Metal-Hunting Season Is Starting Just as Swimming Season Ends

Metal-Hunting Season Is Starting Just as Swimming Season Ends

That’s why this could be a very profitable season to go looking for valuable items that people have lost during the summer months. Rings, watches, cellphones and other stuff is out there waiting for you, so let’s review some of the strategies that can help you find them. 

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Three Reasons Smart Platinum Investors Are Making a Fortune Today

Three Reasons Smart Platinum Investors Are Making a Fortune Today

Many platinum investors are frozen in place today. Although they own scrapped catalytic converters, old lab testing vessels and other items that contain platinum, they are waiting until platinum prices increase before cashing in. Meanwhile, smart platinum investors are cashing in. Like other contrarian investors, they are moving ahead instead of staying fixated on just one factor as a sign of when to sell. Here are three compelling reasons why this is a great time to recycle platinum today instead of waiting...

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How Much Gold Can Be Recycled from Scrap Electronic Pins?

Old computer central processing units (CPUs) look like porcupines – they’re covered with little spikes that serve as electrical contacts when the CPU is plugged into a computer’s motherboard. The difference between a porcupine and a CPU is that all those little “quills” are gold-plated and can be worth sending to a qualified gold refinery for processing.

Photo of gold plated pins e-scrap sent to Specialty Metals by our customers for recycling and refining.

Photo of gold plated pins e-scrap sent to Specialty Metals by our customers for recycling and refining.

The more CPUs you have, the more pins you have . . . and the more gold you have too.

Removing the Gold-Plated Pins from Your CPUs

Here’s a video that shows a hobbyist using a heat gun to remove gold pins from CPUs. He’s using the same kind of heat gun that is used to strip paint – the kind you can buy at a hardware store.

Note that we are not recommending that you use a heat gun to remove gold pins from CPUs – it is something that should only be done by qualified technicians in a controlled, well-ventilated, laboratory setting. We are sharing this video to demonstrate that quantities of recyclable gold really do reside in older CPUs – and that if you have a number of older desktop computers or computer scrap, you could have more gold than you might realize.

How Much Gold Is in CPUs?

It varies, because many different kinds of CPUs have been used over the last few decades. There are ceramic CPU chips and silicon CPUs. But we’re pleased to offer you a ball park estimate of how much gold could be recovered from older CPU chips.

Roughly one troy ounce of gold can generally be recovered from 10 pounds of old CPUs

When you call us to 800-426-2344 to discuss your old CPUs, please do not expect us to promise to reclaim one ounce of gold from every 10 pounds of them that you send to us. We only provide that rough estimate above to convince you that it can be wasteful – and unprofitable – to discard older electronics, especially computers and the CPU boards that they contain. Why not call us to learn more?

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What Precious Metals Are Contained in Piles of Old Desktop Computers?

Extracting Gold from Ceramic IC Chips

Are Recyclable Precious Metals Hiding in Your Hospital?

If you’re a hospital administrator, are you overlooking quantities of cadmium, gold, and other precious metals that you could refine for a lot of money?

If you don’t want to let precious metals slip through your fingers, here’s a checklist to keep on hand . . .

Photo of lab testing equipment, which contains precious metals that can be profitably recycled and refined by Specialty Metals when no longer needed.
  • Old electronic equipment that you are about to discard could contain quantities of gold (in circuit boards), platinum (in thermocouples that measure temperature or electrical activity remotely), in monitors, and elsewhere. Even if you are distributing new tablet computers to your staff, don’t discard old ones; they could contain more gold on their circuit boards than you expect.
  • Used and unused testing supplies like catheters and testing probes could contain valuable quantities of platinum, palladium, cadmium, and other precious metals.
  • Old x-ray and unused x-ray films contain quantities of silver that can be extracted by a qualified precious metals recycler. Older solutions that were used to develop x-ray film can contain recyclable amounts of silver too.
  • Specialty back-up batteries that were installed in older equipment can contain precious metals.
  • Laboratory crucibles, tongs, and other equipment are often made of platinum.
  • Catalytic converters that are installed on gas and diesel-powered back-up generators contain platinum, palladium and rhodium. If you’re replacing those catalytic converters or your entire back-up power system, don’t let those metals slip away.
  • Decommissioned vehicles, like patient transport vans and ambulances, contain precious metals in many places – in their catalytic converters, in onboard computers, and on printed circuit boards.
  • Old photovoltaic solar panels that you are replacing could contain large quantities of silver – do not allow the company that is installing new panels to simply haul your old ones away.

