Are Gold Commemorative Coins from the U.S. Mint a Better Investment than Gold Scrap?

Are Gold Commemorative Coins from the U.S. Mint a Better Investment than Gold Scrap?

We have to say, the U.S. Mint is selling an especially attractive lineup of gold commemorative coins these days. If you visit the U.S. Mint’s website, here’s a selection of what you can buy . . .

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Four Questions to Ask Before You Have Your Coins Made into Rings

Four Questions to Ask Before You Have Your Coins Made into Rings

Do you have a quarter, a silver dollar or another coin that you would like to have made into a ring?

If so, you can quickly find a company that will refashion your coin into a ring, just by searching online. It seems that lots of people are starting businesses that do it.

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How Much Recyclable Silver Can You Find in Coin Rolls from the Bank?

How Much Recyclable Silver Can You Find in Coin Rolls from the Bank?

Some people who go looking for recyclable silver are applying this simple strategy...They go to a bank, buy rolls of coins and then sort through them, looking for coins from certain years that contain silver. If they can find just one or two old silver coins, they can recycle them and make money. And the more coin rolls they buy, the more money they make. At least, that’s the theory....

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Four Videos that Can Help You Discover New Sources of Recyclable Silver

Four Videos that Can Help You Discover New Sources of Recyclable Silver

We really like hobbyists who spend their time looking for bits and pieces of silver to recycle. Luckily for us, some of those smart silver-hunters like to post videos on YouTube that explain all the places they hunt for silver. Today, we’d like to share four of their more eye-opening videos with you

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5,200 Anglo-Saxon Coins Found with a Metal Detector Go on Display in London

5,200 Anglo-Saxon Coins Found with a Metal Detector Go on Display in London

If you happen to be in London this week, I’d urge you to visit the British Museum. A treasure of 5,200 coins found by a man named Paul Coleman has just gone on display there. Mr. Coleman isn’t a coin collector exactly. He’s a hobbyist who found the coins last year with his metal detector in Lenborough, a small town north of London. The coins were buried in a lead container, probably in the 11th century. They are made of silver and show images of two kings named Ethelred II and Canute. Read more:

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How Valuable is Platinum-Plated Silver Jewelry?

Platinum is currently selling for more than $1,200 per troy ounce on the London Fix, while silver is going for a little less than $20. So what sense does it make to manufacture jewelry that is made of platinum-plated silver? And why is so much platinum-plated-silver jewelry being sold today?

Shown: Jewelry and jewelry scrap containing platinum, silver and other platinum group metals like rhodium that our customers have sent in for recycling and refining.

Shown: Jewelry and jewelry scrap containing platinum, silver and other platinum group metals like rhodium that our customers have sent in for recycling and refining.

Perhaps most importantly, how much platinum can be reclaimed from a quantity of jewelry items that are made of platinum-plated silver? Here are some facts you need to know . . .

Platinum Plating Prevents Silver from Tarnishing or Wearing

Silver is a metal that tarnishes (oxidizes) quickly. It is also soft and easily scratched. Platinum is just the opposite – it is extremely resistant to oxidation and so hard that it resists wear. So plating a layer of platinum onto silver produces an item of jewelry that is both tarnish-resistant and durable. Platinum also has a bright white sheen that makes silver even more beautiful.

Extremely Thin Layers of Platinum Are Used

It only takes a very thin layer of platinum to keep silver untarnished and bright, so extremely small quantities of platinum are used as plating. If you have a large quantity of platinum-plated silver items that you would like to recycle with a qualified silver and platinum refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners, how much platinum can you expect to recover? It depends on how the jewelry was manufactured; platinum could represent as little as 1% or less of the metal that you own, or as much as 5%. How can you tell? Call us at 800-426-2344 and we can explain how we test platinum-plated items to determine their value.

Rhodium Can Be Plated onto Silver Too

Rhodium is nearly as valuable as platinum. Like platinum, it is durable and tarnish-resistant. So remember that the bright white plated jewelry that you own could be plated with rhodium, not platinum. Testing in our labs can determine what you have.

Jewelers Are Now Offering to Plate Gold, Silver and Other Items with Platinum

This is pretty interesting. If you take your gold wedding rings or other items to some jewelers today, they can send them out to be coated in thin layers of platinum. The result is that certain pieces of jewelry can be given a new, bright look, and at surprisingly little cost – less than $100 in many cases. I mention this today because it is possible that what you think is an item of platinum-plated silver jewelry could in fact be platinum-plated gold or something else. Only testing in a qualified lab can determine if that is the case.

And Don’t Forget Platinum-Plated Silver Coins Too . . .

