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For over 2 years precious metal refiner, Arch Enterprises has written and maintained a precious metal blog, answering people questions about refining gold and silver.

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

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.

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

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.

Silver Electrical Contacts to Refine | Precious Metal Refining Blog

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!

What is Nickel Silver?

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.

Value of Silver Plated Flatware

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: