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Last updated: 18/08/2015 13:38:25


A thermocouple is quite simply a sensor for measuring temperature, with many applications from central heating boilers to jet engines. Thermocouples use the reaction of two dissimilar metals to measure temperature variation. The types of metal involved vary according to the temperature range in which the thermocouple operates. Some thermocouples use relatively inexpensive alloys such […]

Types of platinum thermocouple wire

Platinum thermocouple wire

A thermocouple is quite simply a sensor for measuring temperature, with many applications from central heating boilers to jet engines. Thermocouples use the reaction of two dissimilar metals to measure temperature variation. The types of metal involved vary according to the temperature range in which the thermocouple operates.

Some thermocouples use relatively inexpensive alloys such as nickel, chrome, iron and aluminium. The thermocouples we’re interested in, known as Types B, R and S, use platinum – a rare and expensive material that is one of the noble metals (which also include silver and gold).

Platinum, rare and valuable

Platinum has the chemical symbol Pt and the atomic number 78, and is twice the density of silver. One of the rarest elements on Earth and extremely valuable, it is mined mostly in South Africa. As an indication of its value, the crown worn by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, as Consort of King George VI, had a frame made of platinum. Though the crown was undoubtedly spectacular, the platinum frame added significantly to its weight; a solid six inch cube of platinum weighs as much as an adult man.

We don’t expect you to send us the Queen Mother’s crown for valuation! However, though the platinum wire used in thermocouples is a relatively small diameter, its value makes it well worth selling to Gold-Traders.

Platinum qualities

Why platinum? It cannot be oxidised, withstands most acids, has high resistance to corrosion and high temperatures, and is electrically stable and an efficient conductor. In thermocouples, platinum is often combined in an alloy with rhodium, a chemically inert transition metal which is also part of the platinum group.

Types of platinum thermocouple

The ratio of platinum to rhodium depends on the type of thermocouple.

Type B Thermocouple Wire

For a Type B thermocouple, one conductor will be 70% platinum, 30% rhodium, while the other will be 94% platinum, 6% rhodium. Type B thermocouples are used for very high temperature measurements, with a usable range of around 800°C to 1800°C.

Type R Thermocouple Wire

A Type R thermocouple will have one conductor with 87% platinum, 13% rhodium, and the other conductor 100% pure platinum. It’s used for temperatures up to 1600°C, in applications such as the steel industry.

Type S Thermocouple Wire

The Type S thermocouple can also withstand heat up to 1600°C, and has one conductor that’s 90%, 10% platinum and the other 100% pure platinum. A typical application for Type S is providing the calibration standard for the melting point of gold (1064.43°C). It’s also used in pharmaceutical and biotechnology applications.

Scrap Thermocouple Prices

  • Type B: £ (70% conductor) & £ (94% conductor)
  • Type R: £ (87% conductor) & £ (100% conductor)
  • Type S: £ (90% conductor) & £ (100% conductor)

Selling Thermocouple Wire

Unlike other dealers, the prices we quote are the prices we pay. We have no hidden deductions and don’t charge testing or refining fees.

To sell your thermocouple wire, please complete our claim form. Once submitted, you’ll be asked to print a copy for signing and we’ll give you full instruction regarding packaging and postage. All packages are dealt with on the day of receipt, Monday to Friday. If you have any other questions, please feel free to give us a call to discuss.

February 28th, 2013 No Comments » Platinum By Phil Williams

Why Gold & Silver Fairs are unfair to sellers

A Philip & Sons flyer adverting a local gold buying event.

  • Gold & Silver buying events are tempting, but their only real value is entertainment – you could lose out heavily if you sell there.
  • Beware promoter’s extravagant claims. They rarely stand up to scrutiny.

If you’ve seen a leaflet advertising a gold and silver buying event or fair at a local venue, such as a hotel or community centre, don’t rush to sell your valuables there. You could get far less than they are really worth.

Gold and Silver Fairs are promoted with tempting claims. Take the local event being staged by Philip & Sons, which seems like a reputable company with its Mayfair address.

Worthless claims on Philip & Sons flyer

Top London cash prices paid”, says their flyer, although what actually constitutes a top London cash price is unclear. It also promises, “We pay better than all the rest” and “No one offers more!These claims are unsupportable and untrue.

Let’s look at their flyer in more detail. Apparently Philip & Sons will pay a minimum six times face value for pre-1946 silver coins. Putting aside the inaccuracy that the critical date for silver content in coins is actually pre-1947, the rates quoted certainly don’t match the adjacent claim “No one offers more!” Gold Traders is currently paying well over 10 times face value. Even if you’re just selling a handful of coins, that’s a worthwhile difference.

See what you could lose

For example, at six times face value, Philip & Sons would pay 72 pence for a pre-47 shilling; we would pay £1.29. For a Florin (remember those – they were worth two shillings), it would be £1.44 from Philip & Sons, £2.58 from Gold Traders. The greater the face value, the more you’d lose out by selling to Philip & Sons rather than Gold Traders; for a Half Crown it’s £1.80 vs. £3.24, and for a Crown it’s £3.60 vs. £6.49. You could almost double your money.

We’ll point out right now that as we pay by weight, these prices are an illustration and rates will vary according to wear as well as the current silver price. Having said that, Gold Traders will pay you considerably more than Philip & Sons for even heavily worn coins.

