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The Michael Ivankovich Guide to Selling Silver

Here are some important points to consider when selling silver:

  • Several important factors will determine the value of your silver including the Silver's "Fineness", its "Weight", today's "Spot Price" of Silver, and the silverdealer's "Spot Price Payment Factor"

  • Pure Silver is .999. Sterling Silver is marked "Sterling" or "925" andis 92.5% pure Silver and 7.5% base metal.

  • The Silver's "Fineness" is often, but not always, impressed into the item. Some silver is unmarked and must be tested to determine its fineness.
    (We can help you test your silver).

  • Various countries have used various silver standards, with different markings and purities, which makes selling international silver even more complicated. (We can help you with international silver markings & purities).

  • Most dealers will tell you that "They" pay more than anyone else when in fact they don't.

  • Dealer "Percent of Spot Price Payment Factors" can vary widely…for the same items.

  • Dealers will never reveal their "Payment Factor" if you don't ask.

  • Calculating the value of silver can be quite confusing and a simple mistake could cost you thousands of dollars.

Silver Vignette/Testimonial

Our clients' father passed away and left them 300+ Franklin Mint one ounce Sterling Silver collectible bars. Although most Franklin Mint collectibles have little value today, Sterling Silver is always valuable. We sold this client's silver for approximately $9,100.00 ... which was nearly $7,000.00 more than they were offered by a dealer in Philadelphia.

"…the check you delivered for our silver was thousands of dollars more than the dealers I contacted had offered. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!"... Philadelphia PA

We Can Help

If you are selling Silver Numismatic Coins, Junk Silver Coins, Sterling Jewelry, Silver Bullion Coins or Bars, or Sterling Flatware & Decorative Accessories, and if you are uncertain of value or how to proceed, we can help. We suggest that you first read the article below to help you to better understand the silver-selling process. Then call us at (215)-264-4304 to further discuss your needs. Distance should not present a problem as we serve the Greater Philadelphia tri-state Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Delaware region.

Our Silver-Selling Services include:

  • Sorting the real silver from the silverplate and pewter, and identifying unmarked silver.
  • Estimating the actual silver value … before selling.
  • Locating those dealers paying the highest percent of spot price.
  • Negotiating a better price on your behalf, and then negotiating the actual sale for you.

The Michael Ivankovich Guide to Selling Silver:
How the Scrap Silver Game is Really Played
Michael Ivankovich, GPPA, MPPA

It seems like each week several new "We Buy Gold & Silver" store-fronts open in our area. The new store openings seem to correlate with the "Spot Price" of gold and silver. The higher the Spot Price, the more new stores open their doors.

Most of these stores have short term leases, and most will probably not be around for very long. They are simply trying to take advantage of the rush to scrap gold and silver based upon today's high prices.

But before you rush out and scrap your family's treasures and heirlooms … BEWARE!!! You had better understand "How the Scrap Silver Game is Really Played" because if you are not extremely careful, the windfall you are expecting may end up in the silver dealer's pocket, and not yours.

Please Note: Different countries have different silver standards, using different fineness standards, and different markings. This article is designed for silver using the more common "Sterling Silver" standard, and silver that is clearly marked "Sterling" or "925". Although the principles covered here apply to other international silver standards and fineness, as well as silver coins, silver bars & bullion, and silver decorative accessories, dealing with that silver is intended for another article.

There are several key factors that must be considered when valuing silver.

  • The fineness of the silver.
  • The weight of the silver.
  • The spot price of the silver.
  • The percentage of spot price that silver dealers will actually pay.

Here is a 5-step approach to understanding "How the Scrap Silver Game" is Really Played.

Step 1: Determine the "SILVER FINENESS": Pure .999 silver is a soft and malleable metal and by itself is too soft to use for jewelry, flatware, or decorative accessories. Rather the silver is mixed with a base metal (e.g., copper) to strengthen the metal and vary the fineness of the silver. As required by the "Sterling Standard", any item marked "Sterling" must contain 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% base metal. No more and no less. Although other countries may have different silver standards (e.g., Mexican Sterling is often 90% pure silver, 10% base metal), British and US "Sterling" will always yield 92.5% pure silver. Also remember that some silver is unmarked and can only be verified by testing. (We can test it for you).

