Pawn Shop Tips: How to Find - and Sell - True Treasure

How do you uncover cold hard cash hiding in plain sight? One of Lara Spencer's new favorite "Good Afternoon America" segments "So Not Junk" shows you just that.

TruTV's "Hardcore Pawn" stars, Les Gold and daughter Ashley Broad, are professionals at uncovering the hidden value in items most people consider junk. Gold is a third-generation pawnbroker and owner of American Jewelry & Loan in Detroit. His daughter has been involved with the family business since she was only seven years old.

They stopped by "GAA" Tuesday to see if our audience members had any valuable items. They also gave us a few expert tips on how to walk out of a pawn shop a winner and how to tell if you have any hidden treasures lurking around your home.

When You're at the Pawn Shop:

Leave Your Emotion at the Door

Gold says if you buy things with emotion because you think it has intrinsic value, it doesn't. Emotional ties are never good when it comes to buying or selling your goods.

Go into a Pawnshop with Your Price Point

Going to a pawn shop is a way to save money. Pawn shops get things for less because they're buying them from individuals and prices are typically 70 percent cheaper than retail. Gold says items priced $1,000 at the mall would usually be around $250 to $300 in a pawn shop, so always be prepared with research of comparative retail prices.

Don't be Afraid to Walk Away

When you're trying to purchase something and can't seem to close the deal, walk away. Gold recommends turning around and walking out immediately because there's always another deal waiting in the wings.


The best advice when negotiating? Don't be be afraid. Gold explains that most people are afraid to make a deal. Your question should always be 'how inexpensively can I purchase this?' Be confident. Know your product. Know the value. Just because something is marked $500 doesn't mean it is worth $500. Gold says even at department stores, don't be afraid to ask for a discount. You never know if a sale is starting the next day.

When You're in Your Home Look For:

Glass items

Always look for brand names. Gold recommends Baccarat and Limoge as good glass companies. He also says glass is made everywhere, but the best glass tends to come from France and Italy.

Gold items

Look closely at your jewelry. Gold says if you see HGE (heavy gold electroplate), GP (gold plated) or RGP (rolled gold plated) on the piece, they're worthless. However, if you see 750 (750/1000 gold, which is equal to 18K gold), PT (platinum) or 18K, then you have valuable items.

Silver items

Always check to see if it's sterling silver or silver plated. Gold says plated silver is trash, but sterling silver is the find of a lifetime. He says companies such as Cartier and Tiffany & Co. produce very valuable silver.