What to pawn at a pawn shop for the most cash

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A pawn shop may be a quick way to sell your used items for cash — or get an immediate loan to pay bills. 

However, there are better ways to get the cash you need, fast.

Our No. 1 recommendation to sell gold and diamond jewelry, coins, watches, silver and other scrap metal is CashforGoldUSA. This website has:

  • A+ Better Business Bureau rating
  • Pays within 24 hours
  • Fox Business News found CashforGoldUSA to pay 3X more for gold than its competitors
  • Complete the entire process online or phone, and via overnight FedEx (no need to leave your house)
  • Door-to-door free shipping, plus free Jewelers’ Mutual insurance up to $100,000 on each shipment
  • CashforGoldUSA's facility insured by Lloyds of London
  • 10% bonus if you send in your item within 7 days
  • 100% guaranteed highest price, and easy, free returns.

Get a free estimate with CashforGoldUSA now >>

This post breaks down the pros and cons of selling to a pawn shop, make sure you don’t get ripped off, as well as better alternatives to get the most cash, safely and quickly — often without leaving your home.

Need cash today? Here are three more options:

What can you sell at a pawn shop?

There are very few things that you cannot sell to a pawn shop — but each pawnbroker decides what they want to buy, or issue a loan against, at any time. Sometimes they may not buy an item because they already have a lot of inventory, or otherwise do not think they can sell it.

The following are things that pawnshops almost always buy:

  • Things to pawn nearly always pawn jewelry, gold, watches, gold coins and silver coins and precious metals
  • Firearms
  • Electronics
  • Computers / laptops
  • Smart phones
  • Sports equipment, including bikes
  • Tools and yard equipment
  • Musical instruments
  • Silver flatware and tableware
  • Video games

Other items to pawn at a pawn shop for cash or a loan, in some cases:

  • Comic books
  • Porn
  • Clothes
  • Animals — livestock and pets
  • Real estate
  • Vehicles: Cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, scooters, ATV, golf carts

What can I pawn for $100?

Jewelry and gold is always a go-to item that pawnshops nearly always buy. Depending on what you own, you may get $100, $1,000 or more for your jewelry, silver coins, gemstones, pearls or scrap metal or silver.

A gun, some power tools, a lawn mower or a quality stereo or laptop computer in working condition may bring $100 or more.

What can I pawn for $500?

Small vehicles like a motorbike, trailer or motorcycle might bring $500, as well as some jewelry. Some nicer antique furniture and firearms could bring $500 or more.

What can I pawn for $1,000 for quick cash?

Again, you can easily pawn gold and diamond jewelry. A used vehicle or boat, HD TV, or a riding lawn mower may bring $1,000 or more.

Keep in mind that a pawnshop will typically offer you far less for your diamond and gold jewelry than an online buyer. CashforGoldUSA promises to pay a 10% bonus if you send in your item within 7 days, free overnight FedEx from your house, and payment within 24 hours.

Can I pawn my phone?

Yes, if your smart phone is in decent condition and working, many pawnshops will be happy to accept your phone as a pawn or sale — or offer to pay scrap electronic prices for it.

What things do pawn shops give the most money for?

This is a relative question — are you asking what items pawn shops pay the highs margin for (what percentage of profit they earn)? Or the highest ticket items?

Pawn shops may buy a vehicle, jewelry or even a piece of real estate. 

However, higher ticket items, antiques and items of quality will likely fetch a higher price if you sell to a buyer who specializes in those items, and takes a lower fee. These items to pawn could include: jewelry, diamonds, gold, coins, fine watches and timepieces, and designer handbags. 

Pawn jewelry

Have an engagement ring to sell after a nasty divorce? You may consider pawning your ring to a pawn shop near you, although it may be better to sell your jewelry online

Also, instead of pawning old or broken gold jewelry, gold coins, estate and antique jewelry and other scrap metal, online gold buyers may pay more, and be easier to work with. Here is what you need to know about pawning jewelry:

How much do you get for pawning jewelry?

