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What Do Pawn Shops Buy? 5 Items That Give the Most Cash

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Whenever the idea of pawning items comes up, we’re often mostly reminded of the remarkable reality show Pawn Stars.

While it’s intriguing to watch the Harrison family buy and sell artifacts, there’s also the biggest takeaway of how and what do pawn shops buy.

On the show, items from guns to rare bird eggs are exchanged for cash, which means you can sell anything at a pawn shop as long as you can prove its worth. 

In this article, we highlight five in-demand items (you probably never knew their worth) you can exchange at a pawn shop to get cash fast. 

For extra value, we also explained some secret steps to haggling at the pawn shop for the best rates on your items. 

Let’s Start Here: What’s a Pawn Shop?

A pawn shop, handled by a pawnbroker, is a business that offers cash to people in exchange for valuable merchandise (the pawn).

Besides buying a valuable item, a pawnbroker sells used goods to interested buyers or offers fast cash loans to individuals who submit valuable items as collateral. 

So, in a nutshell, pawnbrokers buy or sell merchandise and offer pawn loans.  

While these three businesses happen daily in a local pawn shop, we’ll only focus on what you can sell to a pawnbroker. 

5 Items You Can Sell to a Pawnbroker for Quick Cash

Pawnbrokers accept any item, but well, any item with good market value. 

We’ll highlight some below.

Precious Metals

Precious metals have many vital uses across several industries, making them one of the high-demand pawn items in most pawn shops. 

Besides their uses, these types of metals are rare and non-renewable, which means they can’t be originally reproduced. Their prices can go higher in coming years, so most pawn shops pay a good amount for them. 

However, while these metals have immense global importance, some have limited uses in fields like space applications. For example, a precious metal like Osmium has fewer manufacturing applications, so you might have a bit of a challenge finding a pawn shop to sell it. 

Mostly, if it’s not gold or silver, the other precious metals you can sell off quickly are platinum and bronze. 

Precious metals you can sell or pawn

  • Gold and silver bars 
  • Gold jewelry 
  • Silver Jewelry 
  • Gold coins 
  • Silver coins 
  • Gold/silver kitchenware, decor, etc.

We can also add precious stones, like diamonds and emeralds, to this list.

How Much Can I Sell My Precious Metals?

Pawn shops determine the value of precious metals based on three things. 

  • The percentage purity of the metal (karat)
  • The face value
  • The weight 

Since these metals are rare, producers mix them with alloys to meet market and production demand, hence, reducing the karat.

Metals with higher karat have more face value. For instance, a gram of 24k gold of 99.9% purity costs about $63, while a 22k or 18k (i.e., 91% and 75% purity, respectively) will cost less. 

After finding the original value of your pawn, you can bargain above 60% of the market price. So, you can get an average of $400 for a 24k gold bar of 10 grams. 

Note that the calculation might be a little different for jewelry. 

Designer or Luxury Goods 

Getting designer handbags or luxury watches doesn’t hurt, but selling them at a pawn shop can be a good idea when things become difficult.

While popular brands update their collection to create new markets for themselves, fans who couldn’t afford it when in vogue might still be interested in buying it later for a lower price. 

This means your old designer or luxury goods still have some value. 

How Much Can I Sell My Designer and Luxury Goods 

When it concerns fashion, we perceive value based on timing. 

Some vital questions to note include:

  • When was the design produced? 
  • Is it a limited edition, and how many others are available?

The answers to these questions can differentiate between a $200 and a $2,000 offer. 

For instance, if you have the 1927 Rolex Oyster, the same one worn by Mercedes Gleitze or Malcolm Campbell, you can sell it for at least $5,800 compared to the 2021 model, which can go for half that price.


When you exchange your old machines for money at a pawn shop, you can make a few hundred dollars on them. This is because those items contain parts that are likely more expensive to reproduce, or they can be restored to appear as new and resold for a fair price. So, there are chances you’ll have a decent deal. 

Machines you can sell or pawn

  • Power tools, such as drills, saws, and sanders
  • Lawn and garden equipment, such as a riding lawn mower and hedge trimmer
  • Home appliances, such as flat screen tv and washing machines
  • Electronics, such as televisions and computers
  • Musical instruments, such as guitars and amplifiers
  • Sports equipment, such as treadmills and stationary bikes
  • Office equipment, such as printers and copiers
  • Medical equipment, such as mobility aids and blood pressure monitors
  • Video game consoles, such as Xbox and PlayStation
  • Digital cameras and photography equipment

How Much Can I Sell My Machines

The value of your machine will depend on whether it’s damaged or in good condition. 

For damaged machines, a pawnbroker will check if it’s repairable, else they check if any vital parts have potential value. While these can affect how much you get, you can likely lose the deal if none of the options work well. 

However, even if the machine is in good working condition, other factors like physical blemishes and repaired parts can affect the price. 

It can be hard to assume an amount from here, but you should be able to get within $200 to $10,000, depending on the machine and its condition. 

