We purchase all types of precious metals, many items we purchase are things that most people wouldn’t realize contain precious metals like scrap silver electrical contacts.  So how much are silver electrical contacts worth?  That’s a good question, the answer is, it depends, there are a few different types of contacts and different contacts contain different amounts of silver.

The only way to know exactly how much your contacts are worth is to have the melted and assayed.  The best way to demonstrate that is by using a pricing example from start to finish which we’ll do now.  Below you will see a picture of a typical shipment of contacts we have received, these particular contacts are what I can the heavy burners, when they are put into a smelting pot they generate a great deal of smoke, this smoke is other alloys and chemicals within the contacts.


Sample Purchase Pricing Of Silver Contacts:

This particular lot weighed 3355 grams before it was melted, as you can see it is made of a wide variety of contacts:

Pile Of Scrap Silver Electrical Contacts

Typical Pile Of Scrap Contacts

Before the pile above was melted if weighed a total of 3355 grams, after melting the resulting bar was a total of 2516 grams so 839 grams or 25% of the weight was lost in the melting process, the reason for this is that typically contacts contact a variety of residue and alloys that burn off in the melting process. Silver contact lots take quite a while in the melting furnace, they take a while to get going and generate a great deal of smoke,  if you have contacts that contain tungsten they are often not able to be melted, generate a lot of smoke and generally glob together making it difficult to retrieve the silver, we no longer accept contacts containing tungsten.


Purchase Price Of Silver Contacts:

The image below shows the assay result of 94% actual silver content, quite high for contacts.  We were paying .70 cents per gram at the time of this writing which works out to 2516 grams x .70 = $1,761.20.

Silver Contacts Assay Result

Silver Contacts Assay Result

Here is a picture of the melted contacts after the slag has been removed and polished up nicely for the camera:

Melted Silver Contact Bar

Bar Of Melted Silver Contacts


Types Of Silver Contacts:

The large square contacts are the best to have, they contain little else on them but silver and usually come in around 92% silver content, they measure 1 inch by 1 1/8 inches.  The small round contacts on the left are roughly the size of a dime and are usually dirty on one side and create a lot of smoke when melted, do not try this at home!  Many contacts are alloyed to brass or copper bases using cadmium which is extremely poisonous if breathed in!

In the pictures below you will see the small dime sized contacts side by side against the square contacts then a picture of the square contacts by themselves, then a picture of the dime sized dirtier contacts on their own:

Small And Large Contacts

Left: Dime Sized Contacts | Right: Larger Square Contacts

Square Shaped Contacts

Square Contacts 1" x 1 1/8"

Dime Sized Contacts

Dime Sized Silver Contacts

History And Uses Of Silver Contacts:

Contacts come in a variety of types and sizes and are usually reclaimed by scrap dealers or individuals like electricians or industrial mechanics who know what they are looking for.  They come off of industrial relays and switches, machines and even some really old appliances used to contain silver contacts back in the day.

Silver contacts are often used in rotary and sliding switches because of their excellent resistance to wearing. They are not pure silver as pure silver would be too soft but can often be up to 90% silver and 10% other material, often copper.


Silver Contacts Melting In Furnace

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