Cash for gold! sell your gold! Get rid of all that old gold! Sound familiar? A few years ago afternoon television was full of ads for loan companies. Now you can’t borrow a bean. But nature abhors a vacuum and those hours of cheap afternoon advertising space are now filled with a parade of companies offering to buy your old gold for cash. You know the deal. Throw all your gold in an envelope, send it off and a week later you will get a nice fat cheque. But how do you know your getting a fair deal? I get asked quite often by clients where they can sell their gold. I’m loath to recommend anywhere as I’m always afraid it might come back to bite me on the posterior. But in the spirit of openness (God knows, someone has to be) I thought I’d jot down a few points to consider before you take the plunge.
- Weigh it first.Its like anything else you sell. Its up to you the get the best price. Before you send anything off for an offer, give it a quick weigh. Now the gold price is a little more complicated to assess. The price listed as a commodity, called the Gold fix, is quoted in ounces troy which are equivalent to 31.1 grams. Then the gold you have is carat gold so for example lets take an 18ct wedding ring that weighs 10 grams. 18ct means its 75% pure gold. So to calculate how much the gold is worth use the formula (Gold fix X 0.03215) x 75% = price per gram of 18ct gold.If its 9ct gold use 37.5% or 14ct use 58.5%. Back to our example, a 10 gram ring and the gold fix is, say, 820 per oz. That’s 820 x 0.03215 x 75% (18ct) x 10 (grams) = 197.72. Now all that tells you is how much the gold content is worth as a commodity. A gold refiner has to extract the gold from the ring which is an expensive process. Also unless you sell directly to a refiner (which you can’t) you’ll have to go through a middle man. So expect to get somewhere between 50% to 75% of that value.
- The market in Ireland is not regulated. This basically means that there is no set price they have to offer you. My experience is that the postal services and web based buying services are rather opaque about what they offer. They don’t publish a gold price because they say its impossible to keep it up to date. However a simple link to a site with a published Gold Fix and an embedded calculator would not be difficult. The truth is they sit on the gold waiting for a good price before they sell it. So go back to point 1 and be aware what your gold is worth before you sell it but be aware they are under no obligation to offer you a particular sum based on that days gold fix.
- There is choice. Which magazine, the consumer champion, recently did a study, sending identical pieces to various places in order to see what offers they would get. The results varied widely but it seemed that across the board the offers received from postal based and web based buyers were a lot lower than the offers received from pawnbrokers and jewellery retailers. One point that must be noted was that they used identical, new pieces to do the test. A jeweller or a Pawnbroker Melbournewould not send a piece of jewellery in good condition away to be scrapped. They would polish it, repair it and sell it as a second-hand piece, so the price they would offer would reflect this. So, if your gold is in good nick, but you just don’t wear it try your local jeweller first.
On a personal note I’m not comfortable with postal Gold buyers infofor one reason. Its far too easy for thieves to dispose of stolen jewellery quickly by sending it away. Now, the postal buyers will say they have precautions against this, but nothing beats a face to face meeting and someone who is nervously trying to sell stolen goods to a jeweller is invariably sent away, followed by a discreet call to the police. I worked in retail jewellery for twenty years and used to have to deal with this all the time.
So in conclusion all I can say is be careful, be aware there are choices, and if your not 100% happy with the offer, get your gold back.