Dramatic difference

The difference is even greater with Sovereigns. The Philip & Sons flyer promises a minimum £65 for a Half Sovereign and £130 for a Full Sovereign. Our current prices are almost double – currently £115.05 for a Half Sovereign and £230.09 for a Full Sovereign.

(Note: Above prices were correct at time of writing. Up-to-date rates are available by clicking the appropriate links.)

Not so much fun at the fair

So while selling your gold and silver at hotel or community centre buying fairs may seem convenient, you’re likely to lose out significantly. It’s best to treat these events purely as free entertainment, and sell to Gold Traders instead – where you’re always sure of a fair exchange.

More reading:

February 22nd, 2013 3 Comments Selling Tips By Phil Williams

British Gold Refinery featured on BBC1’s Rip-Off Britain program

BBC investigation discovers British Gold Refinery pay much lower rates than what is quoted on their web site.

  • Investigation discovers British Gold Refinery pay much lower rates than what is quoted on their web site.
  • Sample items sent for evaluation by the BBC are also under weighed and gold content was under quoted.

Series 3 of BBC1’s flagship consumer program, Rip-Off Britain commenced on Monday 3rd September and featured an in-depth investigation into the practices of the British Gold Refinery.

The programme featured a consumer, Lisa Tate, who after receiving an online quote of £523 for her unwanted watch and encouraged by the promises of ‘excllent rates’ and ‘1st class service’ decided to send the item to the company.

Once the British Gold Refinery received Lisa’s watch, she was understandably shocked to be told they would be offering her almost 60% less for the item, just £214.

She was further dismayed to discover that she would have to pay them £50 to have her watch returned.

Following her experience, when interviewed by Rip-Off Britain, Lisa said:

I wouldn’t sell my watch to British Gold Refinery even if they offered the full value of it. I would rather flush it down the toilet than give it to them.

The BBC also conducted their own investigation into the British Gold Refinery by sending items of gold for valuation. Three items were sent, all independently verified by a jeweller to confirm weight and purity. Using the online calculator provided by British Gold Refinery, the items were valued at over £900.

When British Gold Refinery received the items, they dropped their valuation to just £335.94, a reduction of almost two-thirds. On further investigation, the BBC discovered that the bracelet which had been certified as being 18ct gold and weighing 8g had been valued based on it being 16ct gold and weighing just 4g. In addition, a gold chain certified as being 14ct gold was only valued as 9ct gold.

It took the BBC multiple requests to get their gold returned and it took 5-days before they finally received their items back.

This is not the first time that the British Gold Refinery has received unfavourable attention. Back in January 2012, the ASA adjudicated over claims of misleading advertising.

Further reading:

The scam behind the gold buying comparison websites

September 6th, 2012 1 Comment Miscellaneous By Phil Williams

Company behind to be struck off Companies House register

Bullion Buying Limited

Bullion Buying Limited -

Financial website reports that Bullion Buying Limited, the company behind the is set to be struck off the register of companies at Companies House for failing to file its accounts on time.

Incorporated on 23 July 2009, Bullion Buying Limited has yet to file any accounts. Undoubtedly, the company will now be subject to substantial late filing penalties, levied by HMRC and it’s likely the two directors may also face prosecution.

Which? investigation have had the unenviable reputation of paying some of the lowest rates in the market. An undercover Which? investigation revealed they offered the lowest cash amount for sample items, sent to six different companies. They purchased six identical lots of jewellery, consisting of three items with a combined retail value of £729. Of the six ‘cash for gold’ companies they used, Cash My Gold offered the lowest amount, a paltry £38.57 for everything.

Misleading advertising

Cash My Gold

Cash My Gold

Using TV personality Dale Winton to front their expensive advertising campaign, they have also been subject to an Advertising Standards Agency adjudication in relation to misleading advertising.

The golden rules

As we’ve said before, like, beware of any ‘cash for gold’ company that fails to clearly state the real price they will offer for your gold. There are now a number of companies that have ‘calculators’ on their sites that provide so-called valuations. However, dig a little deeper and you’ll discover hidden fees in their Terms & Conditions or that the ‘valuation’ is simply an estimate, which is not binding.

August 8th, 2012 No Comments » Industry News, Selling Tips By Phil Williams

Royal Mint release first UK kilo gold and silver coins

UK 1 kilo gold and silver coinsIn commemoration of the London 2012 Olympics, the Royal Mint have unveiled the UK’s first ever 1-kilo gold and silver coins.

At an eye-watering £100,000.00, the kilo gold coin is priced at around 3 times its intrinsic gold value. The silver version is priced at £3,000.00, nearly 4 times its silver value.

Designed by Sir Anthony Caro, the gold coin has an ultra low issue limit of just 60. The silver version is limited to 2,012 pieces and has been designed by Tom Phillips.

One could argue that the uniqueness and collectability of these coins justify the high price tag, however anyone purchasing for investment purposes should take note that the world’s largest gold coin, a 1 Million Dollar Canadian Maple Leaf sold for just it’s scrap value back in June 2010.

Interestingly, The Royal Mint produced a 1 kilo gold coin in 2011 to commemorate the Royal Wedding. Minted for the island of Alderney, this coins had a bargain-basement price of just £40,000.00!

January 25th, 2012 No Comments » Gold, Industry News, Miscellaneous By Phil Williams