If you visit an antiques mall, chances are good that you will find a vendor who is selling vintage clothing that is outfitted with gold-toned or even gold-plated buttons. If you keep your eyes open when scanning display cases, you will also find gold-plated and gold-toned cufflinks, tuxedo-shirt studs and buckles on belts and watchbands. There are lots of little shiny gold-toned items out there.
How much are those small pieces worth? In most cases, they don’t contain enough gold to bring you much of a return if you send them to our gold refinery. But some old buttons, buckles, studs and cufflinks do contain gold that could be worth more than what you pay for them. If you send them to us for refining, you could be rewarded with a payment for much more than you paid for the items you found.
Here are some tips for pinpointing items of value.
Look for Markings on the Items Themselves
Be sure to look closely at any stamping on their backs. If they are marked with a karat gold number or an indication that they are gold-filled or gold-plated, they could be worth recycling. If the items are still being shown in their original boxes or packaging, look closely to see if there are any indications of their metal content, such as, “18 karat gold plated.”
Pay Special Attention to Old Watchbands
Even inexpensive old watches can sometimes have gold-filled metal bands or – even more importantly – leather bands that are equipped with buckles that are either gold-plated or (if it’s your lucky day) karat gold buckles. If you spend $25 for an old watch, the buckle that a dealer overlooked could be worth twice that amount in recyclable gold.
Pay Special Attention to Old Tuxedo-Shirt Stud Sets
Shirt studs are tiny and easily overlooked, but don’t be surprised if they turn out to be gold-filled or even made of karat gold. If you can scoop up a few of them for a few dollars every time you visit an antique mall or antique dealer, you could turn your small investment of money into a big payday.
Keep an Eye Open for Solid Silver Belt Buckles
Silver was so inexpensive a century ago that it was used extensively to make buckles for belts purses and even shoes. It was also used as the core for gold-plated buckles. You’ll have to collect a large quantity of buckles to get much money for them, but if you can collect 10 pounds or more, it will be well worth your effort. Call us at 800-426-2344 and we will help you turn your collection into cash. (Yes, as part of Specialty Metals Smelters & Refiners LLC, we recycle silver, too!)
Don’t Be Misled by Shiny Buttons
If you visit a vintage clothing store, you are almost certain to find a few old men’s and women’s blazers for sale, many equipped with bright shiny buttons. If you do, there is very little chance that those buttons contain enough gold to recycle – they are probably “gold-toned” rather than gold-plated.
Similar cautions hold true for the buttons you will find on old military uniforms. Because so many people have served in the armed forces over the last 200 years, military uniforms are commonly found in museums, historical society collections, and antique dealers. But very few of them have buttons that contain gold, because Uncle Sam generally preferred to use bright shiny brass.
However, if you find a military uniform that still has any medals attached, look for marking that indicate that they are gold-filled, gold-plated, or made of karat gold. If you find an officer’s uniform that has epaulets that are decorated with gold threads, you might have found something of value too. If you can snag a uniform with medals or gold trim for just a few dollars, it’s a gamble worth taking. You can examine the medals or gold embellishments at home and get a better idea of what you really have. Then call us at 800-426-2344 to find out how to turn your golden discoveries into cash.
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