How to Sell Gold – A Beginner’s Guide

January 12, 2023

Summary: This article is a simple but concise guide on how to sell gold (your own) for the best possible price WITHOUT getting ripped off!

How to Sell Gold

It is no secret that over the millennia gold has been the standard measurement of wealth and capability throughout the entire world. Even today, these metallic lumps of star debris are worth fortunes and can make fortunes for those who know how to use them.

If you are one of those people who has made considerable investments in owning gold - whether in jewelry or gold bullions or gold bars - chances are you need not be lectured on their worth. The real problem people encounter when they own gold is how best to convert it to liquid assets - cash.

Related: Gold ETF vs Physical Gold: Which is Better?

Such considerations are important because there are many scammers out there looking to shortchange you in value, especially now that the value of gold only seems to be increasing over the years. Luckily, we have pulled together all the need-to-know information for you to score the best possible return on your investments.

Besides stocks & options, I've been investing in Gold, Silver, and other precious metals since 2008, so I know what to look for, and how to do it safely with very little risk. By the way, learn about the best Gold stocks to buy too!

By the end of this article, you're going to learn:

  • How To Get The BEST Price Possible for your Gold
  • The 4 Best & Safest Places to sell it
  • The 3 Things You MUST Know before you sell.

How To Sell Gold FAQ's

Before tackling the WHERE part of selling gold, we must first go over the mechanics involved in the market for gold. Being aware of the terminologies, understanding the way a sale is made, and setting the right expectations are essential when learning how to sell your gold.

How Do Gold Prices Work?

Selling Gold

Of all the investment models out there, investing in gold seem to be the most dependable and predictable in terms of getting a return on investment. 

Gold now remains one of the rarest and highly valued of precious metals - meaning its overall value has only been increasing over time.

The price of gold is measured by the weight - usually in per one gram, one ounce, and one kilogram of pure gold.

Pure gold refers to 24 karat gold which is 99.99 percent true, unadulterated gold.

Knowing the karat (amount of pure gold) of the gold you possess will make it easier for you to determine the worth.

There are gold calculators online wherein you simply put in the item's weight and select the karatage. This then will give you the worth based on the current price of gold in the market.

For jewelry, expect the karatage to be around 18k or lower. With gold being a soft and malleable metal, many jewelers will mix it with other metals to reinforce it. Know that the price for wedding bands, other rings, earrings, and all other gold-containing jewelry will only be based on the amount of gold that can actually be extracted from it.

24k gold used usually in gold coinage or bars (as known as Gold Bullions), is almost always reserved for gold investments.

This is why it's helpful to know what type of gold you are selling. If a jeweler appraises your item, he or she will be able to tell the different types and give accurate information on the value. This also protects you from scammers who could try to buy your 14k gold at 22k spot price (even if that is inflated) and then claim it was 18k.

The prices you see posted online for one ounce or gram of gold are usually intended for pure gold. Unless you are selling 24k gold billions, you need to set the right expectations towards how much you can get for your items.

What's a "Spot Price"?

When selling gold, you are likely to hear a thing called "Spot Price". To explain it in simple terms, a spot price is the price of the gold at that particular moment according to the market.

Gold's prices changes over time and the spot price is the price it's worth at the times it was put up for sale. Pay attention to this detail not only in selling your gold but in possibly buying gold for future investment.

There is also a concept called you to need to know about called Gold Future Contract - a legally binding agreement in the selling of the gold will occur in a future time at an agreed future price.

Instead of selling their gold at a spot price where they might be getting less than they could if they have sold it a day after, some sellers of gold enter into these agreements to get as much as they can from the gold's increasing prices.

When's The Best Time to Sell Gold?

When trying to decide on the best possible time to sell your gold, know that there is no definitive answer. The gold market is fluctuating constantly and although you are still likely to get a decent return, knowing when to sell it to get the highest possible return can be tricky.

Ideally, you should sell the gold at a time when the spot price is high enough to justify the selling of it. Be sure to always aim for a price higher than when you purchased it, unless in cases of extreme emergency.

If you still wish to see if you can get as much as possible, then you can look up some gold market forecasts online. There are a ton of news and gold-related websites that deal in making a logical prediction on the fluctuations of the gold market. Though not always right, you can certainly give them a look and decide for yourself.

Ideally, you should sell the gold at a time when the spot price is high enough to justify the selling of it. Be sure to always aim for a price higher than when you purchased it, unless in cases of extreme emergency.

When trying to decide on the best possible time to sell your gold jewelry, know that there is no definitive answer. The gold market is fluctuating constantly and although you are still likely to get a decent return, knowing when to sell it can be tricky. Here are some tips to help make that decision easier.

First, do not forget about taxes:

According to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), gold is considered a capital asset, with financial gain from the sale of gold considered capital gain. Most likely you will end up selling your gold with an online service or hopefully at a local pawn shop. Whatever avenue you choose it is likely that you will need to part with some of the profit in order to pay taxes.

Online gold buyers may not tell you this right away but if you read the fine print, or ask them directly about tax consequences they should tell you whether or not they charge a percentage for selling your items.