As with other items sold to pawn shops, you will get 25% to 60% of the retail value of your item from the pawn broker. This may be tempting if you really, really need the money very quickly, but there are other ways to get a much higher return on your jewelry — which is likely one of the most valuable things you own.

CashforGoldUSA buys all kinds of gold and silver jewelry (including broken jewelry), as well as diamond rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other jewelry — and they pay within 24 hours of receiving your item.

Pawning vs. selling: Is it better to sell gold online or pawn gold at a pawn shop?

Pawning jewelry will get you quick cash. But spending just a little more time, and adding a few more days to the process, will likely earn you more money for your jewelry at an online gold buyer like CashforGoldUSA.com. 

How to sell jewelry — what you need to know to value your item.

Pawn diamonds

Pawning diamonds may be a good way to get quick cash, but you can likely make more money on your diamond ring, loose diamonds or other diamond jewelry by selling to a jeweler near you — or to an online diamond buyer like DiamondsUSA.com or Worthy.com.

How much do you get for pawning diamonds or diamond rings?

Before you pawn diamonds, consider that precious gemstone grading and pricing is a highly scientific process that should be done by a gemologist with a lab report, or at least a certified jeweler who understands the intricacies of diamonds, and the value of your jewelry — expertise very, very few pawn brokers offer.

Worthy.com’s online jewelry estimator will help you understand the value of your item — and if you send in your ring, bracelet or earrings, Worthy pays for your item to be evaluated by a gemological laboratory such as the GIA, which will provide a grading report.

Worthy only accepts items they can sell for at least $1,000 (a diamond center stone of .5+ carats), Worthy will send an overnight FedEx mailer to your home, 100% free, and your engagement ring or other jewelry will arrive at Worthy’s offices where it will go to auction, and hundreds of vetted jewelry buyers will bid on your item — driving up the price.

Worthy has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, and praise from the New York Times, TODAY show and others. Get a free estimate for your jewelry from Worthy now >>

CashforGoldUSA and its sister site, DiamondsUSA, accept diamonds of all sizes.

Both Worthy and CashforGoldUSA will send back your item immediately, 100% free, if you choose not to sell after receiving their offer.

Pawning vs. selling: Is it better to pawn diamond jewelry or sell it?

Pawning your diamond will get you quick cash. But spending just a little more time, and adding a few more days to the process, will likely earn you more money for your jewelry at an online diamond buyer. 

How to get your diamond appraised fairly

Pawn gold

If you are thinking about pawning your gold jewelry, gold coins, broken jewelry, dental or other scrap, online gold buyers and recyclers often offer a higher price.

What will a pawn shop pay for gold?

How much a pawn shop will pay for gold depends on lots of factors, including how competitive the pawn market is in your town — the larger the town and more pawn brokers in your area, the more competitive the price a pawn broker is likely to offer.

The price a pawn shop, or any gold buyer, will pay for gold is based on today’s gold price, minus their commission. The price a pawn shop will pay for scrap gold, vs gold jewelry may be the same if they plan to melt down the jewelry for scrap, or a slightly higher price per gram if the pawnshop plans to resell the gold jewelry as-is. Broken jewelry is often bought for scrap, but is sometimes repaired and resold.

Gold prices are at a 7-year high. As of today, April 26, 2021, the gold price in the USA was at a near-record price of $1780.02 per ounce, or $62.79 per gram.

Pawning vs. selling: Is it better to sell gold online or pawn gold at a pawn shop?

An online gold buyer has an advantage over a pawn shop near you for taking a lower commission, and offering you a lower fee:

  • Pawn shops have to pay for retail space, which can be expensive
  • An online gold buyer does huge volumes of gold purchases and sales — which allows them to offer higher prices.
  • Online gold buying is a very competitive business, as these buyers compete with all the gold buyers on the internet — as well as all the local pawnshops and gold buyers. More competition = lower commissions, and higher payout for you.
  • Gold buyers are experts in gold buying, whereas a pawn broker buys and sells items in lots of categories — making it hard to be an expert in any of them.

CashforGoldUSA our #1 recommendation for online gold buyers.

