In the days following World War II, army surplus yards opened in many parts of the country, selling all kinds of items that had been manufactured for the U.S. war effort. All sorts of items showed up – hats, coats, uniforms, tarpaulins, tents, and even some decommissioned “souvenir” hand grenades. There were even opportunities to buy electronic devices like field radios that contained small amounts of gold.
A bit of history tells us that following the days of surplus yards, the business of selling unneeded military supplies moved to surplus stores, which still exist today. The main difference is that today’s “Army Surplus” stores sell mostly clothing that has been manufactured in what might be called “military style,” but which was never used in the armed services. Plus, those stores sell camping equipment and tarps which were never actually made for use by the military either.
Then about 50 years ago, ads in Popular Mechanics and other magazines ran a lot of ads that offered surplus Jeeps for prices as low as $100. All across the country, young men fantasized about buying one of those and cruising America’s highways. But for some reason, very few people actually saw one of those vehicles on the road.
What About Armaments, Ammunition and Electronic Devices that Contain Platinum and Gold?
So, is it still possible to buy surplus items that contain gold, platinum and silver? It is, but buyers should be cautious. The U.S. Government is not about to give away items that contain precious metals and has active programs in place to reclaim gold and platinum especially from electronic devices that have outlived their useful life.
Another reason to proceed cautiously is that people usually don’t give away precious metals when they are selling items on eBay and other places online. Most sellers are smart, know when they have something valuable to sell, and find ways to claim and recycle the precious metals they contain.
So, is it time to give up the notion of reclaiming precious metals from surplus goods? Not entirely. There are still a few places where alert precious metal investors can get their hands on gold and platinum, provided they proceed with caution.
Armament and electronic manufacturers are one source of precious metal scrap. Military contractors who made radios, computers, and advanced armaments can still be a source of unneeded, surplus printed circuit boards and other electronic scrap that can have value. Some of these companies that have closed their doors are selling their equipment and unsold products; you can find auctions that are liquidating the holdings of companies that have closed by looking for “business liquidation sales” online.
You can find some individual pieces of military equipment for sale on eBay. Again, you need to be careful, because most online sellers know the real value of what they are selling and are not going to give away items of high value. But if you search on eBay for “military surplus electronics,” some items do come up that contain printed circuit boards.
You can also find airplane electronics for sale at airplane scrap yards. If you search online for “aircraft salvage,” you can find companies that are selling the components of used airplanes. Many of those planes are used commercial planes and private planes – not aircraft that were used by the military. So strictly speaking, they are not “army surplus.” Nonetheless, they sell electronics that contain gold and silver. If you can buy large quantities of scrapped electronic components, they could contain gold that you can buy at low prices and have Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners extract for you.
So, Is the Day of “Army Surplus” Done?
Almost, but not quite. Those golden, olden days when you could back your station wagon up at a surplus yard are long gone. But alert investors can still find surplus items that are worth recycling.
If you have military scrap, or any kind of electronics scrap, call us today at 800-426-2344 and speak with our precious metal consultants. We are here to turn your scrap into cash.