Monday, January 24, 2011

Selling Precious Metals

Since gold has gone over $1300 per ounce and everybody has decided to start buying, I feel people should be better informed of what they are doing when they go to sell their precious metals. As a gold buyer prior to this rush, I am tired of hearing stories of people blindly selling their gold for next to nothing and buyers taking advantage of people’s lack of knowledge. This results in the seller loosing money when they could have had substantially more. As a result I decided its time to enlighten you, the seller.

When you first decide you are going to sell your precious metals. Go through and divide up what you have by gold karat weight, sterling, or platinum. If you have things that you are not sure of the marks etc. put those in a separate bag for testing that can be done by a reputable dealer. If you have a scale weigh them out so you have an idea of what your gold weighs. Grant it that your scale may be off but a precious metal dealer will use scales that have been calibrated for accuracy.

Below are various ways precious metals may be marked somewhere on your pieces. Please note a high quality loop maybe required to actually be able to read these marks.

Possible gold hallmarks
10k aka 410
14k aka 585
18k aka 750
Dental gold is not marked but can be 16k or higher

Possible Silver Hallmarks

You probably are wondering should I weigh my gold in pennyweights (dwt), grams (g) ounces (oz) or troy ounces (toz)? I prefer pennyweights as do most precious metal dealers however each dealer is different. Some people believe that you shouldn’t sell you gold if it is weighed in pennyweights. But most precious metal buyers buy gold and platinum in pennyweights. Sterling is almost always purchased in ounces or troy ounces. If you are worried about selling your gold in pennyweights I am giving you a conversion chart so you can figure your pennyweights weights in to grams or ounces.

1 g to 1 dwt 0.643014931
1 g to 1 toz 0.0321507466
1 g to 1 oz 0.0352739619

1 dwt to 1 g 1.55517384
1 dwt to 1 oz 0.0548571429

 I suggest you should take your precious metals to several locations before selling out right. If you know your approximate pennyweight you can call around to different areas to find out what prices they are paying. If a store tells you they can’t give you an exact price just ask for an approximate price. It usually won’t change that fast if you are going to sell it within a 24 hour period. Some buyers buy based on spot price, but most stores have a setup price they buying based on.

There are many options to sell your precious metals available.

Brick & Mortar Shops
The traditional brick and mortar are businesses that when they buy from you they have to factor in the expenses of their rent, utilities, employee payroll, etc. These include pawn shops, jewelry stores, cash advance stores, drive through precious metal facilities, antique stores, gold buying facilities, etc.

Mail Order
This is where you order a free mail packet and mail your precious metals in the mail. I feel this is the biggest risk you can take. There have been several television documentary stories done on these mail in gold buyers and I haven’t seen a positive story yet.

Gold Buying Parties
Recently these have been on the rise. These are usually done in someone’s home and you know the hostess. It’s a friendly environment. You go in they check your gold, weigh it, and offer you a price. They do give the hostess a kick-back usually 10% of what they buy. So that is factored into their purchase price. Always take your gold to a few locations before you sell to a gold buying party a lot of the time you could have gotten more for your gold.

Motel & Banquet Halls

I have seen in my local paper a numerous amount of ads for selling your precious metals among other things to people that are traveling through town and setup in a motel/hotel room, banquet hall or meeting room facility. Customers of mine have not have positive experiences with this but I personally have not looked into this.

Flea Markets & Antique Shows
You will always find buyers of precious metals setup at flea markets and antique shows. If there are several dealers at a show buying I suggest you shop around the show before you sell. These dealers do have the over head of booth rent to factor into their price.

Things to remember when you are selling
1. When the gold buyer is weighing your gold, make sure they weigh out each karat weight individually and pay according to weight. Some buyers put it all on the scale and try buy it at a 10k gold weight price. That’s not good if you have 14k, 18k, etc mixed into that amount.

2. If you decide to walk and not take a price be leery if they start offering you more.

3. If they test unmarked gold make sure they test more than just the 10K gold acid. For the most accurate testing they may cut into your scrap that is fine. It is the most accurate way to acid test your precious metal.

4. If a magnet sticks to the metal IT IS NOT A PRECIOUS METAL regardless of what the gold is marked.

In writing this blog I did some research. I called around to several gold buying facilities in my area and learned how much difference there really is in price. One place I called told me that they were buying silver for $0.20 per pennyweight which works out to about $4 an ounce. That same day I was paying $20 per ounce. That same facility was also paying $14 to $18 for 14k gold depending on how much gold I had. I still don’t understand why the amount I had mattered the price should still be the same price. I was paying $28 per pennyweight that day. Also while setting up at a recent show. Where I was pay $30 per pennyweight for 14k gold a jeweler setup buying gold was paying $10 per pennyweight for 14k gold. It just
shows you how unfair a lot buyers can be. ALWAYS SHOP AROUND!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sand between her toes...

