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Selling gold for max cash

The top scrap gold buyers & how to max the price

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Jenny | Edited by Martin

Updated 29 Jan 2016

TV ads yell "sell gold for cash!", yet many receive a fraction of the promised sums. This MSE undercover investigation finds the best places to sell your gold for the maximum cash.

This step-by-step guide takes you through the top postal selling gold sites, what to sell (even old tooth crowns), specialist gold hubs, what to watch out for and more.

We've made every effort to ensure this guide's accuracy, yet it doesn't constitute legal advice tailored to your circumstances. If you act on it, you do so at your own risk.

Why selling gold pays

In times of crisis, gold is often seen as a safe investment. Thus the gold price rocketed during the recession, encouraging American 'cash for gold' companies to flood in from across the pond to entice us to flog old jewellery and make £100s.

While the price is no longer at the highs it reached during the downturn, even scrap gold can still be worth a mint when melted down and turned into bullion.

Remember, as with other commodities, gold prices fluctuate. If you cash in now, you may lose out or gain more later, but no-one knows for sure. See the current gold price.

Gold price over 5 years

How gold selling works

Gold-buying companies' business models are simple: they buy gold, melt it down and flog it on for more. This means you can get cold hard cash for broken and unloved bling. Yet it’s a Wild West out there, so, make sure you get quotes from several reputable places including:

  • Jewellers. Pop into a few jewellers to get a rough idea of what price you should expect. Competition's hot in certain areas - such as central London and Birmingham - which means top prices. See more on selling gold to jewellers.

  • The top postal gold websites. If you go down this route, you'll first be given a quote online, then you'll need to post in the gold for verification and only then will you be given an offer. Many gold sites are unreliable or poor players, but we've picked some shining examples. See top postal 'cash for gold' sites.

    Always remember - never just send off your gold to any old TV gold site - some hucksters offer far less than your jewellery’s worth.

How much can you get?

Payouts shift each day, according to the price of gold. A little inspiration from forumites' successes using this guide may help. Please add yours to the Gold Selling forum discussion.

I raided the loft and dug out some old gold jewellery that had been up there since the early '90s. Hatton Garden Metals promised £890, which seemed a lot. It then delivered £870. The weight was slightly out, as I only had kitchen scales to weigh it on. A couple of items weren't gold, which I suspected anyway.
- PParka

I sent some old chains, earrings and rings – mostly 9ct, mostly broken. offered £970 - almost double my previous £520 quote from a high street gold shop.
- Happypig

I sold three packs of gold to Lois Gold – mostly broken bits and a few bowling medals. All three transactions were conducted with great speed. My bits and pieces totalled about £1,000 altogether.
- JayJay14

How much could I get for my bling?
18ct wedding ring (3g) £55
9ct gold ring (2g) £18
Pair of 9ct stud earrings (1.5g) £14
14ct old gold tooth crown (3.8g) £54
9ct earring butterfly back (0.45g) £4
Weights based on average gram measurment for item. Prices change daily - last updated Jan 2016

Selling gold: The DOs and DON'Ts

While it's possible to earn £100s, there are gold-plated traps to watch out for. Read these dos and don'ts carefully before parting with your precious bling.

DO remember this is about selling scrap gold

DON'T just send to any old TV gold site

DO send unloved leftovers and teeth

DON'T send jewellery with gemstones

DO check its scrap gold value first

DON'T send posh branded jewellery

DON'T send gold coins or medals

DO send via Special Delivery

DON'T send costume jewellery

DO stay sober

DON'T think the quoted price is the price

DO check the going rate on eBay

DON'T assume it's the same for silver

MSE undercover investigation

Fancy using the office credit card to buy jewellery? That’s the challenge MSE Jenny was set. She bought 10 identical gold bracelets from Amazon, all 9ct gold and weighing 4.3 grams.

To test how much you could get for selling gold, she went undercover to see where she could get the best price.

She posed as a gold seller on postal gold sites and pawnbrokers, as well as jewellers in London's famous Hatton Garden jewellery district. Prices ranged from £8 to £52.

Investigation last carried out Jan 2013.

Pawnbrokers – offers ranged from £33 to £39

Jewellers – offers ranged from £45 to £50

Postal gold websites – amount paid ranged from £52 to £8

Payments differed from quotes

Some gold firms offered far less than they originally promised. British Gold Refinery's on-site calculator showed £53.96 for 4.3 grams of 9ct on the day the gold was sent.

Yet when it called to give her its "evaluation", it said: "We did find this bracelet to have a basic hallmark. We found this to weigh four grams, and we have to take a deduction for the non precious metal in the clasp. We can offer you £20." After she emailed asking for her gold back, it boosted its offer to £30. was careful to tell us it couldn't give a valuation over the phone, but said it was "currently paying £10.10 per gram of nine carat". This suggested we'd get £43.43 for a 4.3 gram 9ct gold bracelet. Yet once the bracelet was sent, it paid just £8.

