Selling gold items, such as gold jewelry or coins, is an excellent way to make quick cash. Today, numerous online businesses and brick-and-mortar establishments buy gold, giving you many potential options for selling. However, the final price you receive for your pieces will vary considerably from one buyer to the next.
Learn what to keep in mind when selling gold for instant cash and why a local precious metal dealer like AU Precious Metals gives you the highest price for your gold jewelry, coins, or bars.
Review Receipts or Appraisal Documents to Understand Your Gold’s Value
Selling gold requires you to understand what pieces you have and what they may be worth. Knowing the value of your jewelry, coins, or bars allows you to negotiate a fair price and avoid accepting low offers when you sell.
For non-bullion pieces, like collectors’ coins and jewelry, it can be helpful to review receipts, documents, or certificates associated with your gold items. These documents may contain information that can help you identify their characteristics and determine a potential resale value.
When organizing your gold pieces for sale, gather the following documents to present to your local precious metals dealer:
- Certificates of Authenticity
- Coin grading assessments
- Jeweler or coin shop receipts
- Professional appraisal documentation
- Mint-issued certificates
As you collect your gold items’ paperwork, look for important elements such as the manufacturer’s name, serial numbers, minting year or series, and a stamp or certification of the gold’s weight and purity.
Verify Your Items’ Gold Purity
The purity of a gold item refers to how much pure gold it contains. The precious metal industry uses two standard units of measurement for gold purity: the karat and the millesimal fineness system.
Gold Purity in Karats
When referring to gold, the karat (kt or k) is a fraction of 24. For instance, a necklace made of 18-karat gold means it contains 18 parts pure gold and 6 parts other metals, such as platinum, copper, or silver. However, this standard can often be confused with diamond carats, a unit of weight measurement.
Most often, karats are used when determining the gold purity of jewelry, such as necklaces, earrings, rings, or bracelets. To find the gold purity of jewelry items, look for stamped markings on the clasp, post, or inside of the piece. If the item is pure gold rather than gold-plated, it will have a 24K, 18K, 14K, or 10K marking.
Gold Purity Using the Millesimal Fineness System
Millesimal fineness uses a decimal number to represent the purity level. This system applies to all precious metals, including gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and rhodium.
Theoretically, pure gold has a purity of 1 or 1,000, corresponding to 100% gold. However, impurities at the molecular level mean that even the finest gold items can never be 100% pure gold.
The most common purity level that the industry refers to as “pure gold” or “fine gold” is generally 999 (or 0.999), meaning it contains at least 99.9% pure gold and 0.01% or less of other elements.
If you are selling gold bars, ingots, or bullion coins, look for a stamp containing the item’s fineness rating. A larger number indicates a higher purity level, which means your gold piece will be worth a higher price. Some gold jewelry also bears these markings in addition to or in place of a karat measurement.
You may see the following markings on your gold pieces when determining their purity before selling:
- 999.9 or 9999. This is the highest purity level for bars, ingots, and coins. Coins like the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf are 999.9 pure gold; however, Maples minted before 1982 were only 99.9 pure gold.
- 999: This marking is equivalent to traditional 24-karat gold. It is a common purity level for gold bars, ingots, coins, and some jewelry.
- 995: This is the minimum purity level to be considered bullion, as set by the Good Delivery specifications for the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) for gold bars.
- 986: Ducat gold, as used by modern Austrian gold ducats or historical Venetian ducats.
- 916: Equivalent to 22-karat gold. Many famous gold bullion coins use 916 gold, such as the modern American Gold Eagle or the South African Krugerrand.
- 750: Equivalent to 18-karat gold. Gold at this purity level is often alloyed with other elements to form jewelry of different colors, such as white gold (gold-platinum alloy) or rose gold (gold-copper alloy).
- 585: Equivalent to 14-karat gold. Some jewelry employs 14k gold alloyed with silver to form an alloy called electrum, sometimes known as green gold.
- 417: Equivalent to 10-karat gold.
When selling your gold, you can have it assayed to determine the pieces’ gold purity. AU Precious Metals offers assaying services for customers looking to sell gold items. We use advanced X-ray fluorescence (XRF) machinery that detects up to 22 elements in a non-invasive procedure.
Our professional staff will assay your gold pieces to determine their purity and offer you a high price for your old items.
Understand How Weight and Purity Correlate with Gold Prices
Understanding the difference between the retail value and the melt value of gold pieces is critical to have a realistic expectation of how much you can make when selling.
A gold object’s retail value is the amount you paid when you bought it. For jewelry, this can include the price of gold and gemstones plus any markup by the jewelry store. The melt value corresponds to the value of the gold contained in the object, according to the market’s current gold rates.
Unless your item is unique or highly desirable, such as a numismatic coin or antique jewelry, you will typically receive a quote closely matching its scrap value.
Knowing the weight and purity of your gold items is critical because the higher the weight and purity, the more your item will be worth when you sell.
For example, you have a 20-inch chain made of 3 mm, 14-karat gold rope. The piece weighs about 12.7 grams or 0.408 troy ounces (1 troy ounce equals 31.10 grams). Since 14-karat gold corresponds to a fineness of 585, the chain contains approximately 0.239 troy ounces of pure gold (0.585 × 0.408).
On November 15, 2022, the price of gold averaged $1,769.30. If you intended to sell this gold chain on this date, its raw scrap value would have been about $422.86 ($1,769.30 × 0.239). However, a gold buyer will offer you a percentage of this value due to refining costs.
For an accurate quote, visit AU Precious Metals. Our precious metal experts can help you identify your gold items, grade gold coins, and appraise gold jewelry, so you get the best sell prices for your items.
Find a Reputable Gold Buyer
To get the best price for your gold items, you’ll need the services of a qualified, reputable buyer. The following tips can help you find a trustworthy dealer near you or a store that offers a mail in program for you to sell your gold items from anywhere.
Check the Buyer’s Customer Reviews
Check online reviews and customer testimonials for local establishments that buy gold in your area. Customer testimonies can give you a good idea of a buyer’s past performance, expertise, and quality of customer service. Look for high review ratings on Google, Yelp, or Facebook to choose a dealer that offers excellent customer service.
Know How Long the Buyer Has Been in Business
Also, look at how long a local shop has been in business and how many years of experience their appraisers have. The longer a gold shop has been in business, the more likely they have the expertise to give you the best possible deal.
Understand Their Buying Process
When it’s time to sell, contact a potential buyer and ask about their buying process. For example, do they conduct a visual examination and offer an off-the-cuff quote, or do they perform professional assaying and appraisal services to accurately determine what your pieces are worth?
Additionally, ask how the buyer will pay you for your items and how long it will take to receive the settlement. Some buyers only give cash, but others offer multiple options, such as a check or wire transfer, for more secure payment.
Sell Your Gold for Cash with AU Precious Metals
AU Precious Metals is a highly experienced gold and precious metal dealer with two locations in Michigan. We use advanced X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometers to assay gold pieces, providing us with the best technology to analyze and value your gold items.
These tools are non-invasive and highly accurate, allowing us to offer you the best and most precise value for your gold items without tarnishing or damaging them.
In addition to our state-of-the-art technology, our friendly and knowledgeable staff has multiple decades of combined industry experience, enabling us to assist our customers and provide the best service possible.
Contact us at (248) 833-6133 to learn more about our processes, or visit us in person today to learn how much you can make on your gold pieces.