The modern-day pawn shop has emerged as an important partner for many people struggling in our difficult economic times. These institutions are equal opportunity lenders for those with poor credit and nowhere else to turn. And, when it comes to luxury fashion wear items, pawn shops outpace many department stores in terms of unique, high-quality items.
What do pawn shops buy?
Most stores buy and sell hordes of the same core items such as cell phones, tools, jewelry, televisions, computers and guns among other things. But it’s not uncommon for a shop to specialize, or at least dabble, in items such as gold, music equipment or high-end fashion wear. By making a name in a particular product area, these stores tend to become destination lending and shopping outlets. Many times, specialized stores just evolve organically because of local market forces. Others advertise and promote themselves online toward a certain clientele.
Top luxury items to pawn
If you’re strapped for cash and need car repairs or a short-term loan, jewelry can get you excellent bang for your buck. Gems and precious metals have a reasonably well-defined market price, and that helps lay the foundation for their pawn value. For instance, the value of a set or unset diamond can be based on specific standards within the industry. Gold has a daily, fluctuating market value based on weight. Add to these baselines the design and appeal of the ring, necklace or bracelet, and jewelry makes sense as a top luxury item. Consider pawning some of these items.
The price of gold is quite high these days, and you can generally negotiate a strong deal based on its weight. Brokers are often happy to work with gold because if you decide to let the loan default, they can recoup the business by a weight sale once prices make sense for them. Keep in mind, a pawn store must turn a reasonable profit just like a department or convenience store. If you walk into it with that understanding in mind, pawning gold jewelry can be a win-win for both of you.
A pawn broker will generally have a set price for their gold business. They tend to base that number on a percentage of what is known as a “scrap price.” While you may look at a gold necklace or heirloom and think about its value from a retail perspective, the store needs to think in terms of bottom-line dollars. If they need to sell that piece later to be melted down, can they still make enough from the transaction to justify the work, expense and overhead.
The upside for the customer is that you can just as easily pawn worn or scuffed gold items as weathered ones. Many outfits will give you cash on the spot. In terms of shopping for jewelry, a few real life Super Bowl rings have shown up in their display cases.
Diamonds are a pawn shop’s best friend
They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. In the pawn industry, diamonds are their BFF. Engagement and wedding rings rank among the most popular bought and sold items in the more than 12,000 shops across the United States. Many stores handle their diamond business based on a “points” system. That basically means they offer a purchase price equal to 1/100th of a karat. If a shop’s policy is to pay $3 per point and you bring in a one-karat diamond, that would come out to $300 on your end.
Prices vary from store to store and may trend up or down depending on the global diamond market. Of course, discolored gems and stones with inherent defects can be valued lower than the store’s standard price. You might be surprised how many diamonds have small defects hidden inside them. But at the end of the day, if you’re wondering, “will local pawn shops near me buy an old diamond ring?” The answer is, yes.
A top-of-the-line, brand-name watch such as Rolex makes an excellent pawn item. Although watches are not as prevalent as they once were, some makes still project status. Wearing a Rolex or well-known brand spells success in many circles, and that makes them less risky for a broker to accept. Other A-list luxury watches that have solid pawn value include:
- Cartier:The French luxury item manufacturer has a world-renowned reputation that cuts across men’s and women’s wear and includes watches, earrings, wedding rings, bracelets and cufflinks among others. Cartier ranks as a Forbes Magazine Top 100 company for worldwide luxury wear.
- Tiffany and Co.:The American brand is the epitome of luxury and a household name. That makes it a highly sought-after watch and one brokers can work with easily.
On the other hand, mass-produced watches generate little to no interest because their practical value has gone the way of the 8-track tape player. We just don’t measure time on our wrists very much anymore. In terms of working with watches, only the special ones maintain real purchase and sale power.
