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Old 09-19-2012, 09:57 AM   #1
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Scrap Silver

Does anyone else out there buy scrap sterling silver?

I've been bitten by the scrap sterling silver bug lately with grand dreams of hoarding a large chunk and either smelting some .925 bars myself, or shipping it off to a refiner / assayer for refining. I read that they usually take a 10% cut for the work.

Any thoughts on this?

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Old 09-19-2012, 10:00 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by ADK View Post:
Does anyone else out there buy scrap sterling silver?

I've been bitten by the scrap sterling silver bug lately with grand dreams of hoarding a large chunk and either smelting some .925 bars myself, or shipping it off to a smelter / assayer for refining. I read that they usually take a 10% cut for the work.

Any thoughts on this?

ADK
The cheapest way to get into that market is estate and yard sales. You would be suprised how often you can find old silver tea pots, spoons, ect going for pennies on the dollar.
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:35 AM   #3
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I agree! I usually stop at the ones I see on my way home from work... or I'll make a trip around town during lunch.

I stack rounds and bars, but I can't turn down the chance for a good treasure hunt, either.



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Old 09-19-2012, 11:24 AM   #4
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I thought I was the only one!

I have been yard sale hopping and estate sale hunting for several years now. I have two auctioneers who will give me preview sessions to buy what I want because they know I always pay a fair price. The result is that I usually make 40% for my efforts. Sterling flatware in odd sets are the best followed by tea sets. I have been burned two times with tea sets so now I take the XRF with me to be sure. The auctioneers think it is pretty cool and have had me authenticate a hell of a lot of collector coins for them since it is non-destructive. By doing this for free, I have generated about 8 thousand a year in extra jack. Plus, I have picked up a few guns for between 10 and 30% of their actual value as a bonus.
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Old 09-19-2012, 11:29 AM   #5
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i would like to start doing the yard sales and estate sales, as i live in an area where it is mostly an older population. Im just not confident in my skills of spotting silver lol
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:21 PM   #6
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Ancona, we are on the same page!

I've been doing the garage sale / estate sale thing for 15 years or so. I used to buy misc items for collecting or re-sale. Only in the past few years did I start seeking out silver, specifically.

Although, I can't pass up a good item that I can re-sale and re-invest in PM!!!

You have a good deal going with the auctioneers! That's great!

I guess I'm not alone on this board!!

I need to start doing the Goodwill / Salvation Army circuit a little more though. I haven't tried that opportunity too much, yet.

It's all just darn fun!

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Old 09-19-2012, 01:22 PM   #7
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So --- you guys typically just re-sell rather than selling to a refiner or melting it down yourself?

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Old 09-19-2012, 01:44 PM   #8
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I take mine to a guy in Orlando who has a furnace. He melts it in to thirty or forty pound blocks, knocks off the slag and sells it for further refining. Keeping in mind that sterling is already 92.5% pure silver, it's already pretty damn pure and fairly easy to finish off back to .999
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:51 PM   #9
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So, what's the trick telling solid sterling from a thick plate over something worthless?
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:57 PM   #10
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X-ray flouroscopy. Although it presumes testing an area that would be susceptible to wear, such as a handle. I'll admit that XRF is not foolproof, but on plated items it works quite well. Niton is a fantastic manufacturer, and if you calibrate with a piece of sterling, you will be right on with every shot. Ditto for .999 calibrateed using an ASE or a smooth bar.
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