Gold Filled Pocket Watch Cases Scrap, Help Me Find a Refiner

Tipton444

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Hello all!

I am a small antique dealer that has a primary focus on jewelry, so I get a lot of gold and gold filled. I have been piling up all my gold filled watch cases for the past year, and now I think it is time to actually have them refined. I currently have about 3 pounds total (all of what you see in the pictures). I actually started collecting them to try and refine them myself, and although I was successful with refining silver for the first time, I would rather start small with some random jewelry scrap than try to go big with all these watch cases! So, that leads me to my question....can anyone recommend a reliable refining service that is well known in the community and very trustworthy? I only saved 25 year and 20 year cases, along with some 1/10th random jewelry scrap, so anything that had less gold content I just sold on ebay. I've heard many stories of people getting well over $2.00 per gram of pocket watch cases, and would love to find a reliable refiner that could help me get the most for my money without having to give up a giant percentage. Now, I have used Aquilla Refining in the past, and I know he's a solid member on this forum, and he was always awesome to work with and deal with, but I'm wondering what else is out there as well. Thank you all for your replies!

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snoman701

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Tipton444 said:
I've heard many stories of people getting well over $2.00 per gram of pocket watch cases, and would love to find a reliable refiner that could help me get the most for my money without having to give up a giant percentage.

I've heard stories of rainbows, leprechauns and a pot o gold...but I'm yet to find one.

I'm not trying to be rude, just realistic...even at $1800/oz gold and $45/oz silver, $2 gram would be some really nice gold filled.

I would add, if you are happy with your buyer, I wouldn't go shopping around. It's hard to find someone who treats you right.
 

Palladium

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Out of all the items with gold content, i think gold filled is probably the most misunderstood of all of them.
Here you have removed the top of the winding stem (karat) and the fob (karat) where the chain goes ( Sometimes the rim of the case will be karat also ). These pieces are karat gold where the rest is gold filled. When an item is marked 1/10 and so forth, that number takes into account the OVERALL gold content counting the karat portion with the gf portion and not just the gold filled portion. Removing them can account for a large percentage of your gold when dealing with a large lot for the purposes of accountability. This is before you take into account any wear, stainless, or fillers that may be present ( Filler and stainless are not accounted for by law in gf items). I believe one time you sent me a shipment of gold filled pins where the little inserts were removed. Those were the karat portion of the pins that were soldered to the gold filled portion of the pins. I remember you asked about the low yield on the lot and why that was so. This can account for a significant decrease in the yield number, because you are removing the icing on the cake so to say and this affects the math. If you want to get the maximum return money wise and people are paying $2 a gram then i would go that route. It's like finding a good deal on a car until you open up the hood and see the engine is gone and realizing why it is such a good deal is because it has no engine. Good to see you again sir!
 

Tipton444

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Hey Palladium, I'm very happy to hear from you. I think you may have me confused with another person though, I never had any pins, just much smaller batches of gold filled watch cases and such and I think I used your services twice with the last time being almost two years ago probably. I was also very pleased with my results! I would love to work with you again. I definitely understand that there are A LOT of factors when it comes to refining gold filled, and trust me I don't underestimate or think every hard-working refiner is a scammer or skimmer... I am really just asking the forum what the best options are for refining because as of right now I only know two ways: either sell everything on ebay, or use your Aquilla Refining service.. I literally don't know anywhere or anyone else. I have been buying and selling gold for a long time to "my gold guy" and it's time I start finding and creating new connections. It's easy to find a good buyer for gold, but not that easy to find a good refiner I guess. I was mainly curious if there was a solid big company out there, or if major refineries are a waste of time. I only heard that this guy was getting over 2 bucks a gram with 20year cases and thought I'd look into it and see if that's in the ball park. I would never complain about a yield though because I know there are so many factors.

As for my pile of gold filled...I followed certain videos and removed anything and everything that was magnetic so my entire pile is completely clean. So you are saying the magnetic areas of a gold filled pocket watch are the areas that are, or have, karat gold? The top of the crowns, and the top center tube where the crown connects to the movement? I mean, I've definitely seen some fob bars that are karat gold but not very many, usually they are the most worn down. Anyways, that interesting, and to think I was following sreetips with removing magnetic material (I sadly just tossed that stuff in a random ebay batch).

