It's not a bad idea to sell your old gold jewelry or coins to help you ride out the recession. Just don't expect to get the full market value for an ounce of gold that you hear so much about.
First, you'll get a portion of the scrap value, not the market value, for your gold. Buyers melt the gold down, so they will not pay anything for the artisanship or style of the jewelry. Second, dealers must pay a smelter, someone who melts the gold, up to 30 percent of the value to refine the precious metal. Then there's the buyer's profit.
Also, remember, some gold items are purer -- and more valuable -- than others are. Pure gold is considered 24 karat, or 24k. Think of it as a 24-slice pie -- each slice a single karat. Therefore, a necklace that has an ounce of 10k gold has less than half the gold of a necklace with an ounce of 24k gold.
Armed with this knowledge, here are five ways you can sell your gold -- each a compromise between price and convenience.