If you are looking for a new home for all those vintage valuables collecting dust in your attic or you need a quick source of income, selling antiques can be a profitable solution. Not only will you declutter your home, but you can pull in some extra cash at the same time. A lot of people are confused about where and how to sell their antiques, though. One worthwhile option – especially if you want or need a quick turnaround – is to visit a pawn shop.
Benefits of Pawning Antiques
By selling antiques at a pawn shop, you will receive money for the item immediately, without the hassles of an auction or paying fees to sell online. You will also avoid the headache of transactions from buyers, collecting credit card payments, packing the object, and shipping your delicate items, so they do not suffer damage in transit.
In fact, selling antiques at a pawn shop has become such a popular enterprise that almost every city has a certified pawn shop that actively curates vintage objects. Your best bet to locate somewhere nearby is simply to conduct an internet search for a “local pawn shop.” Many of these businesses are family-owned and date back many generations, which makes antique collecting a natural and passionate part of their regular business. As a result, your entire sales experience will be much more personalized and friendly than dealing with online negotiations.
Definition of an Antique
Before we address more of the issues involved in selling antiques, it is a good idea to precisely explain what defines an antique as authentic – and not merely old and obsolete. Nowadays, people use this adjective freely to describe anything from an era before their time. But although your mug from the 1960s may be a relic to a teenager, it does not qualify as an antique.
According to the United States Customs Service, an antique must be at least 100 years old.
However, this remains a hot topic among antique experts. Some professionals prefer to define an antique as any item that is a masterpiece of design from an era before the styles changed into contemporary. In other words, they define antique as having historical significance or being outdated. That said, while some buyers may indeed view your old bell-bottom pants from the 1970s as antique clothing, they will not pay the same price as they would for a lace dress from 1905.
For our discussion of selling antiques at pawn shops, we’ll stick to the official definition of items that come close to at least a century old. This explanation is the most widely used timespan in the field of antique dealers, and the terms “vintage” or “collectible” are more suitable for objects that are just plain old-fashioned.
Ideal Items to Sell
The specific categories and types of antiques that each pawn shop will accept vary. In general, pawn shops are best for old, high-demand objects and collectibles. Items made from valuable metals, especially gold, silver, and platinum, can lead to lucrative deals when selling antiques.
Some popular examples of artifacts that can be sold include:
- Jewelry: You may be pleasantly surprised by how much your grandmother’s chunky heirloom ring brings in (even if you don’t particularly like the style). Typically, the larger the precious stone, the more value it has.
- Watches: Authentic old watches from prized manufacturers, such as Patek Philippe, are an elegant status symbol. Therefore, an antique watch that is in excellent working order (with all of its original pieces) is a highly desirable item. Buff your old watch before showing it, and you may want to repair any scratches or dings, too.
- Coins and Currency: These are one of the easier items to sell because you’ll always be able to receive at least face value. Coins that are part of proof sets, composed of precious metals, Federal Reserve Note, half-dollars, and any antiquated, rare bills or coins are all appropriate for pawning.
- Stamps and Vintage Cards: Many collectors are passionate about old postcards and postage stamps, and therefore they can be suitable to sell. However, a number of variables influence the value of old postcards, namely the condition, age, rarity, subject matter, and postmark. When figuring out the value of old stamps, you need to know the origin, year issued, whether or not it was circulated, and if it is rare because only a small number was issued.
- Vinyl Records and Movie Memorabilia: Nostalgia has a heavy hand in affecting the antique market, and you can’t get much more sentimental than vinyl records and movie memorabilia. In fact, original cover albums from The Beatles and Bob Dylan have fetched upwards of $20,000 as antiques! Classic original movie posters and portrait stills are also valued exceptionally high.
- Antique Furniture and Home Items: Everyone dreams about being the person who finds an ordinary-looking piece of furniture shoved in the corner of the basement – only to discover that it is a prized artifact. These types of treasures can add up to significant cash when selling antiques at a pawn shop. However, how do you identify the precious, aged commodities hidden amongst the worthless jumble in your storage room? You need to do your homework and research each object. Read on for tips on how to know whether your old items are simply vintage junk or a unique and priceless rarity.
