useful lives on your production lines
- Electrical components, including industrial fuses. (See the video above.)
Wise Recyclers Don’t Overlook Silver
If you have quantities of those items, please remember that they could be worth much more money than you expect – even though they are made of silver, not gold, platinum, rhodium, or another more glamorous precious metal.
Please give us a call at 800-426-2344 to learn more.
Are gold, platinum, palladium, silver, and other valuable metals “hiding” in your place of business? Whether you are a factory, a scrap yard, a hospital – or any other kind of organization – here are 11 questions that can help you know.
- Do you heat materials up or cool them down?
- Do you have older electronic equipment of any kind that you are about to discard?
- Do you use equipment that remotely monitors electrical activity?
- Do you remove pollutants from the air?
- Does your company engage in welding, brazing, or soldering?
- Do you apply platings of any kind to surfaces?
- Do you currently process photos or x-rays, or have you done so in the past?
- Do you have quantities of older metal-plated items of any kind, such as jewelry or silver-plated cutlery?
- Do you have a fleet of vehicles that you no longer use?
- Do you have quantities of older military surplus electronics, vehicles, armaments, or other gear
- Do you have quantities of appliances that you no longer need or are about to replace, such as stoves, air conditioners, water heaters, or furnaces?
Did You Answer Yes to Any of the Questions?
If you did, you should call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 so we can help you recoup the value of the precious metals that you have on hand.
Question by question, here are some reasons why your Yes answers indicate that you could have precious metals . . .
- If you heat or cool materials during manufacturing processes, you have equipment that monitors that activity remotely. Those devices use thermocouples, which contain quantities of precious metals.
- Older electronic equipment contains printed circuit boards that contain quantities of gold and other precious metals.
- Equipment or devices that monitor electronic activity, such as IP catheters, can contain platinum, palladium, and other precious metals.
- If your operations remove pollutants from the air, especially after combustion, you could be using catalytic convers that contain precious metals.
- Used or unused quantities of welding, brazing, or soldering supplies contain silver and other precious metals.
- Any materials or equipment that are used in plating – from old sputtering targets to the sludge that accumulates at the bottom of plating tanks – contain quantities of gold, silver and other precious metals.
- New and used photographic films, papers, developing fluids and other supplies contain silver.
- Old jewelry and silver-plated items can contain valuable quantities of gold, silver, platinum, and other precious metals.
- Older vehicles contain gold in printed circuit boards, palladium in catalytic converters, and other precious metals that you can recycle.
- Military surplus items of many kinds – especially electronic devices – contain printed circuit boards and other components that can contain gold and other precious metals.
- Appliances of many kinds contain thermocouple wires that contain platinum and other precious metals.
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