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Melt Values and Melt Value Prices

Melt value refers to the intrinsic value of a precious metal based solely on its weight and the current spot price of the metal. This is a crucial concept for investors and collectors who deal in bullion, coins, and jewelry, as it helps determine the base value of these items irrespective of their numismatic or collectible value. 

For example, if you have a gold coin weighing one troy ounce and the current spot price of gold is $2100 per troy ounce, the melt value of that coin is $2100 (minus any other alloy metals that may be included). If you are the seller, keep in mind that the buyer is going to want to make a profit when they sell the precious metal, they bought from you. 

When Considering Melt Value: Terms to Know 

Understanding the following terms is essential when evaluating the melt value of gold and silver: 

  • Troy Ounce: A troy ounce is a unit of measurement used specifically for precious metals. One troy ounce equals approximately 31.1035 grams, which is slightly heavier than a regular ounce (28.3495 grams). 
  • Spot Price: The spot price is the current market price at which a particular metal can be bought or sold for immediate delivery. It fluctuates constantly based on market conditions, including supply and demand, geopolitical events, and economic data. 
  • Purity/Fineness: Purity or fineness indicates the proportion of precious metal in an alloy. For gold, it is often expressed in karats or parts per thousand (e.g., 24 karat gold is 99.9% pure). For silver, it is typically expressed in percentages (e.g., sterling silver is 92.5% pure). 
  • Bullion: Bullion refers to precious metals in bulk form, such as bars, ingots, or coins, valued primarily by their weight and purity rather than by a face value as currency or any artistic or historical value. 
  • Numismatic Value: This is the additional value that coins or other items might have due to their rarity, age, condition, and historical significance. It is separate from the melt value, which is solely based on the metal content. 
  • Assay: An assay is a test that determines the content and quality of a metal. This is crucial for verifying the purity and, subsequently, the melt value of a gold or silver item. 
  • Alloy: An alloy is a mixture of metals. For instance, gold jewelry is often an alloy of gold and other metals to increase durability. The melt value is calculated based on the proportion of precious metal in the alloy. 
  • Hallmark: A hallmark is an official mark or series of marks stamped on precious metals, indicating their purity. It provides assurance of the quality and authenticity of the metal. 
  • Weight: This refers to the mass of the precious metal item, usually measured in troy ounces for consistency in valuation. The weight directly influences the melt value. 
  • Market Value: Market value encompasses the broader value of an item in the marketplace, which might include its melt value as well as any numismatic or collectible premiums. 

Understanding these terms can help you better understand conversations and agreements regarding the melt value of gold and silver. 

Calculating Melt Value 

To calculate the melt value of a gold or silver item: 

  1. Determine the weight in troy ounces. 
  1. Verify the purity or fineness. 
  1. Multiply the weight by the purity percentage to find the amount of pure gold or silver. 
  1. Multiply the pure metal weight by the current spot price. 

For example, ten troy ounces of silver that is 90 percent silver when the spot price is $31 per troy ounce has a melt value is $279.

(10X.9) X 31= $279 

Gold and Silver Items Good to Sell for Melt Value 

When considering selling gold and silver items for their melt value, focus on pieces where the intrinsic metal value outweighs any potential numismatic or collectible value.  

Here are some examples: 


Scrap Gold Jewelry: 

  • Broken or outdated jewelry pieces such as rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. 
  • Items marked with purity stamps (e.g., 10k, 14k, 18k) to verify gold content. 

Items with Low Numismatic Value: 

  • Coins that lack significant collector interest. 
  • Severely damaged coins, rounds, or bars. 

Dental Gold: 

  • Crowns, bridges, and other dental work often contain gold alloys that can be refined and sold for their metal content. 


Scrap Silver Jewelry: 

  • Tarnished or broken jewelry, including chains, rings, and bracelets. 
  • Items marked with “925” or “Sterling,” indicating 92.5% silver content. 

Silverware and Flatware: 

  • Sterling silver cutlery, trays, and serving pieces (often stamped with “Sterling” or “925”). 
  • Avoid plated items as they contain little silver. 

Silver Coins with Low Numismatic Value: 

  • Pre-1965 U.S. coins like dimes, quarters, and half dollars, which are 90% silver. 
  • Common date (not rare) coins from other countries with high silver content. 

Industrial Silver: 

  • Silver contacts, wires, and other industrial scrap containing significant amounts of silver. 

Factors to Consider 

Purity: Higher purity items yield higher melt values. Ensure items are properly marked or tested. 

Market Prices: Keep an eye on the current spot prices for gold and silver to time your sale for the best returns. 

Refining Costs: Be aware that some buyers may deduct refining costs from the payout, especially for mixed or scrap items. 

Selling gold and silver for their melt value can be a strategic way to liquidate assets and take advantage of the intrinsic value of your precious metals. By focusing on damaged bullion coins and bars, scrap jewelry, low-numismatic-value coins, and other high-purity items, you can ensure you receive the best possible return based on the current market prices. Understanding key terms such as troy ounces, spot price, and purity is essential for accurately calculating the melt value.  

Whether you are an investor looking to optimize your portfolio or someone seeking to declutter and convert old items into cash, being informed about the melt value can guide you in making sound decisions. Keep abreast of market trends, and always verify the authenticity and purity of your items to maximize your returns. 

Quick Guides to Investing

Step 1:

Why Buy Physical Gold and Silver?

If you are concerned about the volatility of the stock market, you’re not alone. The extreme highs and lows of the stock market often lead investors towards safe-haven assets, like bullion. Historically, the Precious Metals market has an inverse relationship with the stock market, meaning that when stocks are up, bullion is down and vice versa.

Step 2:

How Much Gold and Silver Should You Have?

This question is one of the most important for investors to answer. After all, experts suggest limits on how much of any types of investments should go into a portfolio. After deciding to purchase and own Precious Metals and considering how much money to allocate, one can then think about how much and what to buy at any point in time.

Step 3:

Which Precious Metals Should I Buy?

With the frequent changes in the market and countless Precious Metal products available, choosing investments can be difficult. Some want Gold or Silver coins, rounds or bars while others want products that are valuable because of their design, mintage or other collectible qualities. Also, collectors may shop for unique sets and individual pieces for their collections.

Step 4:

When to Buy Gold & Silver

After considering why, how much, and what Precious Metals products to buy, an investor’s next step is when to buy them. This decision requires an understanding of market trends and the impact of economic factors on precious metal prices.

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