Surprisingly expensive purchase… Why that book-off started buying “silver teeth”? | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Surprisingly expensive purchase… Why that book-off started buying “silver teeth”?

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Why “silver teeth”…?

When I went to Book-Off in Sannomiya, I was surprised at how often they announced that they were buying silver teeth.

I heard such a story from my daughter, a college student living in Kobe. However, when I looked at the list of items for purchase on the BOOKOFF website, I saw only precious metals (gold, platinum, and jewelry).

When we inquired at Book-Off, after receiving the answer, “We handle gold teeth, but…,” we were given additional information that actually only the Sannomiya Center-gai store in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture, started purchasing silver teeth on an experimental basis in mid-April.

Why purchase silver teeth only at the Sannomiya Center Street branch? Before answering that question, we first asked about the history of gold tooth purchase.

We started dealing in gold teeth at Book-Off about 10 years ago. We started to deal in gold teeth about 10 years ago,” he said. “Originally, we mainly dealt with gold and platinum accessories as part of our precious metals business.

One reason for this was to broaden the scope of purchase of gold accessories and gold products. Another reason was to increase the number of items we handle, because we believe that the level of service is higher when customers do not have to be told, ‘We can handle this but not that,'” he explains.

Mr. Daiki Imada, General Manager of the High Brand Group of the BOOKOFF Headquarters, explains.

The BOOKOFF Kobe Sannomiya Center-gai store began purchasing “silver teeth” in April. Why…? Is there a demand for them…?

Gold teeth” are sold at about 100 stores nationwide. What is the purchase price?

Gold teeth are purchased at about 100 Book-Off stores nationwide. They say that the number of gold teeth brought in is not large, although the handling of gold itself is increasing against a background of increased public attention to gold due to the abnormal rise in gold prices over the past two years.

He says that the handling of gold itself has been increasing due to the abnormal rise in gold prices in the past two years. The photo is a pop-up displayed in the store.

The number of gold teeth purchased by each store may be as little as once every two to three months. I think the total number of assessments is about 200 times a year for all the stores handling gold nationwide. However, there are other stores that buy gold teeth, but many of them charge an appraisal and inspection fee, whereas in our case, we offer free appraisal and estimate only, which I think is an easy point for customers to use,” said Imada.

What we are interested in is the price of gold teeth.

We buy not the whole tooth, but the gold covering part, and one gram of gold tooth costs about 2,000 yen at the current market price. It is often 1 to 2 grams per gold tooth, but there are many cases where it is less than 1 gram. Naturally, the price varies depending on the weight and gold content, and I think this is the reason why there are not many stores that make a big deal about gold teeth purchase,” says Imada.

(Mr. Imada) What kind of people actually bring in gold teeth and when?

I have the impression that many people are not sure how to dispose of them because they were used by their parents or family members and there is no doubt that they are gold, so it would be a waste to throw them away, and they do not know how to exchange them for cash if they keep them. When a dentist is replacing a gold covering with a new one, he or she may ask, ‘What do you want me to do with this gold tooth, or do you want to take it home?’ and the family may bring the tooth home.”

Unlike jewelry or gold jewelry, removing gold from gold teeth is a time-consuming process that yields only a small amount of gold, which may not be worth the effort.

In the case of gold teeth, it is true that there is a lot of work involved in removing the gold from the teeth, but the profit is not worth it. However, even if we don’t make enough profit to match the man-hours involved, we can still get customers who use our service to think, for example, ‘Now that you bought my gold teeth, I’ll buy a gold necklace,’ ‘I’ll buy a ring,’ or ‘I’ll buy platinum accessories. So we buy gold teeth as part of our customer service.

If even gold teeth are not very profitable, then why did the company start buying silver teeth? Mr. Takaharu Kominato, a public relations manager of BOOKOFF Group Holdings, Inc.

We didn’t even know we were dealing in silver teeth until you asked us about it (laughs). (Laughs.) The Sannomiya Center-gai store of Book-Off is a store of Booklet, a franchise subsidiary of our company that operates about 20 stores mainly in the Kinki region.

Silver teeth” consist of gold and rare metals…a single back tooth can cost approximately 3,000 to 4,000 yen!

Mr. Takahisa Oyagi, who is in charge of the brand purchase corner at Book-Off Sannomiya Center-gai Store operated by Booklet Co.

