Selling your old silver is an effective way to make some quick cash. Maybe you have a pile of silver jewelry that you don’t wear anymore. Or perhaps someone just gifted you a beautiful silver flatware set and you are now looking for ways to get rid of older sets.
Whatever your reason for selling, you will be able to dispose of silver items you don’t need and make money doing it. The trick is knowing where to sell. But don’t panic. This post offers tips on where and how to sell silver to help you make a successful sale.
Preparing Your Silver for Sale
Before you sell your silver, there are some things you need to do to set yourself up for success. Here are the most important:
Organize Your Silver
Find out the type of silver you have so you can decide the most appropriate strategy for selling it. Whether it’s jewelry, flatware, bullion coin, or scrap silver, putting your silver into categories will help you figure out how much silver you have and find the most appropriate buyer for each type.
Find Out If You Have Sterling or Plated Silver
Sterling silver will be worth considerably more than plated silver, and since your goal is to make as much money as you possibly can, sterling is the silver you will want to find a market for.
Check for silver hallmarks on the item you intend to sell. Depending on the item, these can be engraved either on the interior or the exterior surface. If the mark says “925”, “92.5” or “Ster”, then the silver is sterling.
Plated silver will be marked “EPNS”, “EP” or “Silver-plate”. EPNS is usually an acronym for ElectroPlated Nickel Silver and EP simply means ElectroPlated. Sterling silver will usually be marked “925” because it contains 92.5% pure silver.
You may, however, come across pieces marked “950”. While these may also qualify for sterling, the “950” mark indicates that the alloy contains 95% pure silver. Such silver is commonly referred to as Brittania silver and is slightly softer than sterling. It will also be worth more than sterling.
Do Not Polish Your Silver
Some people may tell you to polish your silver before looking for a buyer so it appears new and shiny. Please don’t do it, as this will only decrease its value. If you really need to clean up your silver, use a soft polishing cloth; do not use any silver polish.
Know How Much Silver Is Currently Worth
Do not sell your silver without first knowing its potential value. Do your research to know the current price of silver. Sites like Bullion Vault will usually be a good place to start. They will show you the price of silver per gram in real-time, including charts displaying how the price has been fluctuating over time.
Finding out the spot price of silver will help you estimate how much your silver will cost when you finally decide to sell, which will help you avoid being scammed.
However, it is important to note that your silver will be bought at a price lower than what the metal is currently worth. Most buyers will quote a figure lower than the spot price so they can make some profit.
As such, it is imperative that you compare the prices of different buyers and pick the one that gives you the best value for your silver. Instead of just going for the first buyer who drops an offer, do comparison research and see who gives the best price.
You can check the internet for reputable buyers, call businesses and ask how much they buy silver per gram, or even ask for recommendations from people you know.
Get Your Silver Appraised
Appraising is simply having your silver assessed so you can know its total value. if you would rather have this done in person, head to a local jewelry store, antique shop, pawn shop, or a similar dealer.
A professional appraiser will not only give you an approximation of how much your silver will cost; they will also be able to tell real silver from fake. You can find one from your local jewelry shop or through the International Society of Appraisers.
Best Places to Sell Silver for Cash
Depending on the type and quality of your silver, there are several places where you can sell your items. Below are the most common:
1. Pawn Shops
Almost every city has a pawn shop, and this makes pawn shops some of the best places to sell silver. One of the advantages of selling your silver here is that you will get your money on the spot. However, you won’t get a very good price unless the pieces are super valuable.
If you have high-quality items like sterling jewelry, a nice watch, or firearms, a pawn shop would be the right place to sell them. If you have high-quality silver coins, however, you may want to check a local coin shop before heading to a pawn shop so you can decide where to sell.
2. Coin Shows
A coin show is a great place to visit if you have silver coins. Even though these events don’t take place very often, they are always full of people interested in buying coins; you could end up extremely happy with your sale.
If you aren’t sure where to sell your silver coins, research online to know where and when the next coin show will be happening. Note that complete coin sets will be easier to sell than individual pieces from a random collection.
If you want to avoid the hassle of having to go to a physical silver dealer and don’t mind shipping your silver via mail, sell your items online.
Selling your silver online not only allows you to interact with different dealers worldwide; it also enables you to compare prices without having to visit the dealer in person.
