Turning Gold into Cash is as Easy as a Trip to the Pawn Shop

Gold is at astronomical prices as people leave the insecurity of the stock market and focus investments on more stable commodities such as precious metals. Topping $1,900 an ounce last week, my sister was tempted one time too many.

My sister is the ultimate yard sale shopper and nothing brings her more joy then finding that hidden bargain at a thrift shop or flea market. More almost 20 years, she has accumulated an enormous collection of valuables – many of which she sells on eBay and other online auction sites.

Often she will acquire pieces of jewelry, some are gold and others are silver. Occasionally, there will be the odd earring that has no match, or a bracelet that is broken beyond repair. These pieces – for no particular reason – she tossed into a small box on a corner shelf in her “eBay room.” There they remained.

Until last week.

She spent about 10 minutes sifting through the various pieces of jewelry in that box, carefully sorting out anything that was or even appeared to be gold. Each of the 20 or so pieces were separated and off to the pawn shop she drove.

The little pawn shop had the usual assorted coins, musical instruments, DVDs, and lawn equipment. There was a pretty good selection of rings and bracelets as well. But the line of people waiting at the counter were all there for one purpose: they were selling gold.

And the pawn shop was buying.

When my sister reached the counter, the manager carefully examined each piece under a magnifying loop, creating piles of 10k, 24k and unknowns. Each of the unknowns-type were scraped against a testing stone and chemicals applied to the stone. Within seconds, many were eliminated as gold-colored metals. A few were sorted back into the 10k and 24k piles.

When she was finished, the manager carefully weighed each and calculated their value. My sister liked the offer and, within a couple minutes, walked out of the store with $179 for those odds-and-end pieces of broken jewelry.

The price of gold dropped a bit since she was there, but really remains at record prices. Her weekend task has been to look through her remaining jewelry boxes for more gold. With easy money to be made from the sale of broken pieces that will never be used again, it’s not surprising that so many more people are doing exactly the same thing.

If you are going to a pawn shop to sell gold, make sure to use one that will examine and weigh your pieces in front plain sight. Never allow your gold pieces to be removed from sight and never accept any offer that seems unfair. And, don’t forget to shop prices and reputations before choosing a pawn shop.

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