Should you sell your silver to a pawn shop or broker?

junk silver coins
A box of constitutional silver.

For one reason or another the time has come to sell your silver and a whole new series of decisions arise for you to navigate. The choice to sell can be a difficult and intimidating process in a ways that buying silver is not.

You still want comfort and security but most of all achieving maximum return on your investment would be the optimum outcome. How do you sell silver and know that you are getting the best deal? That’s the question that I recently helped someone answer and I thought it would be fun to share the results of our quest.

  • Take inventory of what you’re selling.
  • Consider what you paid for each item.
  • Consider how much your silver will cost to ship and insure before selling.
  • If you’re pressed for time a quick local sell might be best, otherwise selling by selling on eBay you will get the best return possible.

Things to consider

OptionsAmount of workReturn on investmentShipping/Insurance cost
Pawn ShopEasyLowestNo
Online BrokerMediumMediumYes
Coin ShopEasyLowNo
Coin ShowHardHighNo

What are you Selling?

First you need to take inventory of what you’re selling and take the time to look the prices up yourself. There are several different types of silver that you could be trying to sell. It’s important to know that the values of these products varies.

  • Silver Coins
  • Silver Rounds
  • Silver Bars
  • Junk Silver
  • Silver Jewelry

Silver Coins

Government minted silver coins are almost always going to provide the best return on your money. These coins a .999 silver and if kept in the right condition can fetch premiums far over spot price. Take the time to look each of these up individually before selling, this step is extremely important.

Silver Rounds

Silver rounds are often produced by private mints. Popular rounds, like Buffalo’s are generally widely accepted across the industry. One important thing to keep in mind when selling your rounds is that you will generally be quoted a price near spot as opposed to over spot like government minted Silver.

Silver Bars

Bars are similar to rounds in that you will generally receive an off that is near spot price depending on where your selling.

Junk Silver

Junk silver like old coins that contain silver also known as constitutional silver is most often the cheapest way to purchase silver in large quantities. So you should expect to be quoted a price several dollars below spot when selling these old coins.

Silver Jewelry

Selling silver jewelry can be a tricky process. It’s usually not going to return you more than you paid for it. But if you do have some that you was wanting to get rid of than eBay is probably a better route than a pawn shop. Be mindful that some silver jewelry contains real diamonds and other precious stones so these pieces should return more.

Ways to sell

There are numerous ways to sell your bullion including locally, shows and even large online brokers that will purchase your silver.

  • Pawn Shops
  • Large brokers like APMEX
  • Auction sites such as eBay
  • Local coin shops
  • Coin Shows

Pawn Shops

When collecting pawn shops can be one of the best places to acquire silver. With that in mind it makes sense that they are also equally as bad to sell to. Pawn shops often deal with only the spot price when buying and selling metals. So you should expect an offer of 20 percent or more below that.

Online Brokers

Selling to online brokers can be an easy process but does take a bit of preparation. First take the time to write down every piece of silver in your collection. Check the spot price to be sure that your are making a satisfactory profit. Also consider that you will be paying to ship the silver to the broker and this will be expensive. Another optional cost would be insuring your package, this is highly recommended if your are selling over a couple of hundred dollars worth. Most brokers like APMEX will pay you near spot price and even over for high quality gold pieces like American Silver Eagles.

Auction Sites

If you have the time or are just wanting to realize a maximum return on your investment then eBay might be the right choice for you. This process can be time consuming especially when you have to list every item, communicate with potential buyers and ultimately ship the silver. However, by doing the leg work yourself you can often receive top dollar for your silver.

Local Coin Shops

Selling to local coin shops is another good option they generally will pay you less than your silver is worth as well because they have a business to run, but you can expect better returns on government issued silver at these shops. Make sure that you know what you have before going into a coin shop so you can negotiate if needed.

Coin Shows

Selling silver at a coin show can be a great way to receive a fair price for your investment. ther are two ways you can sell at coin shows. One of which is by attending and walking from dealer to dealer and selling your bullion. This is essentially the same as selling to a shop though. However, if you take the time to rent a booth and sell your bullion yourself you could essentially buy and sell as a shop at current market prices.


Like anything else in life you get out of this hobby what you put into it. If you sell quickly at places like coin or pawn shops you will receive less in return. If you take the time to auction your bullion or sell at a coin show you will receive the best return on your investment. Most Online brokers are decent options as well and will generally pay more than a local shop.

Hopefully your better prepared and more confident in your ability to sell your silver. If you’re enjoying our content check out another article- Silver coins, rounds or bars which is best to purchase?