It is not uncommon to come across quantities of platinum-plated commemorative coins that are produced by private “mints.” You might even find platinum-plated quarters and other circulated coins that have been marketed as collectables. In most cases, these items contain extremely small quantities of recyclable platinum. But if you want an expert opinion about what you might have, call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344.

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What Are Your Collectable Medals Worth?

When a medal sold for $1.47 million last year, lots of people started to dust off their medals and look at them with renewed interest. Granted, that medal was something unbelievably special. It was one of the four gold medals won by Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. (Kind of takes your breath away, doesn’t it?)

If you own a commemorative medal – or maybe a quantity of them - how much value do you have in hand? It depends, because the value of medals depends on several factors.

Commemorative medals like those in this picture may have more value as collector's items... but older medals frequently contain more precious metals, too.

Commemorative medals like those in this picture may have more value as collector's items... but older medals frequently contain more precious metals, too.

The Collectable Worth

The value of a commemorative medal is affected by a number of factors that include age, country of origin, rarity, and the history of the person or event honored by the medal. (This could be harder to determine, especially if you obtained the medals at an estate sale, garage sale or antique dealer.) How can you research those variables? Here are resources to use . . .

  • Contact an independent appraiser or expert. These organizations can help you connect with one: The American Numismatic Society; the American Numismatic Association; the Token and Medal Society. Note that it is wisest not to get your medals appraised by a dealer who then buys them; if dishonest, he or she could be lowballing you and stealing dollars right out of your pocket.
  • Research the sales of similar or identical medals at auctions. You can start out by checking previous or current sales of similar medals on eBay. Another option is to visit the websites of auction houses that regularly hold auctions of medals and medallic art. They include: Bonhams; Christies; and Spink.

The Value of the Metals that Your Medals Contain

If your medal(s) do not have high collectable value, your next step is to determine the metals that they are made of.

How can you tell? Sometimes it is easy. Jesse Owens’s gold medal was made of real gold, of course. And silver and bronze medals are often (but not always) made of those metals too. Sometimes, commemorative medals will come with documentation that spells out exactly which metals they contain, especially if they are military medals.

Short of such clear signals, it can be difficult to know the makeup of the medals that you own. There are variables, including country of origin and age. In general, newer commemoratives – especially those manufactured in large quantities over the last few years – are apt to contain lower quantities of precious metals than are older medals that were issued in small editions.

If you are trying to determine the value of the metals in a batch of commemorative medals, your wisest strategy is to contact a qualified precious metals recycler or refiner, like Specialty Metals Smelters & Refiners.

To Summarize Your Steps . . .

To sum up the advice in today’s post, your first step is to establish the collectible value of your medals. Then, if they do not have high value to collectors, you should determine the value of the precious metals that they contain. For that, you need the services of a top precious metals refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters & Refiners. Call us at 800-426-2344 to learn more.

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Recent Rare Coin Discoveries Teach a Valuable Lesson to Us All

If you’ve ever cleaned out an old family home, you’ve probably had the experience of opening a dresser drawer and finding a large quantity of coins rolling around there – the pocket change that some relative of yours tossed there 20, 30, or even 40 years ago.

On first glance, those coins usually appear to be nothing more than regular pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. It’s tempting to give them a very quick once-over before spending them or depositing them in a bank.

Photo of silver coins that Specialty Metals can recycle and refine for your company.

But the fact is, appearances can be deceiving. Even if you come across a batch of coins that don’t look unusual, it is still worth taking them to a reputable coin dealer and having them examined. Even a coin that looks unremarkable could have collectable value. And there is also the chance that you have discovered one gold or silver coin that is really valuable – either for its rarity or its gold or silver content – that you could easily overlook.

Coins End Up in Unusual Places

Two very unusual stories about coins have made the news recently. Both illustrate that it can be a costly mistake to make a snap judgment about what you are looking at after you discover a collection of coins.

As these stories prove, batches of coins can contain some very surprising secrets.

  • Discovery oneAn ancient Roman coin was discovered in northern Russia. When a team of archaeologists was recently excavating and examining the contents of an eleventh-century mound in Novgorod, Russia, they found a fourth-century Roman coin buried there. They guess that a Russian pilgrim to the holy land had acquired the coin and brought it back with him – but there is no way to know exactly how that old coin traveled so far. Coins do that – they seem to have a magical life of their own.
  • Discovery twoTwenty-six Iron Age and Roman coins were found in a cave in Derbyshire, England. It is not too unusual to discover a batch of old coins. But one recent find in England is very odd because it co-mingled coins that come from very different civilizations. Some of the coins are Roman issues that were apparently hidden there before the Romans had even occupied Great Britain. How did they get there? The archaeologists who found them are puzzled.

