Simple Steps to Protect Yourself from Gold Fakes and Forgeries

Simple Steps to Protect Yourself from Gold Fakes and Forgeries

Every few months we hear another story about a crime involving precious metals. Another one came along last week, when the Metropolitan Museum in New York packed up a golden Egyptian coffin it owned and shipped it back to Egypt, from where it was stolen in 2011. The Met acquired the coffin in 2017 from an antiquities dealer. The only problem was, it still belonged to Egypt. (You can read the full story in “Ancient Gold Coffin Returned to Egypt from New York as Looted Antiquity,” an article that was published by the Associated Press on September 25, 2019.)

Read More

How to Get a Better Deal when Buying from Pawnshops

How to Get a Better Deal when Buying from Pawnshops

Let’s say you walk into a pawnshop to check out whether there are any gold, silver or platinum items there for sale – items that you can buy for low prices. Or you walk into a coin dealer to see what’s on display.

Let’s also say that you find what seems to be a good deal. It’s a South African Kruggerand that contains 1 Troy Ounce of gold. When you ask the dealer the price, he replies, “$1,505.00, because we sell at current trading prices.” So you go online, check trading prices, and decide that you will be getting a fair deal if you buy that Kruggerand for the asking price. So you go back to the pawnshop or coin dealer, pay asking price, and assume that everything has gone well.

Read More

Why Scrap Gold Is a Better Investment than Gold ETFs

Why Scrap Gold Is a Better Investment than Gold ETFs

A gold ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) is a gold-based investment you can buy as though it were a stock or mutual fund. And like those investments, you can monitor how well your ETFs are performing, and what prices they are trading for. The companies that create and sell gold ETFs buy a quantity of gold bullion and allow investors like you and me to invest in partial ownership of them. Gold ETFs offer convenience – you can call your financial consultant at Fidelity or another investment company – and say, “Buy me some shares in a gold ETF,” and you are off and running with your gold investments. And because their performance is tied to gold trading prices, it is easy to keep an eye on how well your investment is performing.

Read More

These Precious Metals Items Are Worth More than They Look

These Precious Metals Items Are Worth More than They Look

A few years ago, a man looked down at the bottom of a stream in northern California and saw something shiny poking out from the sand and gravel that surrounded it. He pulled it out and it was a gold nugget. It was absolutely beautiful!

Read More

Can You Save Time and Money by Using Acids to Refine Gold, Silver and Platinum?

Can You Save Time and Money by Using Acids to Refine Gold, Silver and Platinum?

Let’s say that you have an old gold-plated set of silver tableware. As you know, the gold that the set contains is worth much more than the silver. Can’t you throw everything into a tub of some kind of chemical that will dissolve the silver and leave only the gold behind in solid form?

Read More

The Mystery and Mastery of Gold Refining

Gold has a richer and more fascinating lore than any other precious metal does. In legend, King Midas turned objects into gold, just by touching them. In medieval times, alchemists attempted to turn base metals into gold. The Spaniards invaded Latin America, and destroyed several civilizations, just to obtain it. In ancient Sumeria, Greece and Egypt, royals were adorned with gold jewelry when they were buried. The composer Richard Wagner wrote his four “Ring” operas about gold that was stolen from the Rhine River. J. R. R. Tolkien wrote novels about a magical golden ring. And then there’s the fact that when modern people want to marry or celebrate their love for each other, they do so by exchanging gold rings.

17th Century engraving showing the process of smelting and refining gold. We’ve come a long way since then at Specialty Metals!

17th Century engraving showing the process of smelting and refining gold. We’ve come a long way since then at Specialty Metals!

Surprising Facts about Gold

If you’d enjoy learning more about gold, visit “Gold Fun Facts,” a page that was created by the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Here’s a sample of some of the information you will find there:

  • The total amount of gold ever mined is estimated to be only 152,000 metric tons. That’s only enough to fill 60 tractor trailers. Every year, 907 million metric tons of iron are mined - 6,000 times the total amount of gold produced throughout all of history.
  • More than 90% of the world’s refined gold has been mined since 1848. (Remember the Gold Rush?)
  • 78% of the gold that is mined every year is made into jewelry. Another 12% is used in electronics, medical applications, and dental work. The remaining 10% is used in financial transactions.
  • Gold is so malleable that one ounce can be beaten into a sheet that measures 100 square feet.
  • The "Hand of Faith," a 60-pound gold nugget, is currently on display in the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas. It was discovered in Victoria, Australia, in 1980.

Time to Create a Legend of Your Own?

If you have items on hand that contain quantities of gold, why not contact a top gold refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners to find out what it is worth and claim its hidden value? Call us at 800-426-2344.

