We all know about the traditional methods of finding gold, including strip mining, gold panning, and dredging. All of them involve back-breaking labor and lots of money invested in order to get to the gold.
Why go through all this effort when there is gold to be found above ground for very little cost? We are going to talk about some specific items that you can find at garage sales, thrift stores, and in scrap piles for free.
First of all, look for scrap or discarded computers from the 1980s and 90s. You can find these computers for next to nothing. I have found quite a few computers in free boxes at sales and lying in the woods. They all have gold and silver inside, it is only a question of how much.
First, almost all motherboards contain gold in the connector fingers. Motherboards are the main circuit board inside the computer, and they will also have a heat sink with an IC chip underneath. The IC chip will also contain a significant amount of gold, and sometimes can be worth more than the spot gold value because of the collectible market of these chips to ‘techies’. Check your EBay completed listings to see if the IC chip is worth more as a collectible piece.
Some of the older personal computers can have circuit boards that are completely lined with plated gold, and many of the connectors within the circuit boards also contain gold. Communications devices and high-tech items from the 1980s can also contain similar boards.
The circuit boards inside back planes and hard drives in computers also contain gold and silver in small amounts. These items are often more valuable sold as whole units than disassembled into smaller parts. The same is also true of RAM, or computer memory boards, which also contain small gold fingers. RAM is almost always more valuable when sold as whole boards than when the gold fingers are trimmed off of the boards. The smaller wires and the connector jacks that connect the wires to the circuit boards also often have gold or silver inside them.
Platinum can also be found in minute amounts in the platters of hard drives inside computers. These items can be saved and sold in large lots.
Gold can also be found inside of almost every cellular telephone. Some of the early cell phones can actually have a significant amount of gold in their circuitry, and these are the ones that you can find in junk piles and free boxes. All cell phones are worth money. If you see them, pick them up. If nothing else, there are many internet sites that offer a set price for scrap phones, dead or alive, so they are worth your time to pick them up.
Newer printer cartridges also contain gold in their contact buttons, which is why they also have a set scrap value on a number of internet sites.
There are many vintage items from the 60s and 70s that actually contain a fair amount of gold. Almost every item with a circuit board has gold or silver contacts. Some of the high- end electronics have large gold contacts. I once found a large factory loader from the 1960s that had interior gold contacts that added up to over ¼ ounce of pure gold, which is worth over $375 in today’s gold market!
I have found that the 1960s audio equipment, including turntables, consoles, and radios will occasionally have silver coated copper wires throughout the entire main circuit board. These wires are always worth saving for precious metal refining. Almost all of these vintage audio items also have gold and silver contacts, and also have a fair amount of copper wiring inside.
Rotary telephones from the 1960s – early 1980s contain gold in their mouth pieces, and in several other internal contacts. The jacks of almost all telephones contain small amounts of gold inside the connectors.
There also many vintage items that you can find small amounts of gold in, where you would not expect to find gold. Such items would include: Some cologne and perfume caps, designer pens and pen holders, older trophies, dental work, lamps and lamp shades, gold colored trim in band uniforms and Rotary and Lions Club hats, Gold-trimmed china and dishes, picture frames, purse trim, lapel pins, clocks, cigarette holders, cuff-links, eyeglass frames, plaques, emblems, calculators, all switches, plug ends, telephone key pads, ribbon connectors, thermostatic contacts from high temperature items like popcorn poppers and electric skillets, coasters, waste baskets, vintage clothes gold-colored trim, coffee cups, and many more locations. If the item looks like it may possibly be gold, test it with your gold tester!
This subject is expanded on at one of our most popular pages titled Finding Gold and Silver on ericmichaelbooks.com.
1950s and 60s gold-colored lamps are fairly easy to find in thrift stores, as they are large by today’s standards, and therefore sell slowly. Some of the these large lamps have a fair amount of gold plating in their bases, well worth the asking price at thrift stores, which is often $1-2.
There are many places that you can find items with interior components that you can sell, or scrap for metal value. You just have to use some ingenuity.
Besides finding items set out for free or discarded in the woods, you can also get these items for free by doing some leg-work. Think about where these items are going to show up.
Where do items that do not sell at garage sales go when the sales wrap up? In the garbage? Why not make yourself some business cards and give them to garage sales holders. Tell them you will haul away all their unsold items for free after the sale ends. You are going to get some junk, and may need access to a dumpster, but you will get a lot of good scrap metal and other items that we have discussed. For large sales, you may even get paid a nominal fee just to haul stuff away!
You can also make a classified ad or Craig’s List ad that offers your services for removal of appliances, electronics and other items.
You could visit second-hand stores and antique shops and ask the manager if you could leave a large box for them to put broken or unsold vintage electronics, gold and silver plated items, etc. You may have a pay a small fee for each box-full of items, but probably not. Just start thinking about where dead electronics and appliances may be found, and you will come up more ideas on your own.