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  • Damian J. Miles

"Wanted. Gold & Silver" Leaflets and Knockers.

Yesterday a familiar leaflet was posted through my door: "Wanted. Gold & Silver" "Top London Cash Prices Paid". I can only assume these are posted through many doors in many towns throughout the region or country. Every time I receive one I have a little chuckle to myself.


All the usual things were included in the leaflet including "Top London Cash Prices Paid" (who's using cash at the moment?),"Could be worth up to 10 times scrap" (I would hope a nice antique piece would be worth more), " No one offers more" (I beg to differ, see below), "All transactions strictly confidential" (I should hope so, it's called GDPR), "Payments in cash" (again, is cash the best thing?), "Up to **** paid" etc.


Just for fun, I've decided to examine this leaflet a little more. It's important to note that most are "from" prices and could be more. It's also important to note that metals prices change all the time and that this leaflet was probably not printed yesterday. Here we go.


"GOLD"

"We pay *****(see below) in any condition".

9ct up to £319/Tr Oz (I'm currently paying from £395/ Troy Oz. for scrap)

14ct up to £496/Tr Oz (I'm currently paying from £615/ Troy Oz. for scrap)

18ct up to £638/Tr Oz (I'm currently paying from £790/ Troy Oz. for scrap)

22ct up to £780/Tr Oz (I'm currently paying from £960/ Troy Oz. for scrap)


Instantly you can see I'm paying more (as of todays gold prices) and my price is "from". The from is important as a nice saleable or Antique piece should command a higher price. Also, if the gold is "clean" with no, or very few, repairs and joins, I can recycle the metal more easily. All these prices are in Troy Ounces (tr oz) as this is the traditional method of dealing in gold. A Troy Oz is approximately 31.103 grams. The ounce used in cooking is avoirdupois which is equivalent to 28.3grams. I don't like giving Tr Oz prices to the general public as grams are easier to understand and most people can get an approximate idea of weight in grams from their kitchen scales.


"Silver"

"We Pay £5-£12 per tr oz in any condition. Pre 1947 silver coins minimum 6 times face value. No one offers more!"


I currently buy scrap Sterling silver (925 or 92.5% pure) at a rate from £12/Tr Oz (roughly £0.38/gram). Again, this is from I can often pay 5 or 6 times this for really nice Antique pieces.


Pre 1947 coins? I have a problem with the "No one offers more!" as it's obviously wrong as you will see below. This would be £0.18 for a Silver 3d, £0.36 for a sixpence etc. Pre-1920 UK silver coins were Sterling Silver (92.5% pure) and 1920 to 1946 were 50% pure. For scrap, see the example below;

1943 sixpence (50% silver) approximately 2.82 grams (if not too worn) = 1.41 grams of pure silver @ £0.36/g (the sterling price as an example) = £0.53 each or around 9x face value (not 6x). A pre 1920 coin would be approximately double the value making it £1.07 or almost 18 times face.


If you add to this that I'm a coin dealer and will seek out better pieces and pay more, I think the difference is clear. If there is a bulk lot, I will tend to buy at a bulk price as above. When I have the time to go through them one by one and separate out the more special ones if they are there, such better condition coins, rare years, varieties and errors I will top up your payment. My record was a shilling weighing 5.66g (£2.15) and then paying a top up of £260 as it was a rare variety.


I will also buy Bronze, Copper, Brass and Cupro Nickel coins at the same time saving you hassle. Again, these are by the kilo and I will check through and top up when time allows.


"Silverware Urgently Wanted"

"We will pay a top item price for your silver articles. Which can be worth as much as TEN times the prices of scrap silver"


I would hope so. Excellent examples of Silverware, especially from rarer makers or older pieces. I know a fair amount about Antique Silver, more than most, but I am not a specialist, and there are very few. If you think you might have something exceptional, talk to an auction house with a silver specialist or a silver specialist themselves.


"Diamond Jewellery bought for cash."

"Rings, Bracelets, Brooches modern or broken. We believe we can offer the best deal in town"


Firstly, I don't buy with cash, it's not safe for either of us. It's too easy to get knocked on the head for a wad of cash. All the payments I make are by BACS which is usually in your account within 2 hours. I only make the payment when I am connected to my own network away from prying eyes. This is the way I work and it doesn't change. If any client is unhappy with this, it's best we don't pursue it.


