How much is Scrap Silver Worth? Getting the Best Prices Online

POSTED ON December 20, 2016
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Sure, a lot of precious-metal-buying websites have ‘gold’ in their title. That doesn’t mean they won’t buy other metals, though. A good example of a something they’ll buy just as gladly is silver. To a lot of people, this will be music to the ears. After all, many households have more silver – like flatware, coins and jewelry – lying around than gold.

If that’s the case for you, then that means you’ve got some extra cash lying around for when you need it!

Have a lot of silver? Then perhaps a little fist pump is in order. Just a small one! Don’t worry, nobody is looking. You can even do it beside the couch if you like. That felt good, didn’t it?

Okay, on to business! Realizing that these sites buy silver is only the first step. The next one is getting the best price you can for it. That’s what the rest of this article is about!

The millesimal system

The millesimal system

 

Once you’ve collected together the silver you want to sell you need to establish the purity of it. If you’ve read this blog before, then you probably know about karats. If you’re lucky, then silver is measured in the same way. It isn’t always, though. Other parts of the world use different ways (don’t they always?).

If your silver has a number from 24 on down with a ‘K’ behind it, then calculate the purity like we discussed in our scrap gold article. Just be sure to use the spot price for silver instead of gold.

If the number contains three digits then you’re probably dealing with the Millesimal system. This is used more often on European crafted silver.

It is like the standard percentage system. The difference is that it works in 1000s instead of 100s (hence the ‘mil’ which is Latin for ‘thousand’).

So, if you’ve got something that has a finesse of 500, it is half silver and 50 percent something else (like copper). Does it say 800? Well, then you’ve got 90 percent silver and 20 percent something else.

Most of the silver you’ll have will not be completely pure. This is because silver on its own is rather soft, which would make it pretty useless as cutlery. Could you imagine the steak cutting the knife? Similarly, bowls might get bent out of shape and jewelry twisted or squashed. That wouldn’t be practical, would it?

Here are some common millesimal purities and their names:

    • 999  Known as Pure Silver.      99.9% Pure.
    • 958  Known as Brittania.          95.8% Pure.
    • 925  Known as Sterling Silver  92.5% Pure.
    • 800 Known as Jewelry Silver  80.0% Pure.

Calculating the value

Calculating the Value

As the Finesse is a decimal-based system it’s easy to figure out how much silver you’ve actually got. Just take the Millesimal number and put a decimal point in front of it (so 555 becomes .555). Then multiply that by the weight of the silver you’ve got.

Let’s say that you’ve got 10 ounces of jewelry grade silver. That, as the table above tells us, has a millesimal number of 800.

So 10 X 0.800 = 8 ounces of pure silver. (You don’t have to put a ‘0’ in front of the decimal but you can – your calculation won’t change because of it). Next multiply that amount by the spot price of silver online and you’ve got a price estimate!

So that’s it? I can go sell my silver now?

So that’s it, I can go sell my silver now?

Not quite. There is one more step to consider and that’s where you’re going to sell it. You see, the spot price isn’t the price you’re going to get. This is because the companies that want to buy your silver also want to sell it on.

Since they’ve got a lot of overhead (the storefront, security, the appraisal, storage, etc.) and they want to make a profit as well, that means they won’t buy it at the same price they will sell it. Otherwise, they’d go out of business in a heartbeat!

Yes, it’s unfortunate, but it’s true.

The trick is to find a company that will come the closest it can to the price you’ve got. Now, there are a couple of ways that you can go about doing this. You can hit all the local gold and silver shops, get them all to appraise it and then select the best one.

In this case, however, you’re still going to struggle to get a good price (to not even mention the cost for the appraisals). This is because these shops have a lot of overhead while they don’t get that much business (most aren’t that big, after all). So, to cover their costs, they need to charge a big difference between what they pay and what they sell it for.

Selling it online

Selling it online

Or you can go online to sell your silver. This is better because – as we’ve explained before – there are fewer overheads. Online businesses don’t need shops all over the country and the security to go with it. Also, they can appraise all the precious metals in a central place, so they need less staff. Then there are economies of scale. This means there are fewer costs. Those cost-savings they pass on to you.

Of course, you might be worried about how safe it is to send precious metals across the country. Now, we can’t speak for all online retailers, but in our case, we can guarantee it is safe. We use FedEx, which has a sterling reputation (sorry, couldn’t help myself).

This allows you and us to track the package with pinpoint precision. Even if it does get lost, your package is insured for up to $5000 US. So you’ll get paid, no matter what (you can read more about it here).

Don’t like the price we’re offering? Then we’ll send the package right on back. Got an offer elsewhere that is better? Show us, and we’ll match it. Yes, that’s another guarantee.

In other words, it’s safe and it gets you a better price. What more could you want? Convenience? Well, with those shops you’ll have to run around, from shop to shop to get a good price. With us, all you have to do is get a mailer, hand over your package to FedEx and then take or leave the price we’ll offer.

So it seems fair to say we’ve got that covered too.