One of the things you need to know, however, is that shipping huge amounts of silver through mail can be expensive. So, if you are planning to sell your silver online, make sure its weight is manageable. If your silver is incredibly heavy, you would be better off selling it locally.
4. Smelting and Refining Companies
A smelting or refining company will melt down your silver so you can sell it by weight. You can take most of your silver here, but such places are better for scrap silver.
They will usually pay you well, for sure, but they will often be interested only in large volumes of silver. If your silver is less than ten ounces, consider other selling options. A smelting or refining company will not usually accept such small amounts.
5. Private Buyers
Check online ads or your local newspaper to see whether there are any private buyers looking for silver. While finding these can be an uphill task, private buyers are often willing to pay more for high-quality silver items.
Live auctions and online auctions like eBay can be another excellent place to sell your silver because there is a huge audience and you are likely to sell your pieces at a high price because of the multiple bids.
If you have unique pieces that you think will get good bids, you can always register them at an auction. But it is also possible that your silver will undersell at an auction, so go with an open mind.
Also, keeping in mind that most auctions will often require you to pay a commission, so make sure the price of your silver can take care of the commission and still give you decent money.
So, Where Exactly Should You Sell Your Silver?
Online merchants may give you a better price than your local pawn shop, but you may end up spending a fortune on shipping especially if you have huge amounts of silver. You may also have to wait for a day or two for your silver to get appraised, which means the whole process will take longer than selling to a physical buyer.
Physical shops, on the other hand, will appraise your silver and pay you the same day. It is a quicker process but you will sell the silver at a little less.
So, basically, the decision on where to sell your silver will depend on what you are looking for. If you need urgent money, sell at a physical shop and if you are looking for the best price, sell online.
When Is The Best Time to Sell Silver?
The price of silver keeps on changing and you can never know for sure how much your silver will cost a few days, weeks, or months from now.
That said, the best time to sell your silver will be when you need easy, quick money. You can always check the spot price of silver to see how much you can reasonably get for your silver jewelry, flatware, scrap, coins, etc.
One of the things we love about silver is that, like other precious metals, it doesn’t lose its value. You can keep it until when its spot price has reached a value you would like to sell it for.
But it is not always wise to sit on your silver and thinking you will get a better price in the future. This is especially true if you are selling silver bullion.
Sure, silver will be a safe way to store your money, but it will certainly not give you a high return like an investment account. Selling sooner than later can give you an opportunity to invest in another area that will give you higher returns.
Factors Influencing the Cost of Your Silver
While where you sell your silver will determine how much money you make, there are other factors that are involved when it comes to buying and selling precious metals, all of which will be a part of shaping the total cost of your silver. They include:
The Current Silver Price
How much your silver will cost will be determined by the current price of the metal in the market. This price can be influenced by a number of factors including changes in demand and supply, inflation and deflation, political climate, fluctuation of economic expectations, etc.
Like any traded commodity, it is not easy to tell what the spot price of silver will be when you decide to sell your silver. The only thing you can do is stay up to date on issues related to the silver market and keep an eye on any changes in prices.
Age and Monograms
If you have an older piece of silver that your family has been preserving for years, you are more likely to get more money out of it. This is because older silver will most likely have patterns that are rare to find and people looking to complete their collection sets will not be afraid to pay more for these unique designs.
When it comes to monograms, however, you will likely get a little less for your silver. Sure, monograms will make your pieces uniquely your own and give them a sense of belonging.
But when it comes to selling marked silver, it can be a little difficult getting someone to buy a piece that has random initials on it. And even if someone does buy it, they may not give you as much as they would give you for a similar non-monogrammed piece.
They will quote a figure low enough to cover the cost of smelting and remolding the silver. Some professionals can cover up the initials, but be aware that they will likely subtract the cost of doing this from the final price.
Complete Sets Vs. Individual Pieces
Most merchants will be more inclined to buy a complete set than individual pieces. But that does not mean you cannot sell each piece individually. You still could, but selling your silver as a complete set will likely give you faster cash because the buyer will purchase everything in one swoop.
Have you sold silver recently? Where did you sell it and what factors did you consider when choosing your buyer? Tell us in the comments.