Gold Price Market Update

Lately, it may feel like you’re putting "liquid gold" in your gas tank. That's because of what's going on in the Middle East and North Africa. The reality is the unrest in oil-producing countries is also affecting a lot of other prices, too.

Petroleum prices often rise as a result of instability in oil-producing countries. The reason we bring it up is to point out what that same instability is also doing to gold prices.

While the price of oil doesn’t necessarily affect gold mining, instability of prices, inflation, and other economic factors do affect the value of the American dollar and other currencies, which can drive the cost of gold. As a result, of current world events and political unrest, gold has reached a ten-year high already this March.

For a closer look at gold price fluctuations over time, please refer to our historical gold charts to study its ebbs and flows. Political, social, and economic factors all influence its price, so it’s likely that you can indentify external forces that correlate to rises and falls at varying times tracked in the chart.

How Much Is Your Hand-Me-Down Silver Flatware Worth?

If you inherited silverware from a great aunt or grandmother, what kind of value does this legacy bring with it? Is there a potential return?

The answer to that question depends greatly on the age of the silver and the way that it was made. If you are truly interested, you may want to have it professionally appraised by a jeweler.

Silver flatware for dining came into use in 12th Century England, and was fashioned out of the same quality of silver being circulated in coins. As a result, for several centuries, only members of the royal families could afford such luxury items. While you could melt it down, silver flatware from this period in its original form would be highly valued for its historic, antique properties to museums and collectors.

Two cultural changes led to widespread use of silverware. The Industrial Revolution opened the way for these formerly luxury items to be produced in mass quantities. At the same time, the resulting personal fortunes broadened the upper middle class, and starting in the mid-1800's, silverware became increasingly popular as a way to display new wealth, gentility and an improved standard of living. Otherwise, how do we explain the need for a bouillon spoon, a butter spreader, place knife, pastry fork, the demitasse and coffee spoons?

Silverware handed down from this period is ornate, beautifully made and often, heavily gilded, if not solid silver. But then things started to change.

The Great Depression led to a decline in finances. Although the desire for fine things didn't decrease, in many cases, the money just wasn't there. Also, increased labor costs caused the wealthy to reconsider the number of servants involved in 10 course dinners and polishing the silverware. Silver-plating became a more common, standard practice. Since ornate silver requires hand polishing to maintain the intricate designs, simpler designs also came into vogue.

Modern silver-plate is very thinly applied. Plating factories use an electro-plating process where the silver molecules are dispersed in liquid and then an electric current is run through the item to be plated, which attracts the molecules to adhere to the item.

So what have you got stashed away? Unless your silver is "sterling" (92.5% pure) and not plated, it is likely its greatest value is in the emotional attachment you may have with the person you inherit it from or as providing some decorator "kitsch" in your home. With the price currently running at nearly $35 per ounce, in consideration of both the amount of silver used in plating most silver flatware and the cost involved in remelting and refining the silver out of the silverware, it is not considered cost effective to recycle silver-plated flatware to harvest the precious metals value. If your silverware is "sterling," we're happy to help you remelt it to capture the value of it, but if it's in good condition, you may get better value at auction or with a collector.

The Pot of the Gold at the End of the Rainbow

Every time you see a rainbow, do you look to see where it begins and where it ends?  We've all heard the “pot of gold” story since we were young, but where does that legend come from?  It dates back to Old Europe, where the Irish will tell you "fairies put a pot of gold at the end of each rainbow with leprechauns guarding it."  It's folklore that has become part of the symbolism of St. Patrick's Day, March 17th, when many celebrate Irish culture and count themselves as “Irish” just for wearing a little of "the Green."

Clearly Irish culture and folklore appreciates and recognizes the value of gold and the lure of the precious yellow metal.  Of course, few of us will find a literal pot of gold during our lifetime, but many people will have extra bits of scrap gold and other precious metals around their homes and businesses.  The best way to reap the benefits and gain the Luck of the Irish at any time during the year is to turn in your scrap precious metals for remelting and then recirculate that value into your business and the economy.  It takes any "luck" out of the equation in your success because you're reaping the benefits of your own hard work.

Manhattan Gold & Silver is a B2B company specializing in remelting and refining scrap precious metals for dentists, pawnbrokers, jewelry shop owners and others who use these metals in their work.  We wish everyone a happy St. Patrick’s Day and luck finding a pot of gold.