Step 2: Calculate the "GROSS ITEM WEIGHT": You must understand that only the silver has value. There is no silver value to metal pins, metal clasps, stones, etc. The dealer will literally rip all such non-silver apart and weigh only the silver content. Once it's ripped apart, the silver's intrinsic value is gone so be 100% certain that you are ready to let the item go before proceeding. And remember to take the stones because they may have a separate value.

Silver's Spot Price is quoted in Troy Ounces. However, many non-jeweler's scales will yield "Avoirdupois Ounces" which are different from Troy Ounces. Since silver spot prices are quoted in "Troy Ounces", you will need to convert the "Gross Item Weight" from Avoirdupois Ounces to Troy Ounces using a conversion factor. This will yield the "Gross Item Weight" of your items in Troy Ounces.

Troy Ounces apply when dealing with larger volumes or amounts of silver. But when dealing with jewelry, prices are often quoted in "Pennyweights" or "Grams". Jeweler's scales will display "Pennyweights (dwts)" and/or "Grams (g.)" but, if you are not using such a scale, you will have to do a little basic math to convert the Gross Item Weight to Pennyweights or Grams.

Step 3: Calculate the ".999 SILVER WEIGHT": As mentioned in Step 1, silver is combined with another stronger metal to enhance its strength. To determine the amount of pure .999 Silver Weight, multiply the Gross Item Weight in Step 2 by the "Silver Fineness" percentage in Step 1.

Step 4: Calculate the "GROSS SILVER VALUE": Like the stock market, the spot price of silver is constantly fluctuating. To determine the "Gross Silver Value", multiply the number of pure .999 silver Troy Ounces, Pennyweights, or Grams in Step 3, times the current "Silver Spot Price" per Troy Ounce, Pennyweight, or Gram. This will yield the "Gross Silver Value".

Step 5: Calculate the "NET SILVER VALUE": Steps 1-4 are relatively easy to calculate. Step 5 is the trickiest step of all, this is where the "Smoke & Mirrors" usually occurs, and this is where most people who don't understand how the "Silver Game" is played get taken advantage of.

Unless you plan on melting and refining the silver yourself, the refinery will have to make a profit, and any middlemen (i.e., the silver dealers) must also make a profit. So you will NEVER receive the "Gross Silver Value" in Step 4 above. Rather, you will receive a "discounted" amount based upon the dealer's "Percent of Spot Price Payment Factor", which factors in expenses and profits for any middlemen left in the chain.

Here is the Key Point: Most silver dealers will never tell you what their "Percent of Spot Price Payment Factor" is. And most individuals new to the scrap silver game don't understand what factor to expect, and don't ask what factor was applied. And this is where the silver dealer has the advantage.

In a typical transaction, you bring your silver to the silver dealer. The silver dealer will perform their own 5-Step calculations, and then simply make you an outright cash offer of what they are willing to pay. You can accept their first offer, reject it, or make a counter-offer. But since most people don't know how the silver game is played, most accept the first offer on the table. And the silver dealers know this.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In summary, silver dealers are not all the same. They all claim to pay more than anyone else and dealer payment factors can vary by 25%-50% ... or more ... for the same merchandise! It is imperative that you locate the silver dealer that will pay you the highest "Percent of Spot Price" possible. Today is a great time to sell your un-needed silver but, if you fail to learn how the "Silver Game" is played, you could end up losing literally thousands of dollars. Don't let this happen to you.

And because of our knowledge of the silver selling process and our higher selling volume, we can negotiate a higher selling price for your precious metals than you could achieve on your own. If you feel that you could use our help, or if you have any questions, call us at (215)-264-4304.

Published Gold & Silver Articles by Michael Ivankovich

Published Gold & Silver Articles by Michael Ivankovich: For more information on selling your precious metals, we invite you to read Mike's articles found on this Web Site:

  • The Michael Ivankovich Guide to Selling Gold: How the Scrap Gold Game is Really Played
  • The Michael Ivankovich Guide to Selling Silver: How the Scrap Silver Game is Really Played
  • The Michael Ivankovich Guide to Selling Household & Estate Coins
  • The Michael Ivankovich Guide to Selling Jewelry
  • The Michael Ivankovich Guide to Selling Precious Metals: Scrap It? Sell It? Or Auction It?
  • The Michael Ivankovich Guide to Selling Silverplate
  • More Gold & Silver Articles Coming Soon

Michael Ivankovich, GPPA, MPPA
Personal Property Appraiser

P.O. Box 1536 * Doylestown, PA 18901
Office: (215)-345-6094 * Cell: (215)-264-4304

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