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A Guide to Pawn Shop Appraisals for Fast Personal Loans

When life hands you an unexpected cash emergency and you need instant cash, it is common to take something of value to your local pawn shop. Pawn shops specialize in fast personal loans for everyone, regardless of their credit history, credit score, or ability to repay the loan.

To determine how much to pay for the items people bring in to use as collateral for emergency cash loans, the pawn shop uses different appraisal methods. The methods used will vary, based on the item, before arriving at a fair value in exchange for cash.

Before we look at the specific methods used for different types of items, let’s look at four interesting facts about pawn shop loans:

  1. Pawn shops want you to get your items back. The goal of the pawn shop is not to make it difficult to get back your items. They are in business primarily to lend cash to those in need.
  2. Pawn shops offer a percentage of the fair market value for the item. Pawn shops have to protect their interest in the item being used as collateral. This is why they only offer a percentage of the true value of the item. In the event you are not able to pay back your loan, then the difference between what you borrow and the item’s true value will cover the interest you would have repaid.
  3. Pawn shops have been around for years. The concept of pawning items for cash loans has been around a long time. At GEM Pawnbrokers, we have been serving the needs of our New York customers for 70 years! Sometimes we know right away when you bring in an item to one of our locations how much it is worth due to our expertise and time in business.
  4. Pawn shops understand everyone can have a cash emergency at any time. You might be surprised that everyone—male, female, young, old, rich, poor—all experience cash emergencies in their lives. This is why pawn shops have been around for so long and help people get the quick cash they need to recover from their emergency.

 

How Does a Pawn Shop Appraise (Value) My Items?

Pawn shops use various databases, online auction sites, online retailers, and other methods to determine how much your items are worth. The amount offered will vary based on a variety of factors such as:

  • The popularity of the item.
  • The collectability of the item.
  • The “purity” of the item, as with jewelry.
  • The condition of the item.
  • How easy it would be to resell the item if you didn’t repay your loan.

Sometimes, but not always, the sentimental value of an item can be used to determine its overall value. For example, you are pawning a hard-to-find collector’s doll. The doll has a high sentimental value, not just with you but with others who had this doll as a child. These people would be willing to pay thousands to find another one.

Now that you understand some of the factors used to value your items, let’s look at the specific steps for some different types of items you can pawn for quick cash.

 

Gold and Silver, Diamond, and Jewelry Appraisal

If you want to sell diamond jewelry, gold, silver, or other precious gemstone jewelry for collateral for a personal cash loan, the process of appraising (valuing) such items follows several specific steps.

  • Step 1: Determine the type of metal used.

The pawn shop jewelry expert will look to see what type of gold, silver, or other metals are used. Not all “gold” rings are solid gold. Sometimes they can be gold-plated or be a specific karat. Pure or solid gold is 24 karats.

Anything less than that uses a mixture of gold and another metal. For example, an 18 karat gold ring is made of up 18 parts gold (75%) and 6 parts of another metal (25%).

  • Step 2: Assess the Color, Cut, Clarity, and Carat of diamonds and gemstones.

You may have heard of the 4Cs when shopping and buying diamond and gemstone jewelry. Each of these things helps determine the value of the diamond or the gemstone.

  • Step 3: Review various databases to determine the current market value.

Once the jewelry appraisal expert knows the metal composition of the jewelry and the overall condition of the diamonds and gemstones, then they review current market values to determine how much the item is worth.

In cases where you are only pawning a gold, silver, or another type of metal ring, bar, or coin, then Step 2 is skipped. The same is true if you just have loose diamonds or gemstones you want to pawn—then Step 1 would be skipped.

To ensure you receive the best cash offer for gold, silver, diamonds, gemstones, and jewelry, you need to make sure the pawn shop jewelry appraiser has the following certifications:

  • DCA (Diamond Council of America) Certified
  • JA (Jewelers of America) Certified
  • GIA (Gemological Institute of America) Certified

These certifications mean the person appraising your items has experience and knows how to correctly value them. At GEM Pawnbrokers, each of our jewelry appraisers has each of these certifications, to ensure our customers receive the best offer for their gold, silver, diamonds, gemstones, and jewelry.

 

Luxury Watches Appraisal

storage box with collection of men wrist watches

Say I want to sell my watch; then the appraisal process at a local pawn shop would be very similar to the appraisal process of jewelry. Besides determining whether the type of metal and gemstones used in the watch design, a few other factors will be looked at, including:

  • The overall condition of the watch. Are there scratches on the watch face? Does the watch still work?
  • The age of the watch. Older luxury watches in like-new condition can sometimes be very valuable compared to a luxury watch that is a year or two old.
  • The type of timepiece movement inside the watch. Does the watch run on a battery or is it self-winding? Does it use automatic, quartz, or mechanical components?

Each of these factors is part of coming up with how much the watch is worth and how much the pawn shop can offer you for a cash loan.

 

Luxury Handbags Appraisal

Other items some pawn shops deal in are luxury handbags. The appraisal process will be somewhat different. The appraiser will look at the overall condition of the bag and whether there are any damages, cuts, or stains on it. They will also inspect the interior of the bag to ensure it is in decent shape and not torn or stained.

Then there are specific guides that the pawn shop uses to determine the authenticity (realness) of the bag. Once it is confirmed the bag is not a knock-off, they look at certain distinguishing features for that brand.

For example, with a Louis Vuitton handbag, the type of material the bag is made of, like leather, lambskin, or camel skin, will be one factor used to determine its value. Another factor is the type of hardware used on the bag. Louis Vuitton handbags use gold or brass in their design.

The appraiser will also look at the placement of the monogram on the bag. Last, the appraiser looks for the date code on the bag to determine its age. Louis Vuitton handbags made before 1980 do not have this date code, so they can be quite valuable.

 

Electronics Appraisal

Electronics are another great item you can use for emergency cash loans. Pawn shops will accept a wide range of electronics including:

  • iPhones
  • iPads
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Laptop Computers
  • Desktop Computers
  • iPods
  • Luxury Headphones
  • PS4s
  • XBOX Ones
  • Nintendo Switches
  • Video Game Discs
  • Game System Accessories
  • HD TVs
  • Blu-ray Players
  • Stereo Equipment
  • Surround Sound Systems
  • DJ Mixing Boards
  • Electronic Keyboards
  • Electric Guitars

In general, the appraisal process is as follows:

  • What is the overall condition of the electronic item?
  • Are there any noticeable signs of damages?
  • Does the item still work correctly?
  • Does the item include everything it originally came with?
  • How popular is the item right now?
  • What are similar items selling for online at second-hand retailers and auction sites?

male dj playing music in club

With musical instruments and similar equipment, the age of the item can affect its overall value. For example, some “old school” DJ mixing boards in great shape could be quite valuable.

As you can see, careful consideration and specific appraisal steps are used to determine the value of the items you want to pawn when you need emergency fast cash. If you find yourself in need of quick cash in New York City, GEM Pawnbrokers is here to help.

We have 24 locations throughout the NY Metro Area and offer the lowest collateral loan interest rates not just in New York but the U.S. Not only can you get fast personal loans to get the instant cash you need, we also make it very easy for you to get your items back with our low-interest rates.

To find out how much your items are worth, stop by your nearest GEM Pawnbrokers location or call us at 718-596-5626 today!

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