If you've recently inherited a large quantity of unidentified gold coins, jewelry, or other valuables from a parent or close relative, you may be wondering how best to handle this sudden influx of previously-unknown heirlooms. Unless these coins or jewelry hold sentimental value and you'd like to keep them in the family, selling the gold can often make the most financial sense -- especially when, like now, gold prices are flirting with unusual highs. However, determining the best way to convert your newfound gold stash into cash can be a challenge, especially if you've never dealt in gold before. Read on to learn more about your highest-grossing options for getting rid of unwanted pure or scrap gold.
If your inheritance includes gold coins, it's always a good idea to have these coins appraised by a professional before selling them as scrap. Certain rare or unique coins may be worth far more than their face value or gold content simply due to their limited availability. In other cases, you may find that your gold coins are simply gold-plated and would be best disposed by selling at face value on an online marketplace. By doing a bit of legwork on your own prior to taking these coins for a professional appraisal at a coin shop, you'll be able to sort out the potentially valuable from the likely worthless and minimize the odds of paying for an appraisal of coins that aren't worth selling as-is.
In many cases, the appraiser may offer his or her services for "free" if you choose to sell the coins to the appraiser. This can eliminate your out-of-pocket cost while still providing you with a nice profit. In other cases, you may discover after a bit of online research that you'll be able to get more money out of your coins by selling them elsewhere, instead paying a small fee for the appraisal service. Either way, you'll be able to rest assured that you know the approximate value of the coins in your possession.
Selling as scrap to a gold buyer
Broken gold jewelry or gold-plated fashion jewelry, unlike coins, may often be best sold as scrap rather than be appraised or repaired. Because the relative gold content in costume-style jewelry is usually relatively low, these pieces are worth less on a per-ounce basis than solid gold or gold-plated coins mixed with another metal, like nickel or iron. However, disposing of large quantities of gold jewelry to a scrap gold buyer can still yield a sizable sum and save you the time of individually valuing and listing these pieces for sale.
When selling scrap gold jewelry to a gold buyer, you'll want to get several estimates before making your final decision. Although some gold buyers offer convenient mail-in service -- simply sending you a postage-paid envelope for you to use to ship your jewelry -- you may find it difficult to get this jewelry back if you're not satisfied with the price offered. By taking your jewelry to be appraised in-person, you'll avoid any high-pressure sales tactics and can ensure you're getting the most generous price possible for your jewelry.
If your gold jewelry or coins have a higher-than-average gold content and you're not happy with the prices being offered by scrap gold buyers, you can try to refine this gold yourself and sell the pure byproduct. If you're a hobbyist and have the torches and molding containers to try your hand at at-home refining, you should be able to quickly bring your jewelry to the melting point and separate out the liquid gold from other metals, pouring it into a mold to cool and reform. This process nearly always yields a higher price than selling the same quantity of gold jewelry to a storefront retailer, but it is also more labor-intensive. Unless your scrap jewelry contains a large quantity of gold, the effort may not be worth the increased revenue.
For more information and tips, talk with a gold seller or buyer, such as those at Harlan J. Berk, LTD.