The MGS Precious Metals Blog

Manhattan Gold & Silver is an industry leader in precious metal pricing and refining with more than 30 years of experience. During our time in the business, we’ve found the topic of precious metals to be a vast and interesting one. Here on our precious metals blog, we write in-depth posts about the science of precious metal refining, historical and modern uses for precious metals, market news, and much more. Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay current, and discuss the latest posts on our Facebook page.

Most Pawned Items by State - Infographic

January 21, 2020 07:00
Most Pawned Items by State - Infographic

When it comes to pawning, not all things are created equal. In the Top 3 Things to Pawn at a Pawn Shop, we looked at what items are most in demand at pawnshops. The items most in demand, however, are not necessarily the tops things Americans are pawning when they need cash. And even that differs based on geography. According to PawnGuru, guns are pawned at disproportionately higher rates in southern and western states, while Michigan pawnshops see more cars and trucks.

Here’s a breakdown of the most popular items pawned by state compared to the national average:

Most Pawned items by state infographic – MGS

Mining E-Waste for Jewelry

January 14, 2020 07:00
Mining E-Waste for Jewelry

Would you wear a ring made of electronic-waste? After all, gold is gold, no matter where it’s sourced from--and you’d be helping the environment. Let’s look at e-waste and how the jeweler industry is helping the environment.

The Growing E-waste Problem

The world generates about 50 million tons of e-waste annually, and according to the World Economic Forum could exceed 120 million tons by 2050. The problem is only about a fifth of electronic items like LCD desktop monitors, computers and mobile devices get recycled. The rest end up either incinerated or in landfills.

E-waste, however, contains valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper. In fact, there is 100 times more gold in a ton of discarded mobile phones than in a ton of gold ore. According to the WEF, the value of the e-waste generated worldwide amounts to $62.5 billion.

With so much at stake, a push for industrial-scale e-waste recycling seems inevitable, especially in the wake of countries like China, and now Southeast Asia, no longer accepting e-waste from Europe, Australia and North America.

Dell Paves the Way for Responsible Recycling

Dell became a leading advocate of responsible recycling over a decade ago with the launch of the Dell Reconnect program. The company has since partnered with Goodwill to establish e-waste recycling centers across the United States, as well as the United Nations to tackle e-waste in developing counties.

Dell is not only recycling plastics and using recycled carbon fiber in their products, they are also recovering gold—a key material in many electronics—and reusing it.

“At the start of this project it was our ambition to use more recycled materials in our products,” Louise Koch, Dell's Corporate Sustainability Director, told the Institute of Engineering and Technology. “We have been using recycled plastics from our own computers since 2014 and now we are expanding into using gold from motherboards and recovering that and using it both for new motherboards and turning it into gold bars and supplying it to Nikki Reed to make jewelry.”

Turning E-Waste into Jewelry

While phones and tablets don't hold much gold individually, when it's collected from millions of pounds of electronics, that’s a different story. It's also why it’s important consumers recycle their electronics responsibly.

Twilight star Nikki Reed is the founder of BaYou With Love, which designs and sells collections using gold from Dell’s US recycling programs. “I hadn’t worked with this medium before--a lot of what we use in our sustainable products are recycled ocean plastics,” Reed told Refinery29. “Our factory [in LA] was asking me all these questions, like how are we going to receive this gold? There are all these legalities that come along with that--they have to receive it in a certain form so it has to be extracted in a certain way.”

The gold was shipped these to Reed's Bayou with Love from Wistron Green Tech, which extracts gold from motherboards they receive from Dell's consumer recycling program.

Dell, which uses about 7,000 pounds of gold in its products every year, says only 12.5 percent of e-waste is recycled to create other products. That means consumers throw out over $60 million of gold and silver from tech annually.

Before you throw out your old electronic devices, be sure to visit Dell, Apple, Samsung and Best Buy for recycling options.

Check out our infographic for more fact and figures about gold recycling.

Top 3 Things to Pawn at a Pawn Shop

January 7, 2020 07:00
Top 3 Things to Pawn at a Pawn Shop

In How Do Pawnbrokers Work, we looked at the ins-and-outs of the pawnbroker industry, including how transactions work, how items are evaluated and the pros and cons of pawnshop loans.

But when it comes to pawning, not all things are created equal. What exactly do pawn shops buy, for example, and more importantly, what items are most in demand?

Precious Metals

Jewelry is always in demand at pawnshops, especially if your items are made of precious metals like gold and silver. That’s because precious metals are easy to price and sell. This is especially true of gold and silver bullion, which tend to be 99.999 percent pure.

Another reason pawnbrokers prefer precious metals is they generally appreciate over time. If you’re pawning bullion, it’s likely to fetch 50 percent of its value, while selling it outright will land you between 60-88 percent, depending on the metal and how much of it you have.

When pawning any type of precious metal, however, your stash may be tested to authenticate its melt value. There are several ways to spot fake gold, including a simple scratch test.

If you have precious metal you want to sell, you can also get a quote from us. Just tell us what type of precious metals you have, how pure they are, and we will give you your payout estimate. We are headquartered in New York but we serve customers from all over the country. All you have to do is ship us your lot.


While precious metals are tops when it comes to pawning, gemstones come in a close second. The rarer the gem, the better the cash value. Most pawnshops don’t have a gemologist on staff, so always bring receipts, certificates or any paperwork that will help authenticate your jewels.

The Top 3 gemstones, according to PawnGuru, are:


Diamond is the world’s most popular gemstone. They are perfect for jewelry because they polish well and can only be scratched by other diamonds. Their value is based on their cut, color, carat and clarity.

Rubies, which get their red hue from traces of the mineral chromium, are slightly softer than diamonds. The most precious rubies are deep red in color with a hint of blue.

Saltwater cultured pearls account for only about 5 percent of the global pearl production; the other 95 percent are freshwater pearls. According to Natural Geographic, a natural pearl of value is found in less than 1 in every 10,000 wild oysters.

Keep in mind sentimental value, even it’s for a family heirloom, doesn’t translate to monetary value. A quality diamond or gem, however, can net you a four-figure amount.

Collectible Coins

You’ll likely get great value from a pawnshop for your rare coins. Like precious metals, pawnbrokers are able to immediately identify a coin’s value either through price guides or by checking the scrap metal value.

When it comes to collectible coins, however, other factors can affect their value, including:

Rarity – this includes the number of coins that were originally minted. Rarity also takes into account how many of those coins are still in circulation today.

Demand – when demand for a coin outpaces its supply, the value of a coin increases.

Grade – a coin’s wear and condition can also mean significant differences in the value of a coin.

Just like gems, a certification of authenticity or grading papers will considerably up the price you can get for your coins. Here are some tips for verifying coin authenticity.

Remember most pawnshops don’t want to buy your items; they simply use them as collateral against a loan. Manhattan Gold & Silver services industries that use gold, silver, platinum or palladium through the course of their own business, including pawnbrokers.

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