When speaking with silver buyers, what should you expect as a customer? In truth, it depends on the buyer and their business model. Over the years that we’ve worked in this field, we’ve answered a number of questions from customers along these lines—and the one we hear the most is, ‘How much am I going to get for my silver?’
To start out, it makes sense for us to consider how silver valuation works, and from there to examine what value a silver item in your possession might hold. It might deflate expectations on price, but it’s also very useful to potential sellers considering their options. We hope that this article, prepared by our expert appraisers, will give some insight.
Any silver buyers in business will offer prices based on the current market for silver. That figure is based on the international value of a troy ounce of silver, which is about 1.09 US ounces or 31 grams. Over the past 20 years, the value of a silver troy ounce has varied between about $4 USD and $43 USD—quite a significant spread. And when silver buyers look at a potential purchase of an item, they have to consider its potential resale value as well as the spot value for the metal contained within the item.
Jewelry and other silver items have emotional and historical value to their owners. This often does not translate into market value, however, unless the item in question is either brand-name or immediately identifiable as a rare antique. In most cases, the value is solely from the scrap metal.
So, how does a silver buyer calculate this value? First, there has to be an assessment of the silver’s purity. It’s extremely rare to see silver at 99 percent purity or above, simply because of the malleability of the metal at that concentration. It’s rarely a good idea to make jewelry that bends or dents easily, and as such jewelry makers will blend silver with harder metals like nickel, zinc, or tin. They’ll then stamp the purity on the item, which in the US must be at least 92.5% for a ‘sterling silver’ rating.
Silver buyers will first identify the purity and then assess the weight of the item. This lets them determine the total pure silver contained within the object, which will yield its purchase price. For the overwhelming majority of silver purchases, it’s this figure multiplied times the market value for precious metals that provides a price quote.
If this seems complicated, don’t worry! Our team of expert appraisers can help talk you through it, ensuring that you’ve got all the information you need to make an informed decision when selling your silver.