Buying silver is one of the ways investors diversify their portfolios as a hedge against inflation and an economic downturn. This can raise the price of silver significantly, and that is the perfect time to sell your silver. However, silver jewelry is not as popular as gold, mostly because it tarnishes. If you have silver jewelry, it is likely that the silver content will be much lower. Moreover, the market price for silver is more volatile. You have to be careful when you sell your silver to make sure you get the best prices.
On the other hand, you probably have more silver than gold. Silver is a popular precious metal for things other than jewelry. High quality cutlery and other household items such as pots and trays can fetch a very nice bit of cash. You may even have silver coins or bars in the mix. Here are some things you need to know before you trade in your silver for cash.
Know your silver
The first thing you need to know is what kind of silver you have. When you check the market price or “spot” price of silver, this is for pure silver. However, pure silver is rare, unless it is a silver bar or coin, so you may have to do the mat to find out the value of your piece.
Bullion coins are typically 99.9% silver, practically pure. However, you should also know if the coins you have may have additional numismatic value. An American Silver Eagle coin, for instance, can fetch you about $1 more than the spot price. Bars are also 99.9% but will not have an value over the silver content.
On the other hand, you may have junk silver, or US coins issued prior to 1965. These are made from 90% silver. For such coins, expect to get a lower, or “melt” value. This will depend on how much silver the coin contains.. For example, a 1932-1964 Washington Quarter contains about 0,1808 troy ounces of silver. If the current price of silver is $17.77 per troy ounce, the melt value is $3.21. A 1946-1964 Roosevelt Silver Dime, on the other hand, has only 0.0723 troy ounces of silver, so the melt price is $1.29.
However, some collectors buy these “junk coins” for more than the spot or melt price, so you may want to take a shot at selling them to a collector to get top dollar. In fact, if the coins are slabbed or graded, meaning they are certified and encapsulated by a reputable third-party, then you probably have very rare coins indeed. In such cases, you should bring these to coin professionals for appraisal before selling them. You may want to consider sending it to the Professional Coin Grading Service, but they do charge a fee.
You may also have silverware. Flatware or cutlery is often sterling silver, which is 92.5% silver. In most cases, these are also priced at melt value, except if the items are a rare edition, have a history, or of a brand prized by collectors.
Where to sell your silver
You have several options for selling your silver. The form in which your silver is in will determine which options you should choose.
If you have silver coins, your best bet is to go to local coin dealers. This is the fastest and most convenient way for you to sell silver coins for cash. However, not all coin dealers are on the up and up. Look for one with a good reputation online, and preferably have been in the business for a few years. If there is more than one coin dealer in your area, go to each one to compare prices. It is also good to do your research first before committing to a sale, especially if what the coin dealer is offering is the melt price. It is probably better to avoid Fridays when selling your silver or gold coins, because the price may plunge over the weekend. It is unlikely, especially for gold, but it is better not to risk it.
If you have a chance to go to a coin show, that should be an interesting experience for you. You will have many professional coin dealers all in one spot, so getting an appraisal is easy. This is especially true if you believe you have a rare coin, because you can get it graded onsite.
It is likely there are no coin dealers in your area. If that is the case, you may have some luck unloading your silver coins there especially if they are junk coins. Pawnshops are also a good option if you have silver jewelry or flatware to sell, because they accept anything of value. Transactions are usually fast and cash, so if you need money in a hurry, this is your best option. However, pawnshops typically offer lower prices than coin dealers. If you have the time, it is still better to shop around and not accept the first offer you get.
The most convenient way to sell silver is online. Many silver buyers advertise online, and most will have a silver buying program. Of course, it entails sending your silver to the buyer for appraisal before you can strike a deal. You can hedge your bets with dealing with any of them by checking out reviews, and choosing those that offer free shipping to and from the dealer, in case you don’t like the offer. The biggest drawback to dealing even with reputable online dealers is the wait, sometimes for weeks. You definitely don’t get instant cash, which is something to think about if you need it urgently.
You might also consider eBay, where you can get your money before you even send the product. Of course, you have to consider think about the high seller fees, which start from 10%, plus other fees. This can cut into your profits considerably. However, you do get a lot of exposure, and if you have something really rare or collectible, an auction may be your best bet.
Selling silver is easy if you know where to go. However, there are pros and cons for each one. Overall, the best way to sell your silver is to go to the local coin dealers or pawnshops to get the best deals for instant cash.