INSIDE EDITION Investigates Gold Buyers

With the price of gold at all-time record highs of more than $1500 an ounce, it's become very appealing to consider trading in old jewelry no longer being worn for cold hard cash. But how do you know if you're getting a good deal? Lisa Guerrero

These days it seems everyone wants your gold and silver.  You can find companies buying gold advertising in newspapers around the country.  Their ads are very enticing with headlines like "Top Cash Paid" and "We Pay the Most."  Often they set up shop at local hotels.     

INSIDE EDITION took 13 pieces of gold jewelry, and four coins, to see what kind of offers we'd get.

The first stop was ARA Cash for Gold who set up shop at in a Staten Island, New York hotel. Our undercover producer was directed to a small hotel room where we found two guys at a table.

"I was just curious to see what it was worth," said our producer.

Their ad said "We pay the most." After evaluating the jewelry, they made us an offer.

"All this comes out to $1,800", said a worker for ARA Cash for Gold.  

And for the coins, they offered $1,000 and they said they'd throw in another $200 if we sold them both the coins and jewelry.

But what the people inside evaluating our coins didn't know is that we brought along our own experts to tell us what the items are really worth.
Jewelry expert Don Palmieri, a Master Gemologist, said our jewelry items are actually worth $3,400. He said a reasonable offer would be about $2,500. Their offer was just $1,800.

Scott Travers, a coin expert, evaluated the coins. He's the author of the Coin Collectors Survival Manual. He said one of our coins, a rare 1882 $3 gold piece, was worth conservatively at least $5,000. We were offered only $500.

"In my opinion that would have absolutely been a rip-off," said Travers.  

So INSIDE EDITION correspondent, Lisa Guerrero, went back to find out why we were offered so little.

Guerrero spoke to a salesman for ARA Cash For Gold and said, "We sent a producer up here just a few minutes ago with some jewelry and some coins and you guys offered her just 55% what the jewelry was worth and just 16% of what the coins are worth. So, can you explain that?"

When the worker didn't respond, Guerrero continued asking questions.  "Why would you offer her $500 for a $5,000 coin?"

"Get out of here, come on," said a worker for ARA Cash for Gold.

Next, we brought our valuables to a Manhattan hotel where a company called New York Gold Rush was doing business. Their company card says, "We pay the highest prices anywhere."

Our undercover producer asked the person evaluating our items, "I just want to find out what I can get for it." 

The owner of the company, Jeff Lederman, offered us $1,503 for the jewelry and $569 for the coins.    That's substantially less than what our experts said they were worth.

Our jewelry expert, Don Palmieri said, "This jewelry is worth $3,431 and this actually is amazing that you would get such a low offer in New York City."

Scott Travers, our coin expert, said, "I was absolutely astounded beyond imaginable. This is completely appalling."

So we went back to ask about the lower offers.
Guerrero asked Lederman, "You offered her $569 for four coins. One coin alone is worth over $5,000. Do you realize that?"

Jeff Lederman responded, "Do you realize that is not true. I don't know where you got that idea that coin is worth over $5,000."

Guerrero then said, "This is a gold proof coin, that's worth over $5,000."

Lederman responded, "It is absolutely not a gold proof coin, number one, and you don't know what you are talking about."

Later Lederman told us he believes the $3 gold piece is a counterfeit which is why he offered us so little. As far as the jewelry, he felt his offer was fair.

So what should you do? Our experts say do some basic research so you have an idea what your valuables are worth going in.

They also say shop around and do not take the first offer.