You may have heard radio spots, or seen signs asking you to sell your gold or silver. Larry Gray runs one of those companies. He’s president of Gold and Silver Buyers, which has some 80 stores throughout Houston.
He says in many Houston households the Christmas presents bought or received were purchased with money that came from a gold or silver buyback.
"If you look at the price of gold over the last several years it’s just grown every year up, up, up. At the same time we’ve had this financial crisis in the United States. People are looking to reduce their debt. They may go to their closet as you said and bring out some broken gold or some other asset they don’t need any longer and convert it to cash."
The price of gold is around $1,600 dollars an ounce right now. Gray says there’s a good chance there are items in your house you may not want or use any long but can give you a few extra dollars:
"Things like class rings, old wedding bands, (and) broken jewelry. You know ladies quite often will lose and earring and maybe they’ve got a drawer that has several things like that or a broken bracelet. So those things people are bringing in and converting into cash. If you inherited a silver service from your grandmother when she passed on and that’s not your lifestyle where younger people we find that’s the case don’t value those kinds of things anymore, so they’ll bring in that type of silver to be sold."
Anyone thinking they’re going to fool Gray or his employees by bringing in some fake gold or silver will quickly find out these guys know what they’re doing.
"The first thing we’ll do is pass a magnet over the items, because precious metals are not attracted to a magnet."
Unfortunately some people get desperate during hard times and will often sell things like gold teeth. Gray says he doesn’t force anyone to sell anything but he knows. Some people come to his business when they’ve fallen on hard times. They may perhaps sell something that they might regret later on.
"Sometimes you see a little spike at the end of the month. Well it's time you know if a person is in a difficult situation maybe the rent is coming do, so let’s look around and see what we have. Those are unfortunate situations but we do see that."
In September, gold hit a record $1,900 dollars an ounce. Although it has since fallen, some experts believe it will soar even higher in the coming year.