Scrap silver
Large amounts of silver antiques, including many Victorian pieces as well as some Georgian pieces, are being sold as scrap due to a jump in precious-metal prices.

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The gold fix rose to close to £1580 earlier today (August 7), an all-time high eclipsing the previous spike last week.

The benchmark price for spot silver also peaked at £22.73 per ounce, the highest level since September 2012. The all-time high for silver was back in April 2011 when silver briefly touched £29.26 per ounce and large quantities of items were scrapped.

Here again antique pieces are now being scrapped in greater numbers as the value of the raw material outstrips their value as objects.

Brighton-based precious metal dealer Michael Bloomstein was paying £18.32 per gram of 9-carat gold today, the highest amount he has ever paid for the metal. He said considerable amounts of gold jewellery were being brought in and that his staff were having to work hard to keep pace with the volume being consigned.

He was also paying £17.65 per ounce of silver and noted that items including Victorian salvers, spoons and rose bowls were now destined for the melting pot in significantly greater number. Other silver items such as heavy Georgian silver teapots and 1930s tea services were also being consigned in larger quantity.

The current price-rises for precious metals is primarily down to investors seeking safe havens due to concerns about the global economic outlook in the midst of a global pandemic. This is also exacerbated by the increasing tensions in US-China relations, the weak dollar and the widespread belief that the US Federal Reserve will likely keep interest rates low for some time to come.