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Archive for June, 2010

American Cash for Gold companies face new legislation

While the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) continue to investigate the business practices of five unamed cash for gold companies in the UK, it is interesting to note that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are looking to introduce new legislation to regulate the online gold buying industry in America.

In the USA, most cash for gold companies operate in a similar fashion to the companies you see advertising on UK television screens. There’s no indication given of what your gold is worth BEFORE you send it off and once you find out what the company is paying you, it can be difficult (sometimes impossible) to reject the offer.

Under new legislation proposed by Representative Anthony Weiner of New York in January 2010,  the US online gold buying industry could see some major restructuring to resolve this and other issues. The proposed legislation is called the Fair Deal Act and its main component is the institution of a policy where sellers would have the opportunity to review the offers made by gold buyers before agreeing to the price. Included in this legislation is the provision that the gold buyer must also insure the packages when returning items when the offer was rejected.

Whilst no similar legislation will be introduced in the UK following the OFT investigation, it underlines the need for consumers to do their research and make sure they’re making an informed decision, prior to sending off their gold.

  1. No matter what the marketing hype states, if a cash for gold company doesn’t quote their genuine (not estimated) scrap gold prices, DO NOT deal with them.
  2. Check the company’s small print. Are there any hidden fees? Are their quoted prices for hallmarked and non-hallmarked gold?
  3. Are the quoted prices guaranteed? What happens if the gold market drops while your package is in transit?
  4. If you change your mind, does the company offer a quick and simple return policy?

Gold-Traders (UK) Ltd offers an ethical cash for gold service to customers in the UK. We publish our scrap gold prices and update them on a regular basis.

To value your unwanted gold, use our calculator in the right-hand column of this page to select the purity (carat) and the weight (in grams).

June 29th, 2010 No Comments » Miscellaneous |

Scrap Value for the World’s Largest Gold Coin

The world's largest gold bullion coinThe world’s largest gold bullion coin, a one million dollar Canadian Maple Leaf has sold at action for its melt value of 3.27 million Euros (£2.6 million / $4.02 million).

Just 5 million-dollar Maple Leaf coins have been produced. Weiging-in at 100kg, its purity is 99.999%, the purest gold available. The coin is 53cm in diameter and 3cm thick. One identical coin is owned by Queen Elizabeth.

The coin was auctioned at Dorotheum Auctioneers after its previous owner, AvW Invest went into administration in May. It was snapped-up by ORO Direct, a Spanish gold trading company.

There were no counter-bids and the coin essentially sold for it’s scrap value!

Following the sale, a spokeman for ORO Direct stated: “We already made a nice profit because the gold price increased this afternoon.”

June 28th, 2010 No Comments » Miscellaneous |

Selling Scrap Gold – Worth the Effort?

We occasionally receive calls from customers enquiring whether it’s worth their while sending-in their unwanted jewellery. Very often, they either don’t realise how much their jewellery is worth, or they feel the amount they have is so small (perhaps a single ring or a pair of earrings), it’s not worth the effort.

A pair of gold earrings

Even after taking into account your postage fees, you can still achieve a greater profit selling these earrings to Gold-Traders compared to most high-street jewellers.

Taking your postage costs into account, you only need to send us about 1.3g of 9ct gold to achieve a greater profit than you would get if you sold the same amount at a high street jewellers.

We don’t have a minimum transaction size, you really can send us whatever you have.

Interestingly, both our highest and lowest payouts for this week occurred on the same day. Our smallest transaction was for £5.65, whilst our largest single payout of the week was £31,188.80.

Our average customer payout this month has been £631.34 and the most popular payment method has been via BACS (direct bank transfer).

If you have gold jewellery to sell and have questions, drop us an e-mail or give us a call. Our telephone number is at the top of this page – we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

June 26th, 2010 3 Comments » Selling Tips |

5 Cash for Gold tricks the OFT should be investigating

Back in January, I blogged that 5 unnamed cash for gold companies were facing an Office of Fair Trading enquiry. Although there is no indication of which companies are facing scrutiny, it’s almost certain that a number, if not all, are the high profile companies who advertise prominently on daytime terrestrial and satellite TV.

Does the OFT have the power to ban shady business tactics? Unfortunately not. Their remit is to enforce consumer protection and ensure traders are trading fairly. Where unfair practices are identified, legal redress can be sought against an offending company.

It is understood that an initial OFT report is due to be published imminently. While we wait for their report, here are 5 cash for gold tricks I would like to see stamped out.

Ban ‘We pay x% more’ statements

Usually found on cash for gold sites that don’t publish their rates, these claims are so misleading. ‘We pay 15% more!‘ 15% more of what?! 15% of nothing, is nothing! If a cash for gold company is only paying 20% of market value (yes, the worst offenders in the business really do pay at this rate), an extra 15% on top isn’t going to make that much difference to the poor rate.

Ban ‘refining fees’

This is so misleading. You visit a cash for gold web site and see a price-per-gram figure quoted in a large font. The price looks good, so you send your gold to the company. What you missed was the small print that states a refining is deducted from price you saw quoted.