Those are only a few of the places where precious metals can be found in hospitals. If you take the time to review today’s checklist, you could discover that precious metals are “hiding in plain sight” in your facility.

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Why Smart Veterinarians are Recycling the Platinum from their Testing Supplies


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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The Puzzling, Profitable Process of Refining Silver-Plated Scrap Items
What Is Karat Gold and How Can You Find Out What Yours Is Worth?

Will Precious Metals Disappear from Electronic Devices in the Coming Years?

In previous posts on this blog, we’ve discussed where to find gold in cellphones, computers, remote controls, and other electronic devices.  They all contain printed circuit boards that contain gold. But here’s an interesting question. As more advanced electronic devices come to market, will they still use gold, or will that stop? Are we now in a “golden age” when gold recycling from electronic devices can still be done – an age that will end?

Enter Graphene, a Miraculous Substance

Shown: Graphene is an atomic-scale honeycomb lattice made of carbon atoms. Image Credit: AlexanderAIUS, via Wikimedia Commons

Shown: Graphene is an atomic-scale honeycomb lattice made of carbon atoms. Image Credit: AlexanderAIUS, via Wikimedia Commons

A lot of “miracle” materials have appeared over the last century. There were nylon, Orlon and Teflon, to name only three. But the miraculous properties of those materials is dwarfed by those of graphene, a material that was developed by two physicists named Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselow. Graphene is actually a very thin, one-atom-thick layer of the same kind of graphite that is used in pencils.

Graphene has a lot of unbelievable properties that make it sound like something out of a science fiction fable. But first let’s state why it will probably revolutionize the manufacturing of electronic devices:

Graphene is an incredibly efficient conductor of electricity.

According to some estimates that I’ve read, it conducts electricity 20 times faster than copper does. It conducts electricity so well, in fact, the engineering challenge appears to be getting it to stop conducting electricity, not to improve its performance. And as you’ll discover when you read the following, graphene has the potential to create sci-fi-like electronic devices, like paper-thin cellphones that will fold up and fit in your wallet.

Here are some of graphene’s properties that are described in recent articles on CNN and elsewhere:

It can be manufactured in films that are only one atom thick – one ounce of the stuff could cover 28 football fields. It has been called “the world’s first two-dimensional substance.”

It is remarkably strong – according to some estimates, 20 times stronger than steel, but far lighter. People are predicting that it will soon find its way into structural parts of airplanes and cars.

It’s going to find applications in electrical devices – Scientists have already made electronic speakers, batteries, and other devices from the material. Now ultra-small microcircuits are being developed that will take advantage of its thinness and conductivity. Scientists envision that electronic devices like computers will be built into electronic clothing – there will be no need to tote around a separate laptop, cellphone or GPS device.

Development is happening fast – graphene could start to appear in commercial electronic devices in only a few years. 

What Will Graphene Mean for Gold Recycling?

We don’t have the ability to see the future, of course, but graphene has the potential to create electronic devices that incorporate a number of electronic circuits that once had to be connected together. That’s why it seems probable that today’s circuit boards will become outmoded.

Your old electronic devices will not become collectibles, but as escrap they will be valuable for the gold that they contain that can be recycled profitably by a qualified gold refiner.  What do you have lying around?

Related Posts:

A Brief History of Circuit Boards and the Gold They Contain
Where Is the Gold Hiding in Your Old Computers?
Do Tablet Computers Contain Recyclable Precious Metals
Watch the Gold You Can Recycle from Circuit Boards Pile Up in these Videos