Yard Sale Treasures

By: Amidon Jewelers

Yard Sale Treasures

Keeping costume jewelry separate from the good stuff this summer.

Are you headed out to peruse thru your neighbors unwanted items, or considering setting your own out?  Here are tips to keep you from tossing the best items, or help you spot a great find as you explore.
  • Be prepared, get your tools ready. Your basic toolkit, a small 10x magnifying glass and your smartphone.
    • If you’re shopping avoid using a large magnifying glass, if the seller gets an idea their item has extra value they may pull it from the sale.
    • That’s right; your smartphone will let you quickly look up an item in question.  It should be at a yard sale for approximately ¼ of a similar online listing like eBay.
  • Broken items can still be valuable.
    • Evan if it can’t be repaired, gold and silver items can easily be sold to Amidon for their value as scrap precious metal.
  • Take the time to look thru old jewelry boxes and collections of ‘junk’, one gold chain twisted in with a ball of fakes makes the whole $5 box worthwhile.
  • Never believe “It’s all costume!” check it out for yourself, often sellers don’t know the value of each item they have.
  • Look for markings, and know what they mean;
COMMON SILVER STAMPINGSSTERLINGSTER 925 .925 Note: Vermeil is often marked STER or 925 and is valuable as scrap silver, but gold plated for color.





Silver Welded

Double or Quadruple plate


8K, 10K, 14K, 18k, 22k

333, 416, 417, 583, 585, 750, 916

karat may be denoted as k or kt


1/20 14K

P, HGPE, EP, (plated)

GF  (gold filled)

  • Pick up everything that looks like gold or silver.  Both are very dense metals and produce a dull thump when placed on the table.  Salt shakers that produce a brassy ring are going to be plated. It’s a quick test to use before scrutinizing every piece. Also keep in mind that plated items do not dent easy and often have the inner yellow metal showing on wear surfaces like the backs of spoons and bottom of tableware.
  • Have an idea what the weight is if shopping for scrap precious metal.  A stack of six nickels weighs just over an ounce.  At Amidon, with the gold spot value on 7-1, that’s worth about $11 for sterling, and $475 for 14 karat gold.