Want to sell your gold, silver jewelry? Research first.
To get the best cash price for gold or silver jewelry, find out its purity and weight. Then compare offers.
(Page 2 of 2)
David Small of Randolph, Mass., recently learned how much prices can vary when he brought a 14-karat Baraka gold bracelet to a Quincy, Mass., jeweler. Mr. Small says he paid $3,000 for it a few years ago. The jeweler offered him just $300, he says, even though the gold weight alone was worth more than $600 at today's prices. He then put it up for sale on eBay, where one bidder offered $800, and also offered it on Craigslist. He's holding out for the asking price of $900.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
"Everyone's doing the same thing now: buying gold and trying to make a fortune from it," Small says. "Jewelers say they're going to melt it, but as soon as you're out that door, they're on the phone trying to sell it as a premium item."
Certain hard-to-find goods are commanding strong prices, too. Example: high-quality, rare guitars. Decades-old Martin guitars in good condition have been fetching between $60,000 and $300,000, according to Matthew Enright, vice president of media for Ohio Valley, based in Springfield, Ill. One reason: Floods in Nashville earlier this year damaged many a Martin guitar and created a sense of scarcity among collectors.
Those who must sell valuables to raise cash should begin with items whose prices have risen recently. LaPedis, author of "The Garage Sale Millionaire," points to gold coins and damaged gold jewelry as reasonable items to sell now. That's because strong gold prices help sellers do well, even in a weak economy.
But he warns against unloading items whose artistic value won't be appreciated in today's market. For example: a table set of heirloom silver.
The reason? In a good economy, the seller would be compensated for the craftsmanship as well as the silver's weight. But today, buyers generally aren't competing to own fancy silverware, so a seller would likely get a low price for just the silver as a raw material.
Figuring out what to charge for valuables is no easy task, especially in difficult economic times. To discern a ballpark figure, Small checks how much similar items have commanded in eBay's list of finalized sales.
Hire an appraiser, LaPedis says, only if an item could likely be worth several hundred dollars. Otherwise, the appraiser's fee will consume too much of the proceeds to be worthwhile.
Because many collectors feel pressed to sell now, buyers might find good selection and prices in certain market segments – but not all. California antique dealers, for instance, aren't getting a look at much high-end merchandise these days, according to Glen Wright, vice president of Richard Gould Antiques in Los Angeles.
"If we're talking about a $14,000 armoire, people are choosing to sell it at a different time," Mr. Wright says. "But if we're talking about Grandma's five mismatched silver-plate spoons, then they're selling those to try to raise a little money … maybe $5."