Ounce or Troy Ounce buyer needs to Know!

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When bidding on Silver, Gold and other items listed by weight you have to know exactly what the weight is. If some one lists an item by weight and they say "ounces" is this troy ounce. If you assume it is troy you will come up short by about 9%.

If you buy, sell, and trade gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals you need to know that they are traded in "troy ounces".  The spot precious Metals Prices are based on TROY ounces.

If you see an item made of silver or gold listed and they give the weight as ounces, be suspicious. It is an advantage to the seller that you will think that this is the amount of silver or gold that they have for sale. They boost the perceived value by 9% when they list it this way. If they list ounces and not Troy ounces just take the amount listed and multiply by .91. For example they state it is 8.9 ounces just take 8.9 x .91 = 8.099 t.oz

You will also see people list weights on items by "postal ounces" this is not a troy ounce. Just use the same calculation, 91% of the amount listed.

I have been buying and selling Silver and Gold for more than 25 years, I first started back in the boom of the 80's, I now trade on Ebay. This is a great place to look for gold and silver. If you buy and sell gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals you need to know that they are traded in "troy ounces". If you check you resources for the current "spot" of, lets say gold, they will list it as $ 691.60 (kitco’s spot today 4-20-2007) this is in Troy ounces. The same goes for the other precious metals. When buying and selling you have to know what type of ounce you have. Pounds are also the same? 16 ounces to one pound and 12 troy ounces to one troy pound.

If some one lists a weight in grams you are safe and know the weight. Now to convert from grams to Troy ounces is easy, it takes 31.103 grams to make one troy ounce. If you have a weight of 126 grams you just take 126 and divide by 31.103 this will give you troy ounces. 126/31.103 = 4.05 t.oz.

You will also see listings with weights of "grains", do not confuse this with grams. It takes 15.4326 grains to equal one gram. A Grain is equal to 1/7000 pound; equals a troy grain or 64.799 milligrams.

I have noticed on Ebay that when someone lists pounds, they are not listing "troy pounds". So you will need to convert this to a "troy" unit. One pound is equal to 14.5833 troy ounces (t.oz).

I buy a Sterling silver on Ebay and when some one states they are selling something for scrap value most of the time it is not correct. I do not want to offend any one but most people misunderstand what "scrap value" is.

"Scrap Value" If you see this check it your self. I will use silver as my example. Some one lists an item for "Scrap Value" and they state it weight 285 grams of Sterling silver. First we need to know how many troy ounces it is. And second what is the percent of silver content, third the current spot of silver. Today’s (kitco's, 4-20-2007) current spot of silver is $13.91 t.oz. And Webster's defines Sterling as; An alloy of 92.5% silver and another metal, as copper (AKA .925). Now there are 31.103 grams per troy ounce. So for "scrap value" we can calculate, 285/31.103 = 9.163 t.oz, 9.163 x .925 = 8.476 t.oz of pure silver. Now 8.476 x 13.91 = 117.887 or $117.88. This would be "scrap value", but this is not what you will get for it when you sell it for scrap to a smelter.

I sold silver on Friday 4-20-2007 at my smelter and the spot at time of sale was $13.72t.oz. For marked .900 silver plates and was paid $11.10 per troy ounce, for marked Sterling hollow ware and flat ware I was paid $11.24 per troy ounce and for Sterling marked jewelry I was paid $10.98 per troy ounce. So this is what I consider "scrap value" and it is less than the above-calculated amount. I will explain, smelters grade the silver for potential/past average percent values. For Sterling we used a value of .925 but they use .91, this is based on there past purchases and averaged. When I sold Sterling in the 80's they used .925, but now they have allot more history to know that when they melt Sterling it will only assay to about .91. They also know that Sterling jewelry typically is of lower quality and only value it at .977 of the .91. Now if I sell Sterling coins, like Franklin Mint, I will get .925 and not the .91 because the smelter stated that Franklin Mint and other coin makers use virgin silver. This would mean that not all Sterling is the same??? Again you have to know what you are bidding on. Also the smelter and all buyers will only pay you a certain amount of "spot" for silver mine pays 90% and on gold and Platinum 97% (This is there margin)

Also when bidding on Sterling items and the descriptions states "weighted Sterling" this means that it contains other materials for extra weight. This could be steel, lead, plaster, cement, wood, nails, glass; brass and one time I found copper tubing. You never know until you break open the weighted piece. This added weight could be as much as 90% of the weight of the actual item and only leave 10% Sterling silver. Most added weight is on the bottoms of tall items so they will not fall over very easily. Weighted bottoms are most common in candleholders, footed cream and sugar bowls, tall-footed candy dishes (compote) and salt & pepper shakers. Also the handles of flat ware like knifes, large serving pieces and any handled item will have filler added for strength. American Sterling hollowware makers use a very thin layer of Sterling then add filler to make the item stronger. I have noticed that salt & pepper shakers along with candle holders to be the thinnest. There is one maker (I will not mention the name) that is very common in these and their sterling is paper-thin.  There are other Sterling items that are weighted, so always beware of hollowware you could be buying filler.

The information provided is from my years of experience buying and selling silver and gold many years of research, if you have any questions or comments please contact me.

Good luck and enjoy Ebay,


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