Ban testing and admin fees

More hidden fees, usually tucked away in the small print. You’ve sent your items to a cash for gold company that looks to be paying good rates, but have unwittingly sent something that isn’t gold. It’s an easy mistake to make for a consumer – how are you to know whether your bangle is 9ct gold, gold plated, rolled gold or 9ct gold filled?

As a result of your ‘mistake’ you get hit with a £15 ‘testing fee’. Worse still, if you ask for your items to be returned, the small print might state that you’ll be charged a further £15 ‘administration fee’.

All businesses have running costs and need to enure they’re profitable – fair enough. However, it’s patently unfair to hide such fees from the consumer.

Publish the scrap gold prices

OK, this is something I want to see enforced, not banned. Consumers need to be able to make an informed decision, BEFORE they send their gold away. This is only possible if they know what the gold price, per gram a company is currently paying. Of course, the companies who advertise on TV won’t do this – so much of their revenue is tied-up in advertising costs, they wouldn’t want you to know, up-front, how much of a poor deal you’ll get.

Return of items within 48 hours

There are lots of horror storries on complaints board and forum web sites about this. After being promised ‘top rates’, you send your gold to a cash for gold company. They offer you a price which you know to be way too low. You reject the offer, they may increase their price (still too low) and you request the return of your items.

Now you wait for the return of your gold… Sometimes for weeks on end. Some consumers cave-in and agree to sell their gold at the low rate they’ve been offered. There are reports of people waiting 6 – 8 weeks before their gold is returned and only after they’ve continually called the company, sometime having to threaten legal action.

48 hours is more than long enough for any company to arrange the return of a customer’s gold. It’s a no-brainer really. If a customer has been trusting enough to send their valuables off in the first place, the least a company can do is return them in a timely manner, fully insured, at no charge.

So, that’s my list of cash for gold tricks I’d like to see wiped-out. Have you been caught out? What are your opinions?

June 17th, 2010 2 Comments » Miscellaneous |

Interesting Facts about Platinum

  • Many of the worlds most precious gemstones, including the Hope Diamond, have Platinum settings.
  • During World War II, non-military use of Platinum was banned in the United States, as it was deemed a strategic metal.
  • Platinum is hypo-allergenic. This is the reason why Platinum has so many medical and dental applications and a large factor in it’s popularity as jewellery.
  • While Platinum was known to the pre-Columbian people and discovered by modern man in the 1700’s, it was not possible to produce the metal in quantity or work with it until the advancement of technology in the nineteenth century.
  • When Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was coronated as consort to King George VI, the frame of her crown was constructed in Platinum.
  • The annual production of Platinum is about 130 tons.  While this seems like a substantial number, it pales in comparison when you realise that around 260 tons of steel are used in U.S. manufacturing operations every day.
  • To refine just one ounce of pure platinum, around 10 tons of ore must be mined. The refining process takes around 6 months to complete.
  • All of the Platinum ever mined would barely fill a 25 cubic foot (7.6 cubic meter) box. The block would weigh over 16 tons.
  • 90% of the worlds annual supply of Platinum is extracted from four mines.  Three of these mines are located on the continent of Africa.
  • 50% percent of the Platinum produced annually in all mines is used for industrial applications.
  • The melting point of Platinum is 1,769°C and its boiling point is 3,827°C.
  • The density of Platinum is 21.45 g/cm3, that’s 11% more than gold and about twice the density of silver.

Platinum : The Versatile Precious Metal

Platinum has become a symbol for exclusivity in our time. The rarity of this precious metal has caused its name to be used in the identification of record setting musical albums, high limit credit cards, special DVD collections and other services or items that people wish to designate as being better than their counterparts. While the metal does not see the wide use that other precious metals, such as gold or silver, Platinum is a versatile metal that has come to be regarded highly in the global culture.

What is Platinum?

Platinum is a precious transition metal from group 10 of the periodic table with the chemical symbol, Pt, and an atomic number of 78. The color of Platinum is grayish white, often resulting in a mistaken identification as the metal, Silver, a coincidence which led to the metals common name, Platinum, a derivation of the Spanish word, Platina, which is translated to mean ‘Small Silver’.

Platinum has an extremely high melting point of 2041.4 Kelvin and a boiling point of 4098 Kelvin. Platinum also has one of the highest densities of metals found in nature, falling into place at 21.45 g·cm-3 when measured at room temperature. It will not oxidize in air but can become corroded when in the presence of cyanides, halogens and sulfur, as well as certain caustic alkalis. Platinum forms chloroplatinic acid when dissolved in aqua regia but it cannot be dissolved with either hydrochloric or nitric acids.

Platinum occurs naturally in the Ural Mountains, the continent of Africa, the South American country of Columbia and a few of the western states of North America. The metal ore is usually found in the presence of other metals from the Platinum Metals group (Palladiun, Ruthenium, Rhodium, Iridium & Osmium), as well as gold, silver, nickel and copper.

