Pawn 101: HIgh value pawns

At Bloomberg News, there’s a interview at Borro, a London pawn shop that brags it services the well-to-do. The owner says, “Where else can you get 50,000 pounds” on the same day?

Well, actually, you could do that at Kamaaina Loan, except we deal in dollars not pounds.

A $50,000 pawn is not that unusual. On Maui with its population of 150,000, we don’t do as many $50,000 loans as Borro might in London, with its population of over 10 million.

But a $50,000 loan is very doable, if you have the collateral. A couple of Rolexes might d — we have customers who have more than a couple of Rolexes.

We have lately opened a private transaction room to handle these big loans, and also to make it more convenient to do estate appraisals, which take some time.

But a $50,000 pawn loan? That doesn’t have to take much longer than a $50 pawn loan.

Call 242-5555 to make an appointment for your $50,000.

Pawn 101: Domestic science in the pawnshop

Pawnbroking, by definition, involves used stuff, which means dealing with wear and tear and dirt. We clean jewelry and steam diamonds, for example.

Here’s a simple way to deal with dents in your sterling silver hollowware (or gold hollowware, in the rare event you have any of that):

Recently we bought a Tiffany sterling water pitcher with a thumb-size dent in the body, probably from dropping on the floor. Pushing the dent out was easy — just roll a hard sphere back and forth from the inside.

We used a billiard ball.

Pawn 101: Market St. is not Canal St.

Canal Street in Manhattan, just below Union Square, is a famous, or infamous shopping district where you can find knockoffs of Prada, Gucci, Coach and every other kind of high-end designer merchandise.

At Kamaaina Loan, we make loans on (or buy outright) Prada, Gucci, Coach and other kinds of high-end designer merchandise. But not if we spot that it came from Canal St., or someplace like it.

Can you spot the knock-off? We have resources that help us tell the authentic goods from the fakes, even if you cannot.

So two points:

1. If you want to borrow $100 against that Louis Vuitton handbag, we can accommodate you, probably, but not over the phone. We have to inspect it to see that it’s the real LV.

That’s why we cannot offer estimates over the phone for anything.

2. If you see a designer watch, bag etc. in one of our 5 retail stores — and at an unbelievably great price — it’s not because it’s a fake. If we sell it, we’ve checked and believe it to be authentic.

Our prices are great because our prices are great

Pawn 101: Why cash for gold?

Because gold is the most universal store of value across all times, nations and cultures.

But that does not mean that some societies don’t prefer other forms of portable wealth: silver, diamonds, cattle (which are self-portable).

Until fairly recent times, most people did not use banks. In our great-grandparents’ day, you didn’t just become a depositor at a bank. You had to have an introduction. Most working people were not welcome in banks.

Times change, but the habit of relying on gold, diamonds or silver as an emergency “savings account” remains strong.

In every community, the pawnbroker is the place where that emergency stash can be converted into legal tender to deal with bills.

(In the next episode of Pawn 101: Introduction to Pawnbroking, we will tell the story of the Provident, a famous pawnshop that did not accept gold, and why.)