When selling gold, it pays to shop around

The following is a news story by KOMO 4 news reporter, Herb Weisbaum, which NGL was consulted on:

When selling gold, it pays to shop around
By Herb Weisbaum

Image from original KOMO News Story

With gold prices nearing $900 an ounce, selling old or unwanted jewelry can seem like an attractive option, and Northwest pawn shops and jewelry stores are buying more and more gold.

“Probably 35 to 40 percent over a year ago,” said David Michael with Dacel Jewelers.

If you have gold coins you know exactly what they’re worth. But when you walk into a store with an old ring or chain and say “make me an offer,” are you going to get a good price?

We decided to find out by going undercover.

We visited three jewelry stores and five pawn shops with a gold ring and gold chain brought in by a KOMO producer, and Linda, a viewer with a pile of gold jewelry she wanted to sell. Each store had a different procedure.

At Ben’s Loans in Renton, they just took the items and put them on a scale.

Same drill at the Yuppie Pawn Shop in Kirkland.

At the Pawn Xchange in Bellevue and Super Pawn in Tukwila, they took a lot longer coming up with a price, spreading each item out and going over them in detail.

The offers for the ring and chain ranged from $50 to $120. Linda was offered anywhere from $70 to $105 for her items.

In both cases, the two highest offers came from the pawn shops, not the jewelry stores.

The Yuppie Pawn Shop in Kirkland gave us the highest price for our producer’s ring and chain, and the lowest price for Linda’s jewelry.

The lesson?

“I learned to shop around, that it’s a good idea to get out there and take your jewelry to lots of places,” said Linda.

Yuppie Pawn Shop owner Brian Lurie said he tries to give a fair price, but it might not always be the best price.

“We want your motorcycle, your rolex and we pay you more for it,” he said. “We’re not a jewelry store and we don’t love the jewelry. We just love the weight of the jewelry.”

Lurie said sellers shouldn’t come in thinking they’re going to get top-dollar.

“You’re not going to get what gold sells for and you’re not going to get what new jewelry prices are.”

A lot of the gold people bring is to sell is 14-karat gold, which is only half gold. So if you have an ounce, it’s not worth $900 — it’s worth about $450. But the buyer also has to sell it to the refiner.

“So you might see 30 to 50 percent less than the refiner actually pays the jeweler or over-the-counter buyer, simply to take into account those market fluctuations and the cost of doing business,” said Ted Irwin with the Northwest Gemological Institute.

For example, if you had an ID bracelet that weighs a little more than an once, the scrap gold value is probably about $500.

But pawn shop owner Lurie says you’re never going to get that much for it, and could instead expect about $250.

So before accepting an offer, be sure to take your gold to several pawn shops or jewelry stores to see who makes the best offer.

For More Information:

What you Should Know About Selling Your Jewelry

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