Posts Tagged ‘Silver’

20 Pounds of Silver Contacts Refining Estimate

11-19-14    Posted by: admin

Q: Hi, I have 20 pounds of silver contacts. Please let me know if you take this material and how much my return will be. – From Dawn in Modesto, California

A: Thanks for your question! We get a range of silver contacts to refine. Your 20 pounds of material meets our volume requirements for silver contacts. Silver bearing contacts vary widely in silver content. Typically, the best and worst case scenarios are anywhere from 35 to 90 percent silver.

We can return 65% of the silver dollar value back to the customer. This percentage is due to the presence of cadmium, which emits a potentiality harmful gas when melted. If cadmium is present we must process with an oxidizing wet process. If you choose to ship your material to us for processing, we will analyze and contact you with the silver percentage before processing. Then, with customers consent, we will process and pay for the material. We work as quickly as possible for a fast turnaround for our customers. From the time that we receive your material, it will take approximately 5 business days for us to mail payment.

Thank you for your inquiry and for considering Arch!

* Blog estimates are given on a case by case basis and are not Arch’s final settlement price. Any prices or estimates in blog articles are based on the precious metal prices at the time of the post and can change on a daily basis as the price of precious metals change.

* Read our disclaimer


10KG of Silver Oxide Batteries Refining Estimate

11-14-14    Posted by: admin

Q: I have 10KG of silver cell batteries. Do you take this material? — From James in Arlington, TX

Refine Silver Oxide Batteries

Refine Silver Oxide Batteries

A: Thank you for your inquiry! YES, Arch does refine the silver from silver oxide batteries.

The first item to note is that we do not accept co-mingled lots, so you will have to separate these batteries out if they are among other items or other types of batteries. We do not accept lithium batteries for example.

Depending on the volume that is sent in for refining, we typically pay $16 to $25, per pound of silver oxide batteries.  So for your 10 KG (which converts to 22 lbs) we would pay with a Spot price of Silver being today at $18.32 the following:

(22 lbs of Silver Oxide batteries x $27.93, per pound = $614.46, back to you, had we received your batteries today at our refinery)

Thank you for your question! Please let us know if we can be of service.

Please Note:  there is a 5 pound minimum for Silver Oxide Batteries.

* Images displayed are only a representation of the items described in this blog post and may not be true images of the items in question.

* While we are happy to give estimates on precious metal items, we are NOT antiques dealers, researchers, or retail sellers. As a precious metal refiner, we only consider the weight and amount of precious metal available to extract during the smelting and refining process.

* Blog estimates are given on a case by case basis and are not Arch’s final settlement price. Any prices or estimates in blog articles are based on the precious metal prices at the time of the post and can change on a daily basis as the price of precious metals change.

* Read our disclaimer

Recover Silver from Black and White Photo Film

6-20-13    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have tons of old negatives and was wondering how much it takes for it to actually matter. Also if we don’t have enough where would we take them to dispose of them. Thanks from Tori in Juliet, TN.

Hi Tori,

By a “ton” do you mean hundreds of pounds or truckloads? Some people’s perception of having a “ton” of photo film is very different. We would recommend having at least 300 lbs of material. If you do not have this much, you could still send it to our facility and we could recycle the material for you, however would not be able to offer a return and you would still have to cover the shipping fees, which may not be cost effective for you.

age-old film

Other places you could try if you do not have enough, might be a local recycling company or even a school. Our advice would be to call around in your area to find out.

If you have more than 300 lbs., let us know and we may be able to help arrange freight for the material (especially if you literally have a “ton”). Make sure that you have your black and white film separated from your color film, as the color does not contain silver. Hope that helps!

*Images displayed are only a representation of the items described in this blog post and may not be true images of the items in question.

Posted In: Silver

What is Silver Holloware?

3-25-13    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have heard the term holloware about silver pieces. What exactly does this refer to? Does holloware have value? From Susan in Los Angeles, California.

Hi Susan,

“Holloware” or “Hollowware” is a term that is basically used to describe everything except flatware this includes serving pieces and tableware such as pitchers, teapots, sugar bowls, butter plates, food covers, creamers, silver artwork and sculptures, cake stands and other similar items.

Like flatware, hollowware can be sterling silver or plated silver, so you still have to be careful to know which you have as it will greatly affect the value. Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver, whereas silver plated items contain only a very thin layer of silver, to the point where it costs more money to refine plated silver than we can get out. That is why we do not accept silver plated items.

We will however, accept sterling silver holloware items. Make sure that your items are sterling. Note that some of these items can be weighted or contain other materials in them to make them stronger (such as knife blades that are usually stainless steel). If you can find the weight of just the sterling silver material, you can plug it into our silver value calculator for an estimate of the market value of your sterling silver items. We typically pay 75% of the silver value back to our customers. Hope that answers your question!

Posted In: Silver

Sell Black & White Negatives from Photography

5-15-12    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

Question: What would be the minimum amount of black and white negatives I would need in order for your firm to purchase them? I have had a long career in photography, and have closed up shop. Thanks! From Ed in Columbus, Ohio

Hi Ed,

Thanks for your question. The black and white negatives you have from your photography business contain silver and are the ideal material to send to a precious metal refiner. We normally recommend you have about 300 pounds of material or more to refine to receive a return.

For those of you that do not know, we specify “black and white” film, because color film/negatives do not contain silver. So please separate this out before sending in only the black and white film/negatives you have.

age-old film

Keep in mind that different types of film contain different amounts of silver. Typically we can pay back 75% of the pure silver value that is recovered from the film. We recommend sending in gallon size drums. If you have hundreds or thousands of pounds of material, we may be able to help with the freight.

*Images displayed are only a representation of the items described in this blog post and may not be true images of the items in question.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Value of Knives from Sterling Silver Sets

4-12-12    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have sterling silver flatware. I have weighed all of the items EXCEPT knives. They are made by Wallace Sterling. Pattern is Spanish Lace. I wasn’t sure if you would want the knives, or if I should separate the blades from the handles. Thanks from Jimmy in Indianapolis, IN.


Hi Jimmy,

Thanks for your question!

Great to hear that you have weighed your sterling silver knives separately from your forks and spoons. That something that we recommend to all our customers that have sterling silver sets, as it can really skew the weight and expected return when those are all weighed together.

Separating the stainless steel blades from the handles could save you on the shipping cost of your items. So this may be worth it for you to separate if you have the time and means. Otherwise, we are equipped to separate for you. Also, if the handles are weighted, it may be difficult to remove the content of the handle. Again if you can separate, it will cost less to ship and will give you a better idea about how much silver you actually have.

Finally, make sure that you are 100% sure that you want to sell to a precious metal refiner before you start to take a part the knives beyond repair. You mention Wallace Sterling, which is a brand name in the industry and so if you pieces are in good condition, you may want to check the resale value online.

Here are some more blog posts about sterling silver that may also help:

Where to Sell Sterling Silver Flatware Sets

Refine Towle Sterling Silver

Silver Cake Server and Serving Spoons

*Images displayed are only a representation of the items described in this blog post and may not be true images of the items in question.

While we are happy to give estimates on precious metal items, we are NOT antiques dealers, researchers, or retail sellers. As a precious metal refiner, we only consider the weight and amount of precious metal available to extract during the smelting and refining process.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Where to Refine & Sell Industrial Silver Material? X-Ray Film, Flake, Silver Fixer

3-8-12    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

Question/Answer: I have a few hundred pounds of used industrial x-ray film, 15 or so pounds of silver flake and a couple of hundred gallons of used fixer. What can I estimate its worth and do you know who would buy it? From Levi in Tucson, Arizona

Hi Levi,

A silver refinery such as Arch Enterprises would probably be the best place to see your items. With more industrial/manufacturing items such as you have, it is not as likely that you can sell to a pawn shop or retailer. If you go to a scrap yard, they may buy your items, but they really have no way to recover the silver from them, so most likely they would just sell to a silver refinery and give you only a fraction of the silver value.

Harvested Silver Flake

Image: Harvested Silver Flake

Working directly with the refinery ensures that you are getting the most for your silver items. We can also help arrange the freight if you need. Unless you have the appropriate paper work on the grade of your silver flake and fixer, we would need to run tests to see how much silver is available to recover from it. For refining X-rays, you may want to wait until you have at least 300-400 pounds of x-ray film (out of the paper jackets) before you ship. This way the shipping will be worth the cost. Without knowing how much silver we could recover from your material, it would be difficult to provide a dollar amount estimate at this time. But it sounds like what you have is ideal for a precious metal refinery.

*Images displayed are only a representation of the items described in this blog post and may not be true images of the items in question.

Value of Raw Silver Beads

2-15-12    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have 12 pounds of raw silver beads. What are they worth? From Jody in Little Rock, Arkansas

Hi Jody,

First you will need to determine if the raw silver beads you have are 925 sterling silver, meaning 92.5% silver or another concentration? For 925 silver we pay for 75% of the fine silver content by weight. It is very difficult to determine the concentration of raw materials like the ones you describe without the proper testing equipment. If you don’t know the concentration of your silver beads, we can test your material with our analytical equipment. We just need a few of your beads beforehand so you don’t have to send in your full shipment.

If your silver beads are plated silver then we will not be able to offer you a return for them. Without the correct testing equipment it can be difficult to determine the silver concentration of your material. Here is a video showing how we test silver material that comes to our refinery.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

What Does 555 Stamped on Sterling Silver Mean?