He explains, “The first time a customer asked us about purchasing silver teeth was when he said, ‘I can sell gold teeth, but what about silver teeth? I wondered how it would actually be done.

I wondered what was really going on, so I did some research on silver teeth and found that there are two types: amalgam, which is mercury-free and has long been used for treatment covered by insurance, and gold palladium (gold and silver palladium), which is still commonly used today. Gold Palladium contains 20% palladium, a rare metal, and 12% gold, according to JIS standards.

The purchase price of “silver teeth” was surprisingly expensive…what was the reason?

As with gold teeth, he says, there are many cases of people bringing in silver teeth that they had removed but did not throw away when they were replaced with new fillings or ceramics during treatment at the dentist’s office.

We believe that although the profitability of this service is low, it is significant in that it increases our points of contact with our customers by developing it as a service. We are currently in the process of collecting samples through in-store announcements only, but we have sold nearly 30 samples in the first month and a half since the service was launched.

Amalgam and gold-palladium oxidize and deteriorate over the years of wear, so it is difficult to tell the difference, but we had a company that can analyze the composition of metal materials analyze them and found that most of the silver teeth brought in were gold-palladium, with a composition of 12% gold and 20% palladium,” says Mr. Oyagi. )

Then, what is the purchase price of silver teeth?

Currently, we charge 800 to 1,000 yen per gram of silver tooth. For example, a back tooth weighs about 3 or 4 grams when covered. We expect to be able to offer this as a service to our customers at a price that does not make us any money, but does not cause us to lose money either,” says Mr. Oyagi.

Jomo karuta, kokeshi dolls, wooden bear carvings, Showa-era retro sundries, analog records…

Incidentally, although silver teeth are only available at the Sannomiya Center-gai store, Book-Off says there are many other examples of stores buying items that meet local needs on their own.

For example, Takasaki’s Jomo karuta, a Japanese playing cards. It is a must-have item that is always learned in elementary school in the region, and we sell it new as well as purchase used ones. Also, Kokeshi dolls at the Omiya Stella Town and PAPA Ageo stores. Other stores are also increasing the number of stores that carry Showa retro sundries, such as old typewriters, boom boxes, Patapata clocks from the 70s and 80s, and even wooden bear carvings.

Showa-retro products are now popular, especially among Generation Z. Many people are buying them as interior decorations, not whether they work or not. We open pop-up stores for such Showa retro products once or twice a year for a limited time at major department stores,” says Kominato.

The Ota Iizuka store carries “Jomo karuta,” a must-have item taught at elementary school in the Takasaki area.
Kokeshi dolls are sold at the Omiya Stella Town and PAPA Ageo stores.

Unfortunately, these unique items are not listed on the website, so you may find unexpected bargains if you visit the stores when you are on vacation.

We started selling analog records in earnest three years ago, and now 350 stores nationwide carry them, and we list them on our website.

We are probably the number one used analog record chain in Japan right now. The product lineup varies from store to store, and it is interesting to see the differences by region, such as stores that are strong in songs, Enka in rural areas, and city pop in central Tokyo,” says Kominato.

(Mr. Kominato) “Still, I had no idea that Book-Off’s merchandise had become so diversified…,” Mr. Kominato said.

Of course, books are still the mainstay of the store, but instead of choosing a store by item, customers can bring their items to BOOKOFF, which will collectively assess, buy, and sell a wide range of items, including apparel, brand bags, sports equipment, sundries, and tableware that are no longer used in the room. We will buy and sell them. Gold teeth are a prime example. Of course, we also purchase broken necklaces, watches, and other items made of gold.

In a sustainable world, it is important to make effective use of resources, so please bring us your broken or unused items in bulk.

Click here for the Book-Off website.

Book-Off is probably the largest chain handling used analog records in Japan,” said Takaji Kominato, public relations manager. Photo: Machida Chuo-dori Store
Showa-era retro products popular mainly among Generation Z (No. 17 Maebashi Lirica store)
A slightly more austere lineup of Showa-era sundries can be found at the PAPA Ageo store.
Mr. Kominato says, “We open pop-up stores of Showa retro products at major department stores once or twice a year for a limited period of time.
  • Interview and text by Wakako Takou

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