Related Posts:

3 Simple Steps: How to Find the Best Gold Refiner
Gold Refining: Why It Takes an Expert to Evaluate Your Gold-Plated Items
Some Fascinating – and Potentially Profitable – Facts You Never Knew about Refining Gold
What Is Karat Gold and How Can You Find Out What Yours Is Worth?

There Could Be More Gold in Old Commemoratives and Trophies than You Think

A late uncle of mine was very active in his community. He was a member of the Rotary Club and an avid amateur golfer who took part in local tournaments at a country club where he and his wife had a membership. He also worked for the same company for decades and really did get the classic gold watch at his retirement dinner.

Photo of old gold-plated commemorative trophies that can be recycled and refined by Specialty Metals Smelters & Refiners.

As a result of all those activities, his kids ended up with a lot of metal objects – more than 10 lapel pins, a few tie tacks, a commemorative belt buckle, a money clip from his country club, a high-quality Swiss watch with the name of his country club imprinted on its face, a mantle shelf full of golf trophies, not to mention that gold-toned Bulova Accutron that he got when he retired in about 1970. He also attended various formal functions – they used to be a lot more common than they are now – and he had two sets of tuxedo-shirt studs, also gold.

What is all that stuff worth? It depends. But a number of those items date from the 1960s and 1970s. Those were the days when gold was cheaper than it is today, and relatively inexpensive commemorative items could contain significant quantities of it. Several of the pins that my cousins inherited, for example, are stamped “18K” (18 karat) on their backs, which means that they were either gold-plated or filled with quantities of gold that could be worth sending to a qualified gold refinery.

What About Trophies?

The answer is again, it depends. Most modern trophies are not worth much – they are plated with very thin layers of gold, hardly worth extracting. The older trophies are, the more likely it is that they will contain quantities of gold or silver that are worth recycling.

How old? Again, it depends, because there is no exact date when trophy-makers stopped applying thicker layers of silver or gold plating to their products.

If you own some of the items described above, why not call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 and tell us what you have? One dresser drawer full of lapel pins, tie tacks or other commemorative silver and gold jewelry could be worth more money than you expect.

Related Posts:

An Invitation to Jewelers, Pawnbrokers and Other Jewelry Professionals to Partner with Our Precious Metals Refinery

3 Simple Steps: How to Find the Best Gold Refiner

Gold Refining: Why It Takes an Expert to Evaluate Your Gold-Plated Items

Ask a Gold Refinery - What’s the Difference between Gold-Plated and Gold-Filled Eyeglass Frames?

Georgius Agricola (1494-1555), Father of Modern Metallurgy

If you’re involved in mining, smelting, refining – or any process that has to do with metals – you’re using techniques developed by a Georgius Agricola, a German scientist who is often called the father of metallurgy. His book, De Re Metallica (“On the Nature of Metals”) was published in Latin in 1556, a year after he died. Georgius described techniques of mining and smelting in such a practical way that the book remained a standard handbook for nearly 200 years.

This guy was ahead of his time. In fact, all of us in the metals business are still doing a lot of the things that he wrote about, including . . .

16th Century Mining Woodcut from Georgius Agricolas 'De re metallica libri XII'

16th Century Mining Woodcut from Georgius Agricolas 'De re metallica libri XII'

  • Smelting ores to extract the metals they contain.
  • Finding veins of precious metals like gold and silver in rock and underground.
  • Separating gold from silver, lead from gold or silver, and silver from copper.
  • Surveying mine sites and safely digging mine shafts.
  • Selecting the right tools and machines to extract ore from mines.
  • Extracting, crushing and washing ores from mining concentrates.

Some Trivia about De Re Metallica

Agricola’s real name was Georg Bauer, which means “George Farmer” in German. But he used the name Georgius Agricola – which means the same thing in Latin - when he published his book. Back in the sixteenth century, Latin was the language of scientific discourse.

In 1912, the first English edition of De Re Metallica was published in London. One of the translators was none other than Herbert Hoover, a mining engineer who later became president of the United States. You can still buy a copy of his translation in a modern edition from Dover Books.

If you’re involved in mining or recycling precious metals, Georgius Agricola still has some lessons to teach you, even though he died way back in 1555.

It’s all part of the colorful history of precious metals recycling. Thanks for joining us for this little history lesson today.

Related Posts:

A Fast, Fascinating History of Metals like Gold and Silver
Some Fascinating – and Potentially Profitable – Facts You Never Knew about Refining Gold
A Brief History of Circuit Boards and the Gold they Contain
A Brief – and Useful – History of Fool’s Gold