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Thread: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

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    Default Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    I have a collection of damaged nibs that I have been putting to one side all of them have flaws either broken tipping or cracks. These are fairly boring nibs e.g. 51 nibs and English Duofold Nibs but all 14k.

    I don't imagine getting into the art of nib welding etc. However I would like to sell them at some point this year. I have no idea about there value I suspect it's very little however it would be useful to have a rough idea of there value if I was lot them together. I rarely see lots of damaged nibs so I have no idea what I would ask for them.

    I think a simple example would be a 51 which is missing tipping one one side. What would that be worth?

    Thanks

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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    This is easy, just look up the price for scrap gold, currently you get for 14k gold about 28€/g. (scrap gold, Bruchgold).

    So weigh your nibs and get disappointed (when comparing material value to what manufacturers charge you for a gold nib), even the gold price is in very high regions these days.

    So sell intact gold nibs for the material value is always a quite bad business.
    Last edited by Pterodactylus; January 12th, 2022 at 09:49 AM.

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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    Weigh them and Google the gold price on any day. Then you either send them to be scrapped or take them to someone who buys scrap gold. Often a jeweller. Approximately whereabouts are you in the UK? If London there are many places that buy scrap gold. An online search will find them.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    Remember scrap dealers pay a percentage of spot. I’ve seen as low as 50% and as high as 93% local to me.

    I know many people that will buy damaged nibs. Certain nibs are well worth repairing, others are not. With retipping you gain access to any type nib vs taking what you find. Nibs with generous tipping become candidates for people to have “ground”. This has an effect of raising prices of some types of nibs that makes repair worthwhile.

    I’d be interested to know what you have.

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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    Quote Originally Posted by Farmboy View Post
    Remember scrap dealers pay a percentage of spot. I’ve seen as low as 50% and as high as 93% local to me.

    I know many people that will buy damaged nibs. Certain nibs are well worth repairing, others are not. With retipping you gain access to any type nib vs taking what you find. Nibs with generous tipping become candidates for people to have “ground”. This has an effect of raising prices of some types of nibs that makes repair worthwhile.

    I’d be interested to know what you have.
    Being in the UK means it wouldn't be that cheap to even send them to the US. If in London at least he would have access to the places that jewellers use when they scrap their gold and they offer the best prices.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    Quote Originally Posted by Farmboy View Post
    Remember scrap dealers pay a percentage of spot. I’ve seen as low as 50% and as high as 93% local to me.

    I know many people that will buy damaged nibs. Certain nibs are well worth repairing, others are not. With retipping you gain access to any type nib vs taking what you find. Nibs with generous tipping become candidates for people to have “ground”. This has an effect of raising prices of some types of nibs that makes repair worthwhile.

    I’d be interested to know what you have.
    Hi, I will have to go rummaging it's probably at least 5 nibs I will post a photo of what I have (later in the week). I do envisage the postage would make it not worthwhile sending however.

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    Senior Member mizgeorge's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    As a jeweller, I'll happily take most scrap nibs - even those that are damaged beyond repair. I generally pay full scrap value, and I'm in the UK if you're interested!

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    IMG_4366.jpg

    Does one sell 1.1 grams of 14k gold for £27.51 today? Not when they are a pair of Sheaffer Balance oversize EF flex nibs awaiting perfect Balance bodies!

    I wonder what the gold spot price is for an 18k Montblanc Calligraphy nib yanked out of a 149?

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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post

    Does one sell 1.1 grams of 14k gold for £27.51 today? Not when they are a pair of Sheaffer Balance oversize EF flex nibs awaiting perfect Balance bodies!

    I wonder what the gold spot price is for an 18k Montblanc Calligraphy nib yanked out of a 149?
    When it comes to the gold spot price it matters not what brand the nib is. They all melt into a tiny pool of gold.
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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    Whenever this question comes up from non-pen people I always tell them that the price of a restored fountain pen is almost always higher than the gold content it contains, and that usually the price people set for them broken/unrestored is still higher than the scrap value.

    Depending on the brand and type of nib, having them repaired for 50-ish would likely resell far higher than the gold value itself. (there are people who can repair nibs cracked in half).

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    Senior Member mizgeorge's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    Quote Originally Posted by KBeezie View Post
    Whenever this question comes up from non-pen people I always tell them that the price of a restored fountain pen is almost always higher than the gold content it contains, and that usually the price people set for them broken/unrestored is still higher than the scrap value.