2-10-12    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

Question: What does 555 stamped on a sterling silver tea set mean? From Terry in Chicago, IL

Hi Terry,

Because there are so many different stamps for silver items such as tea sets, serving dishes and silverware, identifying what all these mean can be difficult. You have to consider that silver has been produced for centuries in several different countries. Also, these items are always alloyed with another type of metal, so the trick becomes determining how much actual silver your items contain compared to other non-precious, alloy metals such as copper and nickel.

From our experience as precious metal refiners (not antique dealers or silverware experts) a stamp of “555” does not indicate sterling. Instead we usually look for a “925” to indicate sterling silver. Our best advice would be to do the following:

  1. Check if you items are in fact sterling silver. This will probably influence the value of your items the most, especially if you are going to sell to a refiner for the silver value.
  2. Check to see if your items have any collectable value or value as antiques. Sometimes pieces can have value beyond the precious metal value.
  3. Based on the answers you find in 1 and 2, decide what the right place is to sell your items. As precious metal refiners, we cannot give returns on silverware that is plated.

*Images displayed are only a representation of the items described in this blog post and may not be true images of the items in question.

While we are happy to give estimates on precious metal items, we are NOT antiques dealers, researchers, or retail sellers. As a precious metal refiner, we only consider the weight and amount of precious metal available to extract during the smelting and refining process.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Where to Sell Sterling Silver Scrap Beads

10-7-11    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I am looking to sell my sterling siver .925 beads as “scrap” metal. Do you buy this kind of silver? Thank you. From Brian in Fort Dodge, Iowa

Hi Brian,

iStock_000020801642SmallThank you for your question! Arch purchases and refines really anything made from sterling silver. These scrap sterling silver beads that you describe sound like the ideal type of material for a refiner. We work with many jewelers and others that sometimes have these beads left over from projects or because they have given up the jewelry making hobby or business.

We only offer return for the silver value. The beads actually get melted down in the refining process and put back into industries that use it.

We would need to know how much of this material you have before we can recommend shipping methods and give you an estimate on your items. If you only have a couple beads, than it might not even be worth shipping. However, if you have pounds of beads or a large amount we can work with you to purchase. Also, unless the beads are marked in some way, we might have to run some analytical tests to test the purity – but let’s go down that road when we come to it.

Let us know if you have more questions or if you would like a silver estimate, you can visit our form to give us some more information about your sterling silver beads.

Here is a previous blog article about “Raw Silver Beads: Value of Raw Silver Beads” that might help you out! Thank you for your question.

*Images displayed is only a representation of the items described in this blog post and may not be true images of the items in question.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Sterling Silver Buyers

8-11-11    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

Hello, do you buy sterling silver flatware or do you just refine? If you buy how do you pay and how long does the process take? From Richard in Tucson, AZ

Hi Richard,

Good question. There are so many different gold and silver buyers out there that it is hard to know which ones are middle men or the actual end refiners.

Arch Enterprises buys gold and silver AND refines it. You will find that many refineries will not work with individuals with precious metals. They will only work with businesses and/or large industrial companies to refine. We have found that is it profitable for both parties to accept lots of silver and gold from households. Because of the energy that goes into refining precious metals, we do have some minimums in place. For example, it would not be worth sending in one silver spoon to a refinery.


  1. We would recommend either calling or filling out our Request an Estimate form so both parties have a better idea about how much the material is worth and how much we can return.
  2. Complete a packing slip to ship with your materials and request the “delivery signature required” option.
  3. We will review your material and mail a payment to you in 3-5 business days or less after the material is received.

You can read more about our process on our website. Thanks!

*Images displayed is only a representation of the items described in this blog post and may not be true images of the items in question.

While we are happy to give estimates on precious metal items, we are NOT antiques dealers, researchers, or retail sellers. As a precious metal refiner, we only consider the weight and amount of precious metal available to extract during the smelting and refining process.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Is Now the Time to Sell Gold & Silver?

7-20-11    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

We get asked this question constantly. And because no one can really predict where the prices of precious metals will go in the next month or even week, it is difficult to give a “yes” or “no” answer.

We can reflect on the history of gold and silver prices and say that back in April 2011 when gold hit $1,500 an ounce it was a BIG deal. And now that it has hit over $1,600 an ounce it is a BIG deal. Learn more about refining precious metals at

From Daily Finance, here are 5 tips about selling gold:

1) Measure your gold against a penny. If you don’t know how much gold you have, measure its weight against the penny. Ten U.S. one-cent coins are equal to an ounce. An ounce of pure gold is currently worth about $1,600 USD.

* Note that the price of gold changes daily. The price listed above may not be the current price of gold.

2) Every gram adds up. A collection of small pendants, lockets, or pins made from 14-karat gold (58% gold mixed with other metal alloys) can add up. A gold tooth or small pin might be made from five to seven grams of gold.

*Remember to take out any gems or non precious items that may be able to be sold separately. These items have not refining value.

3) Know what the market is doing. Gold investing is serious business and there are many specialty gold products that act as investing tools.

*We recommend checking the spot price of gold.

4) What’s your emotional attachment? Wedding rings from long-divorced exes may be good to throw into the melting pot, but grandpa’s pocket watch probably has more value as a keepsake or sell it to a private buyer as an estate piece.

*Remember that when you sell items such as watches or jewelry to a refiner, you are only selling the gold. If you sell to a private buyer or estate sale you are selling the piece in its entirety (as a watch).

5) Keep the gold plate. Anything made with gold-plate or gold-fill isn’t worth much to a refinery. Keep the costume jewelry. Wear or sell the rest.

*CORRECT! We cannot offer returned on gold plated material.

Here are the prices of Gold, Silver and Platinum today (they are down just a bit from yesterday) July 20, 2011. Please check for the CURRENT precious metal prices.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions

How Much are Silver Strike Coins Worth?

7-18-11    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

Question: How much are silver strike coins worth they say .999 pure silver on them and they weigh 1 oz each. They are from casinos in Las Vegas. – From Lou in New York.

Hi Lou,

Even though your silver strike coins weigh 1 ounce each, only the middle of them are actually silver which usually accounts for about 60% of the coin. As precious metal refiners we only give returns based on the amount of silver available in the coin. We usually payout 90% of the silver value back to you. Most often the outside of the coin is made from brass that we would recycle but the amount is so small that we do not offer a return on the brass.

We would recommend doing some research first, because many times silver strike coins from Las Vegas are collectible and sought after for more than their silver value. It really just depends on how rare the coin it is, from which casino and from what year.

It is important to note that coins that have experienced significant wear often have approximate a 1% drop in silver weight. Arch Enterprises can refine the silver from all types of silver coins.

Please keep in mind that we are not a coin dealer and cannot give estimates based on the value of collectable, rare or vintage coins. As a precious metal refiner, we only give estimates based on the weight of items and the amount of precious metal available for recovery.

*Image displayed is only a representation of the items described in this blog post and may not be true images of the items in question.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

1847 Rogers Brothers IS Silver Value

7-7-11    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I Have a set of – 1847 Rogers Brothers Silverware with The Letters “IS” and “Eternally Yours” printed on each piece. What is the value of this set? From Patsy in Richmond, Virginia.


I have 4 pounds of 1847 Roger Brothers IS. I was just wondering what it was worth. I would like to know more about it before I decide whether or not to sell it? From Tim in Pacific, Missouri.



Hi Patsy and Tim,

Since you both have 1847 Rogers Brothers IS Silver, I wanted to address your questions together. There are a few main points that we try to address when talking about Rogers Brothers:

“1847” and “IS” Marking on Rogers Brother Silver
The first thing we tell people about 1847 Rogers Brothers Silver is that the 1847 is NOT the manufacturer date. This is the founding date of Rogers Brothers that they include in the hallmark of all their silverware.

The “IS” stands for International Silver who has owned Rogers since 1898.

The point is that neither of these markings gives any indication about the purity or value of the silver.

Rogers Brothers is NOT all Sterling
Make sure that you are aware that NOT all sets and pieces by Rogers Brothers are sterling. Some pieces are silver plate. Sometimes people automatically assume that old silver pieces are sterling, but silver plating techniques have been around since the 1800s.

Selling Rogers Brothers Silver
The most important item to know is whether or not your silver is sterling. No matter who you sell to, usually sterling silver is more valuable than silver plate, stainless steel, copper or some other non-precious metal.

If you have sterling, check to see if you have a complete set and if any pieces are broken or damaged. If you have odd and end pieces Arch Enterprises, precious metal refiner will pay for the silver.

Otherwise for non-sterling, check to see what items are going for on eBay to get an idea about the value. The prices on eBay we found for “Eternally Yours Rogers Brothers Silverware” range from $235 -$295. But also keep in mind that these are large 52 piece to 72 piece sets in good condition, and some of them in their original boxes which makes a difference in their resale value.

*Image displayed is only a representation of the items described in this blog post and may not be true images of the items in question.

Refining Silver Electrical Contacts

6-13-11    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

What is a good place to sell silver electrical contacts? Do you all do this? How much silver is in electrical contacts? Thanks! From Dan in Waterford, Michigan

Hi Dan,

Thanks for contacting us!

You will be happy to know that you have come to the right place. We can refine silver electrical contacts. In our experience of refining electrical contacts made from tungsten silver, they can contain between 25-30 percent silver.

Refining this type of material is ideal because of the significant amount of silver to extract. How much of the silver material do you have? We can help arrange freight if you have a very large shipment.

Find out more information about electrical contact from relating blog posts here:

*Image displayed is only a representation of the items described in this blog post and may not be true images of the items in question.

Value of Silver Oxide Batteries

5-31-11    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have 20-30 lbs. of silver watch batteries. I have already hand sorted since these were still packaged and I have maybe a pound or two of the lithium batteries. What are you currently paying and how do I ship these. From John in Des Moines, Iowa.

