A novel anion exchange resin based on cellulose has been prepared to adsorb for the urgent demand of silver and the high toxicity of metal-cyanide complexes. Quaternary ammonium groups were grafted onto cellulose beads as main active sites in tentacle-type through a series of chemical reactions. The substitution degree of each reaction was determined to be about 0.854, 2.125, and 2.899 mmol g−1, respectively. The resin exhibited excellent spherical shape with microporous structure by the observation of optical microscopy and scanning electron microscope. Moreover, the adsorption experiments demonstrated the adsorption was fast in alkaline condition. Fitting the data into isotherm and kinetic models gave the conclusion that the adsorption behavior matched better with Langmuir model and pseudo-second-order kinetic in initial time followed pseudo-first-order kinetic model in later phase. The equilibrium adsorption capacity was determined to be 3.016 mmol g−1. With the advantages of high capacity, short equilibrium time, and alkaline resistance, the resin would be considered to a top-priority adsorbent for the separation of . © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 40987.