    Depending on the brand and type of nib, having them repaired for 50-ish would likely resell far higher than the gold value itself. (there are people who can repair nibs cracked in half).
    The problem is always one of tipping. I can repair pretty much any gold nib - split, cracked, bent, wobbly, whatever. What I can't do (and very, very few can) is retip them completely - so missing tipping or broken off tines often turn a perfectly salvageable nib into a bit of scrap metal. I sometime take them down to stubs, where tipping isn't an issue, and although the gold will wear over time, the amount of use that most pens get now is so minimal as to not be a problem - I have nibs, even 18c versions, that I've removed the tipping from completely and they are still performing beautifully many years later. Doing the same thing to a fine nib can turn it into a very nice calligraphy pen, but few users have the writing skills to use it.

    There is supposedly a new company offering custom nibs and retipping here in the UK, but it seems to be taking an inordinate amount of time for them to come onstream.

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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    Perhaps a foolish question: aren't most "gold" nibs just steel plated with gold? Being rather soft, gold bends rather than flexing. So it seems as if a gold nib would eventually suffer from spreading and curving of the tips.

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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    Perhaps a foolish question: aren't most "gold" nibs just steel plated with gold?
    No. Also while gold is malleable, it because of the alloy and geometry it can be made firm or flexy. 14k gold for example is 58.8% gold, it's not 100% pure. Likewise 18k is 75%. Even sailors 21k gold nibs are firm because of how they're made. But every gold nib will bend if you push it hard enough.

    And other than a company flat out lying (which would not last long for any name brand), if it says 14k, it's 14k gold. It's not a Jinhao nib where they say 18KGP (karet gold plated) with no actual plating visible.
    Last edited by KBeezie; January 12th, 2022 at 06:33 PM.

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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    Certain nibs even with multiple issues will be worth more than scrap. Ant Waterman 10 or Parker, MB number 12. You fix them. It really matters what the nib is.

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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    Perhaps a foolish question: aren't most "gold" nibs just steel plated with gold? Being rather soft, gold bends rather than flexing. So it seems as if a gold nib would eventually suffer from spreading and curving of the tips.
    Absolutely not. All modern gold nibs are now hallmarked to show that they are 9ct, 14ct, 18ct or 21ct gold. They can still have additional gold plating on top of the gold to make them slightly harder.

    (Just in case you're a vintage pen user I believe that some gold nibs were not always hallmarked)
    Last edited by Chrissy; January 13th, 2022 at 03:11 AM.
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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    I think the last time I weighed a 149 nib(full tang, not a later one with punch outs) it was maybe .2dwt. That's one of the larger common nibs in use. I'd be surprised if something like a 51 nib even weighed .1dwt.

    14K gold, as of today($1822/toz), has a spot price of $53.29/dwt. 18K would be 68.33.

    That makes a big 18K 149 nib worth about $15 melt.

    If you're dealing in volume with a reputable gold buyer, you MIGHT get 90% spot on 18K, but 85% is more typical. Lower purities usually go down, and even the great guy I've dealt with(who use to pay me "business prices" because...hate to say it...good old boy system and the fact that I was friends with a good friend of theirs and good customer) would I think at best pay 82% spot for 14K. I can pull some old receipts for real numbers if anyone is interested.

    Those number too are exceptionally good. Your typical pawn shop/jewelry store/"We buy gold" place might do 70% spot on a good day. I once lucked into a someone uncommon Waltham watch from the 1860s in an absolutely flawless and unused 18K engine turned case(I didn't appreciate just how these would have looked new until I had this case) that weighed out at about 38dwt taking the movement, crystal, and springs out of it. At the time, I think gold was around $1600/toz. The watch was offered for $1200 because a mall scrap place had offered the guy $1K for it. I was just glad he didn't sell it(and I actually offered him more than his asking price-he declined) because it was one of those rare exceptions where the watch was actually worth substantially more than melt.

    BTW, I know I'm maybe throwing around weird numbers but they're common in gold and silver buying at least in the US. The spot price you see is in troy ounces(toz), which is about 31.1 grams. An avoirdupois ounce(oz, the standard ounce) is 28.4g. 1/20 of a troy ounce is called a pennyweight, abbreviated dwt. It's a defacto standard unit for measuring smaller amounts of precious metals.

    So, in all of that, if you had 100 junk pens or nibs taken from them, you MIGHT have enough gold to make it worth your while to scrap it. If your collection numbers in the triple digits, the pens are still most likely worth a lot more than their gold value, but the metal value still isn't totally insigificant. If you have half a dozen scrap nibs(and make sure they're truly scrap and not worth repairing-some guys out there like Greg Minsukin can bring them back from the dead), it's probably not worth making the trip to a buyer just for them, although you can always toss them in if you're taking other stuff...

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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    Perhaps a foolish question: aren't most "gold" nibs just steel plated with gold? Being rather soft, gold bends rather than flexing. So it seems as if a gold nib would eventually suffer from spreading and curving of the tips.
    Absolutely not. All modern gold nibs are now hallmarked to show that they are 9ct, 14ct, 18ct or 21ct gold. They can still have additional gold plating on top of the gold to make them slightly harder.