What Rare Coin Discoveries Will You Make?

Again, let’s remember that unusually valuable coins can be hidden in older coin collections and odd lots. If you come across coins with valuable quantities of precious gold or silver, call us at 800-426-2344. We’re here to help solve the mystery of what your discoveries could be worth. More importantly, we are the precious metals refinery that can turn your discovery into cold, shiny cash.

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Scams to Avoid when Selling Precious Metals

When you hear the words “precious metals scam,” chances are that you think first about all the scams out there that victimize investors by selling them overvalued precious metals, precious metals “futures” that never reach expectations, or privately minted “collectible” coins that are wildly overpriced.

Image of "Cash for Gold" signholders for Specialty Metals blog post, Scams to Avoid when Selling Precious Metals, courtesy of Comedy Central and South Park.

Yes, all those scams are out there, waiting to profit from unsuspecting people who are all too willing to part with their dollars. But there is another kind of scam too, one that is just as dishonest . . .

Scams that fool sellers into selling their precious metals at prices that are ridiculously low

In most cases, these scams prey on individuals who don’t know the value of what they have, or who are in a hurry to get cash by selling items without investigating their value.

Scams to Avoid when Selling Precious Metal Items

  • Dishonest coin dealers and antique galleries can fail to disclose the collectible value of metal items. If you are selling an old gold coin, for example, they could offer to pay you for only what the gold in it is worth, not for its collectible value. Or if you bring in a silver candelabrum, they could weigh it and offer you only a few hundred dollars when it is really a valuable collectible that is worth tens of thousands of dollars.
  • Bait-and-switch precious metals recyclers can misrepresent the quantity of precious metal that is present in items that are made of alloys. Because it is hard for the average seller to know how much gold, platinum or other precious metal is really contained in a piece of jewelry or other items, it is all too easy for unscrupulous recyclers to dupe them.
  • Dishonest dealers can apply artificial time pressure to sell. They make up tales about why today is the best time to sell an item that contains precious metals – they say that gold prices are about to fall, that a foreign market is about to close, or make up other hard-sell tales. Their real aim is to get sellers to part with items before they have time to find out what they are really worth. The best strategy to fight them? When a dealer tells you to hurry up, that is the time you should slow down.

Deal with an Honest and Reputable Gold and Precious Metals Refiner

Specialty Metals has been the top choice in the US for secondary refining of Gold, Silver and Platinum Group Metals for more than 32 years, for companies in the industrial, electronic, jewelry and mining sectors. We’re accredited by the Better Business Bureau and rated by Dun & Bradstreet. We’re also members of the International Precious Metal Institute (IPMI).

If you want to sell your precious metals without being subjected to malarkey – or worse – we welcome your call at 800-426-2344.

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How to Get a Fast and Profitable Return from Palladium Bullion and Coins

Have you inherited palladium bullion or coins or bought them as an investment? If you have been thinking about cashing them in, here is some information you should know from Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners.

Photo of palladium, which Specialty Metals refines and recycles from palladium coins and bullion, scrap catalytic converters, lab and dental equipment, electronics and jewelry.

The Market for All Precious Metals Could Be Stronger Soon

Yes, prices have been soft in the last year. But it is wise to stay cued into fluctuations in market pricing so that you will be ready to sell your palladium at the right time. Be sure to monitor current metal prices, updated daily on our home page.

Palladium Bullion and Coins Do Not Require Complex Refining or Processing

Unlike alloys that contain precious metals, they do not need to be refined before they return their dollar value. They are pure palladium and can either be sold as they are or melted into new bars or ingots.

Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners Will Buy the Following Items

We will consider buying your palladium bullion coins, bars, and commercially made ingots that include Canadian Maples, Australian Koalas and Emus, Chinese Pandas, and Russian Ballerinas. In addition, we will purchase palladium bullion manufactured by Credit Suisse, Degussa, Engelhard, Heraeus, Johnson Matthey, and others.

We Refine and Recycle other forms of Palladium Too

In addition to palladium coins, bars and ingots, we are also interested in palladium alloys, palladium catalyst, palladium jewelry, palladium-plated items of all kinds, palladium resins, palladium sponges, and palladium wire. We are leading precious metals recyclers, so call us at 800-426-2344 to learn more.

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First Gold Coins Sell from the Greatest Buried Treasure Ever Found in America

First Gold Coin Sells from the Greatest Buried Treasure Ever Found in America

Pixies, unicorns, trolls, and hoards of buried treasure only exist in fairy tales, right? If a friend of yours tells you to be on the lookout for any of them it’s time to get a new friend, right?

Well, not necessarily, especially if your friend is talking about buried treasure. As you have probably heard, one of the biggest hoards of buried treasure ever found was discovered in California recently.

