Disclosure: Our content does not constitute financial advice. Speak to your financial advisor. We may earn money from companies reviewed. Learn more
In 2013, a couple living in California were out walking the dog on their property. The couple who wished to remain anonymous espied something shiny on the ground that piqued their interest. After a bit of digging, low and behold, said couple unearthed numerous buried cans containing over 1,400 gold coins dating from between 1847 and 1894. The particulars of how and why the coins found themselves buried on the property have been lost to the passage of time, but the couple’s newfound gold treasure had an estimated worth of over $10 million US – believed to be the largest discovery of gold coins in US history. Yet suffice to say, most people are not going to be as fortunate to find that amount of old gold on their property or in their home. However, you may very well discover a few old gold coins or jewelry that you, say inherited from a relative, then forgot about. Here are 5 things you should do if you find old gold coins or jewelry in your home.
Table of Contents
Weigh The Gold And Find Its Melt Value
Given the economic uncertainties surrounding the trajectory of the global economy at present, the price of gold has been bullish. That being said, selling the glittering metal has never been easier, but it also comes with the potential of risk for being scammed so one must be mindful.
The best course of action is to first weigh the coins or jewelry with a household digital scale. Then, if you are already cognizant of the purity, use gold calculators to help you determine the value of your gold and its melt value, which is the value of the gold found within the jewelry.
Shop Around For An Appraisal
If you are unsure of the purity level of the gold coins or jewelry that you’ve found in your home, shop around for a local appraiser – be sure to take your gold items to more than one appraiser in order to get the base price, with three being the best bet. To be unequivocally certain that you’re receiving an honest appraisal, it is wise to find a member appraiser from either the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, the American Society of Appraisers, or the International Society of Appraisers. Members of all three organizations must abide by a code of ethics and standards as outlined by each group, thus decreasing the likelihood that you will be dealing with a dishonest individual. Yet, irrespective of the appraisal price that you are given, don’t anticipate actually getting that price when you decide to sell.
“With gold jewelry, an appraiser may tell you the “melt” price of your piece, which is the value of the precious metal contained in it. Again, you are unlikely to get this price, because the buyer must factor in his own profit margin and the cost of extracting the gold. Experts say that if you can get 70 to 80 percent of the melt value for your gold, that is a fair price,” explained the Washington Post.
Check the Better Business Bureau Before Selling Your Gold
Once you have gotten your old gold coins or jewelry appraised, now you must decide where you will actually sell your gold – presuming, of course, you choose to do so rather than simply keeping it. If you do decide to sell your gold, perhaps the best option is going to local coin stores, consignment stores, or jewelry stores. Sellers are more likely to get the most for their money at brick and mortar shops. Yet, before selecting a gold buyer, it’s wise to check the Better Business Bureau for any complaints against the establishment.
When at an establishment, be aware of the scales and nature of the weight being used.
“The Better Business Bureau advises sellers to pay close attention to how their gold is being weighed: Jewelers value gold not by the ordinary ounce (28 grams) but by the Troy (31.1 grams). While some buyers pay according to the gram, others use a system called pennyweight: A pennyweight is equivalent to 1.555 grams. A seller needs to make sure he's not being weighed by pennyweight and paid by the gram, since that would allow the buyer to get more gold for less money,” explained ABC News.
Exercise Caution If Choosing The Online Route
If you are considering selling your gold via the online route, it is highly advisable to exercise caution. There are numerous issues with this method of selling gold, so be warned.
“There are a lot of inherent problems with this industry. There's no regulation – people can just set up a website and scam people left, right and center,” explained Diane Iadeluca, president of Better Business Bureau’s Ottawa, Ontario branch.
If you do decide upon the online route to sell you gold, pay very close attention to the terms and conditions posted on the respective gold buyer’s website.
“Even when consumers use a legitimate site that buys gold online it is easy to make a costly mistake by not reading the fine print. For example, some websites offer free shipping to send in gold, but very high shipping rates if the consumer declines the offer and asks for the gold to be returned,” said Sell Gold HQ, a website that is a free and unbiased information resource for gold sellers, in a statement.
Taking into account that gold is enjoying a bullish market, it is yet another reason why gold makes sense in an IRA. For those investors who are interested, learn more about Gold IRA Rules and Regulations. Additionally, have a look at our Top Gold IRA companies to understand your options within the space.