I'll ask a better question to the forum; Who do you all use for refining gold filled? and why?
 

Tipton444

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Oh, if you were looking at my old forum posts, I went through a scrapping phase with electronics and computers for only a few months just out of curiosity but trust me that didn't get too far when I realized the work it takes. I was ripping apart everything but really only saved up a few ounces of mixed pins that I just gave to my neighbor up the street a year later lol.
 

Palladium

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I'm sorry sir. Old age catches up with me sometimes! :mrgreen:

The problem with gf is the overall gold content verses trash, wear, and sometimes straight out manufacture fraud. A lottttt of older stuff is like this and most recently in the gf market products of Chinese origin. But speaking to the gold content, because that's what matters, is the fact that you are dealing with a low grade product. Just like in mining it cost money based on grams per ton, or grams per pound. Less gold + more work = less money. With that in mind your avenues for profit are limited to extraction cost. With gold filled i know of a couple of companies that buy gold filled based on gold content. They will melt your gf into a bar. They will skim your melt and flux it liberally. I mean by taking scoops of your material along with the dross. I've been there and seen it! They will then shoot the bar with xrf, because it's cheaper and simpler. Taking a pin sample or assay would cost to much and take to much time. You're going to get the quick shot and god only hopes they hit the right spot! They usually then pay anywhere from 80-85% based on gold content ( Those are the good one's!! ) At this point if the numbers come in under well then the bank error will not be in your favor. But at this point they done have your materials melted. If you do request the bar back you are going to incur some charges and who knows what bar you might get back? Now i'm not saying everybody is like that, but I've seen some shyster things in this business.

Your other option is to find a refiner who will toll refine the material for a percentage. That my gig! I give you a few more points for your money! My fee are either 10% or 15% based on several factors. When you first become a client the lot fee is 15%. If your a first time client and your lot is larger than 5 lbs then the fee is discounted to 10%. All lots processed after that regardless of size is a flat 10% fee. Add an extra 5% for excessive stainless, iron, or problematic items. That gives you a return of 90% of the gold value of your lot. I make 10% plus any residual silver or palladium. People who are paying $2 a gram at today's gold price for gold filled are losing money i don't care what they say. Here's the kicker, but only at today price! If you can get $2 a gram, 100% profit with no ebay or paypal fees, then i would go that route.

Let me tell you a story why some people might. I have a client who has disposable retirement income and a lotttt of it. He sends me gold filled about maybe twice a year. Sometimes the yield can come in under and that makes me feel bad for the client. In this business the refiner never takes a loss because my rates are constant. Someone my have a low yield and that affects my bottom line, but only at a rate of 10% of the yield so while my loss is small per gram the client loss is at a rate 9 times mine! 10% for me, 90% for the client. Then talking about it he explained something to me! He said even though today the yields may be low he said when the price rises my loss will become a profit!!! He only loses money based on today's gold price!
 

nickvc

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All I can add is that within my memory I have never seen a post that has been about Palladium giving anyone a bum deal when it comes to refining.
As an aside a deal I did with one customer comes to mind, he split his batch of material 3 ways and we refined one part of it and paid him first, no complaints then, after the other results came back he started moaning about our charges for what we had done, this perplexed me for a while until I asked him who paid him the most money...... you can guess the answer to that, we charged upfront and honestly the others deducted their charges by slight of hand on the yields, that is a polite way of saying they skimmed a hell of a lot of the gold before reporting the yield.
 

Palladium

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For the record i don't think he's saying that, nor does it bother me that he's asking questions. I'm just posting a lot of this for educational purposes and future readers. I'm going to post some more later. I was merely explaining where the value lay for maxim profit according to what end goal you are trying to achieve. Refining is a very complex mathematical formula that is very fluid and made up of many moving variables and equations. Refining is a mathematicians game! :D

Eric, right?
 

nickvc

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Palladium said:
For the record i don't think he's saying that, nor does it bother me that he's asking questions. I'm just posting a lot of this for educational purposes and future readers. I'm going to post some more later. I was merely explaining where the value lay for maxim profit according to what end goal you are trying to achieve. Refining is a very complex mathematical formula that is very fluid and made up of many moving variables and equations. Refining is a mathematicians game! :D

Eric, right?

