Precious metals, such as gold, silver, and platinum, have been valued for thousands of years. Although precious metals are typically associated with gold and silver bullion, like coins and bars, they also have numerous applications in other industries, making it possible to find them in unexpected places and objects.
Discover 10 surprising places where you can find precious metals that you can sell for cash to AU Precious Metals.
Many people and businesses discard electronics, medical equipment, jewelry, and car parts. When households, hospitals, and retailers throw out these items, they find their way into one of the thousands of landfill facilities nationwide.
Besides electronics, many other broken and discarded items can contain precious metals. Examples include industrial parts, electroplated or coated elements, and waste from industries, such as:
- Waste aeronautics and aerospace parts, such as aircraft engines and associated components, which contain silver cadmium, platinum, and palladium
- Waste automotive parts, especially catalytic converters, which are known to include palladium, rhodium, platinum
- Industry waste, such as waste by-products from mining, refining, or manufacturing
- Broken or discarded mirrors, which may feature coatings made from gold or silver.
Landfills may also allow gem hunters to find discarded stones from jewelry and watches. When gem hunting, look for watches containing quartz crystals to extract or find rubies, diamonds, or other stones in jewelry that have been thrown away.
With the proper extraction methods, landfill mining can turn large quantities of scrap into valuable elements, potentially including precious metals. However, landfill mining requires specialized equipment and knowledge to separate precious metals from lower-value elements and potentially toxic compounds.
2. Ocean Floor
Mining the ocean floor is a potential source of many valuable ores, including precious metal ores such as silver, gold, or platinum. It is also a source of numerous other materials needed in other industries, such as nickel, cobalt, or manganese.
The primary source of deep-sea precious metals is polymetallic sulfides: mineral aggregates containing commercial quantities of precious and semi-precious metals.
The process of extracting these metals is known as deep-sea mining. While it is a technologically and environmentally challenging ordeal, the potential rewards are great. The ocean floor is estimated to contain more precious metals than all the land-based mines combined.
3. Mine Tailings
In the mining industry, the tailings are the materials that remain after precious metals or other valuable elements have been extracted from ores. A typical example is acanthite, a silver sulfide (Ag₂S) and one of the most common ores of silver. After extracting the silver, acanthite tailings are mainly composed of the other remaining element: sulfur.
However, research has demonstrated that the tailings of common precious ores may still contain trace amounts of precious metals. Consequently, processing mine tailings can provide a significant source of precious metals, particularly in areas with a long history of mining activity, such as those involved in the gold rushes of the 19th century.
4. Old Coins
Modern coins are made from relatively inexpensive metals like copper, zinc, nickel, or aluminum, limiting their melt value. In contrast, many older coins are made from precious metals like silver or gold.
The most common types of precious metal coins in the United States are U.S. dimes, quarters, half-dollars, and dollar coins produced before 1964. These specific denominations were primarily manufactured of 900 silver.
If you own old coins made of silver, gold, or other precious metals, consider having them graded by a professional coin buyer to determine their type, rarity, and value. They may be worth more than their melt value, especially if the coin is a rare or desired type among collectors and numismatics enthusiasts.
Staff at AU Precious Metals can help you identify and assay your coins to determine their worth. We can provide you with a quote for your old coins that you can receive in cash, check, or wire transfer.
5. Jewelry Scrap
If you have old, damaged, or broken jewelry pieces, they may still be valuable even if they are no longer in good enough condition to wear.
Broken jewelry and scrap pieces can still be melted or recycled to recover the precious metals they contain. The jewelry industry uses precious metal scrap as a valuable source of raw materials to produce new items, reducing their reliance on freshly mined ore.
AU Precious Metals can determine what metals and purity your scrap jewelry contains using non-invasive assaying methods and offer the best possible value for them.
6. Antique Furniture and Objects
Besides jewelry, many other objects within your household may contain precious metals, especially vintage furniture, dishes, glasses, and other antique items.
A typical example is valuable antique mirrors with metal frames, which may feature gold or silver plating. Antique silverware may contain valuable grades of silver, such as sterling silver (925 purity).
Antique furniture may possess handles, knob pulls, bands, and other intricately designed elements with precious metal plating to enhance its value and decorative appeal.
7. Embroidered Textiles
Some forms of luxurious textile products may contain precious metals, typically gold. These articles of clothing have been used throughout history as a symbol of wealth and status, employing various techniques to integrate precious metals into apparel.
Examples include gold thread, gold-plated fibers, or gold embroidery. Some may also be adorned with precious gemstones.
8. Battery Recycling
As the battery and EV industries grow, so does the need to recycle their batteries and components more efficiently. Many types and models of rechargeable batteries contain elements made using precious metals, such as gold and silver.
Battery recycling is a growing industry, as rechargeable batteries are becoming increasingly common in electronic devices. Recycling rechargeable batteries, such as EV batteries, may become one of the future’s most significant sources of precious metals.
AU Precious Metals Will Buy Your Scrap Precious Metals
If you have recovered precious metals from discarded antique furniture, jewelry scrap, or other sources, finding the right place to sell them is critical.
Convert your findings into cash in the Rochester, MI, area at AU Precious Metals. We buy most types of precious metals: silver, gold, platinum, palladium, and rhodium. We use non-invasive, technologically advanced processes such as XRF spectrometry to provide you with an accurate estimation of your scrap precious metals’ value.