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Entries in Pawn Shops (2)

Monday
May142012

Nation's '1 Percent' Turn to Pawn Shops for Quick Cash

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.) -- A pawn shop next to the likes of Hermes, Tiffany’s and Chanel on Rodeo Drive would have, just a few years ago, been an unheard of sight.

But the classic pawn shop, where you sell or get a loan for your jewelry to pay back later, is making waves in the most unlikely of places -- Beverly Hills.

The recession has proven that even the richest of the rich fall on hard economic times and, now, when they need fast cash, more and more of the nation’s “1 percent” are electing to trade in their jewels.

Yossi Dina is the owner of South Beverly Wilshire Jewelry and Loan, an exclusive pawn shop that caters to the rich.  Clients stream into his Beverly Hills store offering valuable merchandise in exchange for cash, fast.

One such client is Vanessa Kalcheim, a Beverly Hills hairdresser going through a divorce.  She brought in a Harry Winston diamond necklace with a $600,000 retail price tag for Dina to appraise.

“Nobody will give me a loan,” Kalcheim told ABC News.  “The jewelry doesn’t work for a bank so my best option was to go to a pawn shop and try to sell it.”

Kalcheim said she hopes the necklace will bring her quick cash to hold her over until she receives her settlement from her divorce.

“I need to pay for them [her children],” she said.  “The clothes, the food, if I want to go to Disneyland.  Children cost money.”

Dina estimates Kalcheim’s necklace will sell for around $300,000 to $400,000.  He offers to give her $150,000 to $200,00 for a loan on the necklace and then pay her the difference if the necklace sells.  It’s a deal Kalcheim accepts immediately.

“First I am going to look for a new place to live and pay the down payment with this money,” she says.  “And start over.”

The transaction shows that a new breed of pawn shops are no longer seedy places with barred windows.  They’re now hot spots for buying and selling used goods, and even the focus of reality TV show fame.  In short, business at pawn shops is booming because the economy isn’t.

“We are in a bad time and it’s getting worse, but rich people buy,” Dina said.  “People come here at the worst time, and they leave feeling great.”

“The difference between me and the bank is with the bank you have to wait 60 to 90 days,” he said.  “With me, it’s immediate.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug172011

Gold: Seven Things to Know Before You Sell

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Selling gold never has been easier -- or riskier. With prices of the precious metal hitting records almost daily, and with fear and uncertainty continuing to roil the world's financial markets, gold buyers are eager to pay top dollar for any jewelry, coins or bars you care to part with.

Never have there been so many choices on where and how to sell. In Texas, you can pick up a nice steak for dinner and unload your tiara at the same time: Gold and Silver Buyers, the state's biggest buyer of precious metals, has its stores conveniently located inside or alongside supermarkets.

Since May, eBay has been offering a new feature on its site -- a Bullion Center. Spokesperson Johnna Hoff says it was created "to be a one-stop destination" consolidating trade in all types of bullion -- gold and silver coins and bars, primarily. The terms and conditions that apply to the sale of a gold bar are no more onerous than those that apply to somebody who sells a toaster, a football jersey, or anything else on eBay: Small, casual sellers (non-professionals) pay eBay nine percent of the price for which their bullion sells, when and if it does. There's no charge for listing. Small sellers, says Hoff, accounted for about one-third of bullion sold last week on eBay.

Whether you sell your gold online, at a local jeweler or through a pawn shop, it's possible, if you're not careful, to wind up with less than its full value. To avoid getting taken, keep these seven points in mind:

Shop Around. No matter how or where you ultimately chose to sell, start locally. Take your gold to a reputable local jeweler or pawn shop and ask them to estimate its value. That way, you'll at least have a base price in hand before you solicit online bids or other offers. You don't need to worry that you're abusing the good nature of your local businesses, says Dave Crume, past president of the National Pawnbrokers Association and vice president of Wichita, Kansas, pawnbroker A-OK Enterprises. They're in business to give estimates, and they'll give them for free. "Go to three or four stores," he advises, "and compare." To locate your nearest pawnbroker, try the National Pawnbrokers Association website.

Beware 'Rogue' Buyers. Crume cautions sellers about doing business with transient gold dealers whom he calls "rogue" buyers (also known as "hotel" or "pop-up" buyers). They blow into town, run ads promising high prices, and set up shop, say, in a hotel ballroom. After vacuuming up a city's worth of jewelry and coins, they disappear, sometimes leaving their victims un- or underpaid.

Don't Mix Karats. Among the new places to sell your gold are Tupperware-like "gold parties" like those organized by Premier Gold Parties, where a group of friends or neighbors meet to socialize and sell their gold in a home setting. "While gold parties may be a convenient way to make some cash," warns Tucson's Better Business Bureau, "they may not provide you the best deal." Why not? Too many hands in the pot: the company that organized the party gets its cut, and so does the host. At some parties, all jewelry is weighed together, regardless of its karat value, and sellers are paid according to the lowest karat value. Don't accept those terms. Separate your jewelry in advance, by karat, and make sure you are paid more for higher-karat items.

Keep an Eye on the Scale. While the accuracy of scales used by jewelers and pawnshops is verified periodically by the department of weights and measures, the same may not be true for scales used by hotel or house party buyers. The Better Business Bureau advises sellers to pay close attention to how their gold is being weighed: Jewelers value gold not by the ordinary ounce (28 grams) but by the Troy (31.1 grams). While some buyers pay according to the gram, others use a system called pennyweight: A pennyweight is equivalent to 1.555 grams. A seller needs to make sure he's not being weighed by pennyweight and paid by the gram, since that would allow the buyer to get more gold for less money.

Read the Fine Print.
Sell Gold HQ, a website that reviews and compares online gold buyers, advises sellers to compare terms and conditions carefully. "Even when consumers use a legitimate site that buys gold online," says the company in a statement, "it is easy to make a costly mistake by not reading the fine print. For example, some websites offer free shipping to send in gold, but very high shipping rates if the consumer declines the offer and asks for he gold to be returned." Check the buyer's policy, too, on reimbursement if they lose your gold. Many offer only limited liability.

Check Credentials. Ask a potential buyer to show you his credentials: If he's legitimate, he'll be licensed by the state to buy gold. He will also be required by law to ask you, the seller, to produce a driver's license, passport or some other form of government-issued identification. That requirement exists to frustrate money laundering and the sale of stolen property. If your buyer does not ask to see your ID, take your business elsewhere.

Is It Scrap--or History? Before you sell a gold item to be melted down for scrap, make sure it's not worth more in its present form. Brian Witherell, operations manager of Sacramento, Calif., antiques dealer Witherell's, gives this example: A seller brought him an antique item -- a small gold watch fob made in the shape of a railroad spike. "It was a little thing," Witherell recalls, and would not have brought much as scrap. Upon inspection, the fob turned out to have been fashioned out of gold left over from making the famous full-sized golden spike used in 1869 to commemorate completion of the transcontinental railroad. At auction, it sold for $20,000.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio