This scrap silver calculator can help you answer the question you have probably been asking yourself repeatedly: "What is the value of my scrap silver?". More precisely, we designed this calculator to help you determine what the value of the silver in your different belongings, such as jewelry and coins, is. It doesn't matter if you want to sell your scrap silver and are wondering how much money you will get, or you just want to know how much is your silver is worth, you should definitely give our scrap silver calculator a go. This smart tool estimates your silver value based on its weight, purity, and the market price. Please note, however, that our sterling silver calculator only shows what is the value of the pure silver (its intrinsic value), and it will not estimate the value of your silver collectible (such as coins).
Silver's characteristics and usage
Pure silver is a soft and malleable metal, which is why it is usually mixed with other metals to form an alloy (the most common silver alloys contain copper). Silver has a bright metallic luster that can be highly polished, which is why it is commonly used in mirrors. Another characteristic of silver is its high electrical and thermal conductivity. Silver is considered to be non-toxic, however, silver salts are usually poisonous, and some of them may even be carcinogenic. Silver also has antibacterial properties, and thus it is used as a food additive and for coloring.
Silver has been used by humanity since prehistoric times. It is believed that silver was one of the first five metals used by humans (the others were gold, copper, lead and iron). The oldest known silver objects were found in Greece and Turkey, dated to before 4000 BC. Even in ancient times, silver was valued as a precious metal.
For a long time silver alloys were used to as everyday coins. Nowadays in finance, silver is mainly used in bullion coins (coins struck from precious metals and kept as a store of value or as an investment). In jewelry, silver is one of the two most commonly used precious metals, the other being gold.
Other than as currency and jewellery, silver is contemporarily used in many branches of industry, including the manufacture of electrical contacts and conductors, solar panels and water filters. Silver also finds application as a colorant and as a catalyst in chemical reactions. Moreover, compounds of silver are used in photography.
How much is silver worth?
If you are wondering what the silver value is, you should know that silver prices are, like gold, quoted in Troy ounces, which are different from regular ounces. 1 Troy ounce is equal to 31.1034 g (1.097 oz). So, to find out what the silver value is, you should ask "how much is an ounce of silver"?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not easy. As a precious metal, silver is openly traded on various exchanges around the world. The most important silver exchanges are located in Hong Kong, London, New York, Sydney, Tokyo, and Zurich. As there is almost always somewhere where silver transactions are being made, the price of silver is almost constantly being reevaluated, 24 hours a day. This means that the silver price is fluctuating all the time.
Because of this, the best way to obtain the silver price is… to ask Google. For example, on 26 July 2022, the silver price per ounce was $18.85, or about $606.04 per kg.
Note that while the internet will provide you the official market price of silver, if you want to assess the price for which you can actually sell your scrap silver, you need to take into account the commission of the intermediary. This is reflected in the size of the spread between their asking and biding price.
Scrap silver value calculator – an example
So that you fully understand how our scrap silver value calculator works, let’s take a look at the following example.
For the purposes of our example, let’s assume that in your wardrobe you have found:
- Three silver coins. Each coin is the same. The obverse pictures are of an ancient lady, an American flag, and the sun. It is also inscribed with the word “liberty” and the phrase “In God we trust.” The reverse portrays a heraldic eagle which grasps an olive branch in its right talon and arrows in its left talon. Above the eagle, there are thirteen five-pointed stars. On the reverse, there are also words “United States of America, 1 OZ. fine silver~One Dollar”)
- Two pieces of silver jewelry: at least fifty-years-old necklace and an even older bracelet. After an in-depth examination, you have found that on the small piece of the necklace, there is a symbol and the number 800. On the backside of the bracelet, there is a marking that represents a head, a few unreadable letters, the word “sterling” and the number 925.
So, how much is your silver worth?
Firstly, it seems that determining the value of the coin is a piece of cake.
Taking into account the appearance of the coin, you can be one hundred percent sure that you have the official silver bullion coin of the United States, the American Silver Eagle. It was first released in 1986 and contains exactly one troy ounce of 99.9% pure silver. Its content, weight, and purity are certified by the United States Mint.
The scrap value of this coin is the weight of the pure silver in the coin multiplied by the silver price per ounce. Assuming that the scrap silver price (bid price) is $18.85 per ounce, the scrap value of the coin is:
0.999 * 1 oz t * $18.85 = $18.83
So the scrap value of your coins is
3 * $18.83 = $56.49
Remember that the market value of your coins is probably higher than their scrap value, as they have uses beyond just the metal. They are easier to exchange for money, and one can put more trust in coins certified by the United States Mint than in scrap silver.
Secondly, let's try to assess the value of the jewelry.
You should begin by weighing the necklace and bracelet. Let's assume that the necklace weights 52 g and the bracelet weighs 27 g. We should then decipher the markings on the jewelry. The symbols are probably the manufacturer's mark. What matters to us are the numbers, representing the silver's purity. The number 800 means that the necklace contains 80% pure silver by weight (the rest are other metals). Similarly, the number 925 means that the bracelet contains 92,5% of pure silver (more precisely it is made of an alloy called sterling silver).
To calculate the scrap silver value of the jewelry, let's compute the weight of pure silver present. This is the pure silver contained in the necklace plus the pure silver contained in the bracelet. So:
0.800 * 52 g + 0.925 * 27 g = 41.6 g + 24.975 g = 66.575 g
Now we need to multiply this value by the price of pure silver per gram. Knowing that 1 Troy ounce is 31,103 g we can calculate that the price of 1 g of pure silver is $0.606. So the final value of your scrap silver in your jewelry is:
66.575 g * $0.606 = $40.35
The total value of the scrap silver in your wardrobe is then:
$56.49 + $40.35 = $96.83
Note that you can avoid all of these tedious calculations by using our sterling scrap calculator!
Interesting facts about silver
- Silver's chemical symbol is Ag. It is an abbreviation of the Latin word "argentum" which originates from argunas, a Sanskrit word meaning shiningii.
- In nature, silver usually appears together with lead in the mineral galena, which is mainly lead sulfide. However, you can sometimes find nuggets of native silver metal in minerals and rivers.
- The abundance of silver in the Earth's crust is estimated as 0.075 parts per million. The silver is more abundant than gold (abundance 0.004 parts per million); however, as a native metal (nuggets), it is less abundantiii.
- World annual silver production is around 27,000 metric tons (as of 2018). The top five producers of silver are Mexico (6,100 MT), Peru (4,300 MT), China (3,600 MT), Poland (1,300 MT) and Chile (1,300 MT)iv.
- The purity of silver is measured on a permil basis. For example, a 94%-pure alloy of silver is described as being “0.940 fine”.
- An alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper is called Sterling silver. An alloy of 95.8% silver and 4.2% copper is called Britannia silver. Both of these alloys are commonly used for exclusive silverware and jewelry.
- The earliest known silver coins were minted sometime around 600 BC in the Kingdom of Lydia in modern day Turkey.
- As silver is the best-known reflector of visible light, it is frequently used in mirror production.
- A chemical compound containing silver particles - silver iodide - is used in weather modification to seed clouds.
- Thanks to its disinfecting properties, dilute solutions of silver compounds are added to bandages and other wound dressings.
- Silver is a common food additive (coloring). It has the E number E174i.
While we were writing this short article, we used a few helpful sources, check them out!
ii Vivi Ringnes, Origin of the Names of Chemical Elements., J. Chem. Educ., 1989, 66 (9), p731.