Scrap Gold: Determining Value
Determining value is a skill that takes some time to perfect. There are a few different ways to do it. First, it is important to know how much a Troy Ounce of gold is selling for. After that, it is important to have a method for weighing your finds, in order to determine whether the amount of money you’ll be spending for an item is justifiable. In essence, what you want to do is to find out whether you can make a profit; and, if not, move on to the next thing.
The weight of gold is measured in troy ounces, penny weights (dwt) or grams. Usually, published gold prices are indicated in troy ounces. There are two different ways to determine the weight of an item in order to value it. The first, and most reliable way to do this is to get yourself a pocket scale. These tiny electronic devices are finely calibrated and are able to provide precise measurements. A good one can be found for $50-100. If you plan to work with larger items, invest in a scale with a higher weight capacity. You can find scales online or at jeweler’s supply stores. Some people use postal scales, but these are less precise than jeweler’s or chemists scales.
The second way to determine weight is much less reliable and takes a lot of practice. Using coins dated 1973 to 2000, you can come up with a rough estimate of value. Simply hold a coin in one hand, and the item you are considering in the other. Here is a list of approximate grams and penny weights – remember, soiled or worn coins are going to weigh a little more or a little less, respectively, than those that are in good condition.
U.S. Coin Grams Penny Weight (dwt)
Dime 2.3 1.5
Penny 2.5 1.6
Nickel 4.9 3.1
Quarter 5.7 3.6
Fifty Cents 11.2 7
Once you know the weight of an item, you can determine its value via its purity. Basic math skills or a simple calculator can be handy here – let’s say that today’s gold price is $1280 per troy ounce. Remember to check gold prices before you set out on a gold buying excursion to find out what values will be – this is simply an example.
1 Troy ounce of Gold Alloy: Value of Gold Content with Base Price at $1280
Remember that when you go to sell your gold, you will normally receive less than the current market value so that the dealer can make a profit and stay in business. Still, when you stop to consider that many items are being sold for only a few dollars, it is easy to make a handsome profit yourself! Overall, the amount of money you will make buying and selling second hand gold will be based on the gold’s purity.
Read the next section, where to find second hand gold.
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