Inquiring minds: How many ounces are there in a pound of silver?

Each week the staff at the Roseville Library answers more than 2,500 questions on every subject under the sun. Here are some of the most interesting ones they’ve gotten lately.

Q.    How many ounces are there in a pound of silver?

A.     Silver and other precious metals are not measured on the same scales we use for more commonplace materials. When you plunk your vegetables on the scale at the grocery store, you’re actually using the avoirdupois weight system. By contrast, jewelers and precious metal dealers normally use the Troy weight system.
A troy ounce is slightly bigger than a conventional avoirdupois ounce. (The avoirdupois ounce weighs 28.3495 grams compared to 31.1 grams per Troy ounce.) The trick is that a Troy pound contains only 12 ounces, unlike a conventional avoirdupois pound, which contains 16 ounces. So if someone offers to sell you a pound of silver, ask them what kind of pound they have in mind. It could make a big difference in the value of your eventual hoard.

(The Order of Things and Internet Resources.)

Do you have a question for the staff at the Roseville Library? You can call them at 628-6803 or ask your question in person at the Information Desk, Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Ave. Library hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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