Scrap Gold: Where to Find Second-Hand Gold
Secondhand gold can be found in all kinds of places. Garage sales and estate sales are prime territory for good finds, particularly when the person or people holding the garage sale have not done a good job of marking each and every item. If you find a sale that looks as if it were hastily thrown together as part of a cleanup effort, be sure to look for the kinds of items we talked about earlier.
As mentioned, if you don’t see what you are looking for, ask the seller. Often, people think that no one will be interested in buying old or broken jewelry, and they mistakenly believe that items which they have are of very little value. If you find something valuable, it’s up to you to determine whether you should let on about what you have found. In good conscience, can you pay only 25 cents for something that is worth hundreds of dollars? You may decide to share the wealth by offering a higher price for an item if you can afford to do so. Every situation is different, so let your conscience be your guide. Making a fair offer to someone in need of money not only feels good, it is also a good way to increase your luck – some people tell stories of people who have had friends or family members sell items because they received a fair price for them. In this way, you still make a profit, and you increase your finds.
Another good place to find items is at estate auctions, where everything is being sold off in a hurry. Take a cursory look at what is being offered, then take a closer look at items you are more interested in. Be careful to wear a good “poker face” here – there are no holds barred at auctions, and if you find something valuable, you want to be able to make a good profit on it. Practice making accurate value calculations before you go so that you can do so discreetly.
Thrift stores and Secondhand Stores, incredibly, are good places to look, as well. Many people who give items to thrift stores are simply in a hurry to clean up, or they are donating items belonging to someone who has been sent to a nursing home or who has passed away. Some thrift store workers are savvy to the value of what is being brought in, while others simply see an opportunity to get $20 or so on a sale, despite the true value of what is being sold. Normally, items perceived to be of value will be found near the front of the store, in a glass case. Ask to see items you are interested in, and be sure to consider value prior to making a commitment to purchase them.
Permanent Indoor Flea Markets are huge, and some sellers are so disorganized that they have simply piled garage sale leftovers in heaps. Wear comfortable shoes, stay hydrated, and pack a snack – this is a fun outing that can take all day. Bring a light source with you, and don’t forget your loupe and any other gold hunting tools you might have; all sorts of incredible finds are waiting to be discovered.
Some permanent flea market sellers have had the same items available for years, and no one has purchased them simply because the prices are too “high”. Items like these are usually displayed in jeweler’s cases or in a secure area at the front of the flea market where the main checkout area is. If an item was priced back when gold was going for $650 or so an ounce, and the price was fair then, that item is probably going to bring in a good profit. If you pay $100 for something that is worth $500, you’re going to make a great profit! Confident valuation skills and proper equipment are vital to making high profits, especially when it comes to flea market finds.
At seasonal flea markets, or outdoor flea markets, you can find all kinds of stuff. Often, items are thrown together in a heap, and digging for gold can be even more tiring than it is at messy garage sales. Stay focused, don’t become distracted, and keep looking. That one little piece you find may end up to be worth hours of searching.
Church Bazaars and Tag Sales are another excellent source for finding hidden second hand gold. People often donate very nice items, which church employees or volunteers then price for easy sale. If you pay $50 for an item worth $300 or so, you’re making a great profit and donating to a community cause at the same time. While early arrival is important at all gold hunting locations, it is even more vital here. People know that there’s “good stuff” at church sales, and there is often a line to get in before the doors open. Keep your eye on the prize! These jumble sales are usually pretty disorganized and your finds could be anywhere.
Antique Stores are a good place to find items, but you will normally be dealing with people who are well aware of the value of items which are for sale. At small antique stores, most of the valuable items will be located near the front of the store, where the employees sit. Often, but not always, prices are determined by intrinsic historic value or by perceived value according to what is being sold, rather than by the value of the gold or other precious metals on offer. Specific up to date knowledge of coins and other items is of immense value here, since most items are destined for collectors rather than for secondhand gold hunters.
Antique Malls are a different story. There is normally a special area reserved for heirloom or estate jewelry, which tends to feature prices based on actual value. You may or may not find a worthwhile piece in the case at the front of the store. The best way to find items in antique malls is to take your time, move from booth to booth, and ask to see items that catch your eye. They are often displayed in locked cases, and you’re going to need employee assistance. Go on a weekday if you can, when the mall is less busy and when you can get someone to help you access items for sale.
Just as with garage sales and flea markets, some dealers at antique malls are messy and have not taken the time to evaluate each and every item they are offering for sale. Don’t pass up a booth simply because it’s a mess – in fact, take your time to dig through the detritus in search of hidden treasure! You may find very inexpensive items, wads of old jewelry, or boxes filled with the odds and ends we talked about earlier. Not only are some items great for reselling, some are good gold finds. Don’t forget to look at old coins. Some of these are not gold, but they are valuable nonetheless.
Read the next section, When To Search For Gold, Gold Hunting Tips.
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