Your class ring has lost its sentimental value—or at least, its sentimental value has faded enough that you’d rather have the money you could get from selling it. What are the best ways to go about it? Pawn shop? Gold dealer? Hunt down a ring-seeking classmate from your graduating class?
Sell the ring itself or just the precious metal?
The market value of your class ring depends on who your buyer is. If your class ring is inscribed with your name, fellow college schoolmates, even those from your graduating class, may not be inclined to buy it. Still, an old classmate may nonetheless be in the market (perhaps because he has lost his own ring). Or perhaps a collector will want the ring, if the school is prestigious or known for its class rings (e.g., West Point or MIT).
The alternative is to sell your class ring for its precious metal, which is probably gold, if your ring is like most others. You are unlikely to get a price anywhere near what the ring cost originally. But if you cannot sell it otherwise, this may the way to go.
Sell the gold content of your class ring
The price of gold can fluctuate greatly, but high inflation or the fear of it generally results in higher prices for gold. Factors like the quality of the gold and the dealer’s markup mean that you will be paid less than the market price you see in a Wall Street Journal chart.
Solicit more than one opinion of what your class ring is worth from pawn shops, jewelry stores or online vendors. If you get a reasonable price from a shop on the street, you may want to sell it then and there. Be wary of the mail-order vendors whose ads you may see on TV or the Internet. The Better Business Bureau receives many complaints about some of these outfits. Check with the BBB and compare pricing policies before shipping your valuable jewelry.
Michael Gusky of GoldFellow.com suggests that you ask “how much you will be paid for one pennyweight of 14 karat gold jewelry and compare prices. Ask if you will be notified of your ring's value before you're paid. And...never agree to drop your valuables in a regular mailbox.” Don’t ship without proof of delivery and insurance.
Sell your class ring to a classmate
Although it is harder to sell your class ring for its sentimental value than for its precious metal content alone, auction sites like eBay have made it easier to reach narrow markets. Include a good photo of the ring in your notice, specify your alma mater and year of graduation, and perhaps suggest the possibility of engraving a new name on the ring. You can also post notices at discussion groups that cater to alumni, or on profile pages of websites like classmates.com that help old classmates find each other.
Any of these methods may bear fruit, but it may take a while, so be patient.
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D.M. Brown has been a freelance writer and editor since 1982. His work has appeared in "The New Individualist," "Reason," "Oasis," "Liberty," "The Freeman," "Laissez Faire Books Review," "Objective American," "Trenton Times" and other publications. Brown graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in history.