Hi John,

Thank you for submitting your question.

It is great that you were able to separate your silver oxide batteries from your lithium batteries. This saves us time when it comes to the refining process.

Because you are shipping used batteries you should be able to ship in a cardboard box. So the batteries do not shake around, you might want to fill with newspaper in the box, but that is up to you.

We are paying around $30-$40 per pound of silver oxide batteries with the silver price being around $35-40 per troy ounce. However, this pricing is subject to change according to the fluctuation of the price of silver. If you call us on the day that you ship we will be able to give you a more accurate quote given the amount of silver batteries you have and the spot price of silver.

We have recently increased our capacity for refining silver oxide batteries. Check out our latest press release for more information.

* Price quoted is based on the daily market price of silver the day this blog post was published and may not be the current price viewers are reading this posting.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Sell and Refine Silver Oxide Watch Batteries| Precious Metal Refining Blog

3-22-11    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have a large amount of silver oxide watch batteries that I would like to have refined for the silver. We are talking several hundred pounds of this material. Can you give me a price per troy ounce or price per pound? From Jim in Houston, Texas


Hi Jim,

Silver has been in the headlines as the price has reached $36 USD per troy ounce for the first time in 30 years. So now it a great time to have silver oxide batteries you have refined. When you say “several hundred pounds” are you sure that they are all silver oxide batteries?

Other batteries that may look like silver oxides are lithium or alkaline batteries, that are not manufactured with silver at all. Though it is still a good idea to recycle these batteries in an environmentally friendly manner so the toxic contents of the batteries do not leak out into the earth, we will not be able to offer a return on non-silver batteries.

It saves us time and money if you have already sorted your batteries. However, if you have a comingled lot we can discuss our sorting fee if you would like. Also because you have such a large amount, we can quote special pricing for you.

How Much is Silver in X-Ray Film Worth? | Precious Metal Refining Blog

2-17-11    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I was talking to a friend who told me silver prices are at 30 year highs. The company we have been using at my hospital shreds our films and says it’s the law to do so. Once you factor in the shredding charge, we don’t get any money back for our film. Are we getting taken advantage of? I would think with prices where they are we should be getting something back? From Lori in Chicago, Illinois

Hi Lori,

The thing to keep in mind when you are selling x-ray film for the silver is that you need to have a substantial amount to make the freight and refining cost worth the effort. The amount of silver in one X-ray is negligible. However when you have 400 pounds or more of the material then you should expect to see a return, based on the silver price today.

You are correct when you say that silver is at an all time high today. Here is a quick bit of the history of silver in the United States. At the beginning of 1980 silver reached a record high of around $49.00 per troy ounce, however right after that it started to drop and in 1981 dropped to under $9.00 per troy ounce. After the huge drop it seemed like no one wanted to invest in silver anymore. In the last few years we have seen gold and silver prices climb. Other factors to consider include inflation and the value of the dollar. A dollar does not get you as far today as it did in 1980.

Silver Price Chart

34 Year Silver Price Chart from

There are government regulations in place when companies destroy personal information such as x-ray film. We follow HIPAA guidelines and provide certificates of destruction for our customers. When the company you are using say they are following the law by shredding these x-rays they might not actually be refiners, but only middlemen shredders. By shredding x-ray film they are destroying the material in a HIPAA compliant manner. However, if you have your film sent into a refiner, we do not shred the film but recover the silver and destroy it according to HIPAA rules. This is an issues that some of our customers had questions about so we addressed in our latest press release: Arch Enterprises Addresses Industry Concerns about X-Ray Recycling

How much x-ray film are you sending in at once? If you are sending more than 300-400 pounds at a time, then you should question the company you are using about a return.

Posted In: All, Silver

Precious Metal Refining Blog | Value of Rogers Bros Sterling Silver Dinnerware

2-8-11    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

My mom gave me her old sterling silver dinnerware set that she got from her mom. She told me to be careful with it because she said it came from my grandfathers first marriage. She thought it was originally from Virginia. It is a set of twelve with a serving set also. One dinner fork is missing. All have “sterling” inscribed on them. A few of the pieces have this information 1847 ROGERS BROS 6 and then it looks like a circle like O. Some other pieces have 1847 ROGERS BROS 12 with something at the end that looks like a circle or perhaps the inc. symbol? What do you feel I have going on here. And what do you think it may be worth? Thanks for your help. From Virginia in Newnan, Georgia

Hi Virginia,

Because the word “sterling” is marked on your silver pieces we can say with confidence that you have sterling silverware which is .925 silver or 92.5% silver. Bcause we are precious metal refiners we don’t know too much about sterling silver manufactures and brands. Doing some quick research online, I found that the 1847 date is the founding date of Rogers Brother and does not refer to the date your pieces were made.

What is metal under

Keep in mind that precious metal refiners, like Arch Enterprises will only pay customers based on the precious metal content of the items you send to us. It sounds like you have a pretty large set so I think it would be worth doing some research into exactly what you have and where the best place would be to sell.

Many sterling silver knives and serving pieces are weighted for usability purposes. So the handles are filled with some kind of cement or wax. We weigh these items separately from those that are 100% sterling such as forks and spoons. Once you separate out any pieces that might be weighted we would recommend weighing everything else on a postal scale. Then use our precious metal calculator which will give you a good idea of what your items are worth based on the silver value. (Make sure you check the 0.925 silver check box on the calculator).

Hope this information helps! Let us know if you need more information about selling your sterling silver to be recycled and refined.

Watch this video about finding the value of sterling silverware.

*Image displayed is only a representation of the items described in this blog post and may not be true images of the items in question.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Precious Metal Refining Blog | Refining and Selling Silver Bars

2-1-11    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have 2 silver bars that I had bought back in 1981. One of the bars is 101.16 oz. the other is 25.11oz. They are both .999. I had purchased them from Tri State Refining & Investment Co. I would like to know what they could be sold for? Thank you, from Gene in Camanche, Iowa

Hi Gene,

Can you believe that 30 years have past since you purchased those silver bars?

You actually choose a great time to purchase your silver bars as the price of silver in 1981 dropped considerably compared to what it was in 1980, making the beginning of the 90s a bad time to sell. However, the price of silver has risen steadily over the last 10 years, surpassing 1980s high that peaked at around $49 per troy ounce. More about the history of silver prices can be found on The Silver Institute’s website:

We offer a precious metal calculator tool that can give you a good indication of what your material is worth when you sell it to a refiner. You simply put in the weight and purity of your silver and enter in the current price of silver. Since the price of silver changes daily, go to for the updated silver prices. *Today silver is trading at $28.32 USD/troy ounce.

This calculator provides market indicates of what your silver is worth if it were in investment grade form. It does not factor in shipping or refining costs.

*This prices may not reflect the current price of silver when this blog entry was posted.

Posted In: Forum Questions, Silver

What do the markings 70% and SSS on my Silver Flatware Mean?

12-28-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have some silver flatware marked 70%, and one marked SSS. Is there ANY value at all ? From Gwen in Salem, Oregon

Hi Gwen,

We are not familiar with the marking SSS as an indication of the grade of silver you have. Usually sterling silver is stamped with an S or SS. An SSS might mean your item is stainless steel. Do you have any other information about this flatware piece?

To sell sterling silver, it must be 925 or 92.5% silver. All other markings mean that it is some other type of silver. Different markings can indicate that it was made somewhere else since each country has their own system for hallmarking precious metals manufactured in that country.

Is it an exact “70%” that is stamped on your silver? Or does it look like “.700” or “700?” All of these could mean that you silver flatware is 70% silver alloyed with 30% of some other metal (s). For items that we are unsure about, we run XRF analytic tests to determine how much silver, if any, is available to refine. If you have a large amount of this material, we would recommend sending us an item that we can test before you send the whole lot.

Is My Sheffield Silver Tea Set Worth Anything?

12-21-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

Can you please tell me the value, if any, for a Sheffield 241B Silver Tea Set? It was a gift years ago and I was just wondering the value of it. – From Kim in Dallas, Texas.

Hi Kim,

Using the term “Sheffield” to describe your silver can mean a couple different things. Silver has been manufactured in Sheffield, England for centuries. It is associated with the term “Sheffield plate” which is an older silver plating technique.

Many times the place of origin will be stamped on silver items along with the date, maker and/or hallmark or purity of the silver item. Sterling silver flatware made in Sheffield, England will have value to a precious metal refiner because the item is in made mostly with silver. Sterling silver should carry a hallmark indicating its purity. Look for the following to verify that you have sterling silver:

Sterling / sterling
.925 / 925
.800 / 800

Old Sheffield Plate and Sheffield Plated are terms that indicate that items have been silver plated. Old Sheffield Plate is a term used to describe an earlier plating technique which fused a sheet of copper to a thinner sheet of sterling silver. These pieces produced primarily hollowware and this plating technique is not widely used anymore. The term “Sheffield Plated” is sometimes used to describe a more modern electroplating technique that usually involves copper.

As a precious metal refiner, we cannot return a payment on silver plated items. If you have Old Sheffield Plate we would recommend you taking them to an antique dealer since these items may have historic value because of the way they were made.

Silver tea set

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

What are Used Watch, Calculator and Hearing Aid Batteries Worth?

12-14-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

Do all watch, calculator, and hearing aid batteries contain silver. If not, how do you tell which ones do and which ones do not? And how much would approximately 400lbs. be worth refined? From Greg in Los Angeles, California.

Hi Greg,

There are many different batteries used in watches, calculators and hearing aids. Some of them contain silver which can make them profitable when refined. These are called silver oxide batteries and sometimes referred to as silver zinc or watch and button cell batteries.