Musical Instruments 

If you’re a musician with some old instruments you want to upgrade or just found your high school violin while moving house, you can sell them off at a pawn shop for quick cash. Pawnbrokers resell these instruments to others who may not be fit to afford a new one. 

Musical instruments you can sell or pawn

  • Guitars (acoustic and electric)
  • Bass guitars
  • Drums and percussion instruments
  • Keyboards and digital pianos
  • Wind instruments, such as flutes, trumpets, and saxophones
  • Stringed instruments, such as violins, violas, and cellos
  • Amplifiers and speakers
  • DJ equipment, such as turntables and mixers
  • Microphones and recording equipment
  • Accessories, such as cases, stands, and cables

How Much Can I Sell My Musical Instruments 

Like selling off machines, the amount will depend on the condition of the musical instrument. It’s better to have it in good working condition to get a desirable price for your pawn. This way, you can get between $100 to $5,000.

Artifacts and Collectibles 

On a scale of one to ten, artifacts and collectibles are on the tenth for most-priced pawns. 

An artifact is an object made by humans and has traces of cultural, artistic, or historical significance. It can be a piece of artwork, a historical artifact, or an antique possessing high value due to its rarity or historical significance.

These features pique the interest of pawn shop owners, as they can potentially sell them to collectors or auction houses. 

Artifacts and collectibles you can sell or pawn

  • Collectible coins and currency
  • Vintage and antique firearms
  • Historical documents and autographs
  • Antique and vintage jewelry
  • Vintage and collectible toys
  • Sports memorabilia and trading cards
  • Antique and vintage books
  • Antique and vintage musical instruments
  • Vintage and collectible clothing and accessories
  • Antique and vintage pottery and porcelain

How Much Can I Sell My Artifacts or Collectibles 

You can’t accurately evaluate the price of a work of art, but you can perceive how much it should be worth based on its age, rarity, condition, provenance, and cultural significance.

Depending on these, you might get nothing less than $500 on your piece. 

How to Get the Best Rates for Your Pawn

Deciding to sell your pawn is one thing, but getting a desirable amount for it is the other side of the coin. Not all pawn shops offer you good money for your pawn because they want to get a good resale value.

Unless you want to give away your items for a lot less than it’s worth, we suggest taking these steps. 

vector graphic showing an illustration of people learning what do pawn shops buy

Step One: Prepare Yourself 

Most people who walk into a pawn shop to sell an item often usually undervalue those items. This is because we mostly see a pawn shop as a place to sell worthless things. 

I mean, who else would buy an old worthless radio?

Pawn store owners understand this ideology– that’s why the first question they ask you is how much you want to sell the pawn. This is, in a way, to allow you to undervalue the pawn, which often works out. 

From the Pawn Stars show, almost every seller received less than the amount the pawn was to sell for or lost the deal. To link this pattern to a reason, we can say it’s due to a lack of preparation. 

The first step to having a better bargain is knowing the value of your pawn and what makes it valuable. 

For instance, knowing the historical background of a collectible and all the fine details to prove its authenticity can increase your chances of a desirable deal. 

Step Two: Prepare the Pawn 

As with most things, value is often usually based on perception. The idea that a thing is valuable depends on how we see, feel, or prove it is. 

For example, you’ll barely buy a dusty old bicycle for a penny, but you could pay a thousand bucks for a shiny one. 

It’s so because you can see the former as old and prove it through the dusty covering, but you can appreciate the latter since it’s shiny.

It’s the same idea behind bargaining for a selling price at a pawn shop. You want to create an impression that your pawn is worth good pay, so keep it clean and in good shape. 

If it’s rusty, leave it in white vinegar overnight, then brush off the rusty parts by morning.

And if there are broken parts, amend them before visiting the pawn shop, as these things can increase your chances of getting higher offers. 

Step Three: Appear Confident 

This isn’t the wear-a-suit-and-tie situation—we’re referring to how you present your pawn. 

While some pawn brokers might want to exploit unsuspecting victims by offering them less for their goods, appearing to know the worth of your pawn can make a huge difference. 

Imagine the impression on the broker’s face when you can talk about your pawn with exceeding confidence and proof to back it up. 

The goal is to become a good salesman and show your pawn’s value through physical evidence and history. However, this is only possible when you prepare yourself and the pawn. 

Step Four: Close the Deal

There are two outcomes at the close of a deal – it pulls through, or it doesn’t.

The person who can walk away from a bargain without regrets has the most power. Usually, the pawnbroker occupies this position, but when you know your item’s worth, you can walk away if they’re offering a ridiculous amount.

In a more happy circumstance, you can make more money and walk home with some cash in your hands.

Wrapping Up

Pawn stores buy anything with potential market value, including machines, musical instruments, and artifacts. While you can sell items quickly, not all pawn shops offer you the best rates for them. 

You’ll need to learn about the pawned item, what makes it valuable, its history, and other fine details. This way, you have a better idea of how much the pawn is worth and can bargain a good deal.

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