Do you know what I love about this business? My team and I handle estate sales every weekend throughout the Metro Atlanta area, and every sale is a unique experience. Even after years in the business and hundreds of successful estate sales, I still come across items that surprise me.
Last weekend we were in West Marietta, an affluent suburb of Atlanta. We’re often asked to hold sales where only some items are to be sold, but this was a true estate sale. We were selling everything, the entire contents of a 2,500 square foot home.
We sold a lot of stuff, from furniture and appliances to everyday household items, and both gold and costume jewelry. Mixed in with all of the gold jewelry was something I’d never come across before. A gold tooth!
Gold is Good for Estate Sales
Our client attended dental school from 1976 to 1980, and here’s what he told us about dental gold and other dental materials. During the time he was in dental school, the price of gold nearly doubled, and during the late 1970s many dentists started using 12 carat gold. Many still do, because it’s cheaper than the 16-20 carat gold that used to be used.
But there is also a yellow gold substitute called IMI gold that is used by dental students to practice with. Although it appears very similar to real gold, it’s non-precious. Our client was able to identify the “gold” tooth as IMI gold, because he was the one who made it while he was in dental school.
Watch out! Some less scrupulous dentists use IMI gold on patients to cut costs!
How Much Gold is in That Gold?
According to our client, most dental gold is 16-20 carats, but gold teeth you find with gold only on one side in a half-moon shape is usually 24 carats. Some dental gold is only 12 carats. You should use a gold testing kit to determine how pure your gold sample is.
But, what about tooth-colored crowns? Well, take a close look at them, because they may be more valuable than you think. Many have a metal-colored underside, and about twenty-five percent of them are gold, platinum, or palladium alloys, which are valuable. It’s difficult to tell precious metals from non-precious metals, so be sure to get an expert to assess your item.
The lesson here is to look closely at any dental scrap you may come across. Don’t overvalue or undervalue an item by guessing – have an expert take a look at it.
Donna Davis has over twenty years of experience in the antiques and estate sale business, and conducts sales every weekend in the Greater Atlanta Area. She is also the Founder and Director of the National Association of Estate Liquidators, and Lead Instructor of NAOEL’s online school. You can contact Donna by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 800-521-8820.