    (Just in case you're a vintage pen user I believe that some gold nibs were not always hallmarked)
    Most nibs are not hallmarked at all - simply stamped with a fineness mark (usually 14k/585, 18k/750 or 21k/875). Whether they show k or ct depends on where you are, with ct usually being used in the UK and Australia and k in the US, Canada and much of Europe.

    There is no international convention on hallmarks as such, but, for example, in the UK the legal requirement is for any gold piece (sold as such) to be fully hallmarked by one of the four Assay Offices if it weighs more than 1 gram (0.64dwt), so few nibs are ever heavy enough to require assay and the striking of a full mark. Some makers may apply 'vanity' marks (often just date and company maker's mark, which can be done at the point of manufacture) and I'm sure there are some that would opt to have them fully marked, but the assay process is expensive, and adds unnecessarily to the cost.

    Plating adds nothing other than a layer of colour, and is also a quick way of preparing for final polish as it can help even out any imperfections from the manufacturing process. It's generally either yellow or red gold or rhodium to look like white gold. The better the nib (as a general rule) the better the plating, which will then wear less quickly.

    For bunnspecial - here in the UK we can easily get 90% spot (a little better for trade) especially if it doesn't require a refining melt (ie no sweeps and lemel).

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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    Quote Originally Posted by mizgeorge View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    Perhaps a foolish question: aren't most "gold" nibs just steel plated with gold? Being rather soft, gold bends rather than flexing. So it seems as if a gold nib would eventually suffer from spreading and curving of the tips.
    Absolutely not. All modern gold nibs are now hallmarked to show that they are 9ct, 14ct, 18ct or 21ct gold. They can still have additional gold plating on top of the gold to make them slightly harder.

    (Just in case you're a vintage pen user I believe that some gold nibs were not always hallmarked)
    Most nibs are not hallmarked at all - simply stamped with a fineness mark (usually 14k/585, 18k/750 or 21k/875). Whether they show k or ct depends on where you are, with ct usually being used in the UK and Australia and k in the US, Canada and much of Europe.

    There is no international convention on hallmarks as such, but, for example, in the UK the legal requirement is for any gold piece (sold as such) to be fully hallmarked by one of the four Assay Offices if it weighs more than 1 gram (0.64dwt), so few nibs are ever heavy enough to require assay and the striking of a full mark. Some makers may apply 'vanity' marks (often just date and company maker's mark, which can be done at the point of manufacture) and I'm sure there are some that would opt to have them fully marked, but the assay process is expensive, and adds unnecessarily to the cost.

    Plating adds nothing other than a layer of colour, and is also a quick way of preparing for final polish as it can help even out any imperfections from the manufacturing process. It's generally either yellow or red gold or rhodium to look like white gold. The better the nib (as a general rule) the better the plating, which will then wear less quickly.

    For bunnspecial - here in the UK we can easily get 90% spot (a little better for trade) especially if it doesn't require a refining melt (ie no sweeps and lemel).
    Good to know that you all can get consistently good prices.

    To be honest, gold buying in the US can be kind of a scummy business. Generally, the "good" gold buyers don't advertise. The one I use to deal with in Louisville had been around 40+ years and although they would buy from anyone, you pretty much wouldn't know about them unless you were told about them. They were in a nice and new but non-descript building tucked away off a main road in a quiet part of town, and IIRC the sign out front only gave their business name and the phrase "Metal exchange" or something along those lines-there weren't any flashy "We buy gold" signs.

    I'd heard tale of a refinery that required minimum amounts(on the order of a couple of ounces) but they would smelt, assay, and cut you a check for I think 95% all in the same day provided you got there early enough. I never had enough at any one time to venture up there.

    As I said, most of the places that try to grab the "sell us your old broken jewelry or your grandmother's silverware" places pay terrible, and the average customer there is going to be wowed enough by getting $500 for that bracelet they haven't worn in years to not be aware of the fact that they could shop around and get $800 without much trouble.

    To your other points, I am struggling to comprehend how a layer a few microns thick of rhodium or a different gold alloy would in any way change the character of the nib. The alloy itself(not just 14K or 18K or whatever but the "other" 41.5% or 25% of it) can substantially affect the character of the nib, along of course with the overall shape and the tempering. I don't recall ever seeing a proper English hallmark on a nib as you mention. The only place I've seen them on pens are on English made sterling pen bodies.

