You’ve seen those ads: WE BUY SILVER AND GOLD!!!!!! Wonderful . . . but estimate meltdown value before you take your silver to a place like that. Some are legit. Many are dodgy. Try to take your unwanted silver to a reputable, local jeweler rather than one of those fly-by-night operations that breezes into town and rent a few hotel rooms for a week and disappears. And the mail-in envelope scheme advertised on TV is the worst!
How do you estimate the meltdown value? Easy. (Well, not all that easy, but here it is.) First make sure you’re dealing with sterling. If it doesn’t say STERLING or STER on the back, it isn’t sterling.
1) Weigh the sterling silver on an accurate scale like a postal scale. (Don’t weigh knives or candlesticks—knife blades are stainless steel and handles are not solid, so they don’t weigh true and candlesticks are full of cement.)
2) Then convert the number of ounces to troy ounces. Recently the price of silver has hovered around $28/troy oz. There are converters on line you can use, or just multiply the ounces by .9116 to get troy ounces.
3) Multiply that by the current price of silver, which is listed per troy ounce in newspapers and online. Or use $28 if you can’t find anything more current.
4) Then, because sterling is 92.5% silver, not 100%, multiply the result by 92.5%, and you have the approximate meltdown value of your sterling. (For coin silver, use the same process but multiply here by 90%.)
Will you get that much for it at a silver and gold buyer? No way. They have to make a profit too. 70-80% is reasonable, according to silver buyers. It will partly depend on the amount of silver you are selling–if you are selling one bent spoon (as I once did), you’ll get a lesser percentage because it isn’t worth their bother. Let them know you are getting more than one offer.