Some names to keep an eye out for include, Patek Philippe, Chanel, Omega, Jaeger, Piaget, Omega and Breitling among others. If you have an expensive, mid-level or vintage watch, don’t hesitate to make a few phone calls and see if that brand is currently in demand. There are plenty of makes that aren’t well known still able to generate interest in the pawn industry. Sometimes they buy watches that stores in other regions have greater success moving.
Some pawn shops will handle or specialize in vintage clothing. It’s not the most common product line, but they are out there. You may find that industry people with knowledge about fashion dabble or set up a store wing to attract customers. Wedding dresses, fur coats and leather items are generally mainstream enough for a store to consider. Truly vintage items that epitomize the trendy fads of past decades can also be attractive. Remember, most pawn stores have a significant online presence beyond the brick-and-mortar business. Don’t expect to get strong prices even if you do find a shop willing to work with you. These are far riskier deals for store owners than bread-and-butter items such as gold and jewelry.
A lot of women frequent vintage boutiques and resale shops to buy or sell stylish handbags. For whatever reason, the fact that pawn shops deal in designer bags seems to have flown under the radar. Vintage clothing may be a bit of a gray area for stores, but high-end bags take up less space and are the type of luxury item that moves reasonably well. The shops that are most open to working with handbags are generally those with a large urban or suburban population.
Like wrist watches, bags are very much a status symbol. Of course, there are two twists to bags. People still actually use handbags. And, you don’t want anyone to know what you really paid for it. To that end, you can cut down on a handbag’s cost by going through an online pawn shop and finding the special brand that truly impresses your friends. If you’re looking to sell a bag, here are a few tips on what to do.
- Clean it thoroughly:The closer you can get the bag to looking like it just came off the shelf, the greater its potential value.
- Original packing:Having the original box and documentation about how old or new it is can help pump up the value.
- Make sure it’s empty:The last thing you want is to sell or pawn a bag with valuables tucked away inside.
Some of the top brands that local pawn shops and online stores may be interested in include:
- Alexander McQueen
- Alexander Wang
- Christian Dior
- Louis Vuitton
- Tiffany & Co
- Yves Saint Laurent
It’s not an industry that has fallen behind in e-commerce trends. With such a large market for handbags, there’s a tremendous opportunity for buyers and sellers to utilize the online pawn marketplace to their advantage.
What else might a pawn shop deal in?
Some of the most common items that you can find at local pawn stores include coins, guns, electronics, tools and even cars.
Rare coins and those made from precious metals are among the most common things pawn shops carry. They’re good, priceable items to use as loan collateral. The local pawn shop also seems to have filled the void left by the coin collecting shops that were so popular during the 1960s and 1970s. One of the most expensive coins ever in a pawn shop was an 1859 No. 3 gold piece valued at more than $2,600. It was in mint condition. Among the oldest was a Greek Didrachm from 325 B.C.
Not all shops deal in guns. That’s because they’re required to be a Federal Firearms Licensee and then adhere to all the state and local laws and regulations that include background checks, etc. For some, it’s a lucrative revenue stream. For others, it’s too much work to justify the benefit.
But those that deal in guns often come across some wonderful antiques and discontinued models such as the Colt Python prominently featured on The Walking Dead TV series. One of the oldest guns sold in a pawn shop was a pre-Revolutionary War Blunderbuss, a short-barreled muzzle-loader often associated with pirates.
Tools are big business for stores. Most construction workers need their own to get good salaried jobs, and it’s a big investment when getting started. Pawn shops have been a real boon for people who swing a hammer. The same goes for do-it-yourselfers and homeowners. You need the tools to maintain a home, and having a complete set can be very expensive. It’s an area where pawn outfits have filled an important cost-savings niche.
What’s in the pawn shops near me?
If you’ve ever asked yourself that question, think Forest Gump. They’re like a box of chocolates; you never know what’s inside. Pawn shops are an excellent place to use collateral to get short-term loans or save money on luxury items. GEM Pawnbrokers is a highly recommended Pawn shop to all shoppers. Call us today at (718)-569-5626 to get your search started in the right direction.
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