Storage Auctions

Noobie Question about Metals, Silver, and stuff of unknown value...

In relation to anything of a "metal" nature, I have been using a magnet to try to work out what's of any value.    Do the experts here also use acid testing kits?  I would be worried I would damage something.......

I've also heard you can stick something under a grinder, which I don't even think we have a grinder in our shed.  

What is your basic method for determining what is silver/pewter/etc??   I would hate to give something away which turned out to be of real value.

Also.....  If you find something old, eg vase, candle holder, etc and can't find it anywhere on eBay, does that automatically mean it's not worth anything?   Haven't had time to go checking out antique stores for opinions on these things.

Hope you don't mind the basic questions.  Still got contents from two storage units, although we are slowly making some money selling things!   Hopefully will move onto storage unit no.3 next month!

Re: Noobie Question about Metals, Silver, and stuff of unknown value...
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2012, 06:45:28 PM »
Anything "metal" has value.  It all depends if you are also a scrapper or not.  The magnet can be used to quickly determine if the metal is ferrous or non-ferrous.  You also use the magnet to quickly determine if that gold necklace is really gold or fake.

Some people buy and use acid test to verify the gold is real or not.  Myself - I take all of my stuff to a store that I trust (dealt with for years).

Also - ebay is good but doesn't cover everything.  It also depends on how you search, time frame, etc.  You just have to learn to do research research research.  Ebay, google, local library, etc.  You start to learn a little bit about all sorts of things once you do this for a bit.

Offline Alias300

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Re: Noobie Question about Metals, Silver, and stuff of unknown value...
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2012, 12:46:54 AM »
I'm pretty sure the word "grinder" should not come up in a conversation of determining metal content.

If someone told you to "grind" one metal off they meant to just scrap a bit off with file in an area you won't notice or can buff out......

I carry a magnet on my keychain but just to test big scrap items.  Once found several 50lb aluminum slabs at a surplus store for $5/ea.  Had I not had magnet ih me I'd have walked on by.

I'm with Craig's.  I usually just take unsure items to trusted dealer but have been thinking of getting some acid. 

And the eBay question.....

Lots of stuff I deal in I don't see on eBay or not often. When I do they are usually way under what I get for them (in which case I buy) or WAY way over priced.   Sadly I must refrain in where I go to find/research/sell these items or even what they are cause I'm not stupid.  Not sharing all my trade secrets.  ;)

Offline Cobia

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Re: Noobie Question about Metals, Silver, and stuff of unknown value...
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2012, 07:16:53 AM »
Yes, use the acid tests kits for any jewelry you find, just to be sure. Sometimes "Silver" can actually be white Gold or plated 10K Gold or if you can't tell the difference Platinum.

I would recommend going to some high end antique shops and auction houses so you get a feel for what truly rare and/or expensive antiques and collectibles look like. For the most part, you are not going to find candle holders & vases & collectibles worth more then $100. Most things that are really valuable will actually stand out even to the untrained eye. Yes I know there is always some kind of goofy stuff that is not high quality but is hugely collectible and valuable, I just mean to say, for the most part, you don't need to run to an appraiser for every unique thing found in a unit.

Novice test for getting more information: Answer yes to these questions, seek out an expert.

1. Does it look valuable?
2. Does it appear to be in mint, like new, or near perfect condition?
3. Does it appear to be made with high standards or specialized techniques?
4. Is it the first time you have ever seen something like this?
5. Do you and everybody who looks at it go "WOW"!?

Don't know how things are in Australia but TV shows here in the US, especially American Pickers, have turned basically junk into valuable collectibles so you need to educate yourself into what collectibles are popular in your region/country.

Re: Noobie Question about Metals, Silver, and stuff of unknown value...
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2012, 05:08:33 AM »
Thanks guys, appreciate your replies.

There is a scrap metal website that suggests using a grinder (I think) to see what sort of sparks fly off....  I think the colour or number of sparks determines what sort of metal it is.    Obviously, this doesn't sound very smart for a piece of jewellery though, does it?

I have been keeping a box for any scrap metal items.  Do you need to have piles of metal for it to be worth cashing in?    I also have various computer parts and monitors which perhaps should be pulled apart.

Yes, I really must get along to some auction houses, just to get a better idea on furniture and antiques, etc.   It's definitely a learning experience.....   We found what we thought was an antique chair in our first unit, until I asked a neighbour of ours who is an antique dealer, and she said if it's not 100 years old, it's not an antique!   I also found out that if chairs aren't in a set, nobody seems to want them!   Must get to the library and borrow some books on antiques. 





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