Pawn 101: Check under the hood
Here’s a story that every pawn shop operator can give
personal testimony about.
A man brought us a book to see what it was worth.
It was volume 2 of a 2-volume edition of one of
Charles Darwin’s books. Ordinarily, volume 2 is
worth more than volume 1, because 2’s tend to get lost
more often. In this case, however, and on Maui, the
book was virtually worthless.
That’s because a complete set, in excellent condition,
can be had on the Internet for about $50. Given
shipping costs from Maui, and considering how
unlikely it would be to find a volume 1 here; and that
it’s a heavy book, it would cost more to marry volume 2
up with a volume 1 on the Mainland than it’s worth.
However, while the owner was talking about where he
got the book, our assistant was flipping pages. “It’s
worth at least $20,” he told the owner.
Because someone had stuck a $20 Silver Certificate
between the pages.
At last August’s pawnbrokers’ convention, a Mainland
broker told about how a good customer whose husband
had died brought him a fancy hunting knife, hoping
she could get $300 to pay bills.
“I looked under the cotton in the knife box and there
were four one-hundred dollar bills.”