I know but it’s better to clear the air if people read this later or out of context.
I agree refining is more an art than science at times and I fully agree about the wear and under alloying on gold filled, with a mixed batch it’s almost like asking how long is a piece of string you can’t see :shock:
I also agree with educating your customers so they don’t get caught out or have over optimistic expectations, it’s much easier to deal with a client who knows the facts.
 

Palladium

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nickvc said:
with a mixed batch it’s almost like asking how long is a piece of string you can’t see :shock:

So instead of

Refining is a mathematicians game!

It should read: Refining is a mathmagicians game!

:lol: :lol: :lol:
 

Tipton444

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Refining is a crazy mathematical process, and that's why I'm leaving it up to the experts like Palladium! I'm sure there are plenty of disingenuous people out there but a few conversations or posts can help steer people like me away from them. The information you guys have already provided has been great! I really just wanted to see what other people do. I wasn't sure if there was a well known place people send their scrap too, or if everyone has a different refiner...it seems more or less like the later is more true. I'm almost glad to hear that getting $2 a gram is not a common thing, because if it was then I would be thinking about all the money I've thrown away! See, very helpful and simple information lol. And you are right Palladium, time is everything, gold has gone up over a hundred bucks since I started saving everything so I'm already up!

Palladium is my lot something you'd be interested in refining for me? Do you still have the ebay listing? I promise I'm not a complainer! Just trying to educate myself and build new connections. I still need to find a new scrap gold buyer too at some point lol.
 

Shark

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Tipton444, if you don't mind my asking, where are you located?

Sometime just knowing the state can make the difference in getting a reply. I mostly buy my material out right, but have done some small toll refines. The down side is all of my stuff has been local, where I know or have been able to meet a customer in person. I am mainly asking as a learning experience from both refiner and customer side.
 

Tipton444

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That's a great idea Shark, it works for both sides then. I'm located in Western Mass, and I don't know of any refiners over here, most people talk about going down to NYC with their gold.
 

Palladium

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Here's an example of a gold filled buyer. I'm not going to go through all their numbers, but i will pick two easy ones as examples. Here's their longggg mathmagician formula
( 1/10 12K GF ) Market x .0262 = Price/Troy Oz.

First of all at the very end they refer to price/troy oz. We figure gold for the sake of yields in troy, but when you are selling you sell by imperial weight in regular oz or lbs. A regular oz is 28 grams and a troy oz is 31.1 grams. Lets do the math: 1/10 12k = Gold spot of $1,309.40 X .0262= $34.30 value per troy oz. So $34.30 / 31.1 grams (troy) = $1.10 a gram they are paying you for your gold filled scrap at 100% of the gold value. Now this is what they are paying you! Let's break it down some more and see how much they make and what the real percentages are. If you have 1/10 12k then it takes 20 grams of materials to get one gram of gold! 20 grams X 5% gold content = 1 gram of .999. A gram of pure 999 gold is worth $1309.40 / 31.1 grams troy = $42.10. So if it takes 20 grams and they are paying you $1.10 per gram for your materials that are market valued at $2.10 then they just gave you $22 for $42.10 worth of gold value in your materials. If you break that down into percentages they gave you 52.2% of the value for your money! This is even before they do any other hocus pocus!

If your trying to buy to make money selling with them then you have to really cut your prices paid out or your profit margins! They are benefiting from the fruits of your labor as a gather and collector. They are getting 48% of your money and you are doing all the work and taking all the risk! They are buying on a based set of numbers where yours are fluid and moving all the time with market price. Market price for them is built in as a function to the equation.

POOF!!!! Now you see the magic of being a mathmagician !!!!!! :mrgreen:

For .999 pure gold scrap that needs no refining they are paying a block busting 83.3% percent.

https://www.goldfilledbuyers.com/gold-buying-price-schedule.html
 
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