D said:I haven't gone through the entire thread, but wanted to mention out that jewellery is an easy way to get into gold and silver as well as honing the eye for precious metals in the wild. I just received a 925 stamped bracelet that had a broken clasp for free. It's basic chick, but silver is silver. It's worth checking out thrift and second hand store jewellery counters. If it's a smaller store you can try and make friends with the staff/owner and ask to see broken or unsellable items. (If you bring decent items in regularly, it helps.) I have a pocket magnifier (cheap off eBay) to check for stamping.
My sister is a thrift store hound. She occasionally finds 10K and 14K gold jewelry items mixed in with bulk bags of junk and costume jewelry -- at junk jewelry prices. So, it can be done. The question is whether it is worth your time. If you are already visiting thrift stores to find resale items, then it is most certainly worth the time.