History of Pawn Shops

History of Pawn Shops

Whether your first introduction to a pawn shop is with Vista Pawn, Pawn Stars on the History Channel, or when you’ve purchased or pawned something yourself--pawn shops have been around for centuries.

 

What is a Pawn Shop?

The need for money has been around since currency has existed. People need money for a variety of reasons, but in emergencies, that money may not be available. Pawn shops allow people to “pawn” an item of value to a pawnbroker who in turn gives them money for the item. If the person who pawned the item returns to retrieve the item, they pay the money back plus a small fee at a later date and receive their item back. After a certain amount of time, the item becomes the property of the pawn shop who is free to do with it as they wish. In the United States alone, there are over 12,000 pawn shops in existence.

 

The Evolution of the Pawn Shop

The origins of pawn shops have their roots in Ancient China about 3,000 years ago. Pawnbrokers, often working independently, would offer short-term credit to peasants.

This trend continued until the civilizations of Ancient Greece and Rome made this concept more mainstream. Citizens would seek start-up income to begin businesses. These new owners would pay back their collateral and interest once their businesses took off.

In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church began to place limits on charging citizens interest which halted the development of pawn shops. Once pawnbrokers were able to prove to the Church that short-term credit was an extremely viable way of financing start-up endeavors and by giving temporary aid to the poor, these restrictions were relaxed.

Pawn shops have made their way into history as well. In 1388, England’s King Edward III pawned the royal jewels to finance the war against France. It’s also said that Christopher Columbus’ expeditions were financed through the pawning of Queen Isabella of Spain’s jewelry.

It wasn’t just for the wealthy, pawn shops in the 19th century were being used mainly by the poor. It was common practice for the poor to pawn clothes on Monday to make it through the week only to get their paycheck on Friday and buy their clothes back.

The Pawnbrokers Act of 1872 created regulations that protected pawnbrokers if they mistakenly sold stolen items. These regulations were necessary and helped to set the guidelines for the pawn industry that continues today.

 

Today’s Pawn Shops

Throughout the depression, pawn shops were the only place in America that was offering money. Banks had failed and people needed money. This option for the citizens of the US hasn’t changed much since then. Towns of all sizes and populations have pawn shops that help provide money to those in need and offer a great variety of products that people want.

These mini-banks trade in unique and rare items including musical instruments, collectibles, and electronics. While some may have a negative connotation of what a pawn shop is, it’s undeniable their place in society and history. Established in 1988, the National Pawnbrokers Association argued just that fact. They make sure that pawn shops uphold pawn contracts and the interest that is accrued. Items are registered to ensure they’re not stolen.

The popularity of pawn shops has increased since shows on television began to show the daily ins and outs of these businesses. Holders of history, antiquities, jewelry, and furniture--pawn shops will always be the place for everyone, anywhere.

 

Vista Pawn

While we haven’t been in business for centuries, we have been around for over 20 years! Located in one of the most beautiful locations on Earth, southwest Idaho, Vista Pawn’s four locations are here for your needs.

What's The Best Way To Sell Your Items? Pawn Shops, eBay, Or Craigslist

What's The Best Way To Sell Your Items: Pawn Shops, eBay, Or Craigslist?

If your house is filled with old items that you don’t use anymore or stuff you simply don’t want, you have a lot of options on how to get rid of them. A lot of people like to sell their old items because they not only do they get their house cleaned out, but they can also make some extra cash. There are a few ways to your old stuff. The three most common ways are eBay, selling locally, and pawn shops. Here are a few pros and cons of each.

 

eBay

Since eBay hit the internet in the late 90s by founder Pierre Omidyar, it has become one of the top places for people to sell all sorts of stuff, from vintage toys to collectibles and antiques. eBay makes it easy to set up a seller’s account that links seamlessly with Paypal. The biggest benefit to selling on eBay is that they get a massive amount of traffic, so your listings are going to be seen by a lot of potential buyers.

However, getting an item listed can be cumbersome since the user needs to take pictures, write an accurate description, figure out pricing, and what shipping method to use. This means that listing a single item can take at least ten to twenty minutes. You’ll also be paying selling fees to both eBay and Paypal, which can quickly eat into your profits. Further, eBay favors the buyer if there’s a dispute. Sellers can fall victim to scams with little recourse, leaving them without their money and sometimes without the item being returned.

 

Craigslist

Craigslist popular with people looking to sell stuff locally. This is a very do-it-yourself approach to selling because there is no middleman like eBay to help facilitate the sale. When you sell locally, you and the buyer agree on a price (there’s probably going to be some haggling) and then arrange to meet to finish the transaction. This method eliminates any fees because you are selling directly to the buyer. You can also get cash for your item, which means you have the money instantly, no waiting for payments to clear.

