Record gold, silver prices spark antiques meltdown

  • Antique silver pieces are being melted down as prices rise for precious metal.

    Antique silver pieces are being melted down as prices rise for precious metal.

    Photo: Artfixdaily

A buffet of 18th- and 19th-century silver and gold boxes, candlesticks, flatware and salvers are increasingly heading to the furnace as prices for precious metals have soared in 2011.

Collectors and attic raiders are sending their antique pieces to scrap metal dealers instead of the antiques market in order to make a quick sale. Auction houses are now monitoring scrap prices to ensure they don't sell pieces below melt value. Speculators are swooping in for big pieces.

The price of silver has doubled in the past year, with a record high of $49.79 an ounce on April 25. Gold has been gaining, with some experts saying $1,730 an ounce is approaching. Others warn of a bubble.

Uncertainty in financial systems and industrial demand are two reasons for the metals market surge. About 40 to 45 percent of scrap is bought by the solar and electronics industries.

Lewis Smith, managing director of the London-based dealers Koopman Rare Art, told Bloomberg. “As the price goes up, there are going to be more mistakes” with fine examples of Georgian and Victorian silver increasingly in danger of being melted down.

“So much is being melted that even the pedestrian pieces will become rare,” notes Neil Franklin, partner in the London-based antique silver dealers N. & I. Franklin.

More News Feed Headlines

The Amon Carter Museum of American Art presents The Polaroid Project: At the Intersection of Art and Technology, through Sept.  3.  Mark Klett (b.  1952) Contemplating the view at Muley Point, Utah 1994, 1994.  Polaroid Type 55 negative.

ARTFIXdaily Closed for Maintenance, June 5-9

  • June 04, 2017 22:34

ARTFIXdaily will be closed for maintenance from June 5 to 9. E-newsletter service resumes on ...

Read More

Renoir, La Maison d’Essoyes (1906).  Private Collection.

Restored Renoir Home Will Open to the Public in June

  • May 24, 2017 14:38

A family home of French Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir will open to the public on June 3 ...

Read More

Military man and his daughter looking at art at San Antonio Museum of Art, in the program Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s service members.

Trump's Official Budget Proposal Eliminates NEA

  • May 23, 2017 15:16

Similar to a "blueprint" set forth in March, President Donald Trump's official 2018 budget ...

Read More

"The Apollo Blue" earring went for $42.1 million, and "The Artemis Pink" diamond sold for $15.3 million.

Pair of Diamond Earrings Fetch Record $57.4 Million

  • May 17, 2017 15:07

A mis-matched pair of fancy colored diamond earrings sold together for $57.4 million at a Geneva ...

Read More

Related Press Releases

Related Events from ArtfixDaily Calendar

 

ArtfixDaily Artwire