Golden Opportunities in Metals Market, But Seller Beware
By Renee Burrell
Gary Zumbaugh of Zimbal's. Zimbal's is buying gold and silver bars/bullion, coins, sterling silver flatware, and 10,14, and 18 Karat scrap gold.
The meltdown of the US dollar has fueled a new gold rush. As prices for gold have increased so have gold buyers and sellers.
Some buyers are unscrupulous, wanting to buy for as little as possible, and then re-sell for as much as possible. Many are taking advantage of sellers who haven't done their homework.
Gary Zumbaugh, author of The Professional's Handbook, a guide that illustrates proper Rolex hallmarks to authenticate true Rolex watches from counterfeits, and owner of Zimbal's in Clearwater started working with gold and silver during the last gold boom in 1978-79.
He offers this advice to would be gold sellers, "Scrap gold is bought by coin stores and jewelry stores and out of town buyers should be avoided. Stay with someone local if you've decided it's time to clear out that old jewelry. You'll be really surprised at how much it's worth and you'll be comforted in knowing that you weren't scammed."
Silver too is at a high. According to Zumbaugh, "U.S. silver coins are also bringing big money. For instance a coin with a $100 face value can bring $700- $1000, depending on the price of silver that day."
Just as consumers do research before buying by asking friends who they deal with, comparing prices between different jewelers etc., they should trust who they get to weigh and appraise what they have to sell also.
Says Zumbaugh, "All the buyers are required to use state certified scales. Scrap gold is bought and sold in pennyweights (dwt). There are 20 dwt per troy ounce, which is different than a regular ounce, so you can't weigh it on any scales you have at home."
Even those not tempted by fast cash may want to turn in damaged or out of style pieces of gold jewelry and invest in a coin. "Gold has dropped in the last 7-10 days. The high a couple of weeks ago was $1,003 and today [Tuesday] it's down to $887.20. If you think gold is going to continue to rise, then trade that old gold jewelry into some of the many gold coins available," says Zumbaugh. "We have had a lot of customers cashing out with an average of $500 to $1,500 from broken or outdated jewelry that's been collecting dust in the back of their jewelry boxes for years. Customers can cash in now, or if they think gold will go higher they can trade for gold coins which trade much closer to spot gold (price today). Gold coins include: South African Kugerrands, Gold Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs and Chinese Pandas to name the most commonly purchased." ? Zumbaugh explains the present rush, "This abrupt rise is fueled by several things. The declining dollar has made gold more expensive when it is purchased in U.S. dollars. Severe electric power shortages in South Africa have completely shut down or limited operation of the gold mines, some of which are over 1.5 miles deep. Severe winter weather conditions in China, the world's largest gold producer, has slowed mining there. And China and India, two countries that traditionally store wealth in gold, presently have booming economies with a higher earning emerging middle class demanding gold jewelry."
Zumbaugh opened Zimbal's with his wife, Barbara Phillips, 20 years ago specializing in sales and service of pre-owned Rolex watches in addition to purchasing gold and silver. They are trained Rolex watchmakers using authorized Rolex parts, and service hundreds of wholesale and retail watches each year. They can also appraise and evaluate your Rolex for insurance purposes. Phone 727-492-1496 for an appointment or visit them M - F from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Zimbal's is located at 1150 Cleveland Street, Suite 310, in downtown Clearwater.
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