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How much do you really understand about precious metal refining?

I have worked in the precious metal refining industry for years, at a couple different refineries, and I have found that there are some very pragmatic aspects of refining that even the most experienced numismatist or jeweler is often unaware of:

1) There are only 4 Tier One Primary Refiners in the U.S.A!!! They are Metalor, Johnson Matthey (JM), Ohio Precious Metals (OPM), and Republic Metals Corp. (RMC)

This means that only these 4 refiners are capable of refining gold to the purity required to sell it to banking institutions for 100% of its value. Any other refinery is refining the gold to an extent and then selling it to a Primary refiner for 99% of its value or slightly more. What does this mean to you if you are selling gold scrap? If you sell to a non-primary refiner, or "melter", you are selling to a middleman, and sharing the profit on the gold. If you sell directly to a Primary refiner your return will be greater. Of the 4, only OPM and RMC will buy the amounts that coin dealers or metal-detecting enthusiasts collect, JM and Metalor are only interested in very large quantities. And of OPM and RMC, only RMC is ISO 14001 certified (refining processes that are EPA certified to be environmentally sound). Furthermore, I would be wary when melters offer to pay 98% and above because they are only getting 99% or slightly more for the gold they sell to the Primary Refiner. So you do the math, can they really afford to pay you 98% and above? They cannot, they may make it look like they are but may actually manipulate the melt loss or the assay to make it appear that your payout is higher.

2) The average assay for 18k is 73.25% purity, 14k averages 56.25% purity and the average 10k is 40% purity. It is rarely plum gold, Italian jewelry is typically plum however.

3) Be very wary of 18k white gold. Very little 18k white gold was ever made and there is a good deal of surgical steel stuff circulating as 18k white gold that is rather heavy, hard to test and appears real. The stamp however looks not so professional, so look closely if you are considering purchasing this.

4) You can sell scrap gold to a refiner and be paid in coin and bullion. You can also buy coins and bullion directly from Primary refiners at competitive pricing, so if you are making the regular round of calls to Kitco, or the other bullion clearinghouses or dealers, it merits your time to call a Primary Refinery to see what pricing they offer, because they produce the high grade bullion themselves their costs can be lower than a broker who is buying it from a refiner and attaching a commission.

5) Some refineries will pay for shipping and insurance for your gold, and settle in a day or two, I know RMC does, I work there. I am not on commission, so this is not one big advertisement, I am just an honest person in the biz, looking to educate communities I love (my grandfather was a collector) so if you have any questions about precious metal refining post them here or contact me at Republic Metals Corp .

-Mira
www.RMCtwo.com
786-270-2483

Comments

  • BBNBBN Posts: 3,761 ✭✭✭
    intersting stuff, but the link may cause this thread to go byebye

    Positive BST Transactions (buyers and sellers): wondercoin, blu62vette, BAJJERFAN, privatecoin, blu62vette, AlanLastufka, privatecoin

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  • thanks, I'll take the link out, it's in my profile..
    www.RMCtwo.com
    786-270-2483
  • OPAOPA Posts: 17,103 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thanks for the information & welcome aboard. It's nice to know someone who is in the refining business. image
    "Bongo drive 1984 Lincoln that looks like old coin dug from ground."
  • BBNBBN Posts: 3,761 ✭✭✭


    << <i>thanks, I'll take the link out, it's in my profile.. >>



    Good move. That will save it here. I like the info you posted along with the link. Link should be fine in your profileimage

    always been curious, too lazy to search. How is red gold, white gold, etc created? Isn't it from copper and silver? What % of each of these metals? Thanks

    Positive BST Transactions (buyers and sellers): wondercoin, blu62vette, BAJJERFAN, privatecoin, blu62vette, AlanLastufka, privatecoin

    #1 1951 Bowman Los Angeles Rams Team Set
    #2 1980 Topps Los Angeles Rams Team Set
    #8 (and climbing) 1972 Topps Los Angeles Rams Team Set
  • mkman123mkman123 Posts: 6,849 ✭✭✭✭
    WELCOME! Thank you for the information image

    You talk a lot about gold, what about silver? Its a precious metals too! image
    Successful Buying and Selling transactions with:

    Many members on this forum that now it cannot fit in my signature. Please ask for entire list.
  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,922 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Very cool! Thank you for your insight.