Others, such as, don't give any quotes at all before you send off your gold, either by phone or web. It's not surprising it didn't want to commit to a value, as it paid £8.39.

The top sites

Happily, Jenny finally struck, er, gold with Gerrards, Hatton Garden Metals and Lois Jewellery, which all paid about £50, or £45 taking into account special delivery costs. Payments were similar to the amount quoted too.

Tesco Gold Exchange scored fairly well, paying £44.91. Even though this was slightly less than some other sites, it sent a free prepaid Special Delivery envelope, which saved £5.90. This means no matter how light the gold, you'll profit - earring butterfly anyone? Before posting any gold, read our top gold site picks for a full how-to and users' feedback.

How much did we spend on gold?

We know some people will be intrigued by this. We spent £1,000 to buy 10 new gold bracelets on Amazon. While the bracelets cost £100 each, the most we got for one was £52.

The difficulty was finding 10 identical bracelets – we could have spent less if we bought scrap from eBay. But that's the cost of good journalism.

What did the postal gold sites have to say?

How much was £50 of gold worth?
(Do read our top gold site picks before sending any gold)
Amount quoted/suggested
Amount received
Postage cost
Total profit
Best Hatton Garden jeweller price
Lois Jewellery
Hatton Garden Metals
ScrapgoldUK (1)
Tesco Gold (now closed)
Buying Gold (Chards)
Best pawnbroker price (2)
£51.17 (3)
British Gold Refinery
£53.96 (4)
£20 (5)
Postal Gold
Doesn't give quotes
£43.43 (6)
Figures from an investigation in Jan 2013. Read full footnotes

The top postal gold websites

To find the top bling-buying sites, as well doing our own investigation, we analysed hundreds of pages of feedback from this site's forum.

We've focused on nationwide buyers. Always check local jewellers first, especially for unhallmarked gold. Found a top gold site we're missing? Add it to the Gold Selling discussion.

Please note we last carried out a full gold investigation in Jan 2013, though we continue to monitor forum feedback to ensure people are still happy with our top picks.

Step-by-step guide: How to sell to a postal gold site

Beware, there's no protection if things go wrong - if a site goes bust, you may not get your gold back. We don't check companies' solvency.

Established player with great feedback

Hatton Garden Metals*


While there are no guarantees, the site with strongest feedback and one of the highest payers we've found is Hatton Garden Metals*. Not to be confused with the Hatton Garden jewellers' area in London, this is a web-only postal gold buyer.

In the past, Hatton Garden Metals has always been a top payer and it's still near the very top. It paid just £1 less than the highest payer in our investigation.

We've had almost heaps of positive feedback over the past three years, and felt this was more important than a few extra pence.

When getting paid, you can opt to get an extra 10% on top by selecting Argos or Homebase vouchers instead of cash. For example, if you've £100 of gold, you get £110 in vouchers. Do read our gift vouchers warning guide first.

Amount we got for £100 gold bracelet: £51.21 (or £45.31 taking into account postage). Free postage? No. Give us feedback: Hatton Garden Metals

Another good payer, with less feedback

Lois Jewellery


Also worth a look is Lois Jewellery. We don't have so much feedback on it, but what we do have is positive. It paid a smidgen more than Hatton Garden Metals in our test.

Lois was the only site where the amount promised was identical to the amount received.

Amount we got for £100 gold bracelet: £52.03 (or £46.13 taking postage into account) Free postage? No. Give us feedback: Lois Jewellery

Top payer with potential



While it paid the most in our gold investigation, on the downside, we don't have any feedback from users on Gerrards yet.

It performed well in our test with the top price and speedy service. But as we've very little feedback from MoneySavers yet, you may feel safer picking one of the sites above.

Unlike other gold buying sites, there's no online calculator - you must phone for a quote.

Amount we got for £100 gold bracelet: £52.28 (or £46.38 taking postage into account). Free postage? No. Give us feedback: Gerrards

How to sell to jewellers

Selling to jewellers

The simplest option is to flog your haul to a jeweller in person. Even if you don't want to sell it, it's a great way to get it valued. Of course, you're under no obligation to sell.

Go door to door, haggle and hand over the goods there and then. The good thing is that the gold is with you at all times. But, apart from in specialist jewellery quarters, prices are usually beatable.

Jewellers are the best option if jewellery's unhallmarked, as they can do a test in front of you. And if trinklets have stones, they'll tell you if they're worth owt. Here are our top 10 tips:

1. Take it to three jewellers

2. Check out London and Birmingham's jewellery quarters

3. Do it with chutzpah

4. Get postal gold prices on the high street

5. Act like you know what you're doing

6. Make an inventory

7. Get them to do a trade-in

8. Find a registered jeweller

9. Ask where they sell to

10. Sell gold in bulk

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