In Sunday's article about who pays the most for silver, I gathered six phone quotes from local  gold/silver buyers (reprinted below). But I didn't include the precious metals buyer that Twin Cities consumers are most familiar with--The Gold Guys in Mall of America and Maple Grove.



That's because the Gold Guys, like a few others, will not quote prices by phone. Part of the reason for that is that prices fluctuate a bit during the day, but some places such as Grove Coin will honor phone quotes for the remainder of the day. From my consumer perspective, any place that refuses quote by phone is reluctant to do so because, in my opinion, they're probably on the low end of prices paid.

I went to the Gold Guys at Mall of America on Friday afternoon and asked what they were paying per troy ounce of sterling silver. An employee told me they were paying $18 per troy ounce, which is on the low end of others I checked with. Enviro-Chem and Grove Coin are paying 30 percent more. 

So how do you get the Gold Guys to pay the "highest prices guaranteed"? The best way is to get a written price quote from a competitor, but I wouldn't jump through those hoops. Instead, call around and make a note of whom you spoke to and the price quoted. One advantage of going to the trouble of getting a competitive bid is that the Gold Guys say they will pay up to five or 10 percent more than competitors.

If the Gold Guys won't accept a quote that you received by phone, please let me know for a possible follow-up.  All of the prices I've quoted here assume that you have sterling silver. If you have silverplate, the price paid will plummet to next to nothing.  

Sunday's article:

I mentioned recently that sterling silver has become so valuable that families and antique dealers are cashing in less desirable pieces for scrap. For example, eight-place settings of sterling flatware weighing 3 to 5 pounds can sell for $1,500 to $2,500. Many readers called or wrote wondering where they can sell their sterling.

I called six buyers (two scrap buyers, two pawnshops and two jewelry/coin retailers) last week and asked what they were paying for a small amount of sterling silver to be scrapped. (Silver-plate pieces are generally worth much less than sterling.)

Here's a list of the buyers, from highest to lowest paid.

Enviro-Chem (Rogers, 763-428-4002): 91 cents a gram, or $28.30 a troy ounce.

Grove Coin (Maple Grove and Woodbury, 651-738-8352): 90 cents a gram, or $27.92 a troy ounce.

Wixon Jewelers (Bloomington, 952-881-8862): 77 cents a gram, or $24 a troy ounce.

W.E. Mowrey (St. Paul, 651-646-1895): 73 cents a gram, or $22.70 a troy ounce.

Uptown Pawn(Mpls., 612-823-3001): 58 cents a gram, or $18 a troy ounce.

Excel Pawn (Shakopee, 952-445-1876): 35 cents a gram, or $10.89 a troy ounce.

Sellers bring in old sterling flatware, platters, tea sets and coins, too. Pre-1964 silver coins, except nickels, are 90 percent silver. Enviro-Chem is paying $22 each for silver dollars. Most of the places buying silver sell it as scrap to be melted down. Check with a coin or antique dealer if you think your pieces might have additional value. To get the most for your silver, bring it to more than one place to verify the weight.

If you've found a place that pays more than Enviro-Chem, please let me know. There are a lot of silver and gold buyers in the Twin Cities, but none have paid more than Enviro-Chem, in my experience. Thanks to the reader who sent in that tip.