This is usually around ten percent; however it should be noted that 5 states do not require sellers to pay sales tax on jewelry sales.

These are New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, South Dakota and Wyoming. Depending on where you live and sell your items, you may still have to pay some form of State Sales Tax even though Federal Taxes are exempt. Be sure to check the laws in your area before making any decisions as rules can vary greatly from state to state.

Tips From A Retail Gold Buyer

If you have been following gold market trends, then you may already know what typically happens and what is likely to happen in the future. Knowing that people are not as interested in buying gold when it is at its highest value can help provide valuable information about when is the best time to sell your pieces of jewelry.

"For example, if you bought an item during a recession or economic holiday; such as a downturn in 2008-2009, it would be safe to say that we're more than likely looking at one of the worst times possible to sell said piece," says James Dowd Jr., who formerly worked with an online Jewelry Retailer.

In order to be more specific, Dowd recommends searching for some historical gold data. This data will allow you to know when the best time to buy and sell was in the past. With this information you can formulate an educated opinion about when you should decide on selling your jewelry. However, it is important to note that it may not always be as clear cut as suggested, "For example, if someone bought a piece of jewelry in 1970 because they loved it then chances are that even if they were looking at one of the best times possible for buying; from a financial standpoint they wouldn't have been able to afford the item," explains Dowd.

You should also take into account why you are trying to sell jewelry in the first place as this can also help you decide on the best time to sell. If you need cash quickly then you should consider selling your gold at the first opportunity as this is likely to be when you will get the most money . However, if you are looking for a long term investment that will appreciate in value while gaining a decent return, then it might be prudent to wait for an increase in sale price before selling.

In order to know more about what trends there have been and what might be expected Dowd recommends finding some good news sites or publications that focus on financial data. "You would want something major; such as Reuters although you could probably find something local," says Dowd, who explains that many people overlook these resources due to lack of knowledge about their existence. However, waiting to sell your items until after there has been a significant increase in gold prices can be tricky because it is hard to tell when the floor has been reached and future increases will not happen .

"If you are selling your piece of jewelry for an emergency or other short term need; chances are that you may have waited too long," says Dowd.

It's important to remember that if you do decide on waiting to sell your item then some form of insurance may be required by the buyer. In many cases this means purchasing speciality insurance from the buyer. This type of policy involves taking out a loan against the value of your gold in order to pay off the cost of insuring it but still provide for the profit that you expect to see .

This type of policy is usually found on rare or expensive items as it can easily cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Be aware that in some cases, "the amount that the buyer pays for insurance could add up to more than what you would have received if you had sold your piece earlier," says Dowd.

However, this form of protection can be very valuable because some buyers do not accept responsibility after they buy and sell your gold pieces unless you take out this policy beforehand . In order to ensure that you are covered in case something goes wrong with the transaction, it may be a good idea to purchase this type of insurance.

Although there will always be ways to try and get better prices and more money, Dowd recommends that you consider the variables involved. "When considering time as a factor in selling your gold; you should weigh the pros and cons of immediate cash versus waiting for an increase in price," says Dowd.

"Many times we buy pieces on impulse and then when it comes to actually selling them, most people don't know what is best for them financially speaking," says Dowd . He suggests trying to remain grounded with whatever decision you make because even though there are some risks attached to each idea there will always be something that can help you get more out of your piece .

Dowd also notes that although some believe they may have found the best time possible to sell their items before they do so, it is a good idea to keep an open mind about obtaining more information before you sell. "Nothing is set in stone; prices may fluctuate and change without notice," says Dowd . "Weigh out your options and try not to rush into anything because there's always something we may have overlooked that would make us regret our decision in the end," advises Dowd. 

What Should You Expect When Selling Your Gold?

The prices you see posted online for one ounce or gram of gold are usually intended for pure gold. Unless you are selling 24k gold bullions, you need to set the right expectations towards how much you can get for your items.

10k gold will likely amount to 41.7% of its weight in pure gold. 14k gold will amount to about 58% and 18k will yield around 75%. All this means the spot price of gold isn't an accurate estimate of what you can sell your gold for. It might, however, help you haggle when having it appraised and sold on the spot.

The Best Place to Sell Gold

The most famous markets of the dealing of gold globally are New York's COMEX and London's Bullion Market. Keeping informed on their activity can give you're a somewhat close estimate on the spot price for your gold.

When finding a place to sell gold as an individual, there are several options for you:

  • Online
  • Pawn Shops
  • Jewelry Stores
  • Converting to a Gold IRA

Each comes with its own sets of pros and cons and being aware of them is important. You need to set the right expectations and know-how to deal with their systems in order to get the best value you can for the gold you're going to sell.

The most important thing when looking for a place to sell your gold, is understanding all the pros and cons that come with it so that you're not getting ripped off or paying unnecessary taxes on something that doesn't need them as much.

You also want to make sure you know how they work before buying anything because we've all been duped by companies who say one price at checkout but actually charge more. Don't let this happen!

