As Gold Value Soars, Some Cash in Fillings

With the price of gold through the roof, some people in the northeast Missouri town of Hannibal are literally putting their money where their mouth is.

Merchants who regularly purchase gold told the Hannibal Courier-Post that they are seeing an upswing in people bringing in gold fillings to convert to cash. One jewelry store owner says he's had people bring in complete bridges, even with the teeth.

"We get teeth every day. It's not odd," Bobby Heiser, owner of Crescent Jewelry, told the Courier-Post. "People that have their old crowns, they're worth a lot because they're like 16 carats. I've had people bring complete bridges in, even with the teeth. I don't pay as much if I have to take the teeth out. That's not pleasant."

"We get gold teeth in and we buy them, believe it or not," Lori Maddox, owner of Rags to Riches Pawn, told the Courier-Post, adding that in addition to teeth, she's also seen gold-laden mouth "grills," which are a type of jewelry worn over teeth.

Some retain their gold fillings to the very end. Then what? With gold trading at more than $1,100 per ounce, funeral home operator James O'Donnell says if the family wants, he'll bring in a dentist to remove the precious metal of the dearly departed.