We cannot return payment back on mercury, alkaline or lithium batteries as there is no silver to extract from these batteries. Some of your older batteries may be mercury batteries, but these are not used as much anymore because of the toxic chemicals that leak out in landfills.

We would prefer that you try and separate out the silver bearing batteries before you ship. This will also save you money on shipping costs, as you will not have to ship non silver bearing batteries. Separation is difficult if you are not familiar with serial numbers and the look of silver oxide batteries. Arch can do the separation for lots over 200 pounds for a fee.

If you have at least 5 pounds of silver oxide batteries, we typically offer between $15 – $20 per pound for this material. If you have over 30 pounds of the silver batteries we can offer special pricing for this larger amount. Hope this was helpful for you!

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Recycling X-Ray Film

12-7-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

We have x-rays to dispose of, is there a way to recycle them? From Stephanie in Champaign, Illinois

Hi Stephanie,

It’s great that you are thinking of ways to put the silver from X-ray film back into the industries that use it. Because about one-fifth of silver used each year is used in X-ray film, all companies who use silver in operations should be conscious about recycling.

The best way to recycle X-ray film is to have it refined so that the silver is extracted. Depending on how much you have, you can actually receive payment for them. We ask our customers the following questions to get a better idea of how we can help. By answering these questions you can also get a better gauge of how much your X-ray film is worth.

1)    How much X-ray film do you have? We weigh X-ray film out of any paper jackets and recommend that you have at least 300-400 pounds of film before you have it refined.

2)    Does the X-ray film need to be sorted? Or is it already out of the paper jackets?

3)    Do you need help arranging freight?

4)    Do you have a loading dock available?

It is also a good idea to make sure your recycling or refining company provides certificates of destruction for the material if you need it. Arch complies with HIPAA regulations and provides certificates of destruction upon request.

Thanks Stephanie!

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Quote for electrical contacts from busbars

11-23-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

Can you give me a quote for processing electrical contacts that have been removed from busbars? – Chad in Abilene, TX

Hi Chad,

We would offer between $10-$15 per pound depending on the quality and silver content. For those of you who do not know what busbars are, they are used in electrical power distribution and are usually made of copper or aluminum. So, you may be asking yourself where the silver content comes in. Often the joints between high-current bus sections have silver-plated surfaces to reduce contact resistance. These scrap silver electrical contacts can be ideal for refining.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Does silver get black when it gets old and dirty?

11-16-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

Does silver get black when it gets old and dirty? And does this affect the melt value? – John in Frenso, CA

When silver comes in contact with oxygen it oxidizes or turns black, this process is called tarnishing. No matter what form of silver your items are, sterling silver and pure silver alike tarnishes. The black/greenish substance that rubs off is called silver sulfate. Silver tarnishes not based on the type of silver, but based on the silver item’s environment. When materials like wool, rubber, fossil fuels and latex come in contact with silver it causes the item to tarnish more quickly. Also, the climate can affect this process. High humidity results in silver tarnishing faster and results in a darker and blacker form of tarnish build on the item.

As for the second part of the question, tarnish does NOT affect the melt value of items. Refiners will take silver items, not matter the condition. If you have scrap metal pieces, it could be to your benefit to not clean them. Tarnish does not just lay on the surface of silver, it is chemically bound to it. Harsh silver cleaning treatments could remove some of the silver content and affect its value.

As a warning, you should never clean silver with other metal items. A chemical reaction might occur resulting in a loss of silver off the item.

Note: If you have silver coins, you may want to be more careful in how you clean them. If you use a harsh cleaner or applicator you could destroy the original surface of the coin, significantly decreasing its numismatic value (more than its precious metal value). Consulting a coin dealer before you clean silver coins may be in your best interest.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Refine Sterling Silver from Russia| Precious Metal Refining Blog

10-28-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have boxes of various silver pieces from a tea set originally from Russia. I would like to know how I could sell it and its worth. Thank you. From AJ in Chicago, Illinois

Hi AJ,

The first thing to check for is if there are any Hallmarks on your silver pieces. Hallmarks are indications of metal content, and sometimes the maker’s mark or signature is also included. You mainly want to determine if your silver pieces are sterling silver, some other metal or plated silver.

In Russia, two-digit numbers refer to zolotnicks, which is a Russian weight measure where there are 96 zolotniki to a troy pound, thus:

96 zolotniki = 96/96 or 1000/1000 parts pure silver or .1000 silver
90 zolotniki = 90/96 or 937/1000 parts pure silver or .937 silver
84 zolotniki = 84/96 or 875/1000 parts pure silver or .875 silver
72 zolotniki = 72/96 or 750/1000 parts pure silver or .750 silver
62 zolotniki = 62/96 or 645/1000 parts pure silver or .645 silver

Usually the zolotniki is indicated by 62, 72, 74, 76, 82, 84, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91.

The hallmark is the only part of the markings that indicate its precious metal value. Sometimes other markings give indications of such things as the date, maker and place of origin. These are all things that might be important to an antiques dealer or silver collector. Typically sterling silver pieces that are dented, broken, scratched or in less than ideal condition are good contenders to sell for their precious metal value to refiners. If you believe that your pieces are valuable based on their craftsmanship or antique qualities you may want to have them professionally appraised.

When silver comes into our refinery, we test it based solely on the silver content that is available to refine. Whether it’s made in the United States or Russia we return 75% of the fine silver value to customers for sterling silver pieces.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Silver Electrical Contacts to Refine | Precious Metal Refining Blog

10-12-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have 193 troy ounces of silver electrical contacts to recycle. Can you refine this? – Thanks from Don in Salt Lake City, Utah

Hi Don,

Silver has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal. That is why it is used in a variety of industries and applications. Silver electrical contacts are commonly used in circuit breakers, relays, switches and electrical discharge machining (EDM) applications.

We do refine silver electrical contacts.  This material typically comes to us in gallon size buckets or drums and we pay about $10-$15 per pound depending on the quality and amount of silver they contain. The silver is refined and put back into industries that need it.

Based on a conversion rate of 1 pound to 14.5833 troy ounces, we estimate that you have about 13 pounds of silver electrical contacts.  As such, we could return about $132 – $198 for your silver material.

Thanks for your question and thanks for recycling!

Posted In: Most Popular, Silver

Selling Sterling Silver Tea Sets | Precious Metal Refining Blog

10-7-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

Is a silver tea service generally more valuable than the silver content? From Heidi in Central Missouri.

Hi Heidi,

There is not an easy yes or no answer to this question. There are many factors that you need to consider if you are thinking of reselling silver tea service such as the condition, completeness, brand, quality and collectability. As refiners, we only take into account the market price of silver and the fine silver content by weight.

Given this, pieces that are broken or damaged are ideal for refining. We are also sent lot of mismatched sets and random silverware that do not go with a larger collection. If you have any of these items, selling for the silver content would probably be your best way to go.

If you have a branded, complete set that is in good condition, you might want to have it appraised by an antique dealer and sell it to them or consider selling on eBay or Craigslist.  Of course, an antique dealer or Pawn shop will probably offer you a fraction of its market value as they need to sell it at market price and make a profit and eBay and Craigslist have drawbacks as well.

Also, the price of silver changes daily. In the past 52 weeks the silver price has fluctuated between $13.27 USD and $19.80 USD. When selling to a refiner, we would recommend keeping an eye on the price of silver and knowing their turnaround time. Here are a few blog posts that deal with sterling silver that might be helpful:

Silver Cookware and Serving Pieces
What Do All These Markings Mean on My Silverware
Refining Silver Flatware and Tableware

If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can evaluate the many options you have and see where you think that you will get the best return.  You can estimate the silver value by using our silver value calculator.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

How to Sell Sterling Silver Tableware | Precious Metal Refining Blog

9-30-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have several very heavy large silver serving trays, 55 pieces of silver plate and sterling silver utensils, and another 30 pieces of assorted sterling and silver on copper pieces. I have about 30 pounds of this stuff. Watched your videos and your website is very good. I need to either sell for scrap or melt to refine the various pieces. I am just tired of storing this stuff. What’s my next step?  Thank you for your informative videos. From Matt in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Hi Matt,

Glad to hear that you watched the videos about valuing sterling silverware.  Since you watched them, you now know that the pieces that are silver plated over copper have very little value and that some of your other items may be weighted or contain parts made from stainless steel.  Based on this, we would recommend sending in only your items that are clearly marked 925 sterling silver, sterling, or 800 and holding out any plated items, and removing the weighting materials from any items.

For the benefit of all who read this, silver plated copper pieces are not good candidates for precious metal refining as they contain very little silver.  If you have a lot of this material, you may be better off selling these to a scrap metal dealer. If you have pieces that are not marked sterling, you may have to conduct some research on your own to determine if they are in fact sterling. We would recommend first running a strong magnet over your items and if the magnet sticks to anything, they are not sterling. Our testing equipment would determine this, but we would hate to see people pay to ship in worthless items.

If you see any of the following markings on your pieces, chances are they are not sterling silver and you can take them out of the refining pile. These markings indicate something other than sterling such a plated or nickel silver.

Nickel Silver – or Alpaca
Plated Silver – Marked as EP or EPNS
G – German Silver

To get a rough estimate on what your sterling silver items are worth, make a pile of items that you know are sterling and that are not weighted. Weigh these items together and then you can use our silver value calculator to find the market value of these items. You can send all your items into our refinery and we will process and evaluate all the items. We typically pay 75% of the fine silver content by weight for your items. On your packing slip, please indicate the following options:

  • If you would like us return any non sterling items back to you.
  • If you would like us to call you before refining.

