Business: To the Melting Pot

They stream in by the thousands lugging shopping bags and suitcases filled with silver spoons, tea sets, candle sticks, gold rings and bracelets—anything that can be sold for its precious metal value and melted down. Almost everywhere, people rush to barter away their gold and silver bullion. In London uniformed guards admit long lines of sellers one or two at a time into the precincts of Johnson Matthey & Co., metal dealers, while tough-looking street traders sidle up to impatient standees. "Are you sellin', luv?" coos one, whipping out brass scales and...

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