Be on the Alert for Strange Objects Made from Precious Metals

If you saw a shiny gold-toned Lego brick lying on the street, you would probably assume that it was a regular old plastic Lego piece with a thin coating of gold-toned film, right? You might not even stop to pick it up. But if you did that, you could be passing up a Lego brick made of 14k solid gold. Yes, they are really being manufactured. One recently sold for almost $15,000 on And it should have commanded a jumbo price like that. After all, it weighed .8246 troy oz., so it all adds up, right?

The message is that 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 auctions.

An actual silver-plated artificial nose. Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images via Wikimedia Commons.

An actual silver-plated artificial nose. Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images via Wikimedia Commons.

Unusual Items Made of Precious Metals

  • Gold and silver toothpicks, some with diamonds, are pretty widely available. There is even a website,, that specializes in selling them. They’re little and easy to overlook. Don’t.
  • Silver artificial eyes.  The Website of the College of Optometrists has pictures and a history of artificial eyes. It seems that in earlier centuries, some people who had lost eyes replaced them not with realistic-looking prosthetic eyes made of glass, but with eyes made of silver. That’s creepy, right? I mean, there is no way that a silver eye looks anything like a real eye. But who knows? You just might find one.
  • Silver artificial noses. Back in the days before reconstructive surgery, there was apparently a need for artificial noses. Who used them? People who had lost their noses, who else? Many prosthetic noses were made of wood or leather (or worse). They were generally held in place by strings. But some of them were made of silver or were silver-plated. Hey, wealthy people can lose their noses too, right?
  • Gold, silver and platinum iPhone cases. If you want to put a gold case on your iPhone – even one encrusted with jewels – you can find lots of them online in a matter of minutes. They are not rare at all. If you see one lying around, you might assume that it is plastic with plastic jewels. It might not be, so take a closer look.
  • Platinum, silver and gold-filled cigarette and cigar cases. They were popular until about 25 years ago. You’ll find more of them than you expect on eBay and in antique stores.
  • Silver and gold-plated makeup compacts. These were popular too. In fact, they are still popular today, and not hard to find.
  • Gold-wrapped cigars. There are more gold-wrapped cigars out there than you might expect. And a lot of them are wrapped with genuine gold leaf, which apparently disappears as the cigar is smoked. One example? sells Daniel Marshall Gold Torpedos for $250. Or if you want a volume discount, you can buy a humidor that contains five of them for $1,000. But if your gold investment goes up in smoke, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

The bottom line...

Don’t let your eyes fool you when you’re hunting for precious metal items to recycle. Your eyes may fool you. But when you find any unusual items that you think might be made of gold, silver or platinum, call us at 800-426-2344 and speak with one of our precious metal recycling experts. That weird little item could be worth a lot more than you expect.

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What We Found while Hunting for Precious Metals on eBay 
Looking for Gold? Leave No Stone (or Nugget) Unturned 
The Puzzling, Profitable Process of Refining Silver-Plated Scrap Items 
Got a Gold-Plated Mercedes-Benz? We Can Recycle That!