    My dealer sells directly to OPM, which is why I have a 100 oz OPM bar.

    Incidentally, according to their website:

    ISO 9001:2000
    Certified
    ISO 14001:2004 Pending
    Appalachian SBA
    Hub Zone Certified
    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • mhammermanmhammerman Posts: 3,769 ✭✭✭
    Very nice, Mira. Thank you for stepping in and offering us some excellent information and guidance. Good luck.
  • secondrepublicsecondrepublic Posts: 2,619 ✭✭✭
    very interesting. thanks for sharing, and please post here more often with your insights!
    "Men who had never shown any ability to make or increase fortunes for themselves abounded in brilliant plans for creating and increasing wealth for the country at large." Fiat Money Inflation in France, Andrew Dickson White (1912)
  • always been curious, too lazy to search. How is red gold, white gold, etc created? Isn't it from copper and silver? What % of each of these metals? Thanks


    great question! Red gold is made from an alloy that is 80% copper and 20% silver, so if you had plum 14k red gold it would be about 58.3% gold, 33.36% copper and 8.34% silver for that red tinged look. White gold is a bit more complex, there are a number of alloys that can be used but the most common is 80% nickel and 20% silver.

    In terms of recognizing that phony white gold I referenced, the karat stamp is your best friend, if it looks like it is different from the manufacturers' stamp, unaligned with the manufacturers' stamp, or just non-professional in general, it probably is. The worst part about the fake white gold out there is that it passes most of the tests: it is non-magnetic because it is stainless or surgical steel and it won't react to acid. One more way to test it is to cut it and rub it on your testing stone, if it is real it should leave a yellow tinged streak because white gold at the end of the day is still just a cousin of yellow gold. The fake stuff will not leave a yellowish streak. But, the best thing to do is if you have a relationship with a refinery, just take it in for a quick x-ray assay, if you are a customer of theirs, you should not expect to be charged.
    www.RMCtwo.com
    786-270-2483
  • You talk a lot about gold, what about silver? Its a precious metals too!

    I didn't forget about silver! I promise to compile some valuable silver refining/buying info and post it here soon!
    www.RMCtwo.com
    786-270-2483
  • Very nice info.....

    I also worked for a small refiner that resold to JM....

    and you are right about the high pay out that never seem to happen.....

    Good info... This is the stuff that makes this forum great!!

    Thousand Thanks.
    Silver Baron
    ********************
    Silver is the mortar that binds the bricks of loyalty.
  • calleochocalleocho Posts: 1,569 ✭✭
    whats your opinion of Midwest refineries?

    "Women should be obscene and not heard. "
    Groucho Marx
  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 45,203 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>intersting stuff, but the link may cause this thread to go byebye >>



    The link should be acceptable in the signature line. I see many forum members putting a link to their dealer sites.

    Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.

  • sbeverlysbeverly Posts: 962 ✭✭✭
    Hi Mira,

    Thanks for the informative post.

    Italian jewelry is typically plum however.

    In your opinion, is the Italian jewelry plumb because they use plumb solder? or, is it
    because the Europeans in general tend to be more karat specific?

    for example, if they use a non-plumb solder, do they over karat the links in a necklace
    to compensate for this?
    Positive transactions with Cladiator, Meltdown, ajbauman, LeeG, route66,DennisH,Hmann,FilamCoins,mgoodm3,terburn88,MrOrganic, weg,dcarr,guitarwes,Zubie,Barndog,wondercoin,braddick,etc...
  • DorkGirlDorkGirl Posts: 9,994 ✭✭✭
    image

    Great info, thanks for sharing!
    Becky
  • sbeverlysbeverly Posts: 962 ✭✭✭
    Hi again Mira,

    I just googled your Company and was pleasantly surprised to see that
    you are about a half hour drive from me.

    What are the chances of seeing the facility?

