The first thing to figure out if you’re trying to find out where to sell your silver in Houston is what kind of silver do you have? Is it a coin, a bar, old silverware or old US coins?
If you have coins, sometimes they turn out to be commemorative coins; for instance, a Statue of Liberty Anniversary, a Mount Vernon Commemorative or a George Bush Commemorative. These are often made of non-precious metals. One way to find out is to read the coin or the documents that accompany it. If there are no documents, just read the coin itself.
Most coins that are made from precious metals (including most commemoratives) are marked accordingly. If it is made of pure silver, it will say “.999 silver” or “999” somewhere on the coin. Perhaps the rim, maybe on the back, sometimes even on the front of the coin itself. The point is, if it’s precious metal, the makers usually don’t want any confusion, so they’ll mark it to make clear to the purchaser that it’s a valuable coin.
Besides commemoratives, there are various types of pure silver coins that are used for investments. Again, these usually have a very clear mark that indicates they are of investment grade bullion. While they come in a literally hundreds of varieties and from a huge assortment of manufacturers, some of the most common are the American Silver Eagle, the Mexican Peso, the Canadian Maple Leaf and Chinese Panda.
By contrast, silver bars are not particularly interesting or varied in appearance. They are just bars. Silver bars are distinguished by their purity mark 999 and of course their physical shape. They come in 1 ounce, 10 ounce, and 100 ounce varieties. Manufactured by refiners like Johnson Mathey, Englehard and others, these bars are also great ways to invest. Generally speaking, bars are worth more when they are smaller. For instance, if a certain brand of bar is available in 1oz and 10oz varieties, the 1oz bars will go for perhaps 96% of spot while the 10oz bars will go for 90% of spot. That’s not an absolute rule, but in general, smaller quantities command higher prices, but only slightly higher.
For those sellers with old silverware, it’s important to be able to distinguish actual sterling silver (which is 92.5% pure) from stainless steel or silver plate. The easiest way to tell is to read the back of any spoon or fork in the set. It will be clearly marked “Sterling” if it is genuine.
If you’re trying to sell silver and you need some advice, you’re always welcome to call us at Houston Gold Merchants. We’re always willing to help. Are located in the River Oaks section of Houston, TX at 2011 South Shepherd, Houston, TX 77019.