How to get best deals at pawn shops

Sentinel Staff Writer

Unfortunately, there's not a lot of advice out there on how to get the best deals when selling your jewelry and other valuables at a pawn shop. There probably will be soon: Pawn shop owners say their stores are filling up with items they don't usually see as the recession drives more and more people to turn their once-prized possessions into cold hard cash.

We found three Web sites that did the best job of offering a heads-up to the hard-up. breaks it down into 4 simple steps (which aren't really steps, but why nitpick?). The gist of their advice: Think small (literally: don't haul in your couch), think like a pawn shop owner, don't expect to get much money (about 30% of the real value) and find out how long you have to change your mind (and presumably come into some cash) and get your stuff back.

Associated Content has an interesting take on the subject, even if the headline is misleading. If you're not familiar with Associated Content, it's kinda like a Wikipedia of how-to articles. And if that doesn't make sense to you, here's how Wikipedia describes Associated Content: Associated Content (AC) is an online publisher and distributor of user generated content. Associated Content enables anyone with Internet access to publish their content on any topic and then distributes that content through its website and content partners.

AC's pawn shop article promises to tell you the "top five items to sell at a pawn shop." Great, except it then only gives you three items to sell at pawn shops and two to sell elsewhere. The article offers lengthy explanations, but the 3 things it recommends taking to pawn shops are: musical instruments, spare computer externals (monitors, printers, etc.) and TVs. is another how-to portal, only it's more like Associated Content meets YouTube. Here, users post videos telling you how to do things like bottle and cap your home-brewed beer or Playing E Aug in 1st Inversion Arpeggios on Guitar. (Seriously.)

It has the most extensive advice, in the form of 18 short videos offering tips on how to buy, sell, trade, and save money in pawn shops. Topics include "how to avoid common mistakes" as well as what to do if you think a pawn shop has stuff of yours that was stolen. But one thing to keep in mind: this advice is clearly coming from a pawn shop owner. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But it does explain why the first video's topic is: "Being Respectful in Pawn Shops."

Other videos explain how resale value works, how to get deals on silver and gold jewelry, digital cameras and vintage guitars.

Good luck.

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