Otherwise, we will refine all the available sterling silver and recycle any metal that is not precious. If you would like more information on silver refining please visit the following resources:

Refining Sterling Silver Flatware Information
Finding the Value of Sterling Silver Video

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Silver and Gold Jewelry Refining | Precious Metal Refining Blog

9-28-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have a good amount of 925 silver jewelry, as well as some 14k gold, and some 22k gold from India. I may be going into the gold buying business and I have a question. What you are paying per troy oz of each? I know it depends upon the daily precious metals market, but is there a standard percentage of that you pay? Please advise, Thanks! From Jack in Birmingham, Alabama.

Hi Jack,

We do work with many people and stores that run gold buying businesses so we may be able to help you. As you noted in your question, the market price of silver and gold will have a major influence on how much we can pay for gold and silver items. Because these prices fluctuate daily, we use the commodity price of the day that we receive the material at our refining facility.

On 925 sterling silver items we typically pay 75% of the fine silver content by weight because the value of silver is relatively low when compared to gold and yet the time and energy involved in refining the material and running the transaction through our system is similar. Since gold is trading for over $1,000 UDS per troy ounce all of this year, we can pay a higher percentage based on the amount you send and the purity of your items. Keep in mind that it takes about the same amount of energy to refine 1 ounce of gold as it does to refine 3 ounces, so it is more cost efficient for us to refine larger quantities at one time. For estimation purposes, we typically pay out according to the schedule below:

  • 70% of the fine gold value by weight for less than 0.5 fine ounce of gold
  • 80% for less than 1 fine ounce
  • 85% for 1-2 fine ounces
  • 90% for more than 2 fine ounce

We do offer slightly higher returns to many of our customers who run gold buying businesses and meet our frequency and volume minimums. Arch is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and maintains fast, professional service in an industry where ethical business practices are many times questionable. We are here for our customers to answer questions on our blog and are always just a phone call away.

Good luck in your new business.

Where to Sell Silver Tableware | Precious Metal Refining Blog

9-14-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have a 20 year old collection of sterling silver tableware including flatware, cups, plates, trays, candlesticks, vases — anything you can imagine, all stripped & cleaned. I have about 1050 troy ounces of items and want to know the best place to sell silver. Thanks from Betty in Richmond, Virginia

Hi Betty,

That sounds like quite a collection of sterling silver you have! With so many pieces, it will be important to consider your options.

If you do not want to deal with the hassle of separating and selling in groups or piece by piece, you could send it all in to a refinery like us. We will run analytical testing on your materials and send back pieces if we find they are not sterling.  Assuming all of the pieces were .925 sterling silver is typically .925 silver and using a spot price of silver at $18 per troy ounce, your 1050 troy ounces would have a market value of approximately  $17,500. However, items such as candlesticks and knife handles are often weighted with other materials that contribute to the weight of the item, but contain no silver.  As such, this estimate is probably a best case scenario.

You should also consider that a silver refiner only pays on the silver content in items.  Refiners do not consider the collection value, condition or design.  Therefore, you’ll need to consider if the market value of an item is going to be more than its melt value and whether it is worth the time and effort to try to find a buyer for the item.

Here are some tips that we recommend for people with large collections of sterling silver tableware:

  1. Separate all the pieces that are marked sterling silver from the pieces that are not marked. For the items that are not marked, you may want to do a few tests on those to find if they are in fact sterling. A magnet test is the easiest, if any of your unmarked pieces stick to a magnet they are not sterling.
  2. Determine if some of your pieces could be weighted with another material. Wax, cement or lead is often added to items such as candlesticks to help stabilize the items. As a result, they are not 100% sterling silver materials. Other weighted items include candelabras and salt and pepper shakers. Also, many knife blades are stainless steel as sterling silver is too soft to function as a cutting device. Here is a silver refining video where you can see a candlestick and knife taken apart to expose filled and hollow centers.  To reduce shipping costs, it is ideal to try to remove the weighting materials if you know you are going to send the item in to be melted.
  3. If you know that any of your pieces are antiques and in good condition, they could have collection value that is more than the silver content value. You may find that you can make more on these items by selling them on eBay, Craigslist or even to a local jeweler or antique shop.

Unmatched collections, broken pieces and outdated styles of sterling silver are typically ideal for refining as they have very little market value. Many people also send items in great condition to us simply because they don’t want to deal with the hassles of trying to sell the items themselves.  We typically pay 75% of the fine silver value by weight and welcome you to use our free silver value calculator to help guide you in your decision making.

Good luck with your collection and let us know if you need any more refining information.

Posted In: Silver

Where to Refine Silver Sludge from Photo Processing | Precious Metal Refining Blog

9-9-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

Hi, I have approximately 7.8 lbs of silver sludge from black and white film development in a plastic bottle. Can this be refined? If so, how much is it worth? From Kent in St. Louis, Missouri

Hi Kent,

Thanks for your question. Silver sludge generated during film development can be refined and Arch Enterprises does process this type of material regularly. We normally recommend a minimum of at least 5 pounds of the sludge material to justify the freight and refining costs so you should be in luck … especially since you are located near our refining facility.

The value of the silver sludge will depend on how much silver is available to refine. Photographic sludge often contains about 60 to 80 percent silver, but we can determine a more accurate percentage when we get it in our lab and run analytical tests.

We have more information about refining industrial precious metal on our website.

Posted In: Silver

Refine Sterling Silver Sheet, Wire & Scrap | Precious Metal Refining Blog

9-7-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have sterling silver sheets, wire, and scrap from when I took a jewelry class in the early 1990s. It’s approximately 13.5 standard ounces. What is this worth melted down? From Deanna in Destin, Florida

Hi Deanna,

Silver used in jewelry making such as wire, sheet and clasps is typically 925 sterling silver so it probably contains 92.5% silver.  Unfortunately, components and scraps are often not marked so we would need to run analytical tests to determine the exact percentage of silver in your items.   For evaluation purposes, let’s assume all of the material is sterling silver.

Given this, you can use our silver value calculator, plug in the market price of silver, and calculate its value.   *Today the price of silver is $18.35 USD per troy ounce. Note that standard ounces or avoirdupois ounces are different than troy ounces (1 troy ounce = 1.09714 avoirdupois ounces). Below is a screenshot of the calculator showing the steps you would go through to find the market value of 13.5 avoirdupois ounces of 925 silver.

Based on these figures, the market value of your silver is $208.85.  Of course, the calculated value provides market indications of what your silver is worth if it were in an investment grade form.   As a refiner, we will need to refine the silver, put it into sellable form, and execute the transaction with a buyer.  As such, we typically pay 75% of 925 sterling silver value by weight.

Note: The price of silver changes daily. The given price may not reflect the current price of silver.

Posted In: Silver

Where to Sell Pre 1964 US Silver Coins | Precious Metal Refining Blog

9-2-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

Hi, I wish to sell some pre-1964 silver coins with a face value of $153.50. Can you give me a feel for how much these are worth and where I can sell them? – Thanks. From Jon in Ottumwa, Iowa

Hi Jon,

Thanks for your question. Not all US coins minted 1964 and before contain the same amount of silver. Dimes, quarters, half dollars and nickels all vary in the amount of silver they contain. So just giving the face value of your silver coins is not enough information to return an accurate estimate about how much the silver in your coins is worth, but I can try to provide you some information that may help.

To give you an idea for their value here is a list of some common pre-1964 coins with their silver content:

(1942-1945) Silver War Nickel 0.0563 Standard Ounces of Silver in Mint Condition


(1916-1945) Mercury Dime 0.0723 Standard Ounces of Silver in Mint Condition


(1932-1964) Washington Quarter 0.1808 Standard Ounces of Silver in Mint Condition


(1964) Kennedy Half Dollar 0.1479 Standard Ounces of Silver in Mint Condition


(1878-1921) Morgan Dollar 0.7735 Standard Ounces of Silver in Mint Condition


So as you can tell, the amount of silver in each of these coins is different. Because of this, the value of the coin will differ. Typically we return 90% of the fine silver value in weight on US silver quarters and dimes minted before 1964. For US silver nickels minted before 1964, however, we can only return 40% of the silver value because the large amounts of copper alloy in these coins requires significantly more energy (cost) to refine.

Also keep in mind that listed above is the amount of silver for coins that are in mint condition.  The weight variance between uncirculated and excessively circulated coins can, in some cases, exceed a 10% drop in silver content.

You can visit our website for a larger list of silver coins that we can refine. Additionally we have posted other information about more specific silver coins on our blog.

About US Silver Dimes
About Silver Morgan Dollars
About Silver Washington Quarters and Half Dollars
About Silver War Nickels

Posted In: Silver

Retailers Sell Sterling Silver Jewelry for Refining and Recycling

8-3-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I am a jewelry retailer and have about 20+ pounds of outdated styles of sterling silver jewelry that I would like to melt and sell for cash. Can you handle this quantity? Thanks! From Jack in Providence, Rhode Island

Hi Jack,

As one of the largest silver refineries in the United States, we have the capacity to handle truckloads full of material, so 20 pounds will not be an issue. We work with many jewelers who are clearing out tarnished silver and outdated styles to make room for new merchandise. Along with high returns, we send out fast payments, usually within 1 – 2 business days after receiving the material. With that large quantity we can pay you for 80% of the silver value, for less than 20 lbs we will pay 75% of the silver value.

Hope this information helps!

