Gold, silver, and palladium are the most discussed precious metals in investment and pawning circles. There is, however, a fourth metal, which is typically omitted and that is platinum. Our Ultimate guide to pawning, selling or buying Platinum at a Pawn Shop outlines platinum’s monetary and investment value both now and in the future. We offer some useful tips on purchasing, selling and pawning platinum, explain what to look for, and show you how pawnbrokers can help you. The history of platinum and its uses and applications are a perfect place to start.
The History of Platinum
Formerly discovered and understood to be a separate element by Spanish explorers during the early 18th century, platinum had been an additive element mixed with gold by ancient Egyptian, medieval European, and indigenous American cultures to alter its color. Usually, having to be separated from other metals when found in a natural state, platinum was originally thought to have no value in industry or as an aesthetically pleasing material. Rather, the metal was thought to be an impurity, which diluted the value of gold.
However, ever since the latter half of the 18th century, platinum had come to be utilized as a durable metal to produce utensils and ingots. Further, the metal has seen additional applications as a chief component for motor vehicle catalytic converters, an ingredient needed to create certain forms of magnets, and a catalyst for various industrial reactions.
Consequently, as a result of its resistance to wear via corrosion, its relative rarity coupled with its industrial use, platinum has been recognized as a high-value metal and has been treated with enormous prestige since the twentieth century. After all, consider the use of “platinum” in the music industry for best-selling music records. This element has been used as an elite ranking for credit cards.
The specific qualities which contribute to platinum’s value include:
- A low susceptibility to corrosion – platinum doesn’t easily react to compounds in air or water unlike other industrial metals such as iron and nickel. Consequently, its likely to retain value in standard storage conditions and doesn’t require specialized treatment to maintain its quality or purity.
- A high melting and boiling point – with an extraordinarily high melting point of 3,215.1 degrees Fahrenheit (or 1,768.4 degrees Celsius) and a boiling point of 6,917 F (3,825 C), platinum has been referred to as the “unmeltable” metal.
- A wide range of applications – platinum has been used in a number of industrial applications from products including dental crowns, the production of pacemakers and car parts, It has even been used to synthesize anti-cancer drugs and other life-saving medications. In all likelihood, myriad additional applications for platinum will continue to be developed.
- Historical use as a valued metal used in financial transactions – as previously referred to, platinum has traditionally been an additive, either accidentally or intentionally, in other precious metals (typically gold) which are used primarily or exclusively for commerce rather than industry. In a similar vein, platinum has, much like gold and silver, seen use in high-value jewelry. In fact, several items in England’s Crown Jewels and other royal paraphernalia incorporate platinum.
What Is Platinum’s Current Value and Why?
If one observes the recent price points of platinum, the metal has always had relatively high value, particularly in recent times. As of the publication of this article, platinum’s value approaches nearly 1,000 USD per ounces – and that value is likely to increase!
Consider also that investment experts are strongly advising the general public to take this metal as a serious means to purchase capital or sell for a high return. The reasons for this are five-fold:
- Highly limited terrestrial supply – while it does exist in deep space, for the foreseeable future, platinum is a rare and difficult to mine metal which is severely limited in supply. It also requires immense energy and specialized equipment to properly extract and refine. Keep in mind, most of the world’s platinum is mined only in Russia and South Africa.
- New future applications – with a growing number of applications, platinum is poised to be in higher demand further into the future. In fact, a whooping 20 percent of average consumer goods either incorporate or require the use of platinum in their production.
- Interminably high in value – even if one accounts for market fluctuates which temporarily raise or lower its worth, platinum actually retains relatively high-value, even in times of economic distress.
- Increase portfolio diversity – advice often given by investors to clients is to increase the types of assets in their portfolio. Along with the traditionally valuable metals and precious stones such as gold, silver, rhodium, and diamonds, experts place platinum in the same caliber as a high-value investment material.
In fact, platinum is ranked by Go Banking Rates as the number two precious metal which is better than gold for investment right behind silver. Echoing this sentiment, the investment website, The Balance, rates platinum as the premier precious metal to invest in next to gold.
For these reasons, platinum bullion has been produced in the United States of America, the Canadian Federation, the Republic of Australia, and even the People’s Republic of China. As a consequence, in addition to specialty financial investment firms, other more ubiquitous businesses such as pawnbrokers recognize the value of and deal in the purchase, sale, and pawning of platinum.
How to Properly Go About Purchasing Platinum
Given the fact that platinum is typically not found in nature separate from other compounds, it is critical to buy up platinum in a refined, pure state. After all, a precious metal is no good as a source of investment if it has been too diluted.
Platinum can be purchased and shipped from reliable bullion dealers which can easily be found online. Hundreds of platinum mints exist around the world. It is also worth noting that in some pawnbroker outlets, platinum can be found and purchased as well.
Platinum is best purchased in the form of a bar, and can be minted in different weights, be it in grams or troy ounces or even by the kilogram. While less common, platinum can also be purchased as coinage or jewelry.
