Worth its weight in gold.........

This short blog article attempts to outline the relationship and evolvement of “weight” and “currency” to gold, silver and indeed precious metals in general.

Gold and silver were once the major currency of the world. During the Middle Ages 'travellers' (traders) would visit towns and villages and would carry upon their person, scales with them to weigh the silver they were paid. This would enable a hopefully fair and best price for gold. Small items would be paid for in copper. It is interesting to note that the original copper penny weighed a mighty 1oz, twelve of which could be exchanged for 1 silver shilling!

Fast forward to the Industrial Revolution where this occurrence brought with it spending power for the masses but also great poverty too. Workers who could not even afford to deal in pennies would be paid in smaller copper tokens which could be spent in their own factory shop or exchanged for the large copper penny at a later date when they could hopefully afford it. Copper was the currency of the masses, silver was the currency of the small trader, gold was the currency of the gentry and land owner involved in property deals, imports and exports etc. This three tier currency system (copper, silver, gold) lasted until 1972 when Britain changed to a decimal system of coinage.

By 1972 few people remembered - or cared - that the world's economy was once based on weights of gold and silver. Silver had not been used for making circulation coins in Britain since 1946 and gold had not been used as everyday currency since the Edwardian period of the 1910s. The value of gold, (and silver) however, is still based on weight - all such items start life as molten metal and most finish their life back in the melting pot, it has been known that even antique items are melted if the gold value rises much above the aesthetic value. From smelter, bullion house to manufacturer and wholesaler and back to scrap merchant and smelter, all these values are based upon weight. Unless, of course, the main value is in precious stones or because the item is antique and rare. These exceptions aside, it is only in the high street shop that 'fashion value' far exceeds gold value.

One final note to end on here, the most important piece of equipment for the scrap gold buyer, apart from a set of testing acids, is a set of weighing scales! There you go - worth its weight in gold

Back to: