Selling your silver can be a great way to make some extra cash. Maybe you have old sterling silver jewelry pieces that you don't wear anymore, or you've been hanging on to your silver coin collection and now want to get rid of it. Whatever your reason for selling is, there are many options for finding a buyer. Whether you take your silver to a pawn shop, smelter, or private buyer, make sure you're happy with the price before selling.
EditEvaluating Your Silver
- Separate your silver into coins, collectibles, sterling, scrap, or junk silver. Figuring out what type of silver you have will help you choose a strategy for selling it. Most silver is either a bullion coin, rare coin or collectible, scrap silver (which includes rounds and bars), sterling or flatware, or junk silver. If you have more than one kind of silver, separate them so that you can find a seller for each one.
- Bullion coins are best for investing, while if you have a rare coin it's most likely part of a collection or hobby.
- Junk silver refers to all of your extra change that was issued before 1965 and is made of 90% silver.
- Determine if your silver is sterling or plated. Plated silver is worth significantly less than sterling, so sterling silver is what you want to try to sell. Silver should have identifiable marks, so to figure out if your silver is sterling or not, check to see what it’s labeled as. If it says “sterling,” "ster," or “.925,” the silver is sterling. If it says “silver-plate,” “plated,” “EP,” or “EPNS,” the silver is plated.
- Sterling silver might say “.925” because it’s 92.5% pure silver.
- When talking about plated silver, “EP” stands for electroplated and “EPNS” stands for electroplated nickel silver.
- Keep your silver unpolished. It may be tempting to polish your silver before selling it so that it’s looking shiny and new, but this can decrease its value or worth. Don’t use any polish on your silver, and if you need to clean it up a bit, use a jewelry polishing cloth.
- Research the potential value of your silver online. It’s better to try to sell your silver with an idea in mind of about how much it’s worth. This will keep you from being scammed when it comes time to actually sell your silver and will allow you to gain the most profit. Online valuations will help give you the approximate value of your silver, usually for a small fee.
- Take your silver to get appraised if you know a local professional. If you'd rather get your silver appraised in person, take it to a local antique shop, pawn shop, jewelry store, or similar dealer. They should be able to give you an estimate for how much money your silver is worth.
- You can find a professional appraiser through the Appraisers Association of America or the International Society of Appraisers.
EditChoosing a Buyer
- Compare prices with several different potential buyers. Instead of just selling your silver to the first buyer that gives you an offer, do some comparison research to find out who’s going to give you the best price. You can do this by asking people you know for recommendations, checking the Internet for respectable buyers, or calling the businesses themselves and asking how much they pay per ounce.
- Sell your silver at a pawn shop if you have quality items. Most cities have pawn shops, making them a popular choice for selling silver. Pawn shops are great because you get paid on the spot, but you won't get a good price for your silver unless it's super valuable. If you have quality items, such as sterling jewelry, firearms, or a nice watch, visiting a pawn shop could be the right choice for you.
- You can also stop by a coin shop or jeweler if you have quality coins or sterling silver jewelry to see what their price estimate is.
- Visit a coin show if you have silver coins. While coin shows only happen every once in awhile, if you do happen to visit one, you could end up very pleased with your sale — they’re full of tons of dealers and experts interested in your coins. If you have silver coins you’d like to sell, do some research online to find out when and where the nearest coin show will be taking place.
- Complete sets of coins are easier to sell than just a few from a random collection, and they're also much easier to price.
- It's easier to sell at a coin show if you have a transportable amount of coins.
- Sell your silver to an online dealer for convenience. Many people choose to sell their silver online to avoid the hassle of visiting a dealer in person. Selling your silver online gives you access to dealers from all over the world, and you can easily compare prices with several different buyers. If you’re OK with shipping valuable silver through the mail, go online to research reputable online dealers.
- Popular online dealers include Kitco, GoldSilver, Apmex, and Provident Metals.
- Shipping a huge amount of incredibly heavy silver through the mail can get pricey, so make sure you have a manageable amount of silver if you're planning on working with an online dealer.
- Sell your silver scraps to a smelter or refiner if you have a large quantity. Smelters and refiners melt your silver down so that you’re paid according to its weight. While you can take most silver to a smelter or refiner, it’s the best choice if you have scrap silver. Smelters or refiners usually pay well, but they're often only interested in large amounts of silver.
- If you have less than 10 ounces of silver, you should choose a selling option other than a smelter or refiner — they're not usually interested in such small amounts.
- Check your local newspaper for private buyers looking for silver. Sometimes private buyers will be looking for silver to purchase. While private buyers can be harder to find than most other options, they're often willing to pay a great price for valuable silver items. Check your local newspapers or online ads to see if any private buyers are looking for silver.
- Sell your silver on eBay or at an auction to see how high the bids will go. Online auctions, such as eBay, as well as live auctions have the potential to be great selling options — there’s a wide audience, and your silver could sell for a high price due to multiple bids. However, there’s always the possibility that it could undersell during an auction as well. If you have unique silver items that you think would get high bids, try out an auction.
- Auctions will oftentimes take a commission from the seller.
- If you’re thinking about selling your silver on eBay, contact a professional silver matching service for a bid.
- Research all of your options before selling. Don’t rush through the process of selling your silver. Take the time to research your options and get several different appraisals, if desired. Knowing roughly what your silver is worth before contacting a buyer will make you look more knowledgable, and the buyer will be more likely to give you a better price. When it comes time to make the sale official, make sure you're confident and happy with your decision.
- Haggling is common at pawn shops or when dealing with rare coin buyers, but it won't always work. If you do want to try to haggle, name a price higher than what you'd actually like to earn for your silver to start with.
EditSources and Citations
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