    On white gold-I have owned a fair bit of antique white gold(watch cases always in my case). A lot of people don't find them particularly attractive as "white" gold has a faint yellowish tinge to it. Green gold often surprises people even more, and they often won't see the green unless it's something like an inlaid design or if it's sitting next to white. A lot of eyes now will find polished sterling silver much more attractive than bare white gold, hence why rhodium plating is ubiquitous on things like white gold jewelry. When I bought my wife's engagement ring, I did buy "lifetime" sizing and plating as I know that practically speaking it will likely benefit from a touch up at least every couple of years. It did get plated when she opted to have it and the wedding band soldered together, and hopefully will be good for a while, but it definitely is a maintenance item for stuff regularly worn. Fortunately, a pen treated well shouldn't need to have the nib replated, although I've had it done a few times.

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    Senior Member mizgeorge's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    Quote Originally Posted by bunnspecial View Post
    snip...

    To your other points, I am struggling to comprehend how a layer a few microns thick of rhodium or a different gold alloy would in any way change the character of the nib. The alloy itself(not just 14K or 18K or whatever but the "other" 41.5% or 25% of it) can substantially affect the character of the nib, along of course with the overall shape and the tempering. I don't recall ever seeing a proper English hallmark on a nib as you mention. The only place I've seen them on pens are on English made sterling pen bodies.

    My point exactly - I was answering the suggestion in post #15 that plating can make nibs harder.

    Quote Originally Posted by bunnspecial View Post

    On white gold-I have owned a fair bit of antique white gold(watch cases always in my case). A lot of people don't find them particularly attractive as "white" gold has a faint yellowish tinge to it. Green gold often surprises people even more, and they often won't see the green unless it's something like an inlaid design or if it's sitting next to white. A lot of eyes now will find polished sterling silver much more attractive than bare white gold, hence why rhodium plating is ubiquitous on things like white gold jewelry. When I bought my wife's engagement ring, I did buy "lifetime" sizing and plating as I know that practically speaking it will likely benefit from a touch up at least every couple of years. It did get plated when she opted to have it and the wedding band soldered together, and hopefully will be good for a while, but it definitely is a maintenance item for stuff regularly worn. Fortunately, a pen treated well shouldn't need to have the nib replated, although I've had it done a few times.
    White gold wouldn't make a lot of sense for nibs. There are so many variations in the alloys used that it makes more sense to simply use the yellow version and plate with rhodium for the colour. It's still gold, so there is no attempt to deceive, and the 'known quantity' factor makes a huge difference when trying to ensure consistency of manufacture. And you're right about the colour - very few people realise how yellow bare white gold is. It's almost always been plated. I actually quite like the 'pale straw' colour of lower carat white gold, but the expectation is for a high polish bright white look. Same goes for platinum, which in its bare state is often closer in appearance to titanium than silver.

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    Default Re: Scrap Gold nibs and their value?

    Quote Originally Posted by mizgeorge View Post


    My point exactly - I was answering the suggestion in post #15 that plating can make nibs harder.
    Sorry if that came across wrong. My intent was to reinforce your point, not contradict it.


    White gold wouldn't make a lot of sense for nibs. There are so many variations in the alloys used that it makes more sense to simply use the yellow version and plate with rhodium for the colour. It's still gold, so there is no attempt to deceive, and the 'known quantity' factor makes a huge difference when trying to ensure consistency of manufacture. And you're right about the colour - very few people realise how yellow bare white gold is. It's almost always been plated. I actually quite like the 'pale straw' colour of lower carat white gold, but the expectation is for a high polish bright white look. Same goes for platinum, which in its bare state is often closer in appearance to titanium than silver.
    In a more general sense(to tag onto your comment about white gold nibs not making that much sense)-in my mind if I were a nib maker(which I'm not) and I were targeting a specific composition nib, I'd rather select my copper and silver ratios(or whatever other metals-that's just what's most common) to give the mechanical properties I desired. A jeweler will care about the final color of the alloy, but since the tines of nibs are effectively a non-wear item, if as a pen designer you're not happy with the color the nib ends up, you can always plate it to get your desired color.

    And I'm with you on liking the color of bare white gold, but clearly we're in the minority. If I want a bright white metal, I prefer silver, but of course that has its own problems.

    I've handled a lot of high purity platinum as in the lab it's an ideal inert material in a lot of instances. It can actually be kind of a pain if, for example, you're using it as an electrode as the surface finish in that application can have a big impact. Fortunately in electrochemistry applications it's rarely used as a working electrode-teflon wrapped gold or glassy carbon polished smooth and flat immediately before use(I've spent far too much of my lab life polishing electrodes...) and platinum often only comes into play as the counter electrode where a fine wire with no certain geometry works perfectly fine. I say that to your point because as a working electrode, you can easily spend an hour polishing platinum to get an appropriate finish. It takes a practiced hand less than 5 minutes to get a similar polish on gold or glassy carbon.

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