What do pawn shops buy? Oh good question! Unfortunately there is no ‘One size fits all’ answer that will apply to every single pawn shop out there.
The best way to know what you local pawn shop will buy is to call them and ask.
I get 20+ calls a day from people asking us what we take in.
There’s nothing wrong with that and in fact its good to know exactly what to bring so that you don’t waste a trip down there.
With that having been said, there are some common things that virtually every pawn shop buys to one degree or another.
You should consider taking one of these items (or a few of them if you have them) with you to your local pawn shop to see if they can help you through a rough time or if you just want a little extra cash.
Most Pawn Shops Buy Jewelry & Tools
Pretty much every pawn shop that I know of buys jewelry and tools. They don’t buy every kind of jewelry and they don’t buy every kind of tool.
What Kind Of Jewelry Do They Buy?
There are going to be exceptions to this of course, but most pawns shop buy gold jewelry and not much else. Well… platinum if it comes in, but that’s rare to see.
Some pawn shops will buy silver jewelry, but it’s not nearly as common for them to buy that as it is gold jewelry. The reason is pretty simple – gold is worth much more than silver. Because it’s worth so much more, more pawn shops are likely to make loans on it, or buy it outright.
What Kind Of Tools Do Most Pawn Shops Buy?
Typically speaking most pawn shops are looking for professional brand name tools that are easy for them to store or display on a shelf.
That means brands like DeWalt, Snap On, Bosch, Milwaukee, etc. Brands they typically won’t be so happy to deal with would be Ryobi, Craftsman, or Skill. Obviously any off-brand tools probably won’t be as appealing to most shops and therefore you may not have much luck when trying to sell them.
As far as what ‘type’ of tool – the easier they are to store and display, the more appealing they will be. Circular saws, jig saws, power drills all make for good examples of a tool that is easy to store and display.
20 foot long ladders for example are much harder to not jsut store in the building but to display for sale and therefore are something that most pawn shops aren’t as eager to buy.
Typically speaking most smaller pawn shops don’t buy cell phones because they present some unique challenges.
First of all – they are stolen a lot and no pawn shop wants to get involved with stolen merchandise when they can avoid it.
Secondly – they require special knowledge and tools to unlock them and make the available for resale.
Some large ‘pawn chains’ do take them in, but if you don’t have one of those chain stores around you it is less likely that the local pawn shop in your area will buy your cell phone.
DVD and BluRay discs are everywhere. There’s even stores that specialize in just buying and selling DVDs.
But to pawn shops, they are so common and take up so much space that they aren’t always incredibly appealing.
That’s not to say that there aren’t pawn shops that take them, because there certainly are. In fact some shops devote an incredibly amount of floor space to storing and displaying DVDs for sale.
It’s just not a universal type of product for all pawn shops to buy or sell.
Surprisingly this is something that a lot of pawn shops are buying more and more frequently these days.
It’s not uncommon for someone to have to return an item to a store without a receipt. Normally these stores won’t give them cash or credit back without the receipt, but they will often give you a gift card instead.
The down side to this is that criminals will commit return fraud to get gift cards. That means they will steal something just to return it for the gift card that they will later turn around and sell.
So while some pawn shops do buy gift cards, no all do because of this possible shady element.
Printers, Laptops & Other Computer Parts
Depending on how old the laptop, printer or computer equipment is, a lot of pawn shops will take them in. But they have to be ‘current.’
Typically speaking if the laptop, printer or part is too old they will turn it down. Technology moves quickly but none moves more quickly than computer parts. It seems that as soon as you walk out of the store with your new computer it is already outdated.
Because of that fast turn over in technology most pawn shops will shy away from your item if it is more than a couple years old.
This is another piece of merchandise that some pawn shops will buy while others won’t.
Typically speaking if something is a ‘fine’ watch – like Rolex for instance, there are often knock-off’s out there that are very similar to the real watches.
Because of that a lot of pawn shops are nervous about taking this kind of item in. However there are others with highly trained and educated staff that will absolutely take in legitimate fine watches if you were to bring one in.
That having been said, the less expensive the watch – the less likely it is that a pawn shop will take it in.
Besides that, watches don’t sell well for most shops. Typically speaking they can sell 50 or 100 rings in the same amount of time it would take them to sell a single watch.
So because it takes them so long to turn the inventory, most watches aren’t extremely appealing to some pawn shops unless it’s something really special and the pawn shop is trained to identify exactly what the watch it.
A lot of pawn shops will buy newer TVs.
However, once a TV is 4 or 5 years old, the likelihood that they will buy it goes down significantly. At our store, we don’t buy them if they are over 2 years old.
So check the age of your TV by looking at the sticker on the back of it. Then call the shop you plan on taking it to and make sure your TV qualifies with their criteria before you go through all of the hassle of moving it to begin with.
Xbox, PS3 and Video Games
These are hit and miss. Some pawn shops take them, a lot don’t.
The reason is pretty simple – they break. Both the Xbox and the Playstation have pretty poor reliability records and because of that, they aren’t a sure investment for a pawn shop to buy.
As far as the individual games themselves – they are a bit like DVDs. Some shops love them and devote a lot of space to them while other shops won’t take them at all.
This kind of merchandise is certainly worth calling ahead on first. If you do take it in, make sure it’s complete and has all of the cords and controllers. Even 1 missing cord can mean that your system will be turned down.
Guns are a bit of a funny thing with pawn shops.
It seems that every movie portrays a pawn shop as the place a main character goes to buy a gun, but not all pawn shops carry them. In fact far fewer do than you might suspect.
Buying and selling modern guns requires special federal licensing that most pawn shop owners don’t want to get involved with to begin with. In addition, unless the pawn shop is in a very rural area – they don’t sell well anyways.
Then there is always the concern about what someone walking into a pawn shop with a gun really wants to do with it. Do they want to pawn it, sell it, or rob the place?
So with guns it is particularly important to call ahead, no exceptions. If you don’t and you walk into the wrong pawn shop with a gun – you may find yourself starring down the barrel of one of their guns instead.
The Nerd’s Experience
In my experience, it is always best to call ahead with anything you might have that’s not gold or a professional quality tool.
Even if it is something that the pawn shop might take in regularly, like a new TV – they may not currently have the room to store it. So do yourself a favor and spend the 30 seconds it will take you to call ahead. Doing so can help you avoid a wasted trip if they don’t take your item or have room to store it.
And with that having been said…
That’s A Wrap!
Hopefully you have a better idea of what and why pawn shops buy certain items. If you have any questions or comments, just leave them for me below and I’ll be happy to get back to you.
Also please share this post with your friends!
The Head Nerd
WordPress junkie, music lover, and consumer of all things pizza-oriented. I’ve run pawn shops and check cashing operations for years. I developed the most successful digital marketing marketing strategy for pawn shops known to date, and flip items on eBay for fun.