How to Get the Highest Value When Selling Antiques
1. Know What You Have
This principle is the most important guideline to follow. You need to understand what your antique is and when it was made. When possible, present some type of documentation to verify that it is what you say. Otherwise, determining the value becomes a guessing game – with the buyer and seller shooting random numbers back and forth.
To pinpoint the age of your antique, examine the materials and manufacturing techniques closely. Hand stitching, hand-applied ornamentation, hand-painted accents, and details such as square nails all point to antiquated methods of production. Specific styling, such as Victorian or Art Deco, are also dead giveaways to the original date of the item.
2. Assess the Condition
The condition of the piece has an immense effect on how much it is worth. Look over your object closely. Does it have any dents, cracks, or missing parts? Mint condition naturally raises the cost of every antique. People will pay a lot more for old objects that are perfect because they are much rarer than objects with visible signs of wear and tear.
Another angle to take when selling antiques at a pawn shop is to demonstrate that you know what may be wrong with the item. As strange as this may sound initially, it is a very effective way to gain trust. In the long run, pointing out the signs of use honestly can make the pawn broker more comfortable dealing with you and may lead to a more profitable offer.
3. Don’t Wipe Off Age Marks
Patina and other age marks are not dirt or defects. On metals, patina is a thin layer of greenish-brownish film on the surface, produced by oxidation over a long time. On wood, it appears as a gentle sheen or luster, made by years of use. These traits are the glorious hallmarks of an antique and add character to the piece. If you polish your heirloom bronze vase to make it look brand-spanking new, you are making it look much more generic. Remember that for you, the seller, an antique with more character = more unique = the more money you will receive. In addition, if you clean it too aggressively or use the wrong chemical solutions, you may accidentally damage the item.
Tips for Pricing Your Antiques
Figuring out the right price for your antiques can be tricky. A good first step is to search online for antique shops nearby. Then visit these stores, browse their selection, and look carefully at how they price a variety of items – especially the ones most similar to what you want to sell. Keep in mind, though, that antique dealers can generally charge more for the same items because they are a trusted source. In contrast, as a private individual selling antiques, you will typically need to price your pieces about 20 percent lower.
Another way to determine a reasonable price for your objects is to search for sold listings on websites that offer auctions. Online giants like eBay are full of useful information about the market value of your item. Perform your search by filtering for completed listings or sold listings to get an idea of how much other people were willing to pay.
Be Prepared to Haggle
Now that you have a decent idea of how much your item is worth, it is time to enter your local pawn shop. Start negotiations above the lowest amount of money you will accept, and state your asking price. However, don’t be shocked if the store owner is not prepared to pay you the price you have determined to be the current market value. Counter-offers are an expected part of the process. Remember – if your true end goal is selling antiques and you are committed to achieving this goal, then you will need to settle upon a competitive price point to close the deal and receive your money. The benefit of getting quick cash with virtually no hassle is often worth lowering the cost.
Make the Sale and Move On
Selling antiques, especially if they have been in your family for generations and you feel an emotional attachment to them, is not always easy. Before you enter the pawn shop, you need to be at peace with your decision to let go of the piece. It is essential to remember that, if you miss a loan payment to a pawnbroker, you will immediately forfeit your ownership rights.
Once you have signed on the dotted line and sealed the deal, take your cash and count your blessings! A big part of selling antiques is learning how not to look back after a sale is complete.
Your Friendly Pawn Shop in San Diego
Are you interested in selling antiques and have an item to pawn? Let our experts at Monte de Piedad take a look at it! We are always interested in new merchandise.
Monte de Piedad was established in 1980, and the SD A List voted our store as the best pawn shop in San Diego for two consecutive years. Our team is dedicated to satisfying our customers with personalized attention to help people through difficult times when faced with financial burdens. Monte de Piedad is proud to buy and sell top-quality merchandise, and we provide our clients with reliable cash loans. Our customers can sell pieces to us in exchange for cash on the spot or pawn items for financial loans. We give a higher value for items put up for collateral, and we charge very fair service fees. Contact us to discuss your antiques and come in for a consultation.