No matter who your supplier is, a platinum bullion dealer should be able to supply assay certification which demonstrates metal purity, precise weight, and mint of production. Bullion will also typically hold some form of maker’s mark as well. Being able to verify these statistics are vital, particularly when buying platinum from a pawnbroker.
If proper certification isn’t provided, or particular details are lacking, walk away from the purchase. The only reason to consider going through with the sale anyway is if the platinum seller possesses the necessary equipment and has personnel on hand to administer the correct purity verification techniques, to properly assay the purity and weight of the platinum bullion, coinage, or jewelry you intend to purchase.
How To Properly Sell Platinum
Obviously, we do not mean to suggest that platinum should be bought up and hoarded in a miserly fashion. Rather, if you are fortunate enough to have any platinum bullion, bars or jewelry laying around, platinum can be a fantastic material to liquidate and acquire a handsome amount of cash or trade for another form of investment goods.
While you can sell bullion to dealers, the most common means of profiting off of platinum is by selling platinum jewelry, particularly to pawn dealers. Keep in mind, platinum jewelry comes in a few different categories:
- pure platinum – undiluted platinum which bears a 95% to +99.99% purity
- a platinum-platinum group hybrid – jewelry which is composed of an alloy of platinum and other platinum metals (i.e. palladium, ruthenium, rhodium, iridium, osmium)
- a platinum-based metal hybrid – jewelry which is composed of an alloy of platinum and metal species more commonly found in jewelry (i.e. cobalt or copper)
It is worth noting that most forms of platinum jewelry are of the latter two categories, wherein the metal is 85% platinum and 15% additional metals. In some cases, the purity of platinum can be as low as 50% and still retain value as a form of platinum jewelry. Consequently, since the purity of your platinum jewelry may vary so also will its value when it is sold.
One of the best outlets for platinum sales are pawnbrokers, but this leads to a question, how does the average person identify their jewelry’s purity? Fortunately, for those who don’t have spectroscopy equipment or are aware of the various forms of metal purity testing, most platinum jewelry possesses a tiny inscription on it which should state the item’s purity. Keep in mind, these engraved motifs are tiny and will require a magnifying glass to find. If you have problems finding the motif, take your item to a high-end jewelry dealer for assistance.
What About Pawning Platinum?
In the event that you are looking for a quick cash loan, pawning platinum is a great way to do this. Most pawn shops do accept platinum jewelry and generally pay a price for it based off of a combination of market value, weight, and purity.
Although not a perfect formula, a good metric for calculating your platinum’s value is as follows:
item weight X platinum percentage X current price of platinum
To refer to an expertsource, Pawn Guru says:
“…let’s say your platinum item weighs 21.4 grams and your hallmark reads 950. Since that indicates 95% platinum, you would take .950 X 21.4. This leaves you with 20.33 grams of actual platinum to work with.
Multiply the grams of actual platinum (20.33 in the example) by the current price of platinum in grams. As of the exact moment this post is being written, that is 20.33 X $29.85 = $606.85. In summary, on 6/22/17, a 95% platinum piece weighing 21.4 grams is worth roughly $606.”
Finally, the value of the platinum jewelry is also subject to the pawnbroker’s discretion. Factors which may influence this include the aesthetic appeal and design of the item being pawned. Consequently, it’s imperative to find a trustworthy and reputable pawnbroker.
Why Should You Sell or Buy Platinum From a Pawn Shop?
As previously stated, part of the value of a platinum ring derives from its own artistic quality, which the pawnbroker may use to argue the item’s value. Fortunately, this fact grants you a degree of flexibility when negotiating the price of platinum jewelry you are selling. Keep in mind also, the value of the trinket you are selling isn’t limited to just the metal and its design either, but any jewels attached to it as well.
Conversely, if you are purchasing a platinum item from a pawn shop, the artistic quality of whatever platinum item you are considering buying is an angle you can use to gain leverage in price negotiations.
The fact that you have the capacity to haggle with a broker is the chief advantage you have when dealing with a pawn shop rather than a bullion dealer. Bullion dealers have their prices, more or less, set in stone. By contrast, most pawn shop owners are willing to – and typically greatly enjoy – negotiating a price with potential customers. After all, their business is dependent on customers physically entering their establishment and cutting a deal with them.
So remember, they want your business and should be willing to be accommodating to acquire it. If they are not, be prepared to walk away and take your business elsewhere. The fact that a pawnbroker isn’t ready to negotiate is an indication that they either aren’t aware of the value of what you have, or they are attempting to take advantage of you.
How to Take Advantage of This Great News
Platinum is a great form of precious metal investment, one which you should highly consider either investing in or profiting from. In the event that you have been convinced, one of the best outlets for platinum investment can be through your local pawn shop. You should be aware of proper, trustworthy outlets which provide platinum buying, selling, and pawning services.
In the event that you are a looking for a reliable pawnbroker which deals in platinum in the San Diego area, check out the services provided by Monte De Piedad, the premier mega pawn and jewelry service provider. They have outlets all around the southwest California area, and are ready to help you with your precious metal deals.