The precious metal silver has long been prized for its beauty and resistance to corrosion. In the ancient world silver was commonly used as a medium of monetary exchange and archaeologists have unearthed coins as well as jewelry and artifacts that were made more than 5,000 years ago. In the twenty first century, while large quantities of silver are still used in the manufacture of jewelry and tableware, the metal is also extensively as a material in components of electrical and electronic devices, and chemical compounds containing silver are vital materials in photography, especially medical x-rays.
Silver is used in electrical and electronic components because it is an excellent conductor of electric current, and because it resists corrosion the metal is ideal for electrical contacts in industrial equipment. Because the volume of silver mined and refined each year is insufficient to meet the demands of industries that use silver, there is a healthy market for scrap silver to make up the shortfall.
Industrial silver is recovered from sources as diverse as old x-ray film, dental fillings and electrical contacts. While they have little intrinsic value, scrap silver electrical contacts in discarded electrical devices can produce a good income stream for anyone who is prepared to sell them for recycling. Industrial electricians and people working in building demolition have access to unwanted machinery and power distribution equipment containing silver contacts that can be removed and collected for sale to scrap metal refiners.
The market price of scrap silver can be quite volatile: while demand is fairly constant, discoveries of new silver deposits and opening of new silver mines are likely to cause the price of scrap silver to drop suddenly. If you have access to a source of free scrap silver it is worth spending some time researching the market to find where to sell silver most profitably, and track market trends to identify the best time to sell it.
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