    Also, are there any specific tour days that come with free samples?image
    Positive transactions with Cladiator, Meltdown, ajbauman, LeeG, route66,DennisH,Hmann,FilamCoins,mgoodm3,terburn88,MrOrganic, weg,dcarr,guitarwes,Zubie,Barndog,wondercoin,braddick,etc...
  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,437 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>always been curious, too lazy to search. How is red gold, white gold, etc created? Isn't it from copper and silver? What % of each of these metals? Thanks


    great question! Red gold is made from an alloy that is 80% copper and 20% silver, so if you had plum 14k red gold it would be about 58.3% gold, 33.36% copper and 8.34% silver for that red tinged look. White gold is a bit more complex, there are a number of alloys that can be used but the most common is 80% nickel and 20% silver. >>



    Thank you for the information, and for the call the other day. Welcome to the boards!

    I am curious about the "red gold" you describe above. U.S. gold coins between 1834 and 1873 were 90% gold and no less than 1% but no more than 5% silver, with the balance being copper and other trace elements that they did not bother to refine out of the raw gold. Basically they would just melt a large batch of raw gold, assay it while it was still molten, and then add pure gold to bring it up to .900 fine, or occasionally add alloy to bring it down to .900.

    The result were coins that are slightly but consistently lighter in color than the coins made after 1873, when they began refinine the gold first and then mixing it with pure copper. They did leave in 1% silver, though I am not sure why. These coins are consistently darker and redder than the pre-1873 coins.

    So, I guess my question is, why would the addition of silver make an alloy called "red gold?"

    FWIW, the American Eagle gold coins are 0.91666 gold, 0.05333 copper and 0.03000 silver. The silver was included to make the alloy lighter in color, and more like the Canadian maple leaf coins they were intended to compete with. When we have them in the showcase with other coins, people often ask why the Krugerrand next to it, which is 0.91666 gold and 0.08333 copper, is so much "redder" in color?

    TD
    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • SmittysSmittys Posts: 9,876 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Kinda makes sense how I lost so much weight in the "melt" process ...,
    still trying to figure out how I lost weight in the shipment to them.
    Needless to say I'll be using another company.
    Thanks Mira
  • refinerychic, Please contact me thru the board or e-mail [email protected]
    Thanks scrapman1077
  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,437 ✭✭✭✭✭
    ttt
    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • There were so many great questions asked that I want to respond to, I am going to post a new topic to make sure it is visible to everyone, so check out my new posting called: "plumb gold, melt loss, and related gold buying/refining issues"
    www.RMCtwo.com
    786-270-2483
  • carew4mecarew4me Posts: 3,459 ✭✭✭✭
    Very educational. You are a great addition to the board.

    Welcome!

    Loves me some shiny!
  • In response to Capt Henway's question about red gold using a silver/copper alloy and why a Kruggerand may have a redder appearance than an Eagle, (sorry I had trouble posting his entire post, but you will see it if you scroll back a few messages on this topic) :

    The red gold alloy I was describing is for the manufacture of jewelry, for coins it may be slightly different since coins are typically finer gold content. The addition of silver makes the copper and gold mixture more manageable, and adds a more aesthetically pleasing lustre or tone to the reddishness of the copper, otherwise it would appear ruddier. So as far as Kruggerands and Eagles are concerned, I would guess that the silver that is present in the Eagle and not in the Krug tones down the reddishness of the Eagle, and also, the Krug does have slightly more copper so that can account for a redder appearance. I hope I have somewhat tackled your question, if not, let me know...
    www.RMCtwo.com
    786-270-2483
  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,437 ✭✭✭✭✭
    please turn on your PM function
    use the Profile button
    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • thanks! PM is on, I did not realize that I was unable to get private messages, thank you for pointing that out, that will be very helpful to me.
    www.RMCtwo.com
    786-270-2483
  • streeterstreeter Posts: 4,312 ✭✭✭✭✭

    TTT for educational purposes

    Have a nice day
  • SurfinxHISurfinxHI Posts: 2,325 ✭✭✭✭✭

    the amounts are about what I experience...2% or so behind stamped values....