We took the last couple of days as personal days. Something we haven't done in almost two years. We found ourselves at the KOA in Daytona Beach and made the days all about Courtney.

She had never been to the beach before but she was obiviously born a beach bum.

Armed with buckets she was ready.

70 degree weather and windy, but we couldn't get her out of the water.

The sound of her feet slapping against the sand as she ran back and forth to the water.

Little fingers would dig and dig.

We found a little park at the beach that had a fountain.

We took her to a nice lunch on the boardwalk.

And afterwards we took a stroll along the beach.

It was just a wonderful two days!

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my husband's uncle that passed away this week. I hope that this helps bring a smile to our family during a very sad time.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mt. Dora Florida

I know most people have a bucket list of sorts as do I. Although mine is a list of antique shows I want to do, this past weekend I got to mark one of the off my list. Renninger's Mt. Dora Florida Extravaganza. To sum it up, the weather was wonderful, the Renninger's staff was probably the best show staff I have ever worked with, every dealer was friendly. Sales were good despite the regulars complaining about the little traffic. However, if the opportunity will present itself I will definately be back.

I know it was two if not three times larger than the show I do in Springfield, Ohio. There were people there from just about every state and several countries. I sold items to people from England, France, Spain, Brazil, China, and Australia to name a few.

My biggest complaint was our site location. This was due to a lack of knowledge about the layout of the land etc from never being there before. Our setup required us to be on a very sloped hill side. I felt like the crooked lady in the crooked house all weekend. Every ounce of my body hurt before the weekend was over.

My sales girl loved doing an outdoor show. She got to spend lots of time working the booth. "Hello, may I help you" is the line she has perfected. She constantly was "scrubbing" the showcases as the dust at this show was pretty bad. She also enjoyed modeling the jewelry for people.

I did see lots of fabulous and historical items. The beauty of this show was anything you could imagine was there, but you could find it in about any price range. The most popular thing I seemed to sell was what I like to call river glass. Its the colored glassware found in the area where I come from. They draw to crackle glass like ants down there. I had been having trouble selling it here lately so I was simply amazed at the buyers for it. Second I would say cutter quilts and items with real fur on them. I found that really odd to be in 70+degree weather selling items with mink on them. I picture that being more of a northern seller, I guess I shouldn't try to figure out what or why people buy what they do.

I have noticed not only in Mt. Dora but also along the way in Florida that there is alot of Royal Doulton for sale in Florida. I don't know how well it sells down there but there is alot of it in inventory.

To have had such a great weekend with my family I have never been so happy to return to flat land. This week is going to be all about Courtney till we get to our next show on Friday. We are going to take her to see the beach. Walk the streets of Savannah, and then head to our next show Pride of Dixie in Norcross, Georgia. Never having been there I look forward to doing this show as well.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tiquie Shopping in Florida

As we are making our journey to Mt. Dora Florida we have taken three days to “tiquie shoppiing” our way there. Courtney has dubbed what we are doing as “Tiquie Shopping”. The big myth is you can’t buy items for resale in an antique shop or mall, but that is where people have been missing out. Keep in mind every dealer doesn’t know everything. Sometimes the best finds are in an antique shop. You can find information about shops in many different antique publications across the country. In Florida stop and pick up your free “The Florida Antique and Collectible Peddler” guide that covers most every area in Florida. I really found mine extremely helpful.

We decided to focus on a small area of Florida located about two hours outside of Mt. Dora. We started our shopping with probably my favorite find of the trip so far. We stopped at this great shop called Valentino’s located in Green Cove Springs. It was very organized with very nice quality antiques. He had this darling piece that he had labeled as a pickle fork. I’m not sure what it is but I think I am going to try and sell it as a pendent. It is sterling silver and about 5” long. I think it will make a great focal point to my jewelry case.

We traveled down the road a ways to Jacksonville. We decided to start in the Historic Riverside District. Our first stop there was the store Fans and Stoves. It was a very nice antique mall. I could have spent hours there. So much to see and dig through. It was simply unbelievable the variety that they had and I felt they had very nice reasonable prices. Next we went to the 5 Points Antiques. They had a very nice selection of vintage clothing and modern glassware. Now don’t get me wrong they also carried all other types of antiques but those were the things that stood out to me most.