But selling locally brings on its own set of problems. First, you’re meeting a complete stranger to do a cash transaction. This isn’t always safe and people have been robbed in the process. You can minimize your risk by meeting in a public area, but the risk never completely goes away. Also, sometimes buyers are flaky and might not show up. Craigslist buyers are notorious for disappearing like this and leaving the seller in limbo.

 

Pawn Shops

Pawn shops have been around for centuries. In fact, they are the oldest form of lending money, dating back to ancient China. The premise is that you bring an item in, they estimate its worth, and then lends you money based on that amount. However, if you’re not looking for a loan and just want to sell your old stuff, these shops also have you covered.

In a way, these types of stores represent the best of eBay and local selling. They are an established business with a large customer base, and they will pay you cash for your items. You don’t pay any fees, nor do you have to meet a complete stranger who may or may not rob you. Many of these shops will also allow you to trade items. For example, if you have an acoustic guitar, but decide you want to play the electric guitar, you can trade your acoustic in for an electric, only paying the difference, if there is one.

 

The only downside is you might not get the best price. Since they want to resell your item, they’ll pay less than what you can get by selling it yourself. That said, they are a tried and true way to get money without dealing with strangers off the street or paying the high fees that eBay charges.

How Pawn Loans Work

If you have ever found yourself in a financial bind or just need some fast cash, obtaining the money you need to pay bills or to cover living expenses can quickly become stressful and at times, overwhelming. Whether you are simply in need of cash quickly or if you do not have a great credit score, consider the option of taking out a loan from a local pawn shop near you.

Pawn Loan Basics

While pawn shops make some of their living by selling items such as gold, electronics, and collectible items, they also offer "pawn loan" services. Pawn loans allow customers to offer collateral in the form of an item that is considered valuable by those running the pawn shop. The item is then kept at the pawn shop while the customer is provided cash along with a pawn loan ticket and the due date for the total amount owed on the loan.

When taking out a pawn loan it is important to keep in mind that you are also responsible for any interest that incurs throughout the duration of your loan. Before agreeing to a pawn loan, be sure to inquire about the terms and conditions along with payment deadlines, extension opportunities, and renewals (if available).

Talk with the pawn shop employee you are working with to learn more about items they are searching for and what is most in-demand throughout their shop individually. The more familiar you are with your local pawn shop of choice, the easier it is to obtain the money you need when you are using collateral in exchange for a loan.

Extensions

Extensions on pawn loans are often available but vary with each pawn shop. If you are unable to pay a loan back in a timely manner, you may have the option of renewing your loan completely after paying any interest owed on the original loan first. Once the original interest is paid in full, a new extension may be granted without the risk of losing your collateral in default.

Pawn Loan Renewals

While not all pawn shops offer renewals, some do. Pawn loan renewals are possible if you have paid off what you originally owed on your collateral, but are seeking additional cash to cover finances a second time. In many cases, pawn shops will agree to keep your item and renew your loan under the same terms and conditions while also providing you with cash in hand immediately.

How Appraisals Work

Any time you take an item to use as collateral to a pawn shop you are likely to receive a wide range of estimates and appraisals. Some pawn shops focus solely on gold and jewelry, allowing them to maximize profits and may offer less money for other items such as electronics or music equipment. Pawn shop owners research blue book and retail value of items before providing you with an appraisal which is most likely much less than the original cost of the item. Consider the type of items the pawn shop you are interested in using to obtain a pawn loan carries.

How to Get a Quote

Although it is possible to get a general quote for the items you want to use for collateral online or over the phone, shop owners will want to inspect items in-person to ensure they are in working condition (especially for electronics) and that they are legitimate and authentic. Once your collateral has been inspected and researched you are likely to receive an appraisal based on its surrounding industry and market demand.

What to Pawn?

Deciding on what to pawn when you are in need of cash quick is extremely overwhelming, especially if you are unsure of where to begin. Most pawn shops welcome everything from gold and silver jewelry to guns, collectibles, and working electronics. If you are thinking of pawning jewelry you own, verify its value and the type of gold or silver you have by visiting a local jewelry shop prior to taking out a pawn shop loan. Keep in mind, however, that pawn shops are in business to make money and minimize their risk, so the cash you are able to get may be less than what the item is actually worth.

What Shouldn't You Pawn?

When you are searching for a pawn shop loan but you do not have much time, avoid using out-dated or junky items as collateral. Not all pawn shops are willing to provide loans for just any item brought into the store, which is why it is essential to conduct a bit of research on various items you have available to use for collateral before making your decision. We would also advise you to not pawn items with lots of sentimental value if possible.

Using a pawn shop loan is ideal when you are in a time crunch and in need of cash fast. With the right collateral and the ability to pay back your loan in a timely manner, taking advantage of pawnshop loans allows you to remain above water financially anytime you are in need without credit checks or other hassles.