    Dead people tell interesting tales.
  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Excellent post, thank you for the information on refining. I look forward to more informative posts. Cheers, RickO

  • streeterstreeter Posts: 4,312 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Rick,
    I dredged this up from a search because I need to get my pickers, nuggets and scrap refined. I accumulated a fair amount in 20yrs. Old thread and the woman doesn't post anymore but sure was informative. Another member on another thread, full of wisdom, warned me to not do this again. That person probably already has the sum total of all knowledge. I don't. Since so many here are relative newbies since 2010(posting parking lot finds), I thought that maybe some would appreciate the thread being brought up.

    Have a nice day
  • dcarrdcarr Posts: 7,890 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 8, 2022 3:58AM

    Smaller refining companies are not necessarily "middle men". Some buy scrap, refine it, and then instead of selling it to one of the big four, they produce their own coins and bars to sell to the general public.

  • CakesCakes Posts: 3,436 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @streeter said:
    TTT for educational purposes

    Thanks Street!

    Successful coin BST transactions with Gerard and segoja.

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  • rte592rte592 Posts: 1,385 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 8, 2022 5:36PM

    @streeter said:
    Rick,
    I dredged this up from a search because I need to get my pickers, nuggets and scrap refined. I accumulated a fair amount in 20yrs. Old thread and the woman doesn't post anymore but sure was informative. Another member on another thread, full of wisdom, warned me to not do this again. That person probably already has the sum total of all knowledge. I don't. Since so many here are relative newbies since 2010(posting parking lot finds), I thought that maybe some would appreciate the thread being brought up.

    Streeter.... the pickers & nuggets are worth more AS IS.
    Best to sell the natural gold rather then refining it.

    On that note...what do you have for weight?
    Shoot me a PM if your serious about melting them.

  • streeterstreeter Posts: 4,312 ✭✭✭✭✭

    RTE592
    I'm not going to dispose of anything above +/- 3-4 grams. But that could change. In process of determing %gold content on metal detected gold. I have a geologist coming. I have a couple of vitamin bottles.

    I was at a show over here(AZ) and a guy tells me a great story about finding a 2.2lb nugget. Where he found it, how he found it. I thought he was bs'ng. Pulled it out of his brief case. Im rarely speechless.

    There is a lot of gold over here but you may have to dig 4ft to get 8 grams. I'm retired. Good exercise.

    Have a nice day
  • FrankHFrankH Posts: 757 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The link in your sigline leads to a defunct website.
    Is there a new one?
    It's an old thread but I thought I'd check anyhow.

    :)

  • rte592rte592 Posts: 1,385 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 10, 2022 4:16PM

    @streeter said:

    Streeter.... No> @streeter said:

    RTE592
    I'm not going to dispose of anything above +/- 3-4 grams. But that could change. In process of determing %gold content on metal detected gold. I have a geologist coming. I have a couple of vitamin bottles.

    I was at a show over here(AZ) and a guy tells me a great story about finding a 2.2lb nugget. Where he found it, how he found it. I thought he was bs'ng. Pulled it out of his brief case. Im rarely speechless.

    There is a lot of gold over here but you may have to dig 4ft to get 8 grams. I'm retired. Good exercise.

    I'm not retired, but have access to 160 acres of claimed up low AZ desert in our group.
    The small stuff we can find with the appropriate amount of labor
    (ie exercise)
    Occasionally I buy a piece in the gram plus range just the keep the up the faith.
    Our ground has been worked for the last 100 years if not more.
    Leaving us the crumbs.
    A couple guys in our group with the high dollar metal detectors have found some bigger gram plus pieces.

    One time out we passed an older guy on a mini bike type scooter with a metal detector strapped to the front.
    He showed us a 4 gram and 8 gram nugget supposedly found in the area higher up in the hills.

    No reason to doubt him, but he doesn't have a claim in the area.

  • streeterstreeter Posts: 4,312 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have heard the area behind the intaglios behind the Loves Truck Stop in Quartzite has yielded some really good stuff a few years ago.

    Too much work for me. Too steep up into the tight canyons and the ever present GREENS will be out shortly. I have a lot of customers in that area that buy my 22 snake shot and they stock up all winter.

    Have a nice day
  • blitzdudeblitzdude Posts: 5,293 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Sounds like a gar hole. RGDS!

    The whole worlds off its rocker, buy Gold™.

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