How to Pawn or Sell Precious Metals: Gold

February 05, 2020 - Jewelry & Luxury Items

Buying and selling gold is a big business on a global scale.

Pawn shops play a big role in connecting regular people with it. The first thing you should know about selling gold is that you won’t get the global “market value” for an ounce of gold. That market value is for gold ready to be sold like an ingot – but a lot has to be done to gold before pawn shops and other jewelry stores can sell it, particularly smelting.

Dealers pay the smelter, someone who melts the gold, up to 30 percent of the value to refine the precious metal, which creates a margin pawn brokers must be able to exceed. Another reason why sellers get a scrape of their gold’s market value is the purity of the gold. Some gold items are more precious than other gold items, influencing value. Now that you understand these nuances, we’d like to offer you a few tips for when you try pawn or sell your gold.

Do not clean or polish

It’s okay to dust off or wipe away dirt with a damp paper towel. Do not, under any circumstances, try to polish your gold. Polishing your gold can take away some of the gold, which will result in loss of weight and a lower valuation. You’re already not getting the full market value on your gold item, so no need to doing something like polishing your gold – that will decrease your offer price even further.

Look around

You’re not going to get the same offer from every pawn shop or jewelry store you go to, so it’s a good idea to look around and try to get the best offer possible. Take your gold to a reputable local jeweler or pawn shop and ask them to estimate its value. That way, you’ll at least have  a base price in hand before you solicit online bids or other offers. Of course, the fastest way to do that is to submit your item to PawnGuru – and we’ve seen variance of up to 1000% on offers for jewelry items.

Check for buyer legitimacy

Beware of fake buyers that look legit with their advertisements. These fake buyers will most of the time set up shop in a hotel ballroom and will either not pay you or underpay you for your gold. Ask a potential buyer to show you his credentials: if he’s legitimate, he’ll be licensed by the state to buy gold. He will also be required by law to ask you, the seller, to produce a driver’s license, passport, or some other form of government-issued identification. Again, stick to PawnGuru – you’ll know you’re dealing with a reputable, licensed storefront.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, email the PawnGuru team at We’re eager to help!
David Stiebel
David Stiebel

David Stiebel is one of the cofounders of PawnGuru. David was educated at MIT, where he studied Math. He subsequently worked at Bain as a data scientist before starting PawnGuru in 2015. He started PawnGuru to build a better tool for pawn shops and consumers to connect.

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