Pawn watches

Fine timepieces are a highly specialized category that can require an expert with deep knowledge of the history and marketplace for these sophisticated collectibles to truly understand what your watch is worth.

Can you pawn a watch?

If you have a lower-end watch, including a smart watch, that you can sell for $50 to $200, pawning your watch may be a good deal.

However, if you have a vintage Rolex, TAG Heuer, Hermes watch, Omega or other watch brands, Worthy works with top New York City watch dealers who can offer a fair price for your timepiece — much more so than most pawnshops.

How much will a pawn shop give you for a Rolex?

The resale value for a used Rolex watch is anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 or more — which a pawn shop will give you 25% to 60%, with an average of 50% of what they think they can sell it for. If yours is a high-end watch, the broker may sell it to a wholesaler, or middleman, which means that your cut will be far less than a retail value. An expert site like Worthy is likely a better bet than pawning your watch.

Pawning vs. selling: Is it better to pawn a watch or sell it?

Pawning jewelry will get you quick cash. But spending just a little more time, and adding a few more days to the process, will likely earn you more money for your jewelry at an online watch or jewelry buyer who understands the value of your timepiece. 

It is usually a better deal to sell your timepiece via an expert site like Worthy than to pawn your watch.

Pawn used designer bags

Luxury designer handbags are more popular than ever. Some pawn shops may deal in designer handbags and purses. WP Diamonds also buys and sells used handbags online. WP Diamonds deals in these designer bag brands:

  • Hermes — Birkin and otherwise
  • Chanel
  • Louis Vuitton
  • Fendi
  • Prada
  • Bottega Veneta
  • Burberry
  • Alexander McQueen
  • Gucci
  • Givenchy
  • Celine
  • Michael Kors
  • Coach

Ready to sell your handbag? Sell to WP Diamonds >>

Best things to pawn that pawn shops always buy:

Just like babies, every pawn shop is special. However, you can expect to find a pawn shop is almost always eager to buy:

  • Gold [get an instant quote with CashforGoldUSA's gold calculator]
  • Jewelry
  • Guns 
  • Power tools

What can you sell at a pawn shop?

There are very few things that you cannot sell to a pawn shop, but each pawnbroker decides what they want to buy, or issue a loan against. Sometimes they may not buy an item because they already have a lot of inventory, or otherwise do not think they can sell it.

What can I pawn to get money?

Jewelry and gold is always a go-to item that pawnshops nearly always buy. Depending on what you own, you may get $100, $1,000 or more for your jewelry, coins, gemstones or scrap metal or silver. A gun, some power tools, a lawn mower or a quality stereo or laptop computer in working condition may bring $100 or more.

What do pawn shops buy?

There are very few things that you cannot sell to a pawn shop, but each pawnbroker decides what they want to buy, or issue a loan against, at any time. Sometimes they may not buy an item because they already have a lot of inventory, or otherwise do not think they can sell it. Pawn shops usually buy guns, electronics, gold, jewelry, and phones.

What do pawn shops give the most money for?

Pawn shops may buy a vehicle, jewelry or even a piece of real estate. However, higher ticket items, antiques and items of quality will likely fetch a higher price if you sell to a buyer who specializes in those items, and takes a lower fee.

How much do you get for pawning jewelry?

As with other items sold to pawn shops, you will get 25% to 60% of the retail value of your item from the pawn broker. This may be tempting if you really, really need the money very quickly, but there are other ways to get a much higher return on your jewelry.

Holly Johnson is a financial expert, award-winning writer, and Indiana mother of two who is obsessed with frugality, budgeting and travel. Her personal finance articles have been published in the U. S. News, Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, and Life Hacker. Holly is founder of of the family finance resource, ClubThrifty.com, and is the co-author of Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love. Learn more about Holly here.

One Comment

It’s interesting that the most in-demand items are watches, jewelry, power tools, electronics, and video games. Personally, I have always thought watches and jewelry have the most bang for your buck. My wife and I are wanting to go on a nice vacation this year and I want to pawn some stuff for extra cash. Thanks for the helpful information.

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