Things Precious Metal Professionals Should Know

 We have heard all sorts of stories from different customers when they thought they were getting an amazing deal from another refinery. They are all examples that prove the importance of being aware during a transaction and finding reputable dealers. Here are some of the best stories we’ve heard.

1. We had a customer come in and say he was getting these unbelievable prices from another scrap buyer. Then after a few transactions, he realized the scrap buyer was undercutting him by dropping some metal on the floor during each transaction.

2. A few people have had their metal melted at incorrect temperatures. Some refineries may intentionally melt your gold at lower temperatures – which causes gold to get caught up in the slag.

We operate 35-kilowatt furnaces that can easily reach high enough temperatures to melt platinum, which is upwards of 3,000°F. That’s so hot you need welding glasses to safely look at the molten metal when it’s in the crucible. It’s not necessary to bring normal karat melts that high, but we do have the capabilities when required.


3. One of the more recent scams, allowed by technology, was that a couple of refining companies were forging assay reports. These reports stated they were from a well-known assayer on 47th street. An original report must have been scanned into their computers for these companies to create their own fake reports. And yes, more than just one refining company was involved in this scam.

4. Not properly sorting out the karats when hand testing metals is another issue that has been brought up. For example, people often accidentally throw 18k with their 14k not realizing the error. Mistakes like this will not always be made aware to customers by every scrap buying company. If they happen to find some higher karat scrap in a mix, they will melt it without increasing the customer’s payout.

We had an instance a couple of years ago when we pleasantly shocked a customer who mixed in 10 ozt. of platinum (nearly $10,000) into a large silver lot. He was grateful and surprised we brought this to his attention.

5. When you go to sell your metal and your gold buyer says something is fake, you should take it back with you. They might coincidentally ask to throw it out, but what if it is, in fact, real? It sounds crazy, but if the above stories are any indication, you can’t be too careful.

Why we don’t Accept Mined Materials from Africa

At Manhattan Gold & Silver, we have some general guidelines about precious metal material that we cannot accept for refinement. Mined materials from Africa is part of that list, which sometimes draws questions from our customers. What’s wrong with African mined materials?

Africa is the largest producer of gold in the world. However, the mining operations there are not without conflict. While there are many legitimate mining companies operating in Africa, the United Nations' International Labor Organization estimates that as many as one million children between ages 5 and 17 work in the small-scale gold mines of Africa. The country of Burkina Faso is currently one of the areas where child labor in gold mines is prevalent – so much so that the US government prohibits buying the gold directly from there.

Mined materials are unrefined and unmarked, so it’s impossible to tell where they were mined and by whom. Even though mined materials from Africa may come from legitimate sources, there is no reliable way to know for sure. So, it’s our policy not to accept these materials.

Other precious metal material that we do not accept includes electronics or electronic components (such as computers, cell phones, or parts of such technology). Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about your precious metals or what we do and do not refine.

Giant Gold Nugget Discovered in Australia

On January 16 this year, a very lucky prospector unearthed a massive gold nugget in none other than the country of Australia. The country is famous for its gold rush during the 1800s, as well as for producing two world record-holding nuggets – the “Welcome Stranger” (largest gold nugget ever discovered) and the “Hand of Faith” (largest gold nugget ever discovered with a metal detector).

Weighing in at about 11 pounds, this new unnamed nugget doesn’t break any records. But, it’s still a commendable size worth more than $250,000 at current gold prices. However, the novelty of the nugget’s size and discovery will likely help it sell for much more.

The prospector (who wishes to remain anonymous) found the nugget outside the town of Ballarat. During the aforementioned gold rush, Ballarat was a popular area for prospectors. In the years since, it’s been widely agreed that the area had been picked clean of any significant finds. However, this prospector claims he was able to find his nugget by using advanced equipment. The nugget was found about 60cm below the earth – deep enough to evade most metal detectors. The prospector’s Minelab GPX-5000, a $5,000-$7,000 device, was up to the task.

The find was big news in Australia. Some wonder whether it may spark another gold rush. Even though metal detector technology is getting better, it’s unlikely such a find will be repeated. It may really have been the last gold nugget in all of Ballarat.