Silver Lining: The Basics of Selling Silver

Written by sol-jewel on . Posted in Blog

Now that you’ve learned about gold selling standards from our blog All That Glitters: The Basics of Selling Gold, you might be wondering what else you can turn over for a profit. Silver seems the next logical choice. Maybe you have a small silver coin collection or an antique flatware set that looks like it could have high monetary value.

In this blog, we cover how the silver selling process works, including how it differs from the gold selling process.

Why Silver?

Like gold, silver’s value went up in recent years. While it’s still not at the value level of gold, silver reached a 31-year price high back in 2011 when appraisers estimated its value at $49.21 per ounce.

Unlike some other metals, silver offers myriad options for selling. Some silver items command a much higher price intact rather than melted down, which is the fate of many other metals when sold.

How Does Silver Selling Work?

When you sell gold, you can think of it almost like a currency exchange, since gold has a monetary demand. However, silver isn’t used as currency in most places in the world. This doesn’t mean it has no value-just that you have to think of the exchange differently than you would with gold.

Silver has value according to either 1) the object it’s used in, or 2) the way a buyer can use it.

1. How your objects use silver

How you sell your silver directly depends on the types of silver pieces you have. As mentioned above, coins sell differently than, say, antique tea sets. Here are some of the common item types:

  • Bullion: Most people don’t have bullion just lying around–if you have it, you’ll recognize it easily. Bullion comes in bars, ingots, rounds, and other standard measurements. Bullion has a set worth that fluctuates according to the market value. Bullion’s limitation comes when you sell it, since you have to sell the entire measurement.
  • Coins: Collectable coins’ values change according to age and coin type. If you want to sell your silver coins, contact a numismatics (collectible coins) expert. In most cases, the numismatics industry stands separately from other types of silver selling.
    Do not alter your coins in any way without a numismatics expert’s recommendation. This includes cleaning the coins.
  • Flatware: Some silver flatware qualifies as an antique, which may enhance its value. Full sets hold more value w
  • Flatware: Some silver flatware qualifies as an antique, which may enhance its value. Full sets hold more value w
    hen you sell to a collector or dealer. But you may still get a good sum selling mismatched pieces to a pawn shop, smelter, or other silver buyer.
  • Jewelry: Silver jewelry’s value varies according to the amount and quality of silver it contains. If you intend to sell to another type of buyer, you may still want to have a jeweler appraise the pieces beforehand.
  • Other Silver Objects: The value of antique and fine art silver varies according to time period and preservation. Often, antique silver bears markings indicating the maker, date of creation, and metallic makeup. If your silver doesn’t bear such a seal, it may still have value. Have an antiques dealer or other silver expert appraise the item. These experts can also help you interpret the markings on your pieces if they lost legibility over time.
  • Scrap Silver: Scrap silver, such as single earrings and broken charms, won’t hold the interest of a jeweler or antiques dealer. However, a metal broker or smelter may offer a sum for these pieces as well.

2. How the buyer uses silver

While most of the silver listed above resells completely intact, silver also has several other uses. Mismatched flatware and other kinds of scrap silver may go toward these uses.

Industrial workers and manufacturers use silver in myriad ways. In fact, most newly mined silver goes directly to industrial purposes. About 35% of this silver goes into electronics. 10% of silver functions as part of the modern photography process. Another 24% goes to other industrial uses, such as the manufacturing of silver oxide batteries.

Since newly mined silver is a finite resource, smelters and metal brokers occasionally trade their collected silver directly to industrial workers and manufacturers.

Who Should You Sell Silver To?

As with gold, you should do your research before selecting a silver buyer. Always get an appraisal or price estimate from at least one trusted source, if not from multiple buyers. In many cases, pawning your silver represents the best, most profitable option.

When this is not the case, a pawnbroker can direct you to one of the following types of buyers:

  • Metal broker
  • Numismatics expert
  • Road show dealer
  • Silver matching service
  • Smelter

Always consider an object’s sentimental and emotional value before you sell it. If you sell to a pawn shop or jeweler, the pieces remain intact, should you ever wish to buy them back. If you sell to a smelter or metal broker, you cannot retrieve the pieces. Thinking carefully about an object’s sentimental value ensures that you finalize your transactions without any regrets.

For more information about valuables, pawning, and collateral loans, read our other blogs.

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