Gold plated boxes

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New member
Nov 8, 2022
Washington State
Hello all. New member here. Recovering gold from plated items has had my interest for a bunch of years. Decades ago, while rumaging through surplus electronics, I came across several gold-plated boxes which were used to house electronic circuits. These boxes were of high quality and made of thick aluminum (I know because of the weight of the units) and plated with gold over all surfaces, inside and out. The boxes were machined before being plated. If you look at them with the bottom turned up, they look like gold bricks. They are approximately 8 inches long, 3 inches wide and 2 inches deep each. Recent checking tells me that gold has to be plated to an alloy and not directly to aluminum. I've also read that chemically stripping the gold from the boxes is not a possibility and that the plating is usually very thin and not worth the time and expense to use electrolysis. Just wondering if there is any reason to pursue the idea of recovering the gold from these boxes. Thanks.
Welcome to the forum.
You can recover the gold fairly easily , if time isn’t your priority then cut into the boxes and submerge the pieces in dilute nitric which will slowly eat away the nickel substrate leaving gold foils and virtually untouched aluminum, the other method is again cut into the boxes and submerge the pieces in a lye solution, heating will speed up the reaction , this will dissolve the aluminum leaving the gold and nickel.
All right, then. So, there is hope for me. :) There would be a lot of aluminum to dissolve if I took the lye route. I'll have to read up on using nitric acid and safety issues, but I'm looking forward to trying it. I've attached a photo of two of the boxes and one of the electronics plates that mount on the boxes. As you can see, the electronics plate is also gold plated. I think I have two or three more boxes and one other electronics plate. Couldn't locate them right away. Thanks for responding.


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Motorola made, gold plated, conformally coated components and gasketed flange. All the qualities for military flight (or missle) application, or remote (top of tower) application.

It may have more collector value than gold value. Motorola was heavy into aerospace applications. it's not a spaceflight item - the whole unit would be hermetically sealed or have a nitrogen charge valve if so. Me, if I had multiples, I'd do an eBay test auction to see if any interest out there before attempting recovery.
Yes, that's right. There is a Motorola label on the electronics panel, serial number 3. The electronics are coated with a firm transparent film similar to Krylon clear coat, obviously to protect the components from the weather. The flange gaskets fit into the groove machined in the box around the lip. They are metallic mesh (stainless steel I would guess). There is no nitrogen charge valve on these units. The workmanship both on the boxes and on the electronics is beautiful and they must have been very expensive to manufacture.

I sense there is but a thin layer of gold on these boxes. I will locate the rest and see what the interest level is on eBay before attempting to recover the gold myself. Thanks for your input.

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