When Platinum was first discovered in South America by the pre-Columbian tribes as a naturally occurring alluvial deposit, it was largely overlooked, although these tribes did find uses for the silvery looking metal in some areas, as artifacts created from a white gold and platinum alloy have been found in the region of modern day Esmeraldas, Ecuador. To understand why the precious metal was not more widely used, we can look to the writings of the Italian, Julius Ceaser Scaliger, who described a then unknown noble metal which no fire had been able to liquefy. The unknown noble metal he referred to was Platinum.

In modern record, two men are credited with the discovery of Platinum. The first was Charles Wood. Wood was a British national and, as a metallurgist, he was naturally intrigued by the samples of Columbian Platinum which he found on the islands of Jamaica during the year 1741. He found the metal to be so interesting that he sent samples to his colleague, William Brownrigg, who then tested and studied the metal for the next nine years before presenting his findings to the British Royal Society in 1750. This report of a previously unknown precious metal with an extremely high melting point and other unique characteristics brought out a surge of interest among European scientists of the day.

The other individual who has been credited with the discovery of Platinum is the Spaniard, Antonio de Ulloa. As a general, explorer, author and astronomer, Ulloa was a highly regarded individual.  His scientific achievements earned him an appointment to the French Geodesic Mission, an ambitious project to measure a degree of meridian at the equator. This mission brought Ulloa to Ecuador in the year 1736, where he first encountered Platinum at some point during his eight year stay in the country.  On his return trip, Ulloa’s ship was captured by British forces and he became a political prisoner. His charming personality and scientific knowledge quickly earned him favor, however, and even gained him a position on the British Royal Society and safe passage back to his native country.

Following the discovery of Platinum and its introduction to the British Royal Society, the European scientific community was set ablaze with the desire to know more about this new metal.  Various individuals studying Platinum’s different attributes worked diligently at unlocking its secrets. In 1772, Carl von Sickingen was the first to succeed in creating a malleable platinum alloy.  Twelve years later, in 1784, the first Platinum crucible was invented by Franz Karl Achard, who used Platinum’s known property of fusing with Arsenic to achieve the process.

Nearly 40 years after Ulloa’s return to Spain, Charles III of Spain awarded a complete library and laboratory to Pierre-François Chabaneau to devote to the study of Platinum. Through trial and error, Chabaneau eventually succeed in producing 23 kilograms of pure Platinum in a malleable form.  This discovery led to what is now known as the “Platinum Age” of Spain, when Chabaneau and his business partner began manufacturing expensive Platinum ingots and utensils for sale.

To demonstrate that Platinum has yet to tell all of its secrets, in 2007, almost three centuries after Platinum’s original discovery, German scientist, Gerhard Ertl was awarded the Nobel prize for his research into the catalytic oxidation of carbon monoxide over platinum, a discovery which led to the creation of the catalytic converter, a pollution reducing device that is standard on nearly all gasoline and diesel powered vehicles in the world.

Mining and Processing Platinum

The mining and processing of Platinum is a long process which can take up to 6 months to complete. With the rarity of the metal in platinum containing ores, it is necessary to extract and process anywhere from 7 to 12 tonnes of ore to produce one ounce of pure Platinum.

Platinum is gathered by mining, followed by the processes of extraction, concentration and refining. By-products of these processes are Iron, Sulphur, Copper, Nickel, Cobalt, Gold and Palladium.

In addition to mining, Platinum is often recycled from discarded products. The largest source of recyclable Platinum is the catalytic converters used on vehicles and these items can command a hefty price when sold to recycling centers who melt the recyclable Platinum with Iron or Copper. The recycler then leaches the resulting alloy to remove excess metals and impurities before sending the resulting material for further processing by a refiner.

The Uses of Platinum

Platinum has been used for a wide variety of purposes by man. While original uses included jewellery, ornamentation and utensils, Platinum has expanded its usefulness far beyond this limited scope.

Due to Platinum’s resistance to high temperatures, it commonly finds application in defense systems such as missile nose cones and military aircraft applications, where durability under extreme temperatures is essential.  In civilian applications, Platinum is used in high temperature furnaces, corrosion resistant electronics and for pollution reduction as a major component of catalytic converters.

Medical uses of Platinum include dentistry, drugs to fight cancer, precision instruments and laboratory testing equipment such as Crucibles and Thermocouples. Platinum is also used as a component to alloyed metal to make non-corroding replacement parts for the human body, such as joint replacements.

Platinum is also prized for its investment value. For those seeking to invest in Platinum, it is notable that the value of the metal is prone to extremes. It is considered to be a more volatile investment than gold and can often see an extreme price spread of over $1,500 in a one year period. Since the availability of the metal is extremely limited, local catastrophes or disgruntled workers could create extreme market fluctuations in short periods of time.

Platinum is used in significant amounts as compared to its availability. It has been estimated that, if all mining were stopped today, the world’s currently available Platinum supply would be exhausted in one year or less.

Gold-Traders purchases Platinum for cash. View our scrap platinum prices to see our current rates, which are updated on a daily basis.

More reading:

June 16th, 2010 No Comments » Miscellaneous |