This is an edge on most gold buyers as they don't usually bring Diamonds or Gemstones into the equation, I do. What's more I hold the GIA's Diamond and Gemstones Diplomas and have a great deal of experience in assessing Diamonds and Gemstones. I also like to use second-hand Diamonds in pieces I make.


It's nice to see a little humility with the statement "We believe we can offer the best deal in town"



"1 Earring, Broken Chain, Missing Stone, Damaged Beyond Repair......WE DON'T CARE. We will still BUY them. CASH ALWAYS PAID."


At the end of the day, scrap gold, silver, Platinum and Palladium are scrap metals at the end of the day. The form they take doesn't matter. I would substitute "CARE" for "MIND" though and the reason is this, if jewellery is damaged, but I can repair it and sell it as a complete piece, I will. This means you will get more for it. Again though, I don't pay cash.


"Wedding Rings 18ct or 22ct minimum £40 each paid. Broken Jewellery... Blah.. Blah. Krugerrands and Sovereigns brought in any quantity." (A little proof reading would help)


The wedding rings are a pretty safe bet as I've not seen an 18ct gold wedding ring weighing less than 1.7 grams, let alone a 22ct wedding ring weighing less than 1.3 grams (that's not a challenge). I will often pay a little more for wedding rings without too many repairs. They are easy metal to re-use, so I do.


Broken jewellery is the same as the Scrap or Diamond Jewellery.


Krugerrands and the main bullion coins are not something I tend to deal with as there are many others out there that are better positioned to help you with this. Dealing with a true investment coin dealer is usually your best bet. These are the types of coin that are produced as a convenient way to transport investment gold.


Sovereigns and coins made for circulation are a different matter. Again, I tend to buy Sovereigns at a base price (currently £290) and then look more carefully afterwards for better examples and varieties and top up the payment if needed. I even look through coins for my trade clients as a complimentary service. The best example of success was a jeweller that sent all coins they had bought to me and I would buy them. In one parcel was a rare Sovereign that they had bought for less than £200 at the time. We arranged for it to go to auction and the customer received a further cheque of £6,300 which made her day.


Am I Bitter?

No, I have no problem at all with other businesses buying gold, jewellery and all the other bits and pieces, competition is healthy. I do have a problem with how it's done sometimes. A few years ago we all saw lots of gold buying companies spring up and many have now gone. The ones that have remained are generally jewellers that have been in this business for many years and have no option but to be upfront and honest, which is much more than I can say for a lot of the fly by nights.


This leaflet is not a new thing and I have seen these for many years, usually with the same name. What I like is that they are giving you base prices to work from, you will see them face to face and they make the statement you will have cash, presumably there and then.

I have seen and heard some shocking things about some gold buyers. I watched someone on a market stall re-set his scales with a cleaning cloth just resting on the weighing pan every time he was weighing some gold or silver. The same as you would zero your kitchen scales with a plastic bowl on so you wouldn't be weighing the bowl. This small bit of cloth would make a few grams difference, which could be £20 or so on gold. I've also seen 18ct gold pieces incorrectly tested to arrive at a 9ct gold conclusion and therefore a lower price offered. There have been many crooks, but they are receding as the gold price isn't as high as it had been.

The way I buy precious metals, jewellery and coins is thankfully different. I don't often buy scrap, pieces simply to melt down and sell on to my bullion dealer. As a manufacturing jeweller, I often recycle pieces into new jewellery or silverware, when I buy metal for this purpose it's higher than a standard scrap price as buying "fresh" metal costs much more than scrap price. If I'm buying as scrap, I will tell you. For broken jewellery that could be fixed, I have a "one day" box. These pieces go in the box and when it's a quiet time I start repairing and restoring them. I do buy pieces that I can sell on with little input from me other than ensuring they are correct and taking on all the liabilities that go with them such as adjustments and guarantees. This is what my profit needs to cover as well as pay the bills.


If you're selling jewellery, get a few offers. I recently learnt of someone selling several pieces to a jeweller in a deal and managed to get approximately 20% of what I would have offered them. If you would like me to make an offer, please email me some details to start and we can see where we go from there.

One final bit of my process is about what happens next. I have to buy pieces for the lowest possible, but fair price. If I'm surprised by the outcome on something I've bought, I will contact the person I bought it from and top up their payment. Unfortunately for me it doesn't work the other way where if it sells for less than I hoped I ask for a refund from the customer, although that would be nice.

Not all buyers of precious metals are as straight and honest as they could be, but the majority are. Your local, high street, jeweller may not offer the highest price, but I'm sure they are reliable and are there when you need them. Give them a chance or email me.

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