How are pawn shop prices decided?

You may be wondering how pawn shops set their prices and this is an interesting question as it isn’t as straightforward as many think. Many factors can impact the price of items that need to be considered before a final price is given.

Pawn shops deal in such a broad range of items that they purchase or use as collateral in a loan and therefore these may need to be handled differently. Whatever you are selling or pawning will need to be properly assessed and valued to give you a fair and honest price.

How to assess an item’s value

Most items will undergo an appraisal to see what the item is worth. This involves checking the item to see what condition the item is in and if anything is distinguishing about it. They will look at any markings or manufacturer's labels, examine them for any wear or tear and damage, and check any provenance.

During the appraisal process, the market will also be looked at to see how saleable the item is including looking online to see the market value for the item. The current economic climate would also need to be factored in as this can impact the saleability of the item. They would also look at their stock to see if they have similar items in stock or have sold similar items in the past to see how well they sold previously and their value.

For some items, it may be necessary to seek additional help which could include:

Value Databases – there are many different types of specialist value databases available to pawnbrokers to assist them in valuing items and these are often referred to as a ‘blue book’. These online value databases such as Orion Blue Book are frequently updated to provide accurate prices as a guide for pawnbrokers. Some pawnbrokers may have an in-house version of a value database that they have compiled themselves which can help staff in appraising items based on their condition.

Specialist consultations – when faced with an unusual item or one that they haven’t come across before, they may call upon a specialist to consult on the item. This is more likely to be the case for antiques and historical items where expertise is required to verify the item.

Now that you understand how a pawn shop determines the value of an item, do you want to see what your items are worth? Visit one of our 24 conveniently located stores across the New York City area to see what your items could raise for you either selling or pawning them.