Historical Fun Fact For you: Gold prices historically soar during a recession, so it's a good idea to sell gold during a down economy if you're wanting to get the best price for your assets.


Of all the places to sell gold, selling your gold online can usually get you the highest price available for them. That percentage they extract is much lower for the simple reason of not needed to maintain a traditional brick-and-mortar store.

The online market is a good place for people who are not sure of the value of their gold and want to have it appraised by an expert before deciding on what to do with it. The downside however, is that they can't guarantee your privacy unless you're willing to pay them in cash at one of their many locations all over the world.

They also do not need to hire a large staff of guards and skilled appraisers. The lower cost of operations allows online stores to accept a small cut from the buying of your gold.

There are numerous online gold markets in operation - some legit and some less so. Usually, you will have to send them your gold for appraisal and they make you an offer.

If you accept they supply you with either a check or bank transfer as payment. If you reject then they send the gold back to you.

It is a simple enough process but dangerous if you are dealing with scammers.

For this reason, proper research and background checks of a particular online gold buyer are essential and must never be done in a rush.

Pros & Cons of Online Selling


  • Highest prices possible for gold
  • An easy and convenient process that can be done from the comfort of your home
  • Fast and safer payment once the offer is accepted. The money will be placed in your account usually after 24 hours, removing the need for you to carry large amounts of money around.


  • Susceptible to scams
  • You have to trust your gold to ship and deliver services to have it appraised.

Pawn Shops & Jewelry Stores

Though many pawnshops buy and sell gold and they are ideal if you require money in a rush, pawnshops are more likely to offer you a lower price when compared to the online counterparts. They do this with the hopes of being able to resell the gold for a profit.

The pawn shops offer decent rates but also come with hefty fees which make up anywhere from 20% - 50%. The jewelry stores usually don't buy gold outright as most only specialize in buying gems or silver. The convert-to-a Gold IRA option might be best because there's no tax consequences like when selling other assets and a low appraisal fee if you plan on converting everything into bullion. The only downside is if you don't have any other assets to convert and there are high fees for the selling of gold in IRA's.

There is also the disadvantage of being pressured to make a deal at that very moment. Haggling is not a skill many people possess and a lot would simply accept the first estimate given by the appraiser. On top of that, pawnshop appraisers might not necessarily be skilled enough or up-to-speed on the current rates for gold.

As for Jewelry Stores, Though not all, some local jewelry stores might also be looking to buy gold. Though fine if you're looking to sell old jewelry quickly, you might run into the same disadvantages as with a pawnshop.

Pros & Cons of Pawn Shops & Jewelry Stores


  • Instant payment for your gold.
  • Offers the chance to simply pawn the gold and pay to have it back later on.


  • Low offering prices.
  • High pressure during the selling might lead you to make a costly decision.
  • Staff might not be equipped to accurately appraise gold.

Converting Into A Gold IRA (#1 Recommendation)

Have you thought about placing precious metal assets in your individual retirement account (IRA)? Many individuals, just like you, are building their nest egg with a Self-Directed IRA.

A gold IRA is an Individual Retirement Account in which physical gold or other approved precious metals are held in custody for the benefit of an IRA account owner. It acts similar to a Traditional IRA, only instead of holding paper assets, it holds physical precious metals (stored in a secure vault).

GoldCo Precious Metals is who I recommend for this, they help their customers transfer their retirement investments into Gold & Silver IRA's, which can be great for a long-term investment. Our #2 choice would be Augusta Precious Metals..

They're one of the top trusted Gold IRA companies in the USA.  They've got a 5 Star Rating on Trust Pilot as well as an A+ Rating with the BBB, which is why I do recommend them.  

Important: You CANNOT directly convert your physical gold into an IRA, but you can certainly sell it first (via one of the above recommended methods) then convert your cash from the sale.  

To learn more about GoldCo, see my review here: Goldco Review (Gold & Precious Metal IRA’s)

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Bottom Line

Now that you know pretty much all the basics of selling gold, know that to effectively sell gold - whether jewelry or bullion - you must be prepared to:

  • Negotiate for the best possible price;
  • Try to sell at a time when prices are high;
  • Check on the company's reputation and credibility;
  • And finally, don't be afraid to scout around different places before settling on one with the best offer.

If you keep all this in mind are remember all the points discussed in your article, you will undoubtedly get your money's worth for your shiny metals.

About the author 

Jenna Lofton, an expert in stock trading, investing, and financial planning, combines over a decade of experience with rigorous academic training. Holding dual MBAs in Finance and Business Administration from the University of Maryland, Jenna's expertise is grounded in a deep understanding of the financial markets. Her career, which started on Wall Street, has evolved into empowering others through her insights and analyses in the dynamic world of finance.

Based in New York City, Jenna's approach is informed by her hands-on experience as a former financial advisor and her keen observation of market trends. She is known for translating complex financial concepts into actionable strategies, making her a valuable resource for both seasoned investors and newcomers to the stock market. Her commitment to financial literacy and her ability to demystify investment principles have made her a respected and authoritative voice in the investment community.

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