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Scrap Gold Prices: What Should You Get?

By Edited Apr 30, 2014 3 12

Getting a Fair Price for Your Gold Scraps

If you are wondering about scrap gold prices and what you should get for them, you've come to the right place.

The Short Answer
Figure out how much pure gold you have in terms of grams, then multiple that by the current spot price of gold.  This will give you the market scrap value of the metal.  Now go out and shop your gold among several buyers and try to get a price as close to that value as you can.  You should expect to get somewhere between 50-80% of the scrap value.


The Detailed Answer
1. First, you need to calculate how much "pure gold" you have by looking at the karats of your pieces. You can usually find this value (e.g. "14K," etc.) stamped directly on the gold piece.  If it is gold from a tooth or an electronic component, you may have to do a bit of research.  24K is considered 100% pure gold, so 14K would contain 58.3% pure gold content (since 14 divided by 24 is 58.3%). Most jewelry pieces are either 10K, 14K, or 18K.

10K = 41.6% pure gold
14K = 58.3% pure gold
18K = 75.0% pure gold

2. Next, you need to weigh your gold pieces with a precision scale.  If you don't have a fancy scale, you can either buy one, borrow one from a friend, or trust the buyer's scale.  If you have access to a postal scale, that could also work.  

So, now you should have your scrap items sorted by karats and weighed in grams.  You are almost there.  

3. Next, you need to know the current price of gold per gram.  At the time of this article, it was about $60 per gram, but this value fluctuates daily, so your best bet is to do a web search for "current gold price in grams" to get an updated listing.  For your convenience, the chart below is dynamically updated daily.  

4. Now that you know the current price in terms of grams, multiple it by the amount of pure gold you have (as calculated on steps 1-2.).

Your result is the "market scrap value" of your gold, but you will be unlikely to find a buyer willing to pay this much.  The buyer will have to take your material, then pay a smelter to melt and refine the metal.  These cost, plus the need for the buyer to ultimately make a profit, is why you'll have trouble getting the full market scrap value.   A realistic price might be 50-80% of the scrap value, depending on market dynamics.  

5. Now, you need to find a buyer.  You can try pawn shops, eBay, online buyers, or even mail order buyers.  A savvy seller will try at least three buyers to see who will offer the most.  Beware not to fall victim to any scams.  A good practice is to check the reputation of your buyer before engaging in a transaction.  The Better Business Bureau is a good place to start.  

Note: Remember that this article is about scrap gold, which will ultimately be melted down and resold as a raw material back into the market.  If your jewelry happens to be more valuable in its native state (e.g. antique coins or jewelry), you might be able to command a higher price selling those pieces to private parties as opposed to a scrap metal buyer.

Let's say we have a piece of 14k gold jewelry that weighs 10 grams. To get the pure gold content, we multiply 10g by 58.3%, which equates to 8.162 grams.  Let's assume the current market price is $60/gram (check the table above for the actual current price).  Our 8.162 grams X $60 = $489.72.  That's the scrap market price, remember.  We are likely to get anywhere from 50% of that ($245) to 80% ($392) from a typical buyer.   

I hope this article has helped to answer your questions about scrap gold prices and what should you get.



Aug 31, 2011 10:09pm
Must have been the keywords! :)
Aug 31, 2011 10:37pm
Ha! Thanks, Jason.
Sep 1, 2011 11:57am
Valuable info, I bookmarked it!
Sep 1, 2011 12:00pm
Thank you, FootLoose!
Sep 1, 2011 1:04pm
Great article. You always see the break out in gold prices by the ounce, and I'm glad someone finally made a clear resource to figure out where carats fit in.
Sep 5, 2011 10:27pm
Wow! What a great source of information about scrap gold. Thanks for sharing, I, too, am bookmarking this article for future reference.
Sep 9, 2011 2:48am
Very informative.
Sep 12, 2011 8:26pm
I have found that coin stores are seem a little more credible than pawn shops for selling scrap gold and silver.
Sep 13, 2011 12:09am
Love the gold bars. GBG is a good low cost stock!
Sep 30, 2011 2:00pm
this is a good article , i like it, and it will be very helpful.
Sep 30, 2011 2:00pm
this is a good article , i like it, and it will be very helpful.
Oct 5, 2013 6:58am
good stuff
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