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Sell Sterling Silver Flatware & Tableware – Gorham Silver

7-29-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have about 96 ounces of Gorham brand sterling silver. What is this worth?  From Eli in Rogers, Arkansas

Hi Eli,

Thanks for your inquiry about selling sterling silver flatware. While we are not experts in regards to the collectors or market value of specific brands and styles of sterling silverware, we can help estimate its melt value. First, troy ounce is the measurement used for platinum, gold and silver. Troy ounces are actually heavier than standard ounces. If you have 96 standard ounces you have 87.4999 troy ounces (1 ounce = 0.911458333 troy ounce). Today the market price of silver is $18.73 UDS/troy ounce.* With that being said we can offer 75% of the fine silver content by weight for sterling silver. We would recommend that you use our silver value calculator with the current silver price to determine the silver value.

There are a couple of other items to keep in mind. You did not specify exactly what types of silver flatware you have – I am assuming that you have a set or a mix of forks, spoons, and/or knives. It is important to note that knife blades are sometimes stainless steel, making them more durable for cutting. Also, knife handles are sometimes weighted so they fit more comfortably in a user’s grip. If you have not done so already, we would recommend weighing spoons and forks separately from knives. Though sterling silver knives still have value, it can be significantly less than spoons and forks.

Also, since you have branded silverware I would recommend you checking out this previous blog post about sterling silverware that was also Gorham brand.

*Note: the price of silver changes daily.

Posted In: Forum Questions, Silver

Sell Old Watch Batteries | Precious Metal Refining Blog

7-22-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have about 6 pounds of silver oxide batteries from watches. How much silver is in these? What are they worth? From Jennifer in Atlanta, Georgia

I would like an estimate on about 20 pounds of silver oxide, alkaline and lithium batteries. From Jon in Rapid City, South Dakota

Hi Jennifer and Jon,

Thanks for your submissions about refining silver oxide batteries, also known as silver zinc batteries. These batteries are used in many applications such as watches, hearing aids and other small devices. You will find that most refineries will only take silver oxide batteries if you have hundreds of pounds of this material. Since Arch Enterprises refines so much silver, we offer approximately $10 to $15 per pound depending on the quality and quantity of batteries you have to refine. So you have the peace of mind that these batteries are being recycled and disposed of properly and will receive a cash bonus for your efforts. It’s a win-win!

However Jon — we do not take alkaline or lithium batteries, since there is no precious metal available for us to extract. We would only be able give you a return on the silver oxide batteries. Let us know if you have any more questions!

Posted In: Forum Questions, Silver

Where Can I Sell Silver Dimes | Precious Metal Refining Blog

7-15-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have about 710 silver dimes that were left to my family.  I’m not sure of the exact weight, but they are all 1964 and previous years, so I think the weight of silver in them is around 51.333 troy ounces.  Where can I sell silver dimes for more than the face value? Thanks! From Anthony in Fort Smith, Arkansas

Hi Anthony,

Thanks for your inquiry. US dimes minted 1964 and earlier are often called “junk silver” as they have silver value but little to no numismatic or collection value. Because they have a high percentage of silver content, they can be sold and refined for much more than their face value of 10 cents. Below are examples of the type of dimes you described.

Dimes Image

As you can see the Mercury Dime and Roosevelt Dime have different designs. However, both contain the same amount of silver approximately 0.0723 troy ounces. Based on a silver price of $18 per troy ounce, each dime would be worth about $1.30.

Keep in mind however, that some of these coins may have been in circulation for almost 100 years. Many undoubtedly have experienced significant wear and often have a slight drop in silver weight, around 1-2 percent. The 0.0723 troy ounces of silver is from a coin in mint condition. That is why recommend actually weighing your coins before sending them in as we calculate the melt value based on the actual weight. We typically pay about 75% of the silver value to melt them and put them in a form that can be returned to the industry. Hope this information helps!

Posted In: Forum Questions, Silver

Where Can I Sell Sterling Silver Flatware – Gorham Greenbrier Brand?

7-8-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I want to sell my sterling silver flatware set.  It is Gorham Greenbrier brand and includes 12 5-piece settings with a butter knife and 8 serving pieces: 2 medium size spoons, 2 medium size forks, a gravy ladle, a sugar spoon and 2 larger size serving spoon/forks. What is all this worth and where can I sell it?  From Karalyn in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Hi Karalyn,

Depending on the condition of your set, you may have a number of options of where to sell your sterling silver flatware. The first thing we would recommend is to find out as much as you can about your silver tableware. Since you already know the make and brand is Gorham Greenbrier, look at the hallmarks and make sure you know exactly what they mean. Other things to look for are the age and country of origin.

Based on this information, you may be able to assess whether the set has much market value or if it is better to sell for its melt value. If you feel the market value is high, a local consignment shop may take them for you, but consider that they will probably take about 40% to 50% of the sale price as their fee to put your set in their store. They will also take into consideration quality, brand, collectability and the completeness of your set whereas precious metal refiners will only look at the weight and purity of the silver content available to extract.

So, if you don’t think your set has much market value or don’t want to deal with the hassle of taking your items to a store or selling on eBay or Craigslist, you can send them in based on the melt value. As a silver refiner, we will pay you on the actual value of silver in your set. You can use our silver value calculator to find the approximate value of your items at market price.

Take into consideration that knife blades are often made from stainless steel. Also, some knife handles and serving piece handles are weighted, meaning that they are filled with another material making them heavier and so they fit better in a user’s hand. This will affect the sterling silver melt value. We would recommend taking the knives out from the group and weighing everything else separately.

Also, silver prices do change regularly so we pay 75% of the fine silver content based on the market price of the day received and can typically process your sterling scrap silver and return payment within 1-2 business days. For delivery we recommend shipping with the US Postal Service’s flat rate shipping boxes. Please request the “Delivery Signature Required” option. Hope this was helpful to you!

Posted In: Forum Questions, Silver

What is Pure Scrap Silver Powder Worth | Precious Metal Refining Blog

7-1-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have around 10 pounds of pure silver powder I would like to sell. How much do you think its worth? From Robin in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Hi Robin,

To determine the value of your silver powder, you would first need to know how pure the silver is.  For instance, fine silver is 99.9% silver, but if your silver powder contains other ingredients, then it would not be as valuable, assuming the other ingredients are not some other highly precious metal like gold or platinum.

If your silver powder is marked 999 silver anywhere on the container or label, then it is most likely 99.9 % fine silver and you can estimate its value by converting your 10 pounds into 145.833 troy ounces.  (Please note that Silver commodity prices are measured in Troy ounces and not the standard avoirdupois ounces that most Americans think of when they see the word ounce.  Many people mistakenly estimate silver value by multiplying standard avoirdupois ounces by the price per ounce and get a higher value.)

Once you have your weight converted into troy ounces, you can multiply this number by the silver exchange rate published on sites like CNN Money For the purpose of this discussion, let’s assume that the price was $18 per troy ounce.  Given this, the market value of your silver would be about $2,625.

Of course, this price fluctuates and as a refiner, we still would need to process the silver and find a buyer for this particular material so we typically pay 75% of the silver value by weight but could pay up 90% depending on the fine silver content of your powder. If it has no markings, we will have to run additional analytical tests to determine how much silver material is available to extract. Not only will this require more time to refine, but the silver may a much lower purity than the 99.9% used in our example.

We would advise that you send us a small sample of the silver powder so that we can measure its purity and provide a more accurate estimate.

Posted In: Forum Questions, Silver

X-Ray Film Recycling | Precious Metal Refining Blog

6-29-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

Hi, I work in a pet hospital and would like an estimate to recycle about 400 pounds of X-ray films. Can your firm help me?  From Donna in Knoxville, Tennessee

Hi Donna,

Thanks for your inquiry. Arch Enterprises is one of the largest x-ray film recycling companies in the U.S. and we not only have the capability to recycle X-ray film, but we recover the silver content from them so instead of paying for the items to be recycled, you may actually get paid for your film (depending on the volume of actual X-ray film you have and the transportation costs). Your area in Tennessee also falls within our range of locations where we offer X-ray film pickup services so this is beneficial.

Before we make freight arrangements, there is some helpful information that you can provide so we know what we are dealing with. First, are the X-rays in paper sleeves or just alone in a container? And do you have a loading dock available at your facility? Also, are your X-rays are on a pallet? If not, what are the box dimensions and how many boxes you have? This information will give us a better idea of how long the pickup and X-ray refining process will take and what kind of loading equipment we will need onsite.

Find out more about our X-ray film pickup and refining services on our website.

Posted In: All, Silver

Sterling Silver Flatware from Grandma

6-3-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have approximately 250 pieces of sterling silver flatware. My grandmother collected it over 50 years, not from one set, but from everywhere!  There may be closer to 300 pieces. From Greg in Farmington, Missouri

Hi Greg,

Thanks for your inquiry. We always recommend weighing silverware first before you ship. If you are sure that all the flatware from your grandmother is sterling, then we would recommend separating the knives from the batch and weighing those separately from forks and spoons. We tell people to do this because many times knife blades are stainless steel, not silver. Also, knife handles are sometimes filled with another metal. This is done to add weight to a utensil so that it sits better is a user’s hand.

If you do not know for sure if all your pieces are sterling, we would recommend trying to separate your pieces into one pile where you can find a marking indicating sterling and another “unidentified” group. We would recommend looking for markings or hallmarks at the base of the handle or back of the utensil. The following markings indicate sterling:

  • Sterling
  • .925
  • 925/1000
  • .800
  • 800/1000
  • .900
  • 900/1000
  • S
  • SS

It would be helpful if you kept your piles separated during shipment, in bags work fine. We pay 75% of the fine silver content by weight on 925 silver. Let us know if you have any questions. We can take all your silverware, but we can only pay returns on sterling silver.