We then traveled a ways to the Avonlea Antique Mall. If you have a day you should go there. They even had a very nice café set in the middle of the perfect atmosphere of 40,000 square feet of antiques. The organization and layout was neat and unique. Every isle/row was labeled a different street. They made it easy for you to not get lost or retrace your steps. I believe there was something there for absolutely everyone. Right next door was a very nice privately owned antique shop called Enchanted. It had a great layout and variety.

To finish out the day we traveled to this great little town. While Courtney napped I shopped through “Elsie Bells”. When you first walk through the doors of this shop you will see a large selection of vintage candies of drug stores gone bye. I was amazed at how they had them displayed. It was like stepping back in time. They also had a great setup and were very festive for Valentine’s Day coming up.

Next by accident I found a great little shop, “The Gypsie Palace”. It was a nice shop with some beautiful light fixtures as well as glassware and furniture.


A friend suggested we stop in this wonderful little Antique district and it definitely was how one should be run. Every shop is friendly and open. Aprox 17 shops in a small area. You can park and walk through most of them. Everyone offers different specialties of fine jewelry, musical instruments, glassware of all calipers, one shop had over 1500 cameos in inventory. And a wonderful café for lunch. Would make a great day trip,

This darling cat greeted us inside a jewelry display cabinet in one of shops in Micanopy. Courtney was fascinated by the fact she liked to hid in it.

Also along the way we went to an estates sale in Gainesville. We also stopped at Waldo's Antique Village in Waldo. I really enjoyed the 2 hours I spent in their antique mall.

Towards the end of the day I found my favorite type of shop a variety shop, I don’t see many variety shops anymore. This one was owned by a lovely lady and yes every bit of merchandise was hers. The store was called Avis’s Attic, located in Stark, FL. I forgot how much I loved this type of shop, you know the kind you never know what is coming in from day to day. There is a mix of clothing, toys, glassware, house wares, linens, jewelry, electronics, furniture, collectibles, and so on. If I lived close to this shop I would probably have to check it out 3 or 4 times a week. So whatever you do if you get by Stark at least stop and go through. I was pleasantly surprised with what I found there.

Now we travel on to Mt. Dora where the next part of our month long adventure continues…

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Atlanta Show in January

After a long exhausting day of setting up my show spaces, I'm ready for a great weekend of sales here at the Scott's Show in Atlanta. We are among the 2500 vendors setup here this weekend. If you are in the area we are set up in the South Building Section J-3 spaces 5908 and 5909 and would love for you to stop by!

Everytime I come to the Atlanta show I always see wonderful French antiques, stacks of furniture, sterling galour, jewelry to die for, modern furniture that is simply fabulous. I could go on and on.

I've already seen lots of wonderful things. A dealer has this Louis Vutton Steamer Trunk that is probably my favorite thing I've seen so far. It is priced at $8500 talk about traveling in style! WOW!

But come prepared to spend a day if not the weekend. You can park and take a shuttle between the north and south buildings for your convience. You will also find outdoor vendors. There is something for everyone!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Scenic View

As we started our 2nd week of our 4 week trip of traveling to do shows we decided to make today a scenic route day. We don’t have to be in Atlanta until Thursday around 10am. So we thought we would enjoy stopping at thrift stores and antique shops only found on back roads. Early in our day while in Tennessee following their fine back roads we came upon a curve in the road that read “Low Clearance 10 ½ ft” Gypzie happens to be a tad bit tall topping out at 11’. Fortunately we found a shortened area to pull into just prior to the low clearance. After numerous times of backing and pulling up, coming close to ditches and the creek, me trying to stop and direct speeding traffic, we finally succeeded at getting our almost 40 feet turned around. Thank goodness Donnie can back that trailer. Key thought for the day, always remember what you are lugging behind you takes more space than you think!

Once we got back on our journey we were able to ventured through several nice shops. I found some nice sellable items for my upcoming shows. A lamp, some vintage hats, and glassware. I think my favorite strip of antique shops I have found so far were in Sweetwater Tennessee. This is one of my favorite areas to visit.

After a quick jaunt back onto the interstate we learned we had back tracked instead of moving forward. We did finally cross into what my husband refers to as heaven, the pearly gates of Georgia.

This evening we found a great KOA that gave Courtney the opportunity to swing and play. I told my husband that I would gladly reverse rolls with him and play house wife through the week and even managed to cook him dinner. That in itself was a miracle because since adding Gypzie to our business and shows he has taken over all the cooking on the road.