smart spending

Sell old gold for cash

Mail-away operations
2 of 7

The scoop: Seductive advertising and the lure of easy money have drawn in thousands of eager sellers. You mail in your gold and they mail you back a check. GoldPaq, GoldKit and Cash4Gold are among the companies offering the service.

The benefits: It's easy -- they send a prepaid envelope, you drop in the gold, and they mail a check with an itemized receipt and a promise to return your gold if you're not happy with the price.

The drawbacks: You pay a price for convenience. Consumer Reports found that mail-in companies offered between 11 percent and 29 percent of the meltdown value of the gold.

The bottom line: Understand the trade-offs you're making, says Paul Montgomery, president of the Professional Numismatists Guild. "The guys on TV are providing a service, but they've got a very, very high expense rate. They're spending literally millions on advertising -- and that's (part of the reason) you might get just 20 or 25 cents on the dollar."




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