Watch a video about sterling silver flatware and see a refiner take apart some silver pieces.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

What is Nickel Silver?

5-11-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

Hi, I am wondering whether there is any value in recycling flatware that’s marked nickel silver, Panama silver, Brazil silver, Yukon silver, or Alaska silver? From Brandon in Wichita, Kansas

Hi Brandon,

Thanks for your question.. Nickel silver is named for its silvery appearance, but ironically it actually contains no elemental silver.

Nickel silver is different from plated silver in that nickel silver is not plated with silver and does not contain any real silver at all. Plated silver is metal that is actually covered in a very thin layer of silver. EP and EPNS are other markings that indicate plated silver.

Given that nickel silver has no actual silver content, it is not worth anything to precious metal refiners. Unfortunately, there is nothing of value to extract. With that being said, your pieces still might be worth something if you try to sell them on eBay or to a scrap metal dealer. Good luck!

If you have questions about silver war nickels visit our blog post “Silver Recovery from War Nickels
Or visit our website for silver items that are valuable for their silver content on our Silver Refining webpage.

Posted In: All, Most Popular, Silver

How to Sell Rough Poured Silver Bars

4-26-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

Hi I have 6 silver bars weighing a total of 743.69 ounces. I would like an estimate of the value. I would also like to know how and where to sell these bars. Thanks! From Sarah in Mobile, Alabama

Hi Sarah,

Thank you for your question! First off I am going to assume that your weight is in standard ounces and not in troy ounces, because that will effect the price a bit, but not significantly. We can pay you 75% of the bars’ fine silver value by weight. We do pay more for minted bars because they typically contain 99.9% silver and are made by certified manufacturers, but it sounds like yours are not minted or marked with a mint stamp — so they would be rough silver bars.

However, if they are not marked with a silver quality mark we will not know the true concentration of the fine silver they contain until we get your bars into our testing lab. They could be 70% fine silver by weight or less or more.

I recommend that you insure your shipment of silver bars assuming that your bars for an amount you are comfortable with. We recommend using US Postal Service’s flat rate shipping boxes. Also, make sure that you choose the “Delivery Signature Required” option at the post office.

Hope this information helps!

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Silver Cookware and Serving Pieces

4-21-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have about 13 pounds of Anchor Hocking brand silver cookware and serving pieces. They are very old, dating back to the early 1900’s or before. Could you please tell me how much these are worth? From Kim in Long Beach, Florida

Hi Kim,

There are a couple things you should consider before sending your items in to be refined. The first thing is to make sure that your items are in fact sterling silver and not stainless steel or some other non-precious metal. The easiest way to do this is to look over your items to see if they are marked in someway with an 800, 900, or 925. If you do see these markings, then they are sterling silver and we could pay you for 75% of their fine silver value by weight.

It gets a little trickier if your items are not marked. When you say that you have “silver cookware,” if you are referring to pots and pans then it is unlikely that these are sterling, unless they were used as decorative pieces. Sterling silver serving pieces like gravy boats, trays and pitchers are common, but pots and pans were rarely made from silver.

Here are some markings indicating silver PLATED items:

  • EP – electroplated means silver plated
  • EPNS – electroplated nickel silver (ironic because there is not silver in nickel silver)

Sometimes you can tell the difference between sterling silver and other metals by the color of your items also. If you can see places where the silver appears to be worn away or flaked off then most likely you have silver plated items. Also if you try to polish your items and black tarnish rubs off, then that is a good indication that you have sterling silver, but not a guarantee.

As a precious metal refiner, we have sophisticated equipment that can test for precious metal content, but please note that we will only be able to return a payment back to you on sterling silver items.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Silver Recovery from X-Ray Film and Collection Bucket from Fixer Used to Process X-Rays

3-3-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have 300-400 pounds of used x-ray film, out of jackets, as well as one silver collection bucket from the fixer used to process the x-rays. Could you please give me an estimate of the value of the film and collected silver? Thanks. – From Joseph in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Hi Joseph,

We can recover the silver from x-ray film and from your silver collection bucket. For the film, we could also help you coordinate freight or transportation.

I think you are talking about a small filter that is called an MRC or CRC that is used to exchange silver from iron from fixer solutions. Depending on the silver concentration from the collection bucket we could return 60%-70% of the silver’s value.

It’s great that you are recycling these items instead of throwing them out. It’s a great way to add a little more money in your pocket, as well as having the peace of mind that the silver will be recycled and reused in such industries as medical, jewelry or auto. Thanks so much Joseph!

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

What Do All These Markings Mean on My Silverware?

3-1-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have silver tableware with the following markings: .925 fine silver | 5 troy ounces | id # 060061 | silver town. What do these mean? And what is the value of my items? – From Sue in Newark, New Jersey

Hi Sue,

It is better to have too many markings on your silverware than no markings! Your markings can give us a good indication of the value of your silver. I’ll try and break it down.

.925 fine silver means that your items are 92.5% silver.

5 troy ounces is the weight. Troy ounces are different than your standard ounce that you can find on a postal scale. Average ounces or standard ounces are called avoirdupois ounces.

The formula to change standard ounces to troy ounces is as follows:
Standard Ounce Weight x .912 = Troy Ounce Weight

For example:
16 standards ounces x .912 = 14.59 troy ounces

ID # is the number given to the items by the manufacturer. I am assuming that silver town is the manufacturer, although I cannot find a record of the company. This information might be important if you were trying to sell these items for their retail or collection value instead of their melt value.

We can offer 75% of your tableware’s fine silver content by weight. However, keep in mind that many times the knife blades are stainless steel as silver is too soft to create a reasonable cutting device, obviously this decreases their melt value as steel is not a precious metal. On heavy items like tableware and silverware, we recommend using the US Post Office’s flat rate, priority mail boxes because you can fit a lot of material without worrying about the weight. For more information about refining silverware, visit our website. Hope this information helps!

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Value of Silver Plated Flatware

2-15-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have a sterling silver plated large serving tray and 2 wine goblets. What would the dollar valve be? – From Karen in Southern California

Hi Karen,

I am sorry to tell you that we do not buy plated silver items because the silver is plated too thinly to return any money based on the precious metal content. You would be better off trying to sell these items as a serving tray and goblets.

Silver plating techniques have become very advanced so that the plating manufactures use the smallest amount of silver possible to get the desired silver sheen. Many times the silver plating is so thin that it can be scratched off by hard objects such as a coin or paperclip.

If you have a silver item that you don’t know is plated or silver, we recommend running a strong magnetic over the items. Precious metal is NOT magnetic, so if the magnetic sticks then your items do not have value based on their precious metal content. Find out more about our silver refining services on our website found here:

What is My Reed and Barton Bowl Worth?

2-8-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have a Reed and Barton bowl marked 900. It weighs 30 troy ounces. What do you think this is worth? – From Ryan in Reno, Nevada

Hi Ryan,

We could offer to pay for 75% of your bowl’s fine silver content by weight. However, because your bowl is Reed and Barton which is a well known silver brand name, this item may have retail value that is beyond its precious metal value. By doing a quick Google search you can easily see how much Reed and Barton bowls are selling for today at places like and Macys.

If you bowl is in good condition, you may be better off polishing your bowl and selling it online. Even the silver plated Reed and Barton bowls have a high resell value. Make note of the year your bowl was made. However, sending in your bowl for the silver content is a great option if your bowl is dented or broken, which significantly decreases the resale value.

Watch a refiner demonstrate how to find the value of other silver items on this YouTube How to Value Sterling Silver Video.

Posted In: All, Silver

What is the Value of 10 Pounds of Sterling Silverware?

1-27-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have a 12 person set of sterling silver from the late 1800’s. There are roses around the edges with M etched into the pieces and ornate roses on the handle. I have about 10 lbs. of silverware. – From John in Lapeer, Minnesota

Hi John,

Thanks for you inquiry. Though you did not indicate any silver markings, most sterling silver is 925 silver, that is 92.5% silver. In that case, your silverware is ideal for refining because the scrap silver content is valuable. Arch Enterprises can pay you for 75% of your material’s fine silver content by weight.

An important thing to keep in mind for anyone who is selling or refining silverware is that the knives most likely have stainless blades, not silver blades. This would reduce the silver weight of tableware sets. So, it might be a good idea to weigh your materials sans knives to get a more accurate silver value.

Here is an example of how a refiner takes apart sterling silver items including tableware knives on our Arch Enterprises YouTube Channel.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Silver Recovery from War Nickels

1-11-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have a large number of rolls of 35% silver WWII nickels. Can you refine them into a 100 oz silver bar for me?  From Tim in Schuerch, Arkansas.

Hi Tim,

We can buy your nickels but we cannot refine them into a silver bar and send the bar back to you. We pay for 40% of their silver value by weight for “war” nickels.

Silver “war” nickels were produced by the United States from mid-1942 through 1945 and are in fact 35% silver and of course worth more than their currency value of .05 cents. The government used silver instead of nickel because nickel was in higher demanded for manufacturing military supplies. Today, nickels are made of about 75% copper and 25% nickel.

Knowing if your nickels are “war” nickels is to your advantage because they are worth more refined than spent in a vending machine. However, when the price of silver rose in the 1960s many of these valuable nickels disappeared, but every once in a while you can find one in your change. Here are a few ways you can tell the difference between “war” nickels and the others.

  • Usually war nickels are a little darker in color than others.
  • On the backside of war nickels there is a P, D, or S marked above the building (Monticello’s dome) and under E Pluribus Unum. (On nickels distributed today this marking is on the face side under the year.)

Visit our website for more information about where to sell silver coins.