Here’s the Story . . .

One of the cans filled with gold coins from the Saddle Ridge Hoard © Kagin's Inc. 2014. All Rights Reserved.

One of the cans filled with gold coins from the Saddle Ridge Hoard © Kagin's Inc. 2014. All Rights Reserved.

A couple took their dog out for a walk one day and noticed an old metal can sticking out of the ground on their property. They dug it up and discovered that it was filled with old gold coins that dated back to the 1800s. They then poked around the area and found eight more coin-filled cans. By the time they were done, they had unearthed 1,427 extremely rare American gold coins.

How much are those 1,427 coins worth? Impossible to say right now, because they will be sold gradually over time and gold prices will vary. But when the first coin from the treasure was sold at auction in May, 2014, it fetched $15,000. It was an 1874 $20 Double Eagle. And remember, that was only one of the many coins from the cans.

Kagin’s Rare Coins is helping the couple sell the coins they found. If you visit the Kagin’s website, you can read more about the coins and see some beautiful images of them too.

Old Coins Can Be Worth More than You Think

They can be valuable in two ways – first, as collectibles and second, for the precious metals they contain. Whether you inherited a coin collection, have some old gold coins rolling around in your dresser drawer, or stumble upon an old coin when you are out walking your dog, you could have found something that’s worth more than you think. If you call us at 800-426-2344, we’ll help you decide what your next steps should be.

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Checklist of Places to Look for Precious Metals in Your Home

Where are precious metals hiding in your home? Some of the places are obvious, like silverware, others less so. Appliances can be hiding platinum-bearing thermocouple wire. In addition to circuit boards, your electronics can be hiding gold contacts, pins and other meltables. So we created this checklist for you to use when you’re preparing to sell your home or simply doing some spring cleaning…

Shown: a kitchen filled with buried treasure - precious metal bearing appliances, silverware and more, that can be recycled profitably by Specialty Metals.

Major appliances

  • Electric and gas stoves
  • Air conditioners
  • Refrigerators

Smaller appliances

  • Microwave ovens
  • Toasters and toaster ovens
  • Coffee makers, irons and other devices that generate heat

Household electronics

  • Radios and televisions
  • Remotes
  • Gaming consoles
  • Cellphones
  • Personal computers, computer components, and tablet computers

In the kitchen

Around the house

  • Silver and gold-plated trophies and plaques
  • Silver and gold-plated metal picture frames
  • Gold-plated faucets and bathroom fixtures (rare)
  • Old gold-plated lighting fixtures (rare)
  • Old gold, silver and platinum jewelry of all kinds
  • Old silver and gold-filled eyeglass frames
  • Coin collections
  • Darkroom supplies, chemicals and equipment

And if your spring cleaning uncovers any “buried treasure” in your home, call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 and we can help you figure out what you’ve got and how much it’s worth.

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How to Get Top Dollar for Your Coin Collection

Did you just inherit a collection of rare coins? If so, congratulations. You could have a very valuable asset in your possession, especially if the collection includes real silver coins.

The problem is, you can run into a lot of pitfalls – not to mention dishonest people – when you try to determine what the collection is worth. Especially if your coins contain precious metal like silver or gold. Here are some guidelines to follow.

Photo of silver coins that Specialty Metals can recycle and refine for your company.

Don’t Go to a Coin Dealer and Accept His or Her Offer for Your Coins

If you do, you could accept a low-ball offer, or a dishonest one. Instead, have a qualified rare-coin appraiser look at your collection. You can find one through the American Society of Appraisers at 800-ASA-VALU or through the American Numismatic Society at 212-571-4470. The appraiser should not be a dealer – that’s a conflict of interest – and if he or she offers to buy your collection or several coins from it, you should consider that a “red flag” and seek advice elsewhere.

After Having Your Collection Appraised, Make Some Decisions

Once you have an expert, impartial opinion of what your collection is worth, you are in a position to make some smart choices.

  • If you have some coins that are especially valuable, i.e., $500, $1,000 or more, consider selling them through a well-respected auction gallery like Sotheby’s in New York, at 212-606-7000. When you speak with auction houses, ask about the prices they have gotten for similar coins that they have auctioned in the past.
  • If you have some less valuable coins that should command prices in the range of $20 to $100 or a little more, you can take them to a coin dealer and see whether he or she makes you an honest offer for them. You can also look for similar coins on eBay, review their selling prices, and sell your coins there.
  • If you have coins that are relatively low in value – most often, these are coins that have low collectible value but which still contain quantities of silver – consider sending them to a qualified silver refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners so you can get paid for the silver that they contain. Call us at 800-426-2344 to learn more.

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