Posted In: All, Silver

Silver Flake Refining

1-6-10    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have approx. 5 pounds of “silver flake” extracted from scrap x-ray film 15 years ago. I’m not certain of the purity. I used to sell it to a buyer in the Reno area. Do you have a buyer in the Las Vegas area? – From Jay

We do not have a buyer in the Las Vegas area, but we have people ship silver to us from around the US every day. If you send it to us we can pay you much quicker than a remote buyer or broker since we are the refiner. Please let us know if you would like to send it in, I can obtain an estimate for you. We will be able to pay you 75-85 percent of the silver value for the silver flake.

Because about one-fifth of the world’s silver is used in x-ray film, recycling these items is optimal for the environment. All the silver that Arch Enterprises refines is sold directly back into industries that utilize silver such as the medical industry, photography industry, jewelry industry and more.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

How does your medical x-ray film recycling work?

12-1-09    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

How does your medical x-ray film recycling work? Do I have to send in my x-rays? – Sara in Memphis, TN

We recommend finding a dealer that will come to you. Arch will conduct on-site purging of x-rays and x-ray refining in eight states: Alabama, Northern Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee. This just makes things easier for you because we will bring all the necessary materials such as Gaylord boxes, skids and drums.

Another feature to look for in your refining service is if they are HIPAA compliant and offer Certificates of Destruction and documentation of general liability and environment insurance policies. You can also find a service that will sort and remove the x-ray films for you.

If you do not live within the above locations, you can send in your x-rays to a refiner, but the shipping costs will fall on you. Look around your area and try and find a refiner that will conduct on-site x-ray film recycling.

How much is the silver from developing negatives in printing worth refined?

11-25-09    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have 7.7 silver from developing negatives in printing, how much would this bring if I took it to refine? – Trisha in Pittsburg, KS

Hi Trisha,

If am not sure if your silver is from a silver recovery unit and is in pounds or ounces. Let’s assume it is silver flake from an electrolytic silver recovery unit, in this case it may be very rich in silver content by weight. We can refine it and return 75%-90% of the silver value back to you via check depending on the actual quantity and quality. If you would like us to test a sample please let us know.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Is it worth recycling 160 pounds of old negatives?

11-19-09    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

We are clearing out our office and realized we still have about 160 pounds worth of old negatives from our monthly publication. Wonder if these are worth recycling? – Dixie in Berkeley, CA

Hi Dixie,

The amount of negatives you have is not enough for us to pay you for them. This is because the cost for us to extract the silver is more than what the precious metal would be worth. We will gladly recycle them but you would have to pay the shipping charges to get them to our facility.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

What is the best way to sell silver coins?

10-1-09    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I have some old silver coins that I would like to sell.  What is the best way to go about this? — Amber in Pensacola, FL

If you are looking into selling silver or gold coins, the first step to consider is whether or not your coins have numismatic value. Coins with numismatic value are those that are worth more than their precious metal content. The value of rare coins is determined by four criteria:

  1. Rarity
  2. Quality
  3. Grade
  4. Popularity

For these types of coins, we recommend working with a rare coin dealer as you don’t want to sell them for their melt value.

Other silver coins are commonly referred to as “junk silver.” These coins have no value beyond their silver content. In the United States, most silver coins minted before 1964 have a fair amount of silver content and have value based on this precious metal content.

Here are a few examples of the most common junk silver coins we at Arch see.

  • (1942-1945) Silver War Nickel
  • (1916-1945) Mercury Dime
  • (1946-1964) Roosevelt Dime
  • (1932-1964) Washington Quarter
  • (1916-1947) Liberty Half Dollar
  • (1948-1963) Franklin Half Dollar
  • (1964) Kennedy Half Dollar
  • (1965-1970) Kennedy Half Dollar
  • (1878-1921) Morgan Dollar
  • (1921-1935) Peace Dollar
  • (1971-1976) Eisenhower Dollar
  • 1920-1967 Canadian Dime
  • 1920-1967 Canadian Quarter
  • 1920-1967 Canadian Half Dollar
  • 1935-1967 Canadian Dollar

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Is there an easy way to tell what grade a silver item is?

9-21-09    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

Is there an easy way to tell what grade a silver item is? — Austin in Naperville, IL

The easiest way without testing equipment or chemicals is to look for hallmarks that indicate whether an item is sterling silver.

You may notice small markings on items, usually found in the inside of rings, on clasps of necklaces or on the back of plates. These markings are called hallmarks and can indicate what type of metal you have and how much it may be worth. They are often extremely small so you may need a magnifying glass to read them.  As long as you bought the item from a reputable source, they tend to be very accurate.

Sterling silver items are called Sterling, Sterling Silver or Solid Silver and they are typically marked with 925, 925/1000, 92.5 or .925. The abbreviation SS is also commonly seen for sterling silver. These markings reveal that the item is made from 925 parts out of 1000 of fine silver, the minimum allowable quality for an item to be considered sterling. It is the law that the name or U.S. registered trademark of the company or person is on a quality marked silver item.  We will often ask people the brand and make of their silverware so that we can help them determine whether their silver flatware is sterling or plated although our testing equipment ultimately tells us for sure once we get the items into our facility.

For older pieces, silver may come in many more varieties.  800 silver which was 800 parts silver was very common outside of the United States and before the 1900s as were other 750, 825, and 830.

Another common form of silver on older items is 900.  It refers to coin silver which is 90% silver and 10% copper.  It’s composition was dictated by United States FTC guidelines and established in the 1820s for minting silver coinage.  As such, it is often called “coin silver.”

For further information, see video on refining silver flatware.

Posted In: All, Forum Questions, Silver

Precious Metal Terms and Uses

9-18-09    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

I am an avid metal detector user and am studying up on some of the industry terminology as I prepare to get some of the items I have found refined. For example, what is meant by “gold filled”, “troy ounce” and “pennyweight.” — Rick in Louisiana, MO

Thank you for you inquiry, following are some of the common terms used in the precious metal refining industry.

Carat – a unit of weight for gems
Karat (K, kt) – is measure of purity for gold
Fineness – the proportion of pure precious metal in an alloy, often expressed in parts per thousand
Fine Weight – the metallic weight of a coin, ingot or bar
Gross Weight – the total weight of an item, including the alloying metal
Gold Standard – a monetary system in which a region’s common medium of exchange are paper notes that are normally freely convertible into pre-set, fixed quantities of gold
Hallmark (plate mark) – an official mark or stamp indicating a standard of purity, used in marking gold and silver articles.
Luster – a substance, as a coating or polish, used to impart sheen or gloss
Ounce – a unit of weight. In the precious metals industry, an ounce means a troy ounce equal to 31.1035 grams
Spread – the difference between the buying price and the selling price of a precious metal
Troy Ounce – a unit of weight equal to 480 grains or 1/12 of a pound
Grain – the smallest unit of weight
Face Value – the nominal dollar amount assigned to a security by the issuer
Retail Value – the sale of goods or articles individually or in small quantities directly to the consumer
Pennyweight (dwt, pwt, PW) – a unit of mass which is the same as 24 grains, 1/240th of a troy pound, 1/20th of a troy ounce, approximately 0.055 ounces or approximately 1.555 grams
Hardness (HV) – sometimes called “scratch resistance,” the Vickers Hardness scale tests hardness of a metal by pushing a pointed object into the surface with a specific load and gauging penetration
Metal – any category of electropositive elements that usually have a shiny surface; typical metals are from salts with non-metals, basic oxides with oxygen and alloys with one another
Salt – crystalline chemical compound formed from the neutralization of an acid by a base containing a metal or group acting like a metal
EPNS – electroplated nickel silver or silver plate
Gold Filled (G.F.) – an item that has a thin outer layer of gold over a base metal. Items must be at least 1/20 gold by weight to be called gold filled
Gold Rolled (R.G.P) – Popular during the 19th century where a very thing sheet of solid gold is laminated to a lesser metal then fused together
Gold Plating – also referred to as electroplate (GEP), is a process where one metal is coated with another metal using electricity
Pinchbeck – gold substitute made with a combination of 9 karat gold, copper and zinc
Vermeil – usually gold plated sterling silver

Are there any precious metal terms we left out that you would like to know?

Refining Silver Flatware and Tableware

7-22-09    Posted by: Arch Enterprises

As one of the largest silver refiners in the U.S., we process thousands of different silver items every year.  One of the most common is silver flatware.  In today’s less formal world, many of you apparently just don’t have a need for that set of sterling you inherited or those silver candlestick holders you got as a wedding gift years ago.  Check out this video where we explain some of the issues related to valuing silver flatware and weighted items.

Posted In: All, Silver, Uncategorized

Arch Enterprises is one of the nation’s leading precious metal refineries. The company is happy to answer questions about precious metal refining for items made from gold, silver or platinum.

Q: What can I do with gold teeth and bridges? How much gold is in these items? – From Lily in Houston, TX Sell Gold Teeth A: Thank you for your inquiry.  Determining the value of gold teeth and bridges can be very challenging because dental gold is often alloyed with many different metals. Over […]


Q: Do you refine platinum from pacemakers? – From John in St. Louis, MO Medical Device Recycling A: Hi John! Unfortunately, pacemakers do not have enough platinum to be cost effective to process and offer a return payment. Medical devices such as EP catheter tips and defibrillator pads contain higher amounts of platinum and are […]


QUESTION: Do you work with hospitals for refining EP Catheter Tips? EP Catheter Recycling ANSWER: Thank you for your inquiry. YES! We do work with hospitals and medical offices on a regular basis to refine platinum from medical devices such as EP Catheter Tips. We would be happy to quote you on the processing and recycling […]


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