What is the Difference Between Pawning and Selling to a Pawn Shop?

Customer selling jewelry to a Pawn Shop
Customer selling jewelry to a Pawn Shop

No one wants to have to sell their things for money if they don’t have to. But sometimes circumstances arise that can put us in a dire financial situation.

Bank loans can take days or even weeks to go through and you may not even qualify. So, what can you do? How do you get the emergency cash you need?

The answer is a pawn shop. 30 million people each year visit a pawn shop in the U.S. to secure some quick cash for unexpected expenses.

But what is the difference between pawning an item at a pawn store and selling it outright?

In this guide, we’ll explain the differences between pawning and selling. We’ll also give some examples of the best items to sell or pawn, so keep reading to discover more.

What is the Difference Between Pawning and Selling to a Pawn Shop?

A pawn loan is also known as a collateral loan. You are offering an item of value to the pawn shop broker for a percentage of its intrinsic value. This item is held as your collateral for a loan of cash paid to you.

When pawning your item, the pawn shop broker keeps the item in the shop that you must pay off the original amount of the loan plus an interest fee in order to get it back. You still have ownership of the item as long as you pay back the loan.

A pawn loan is ideal for someone who may have items of value but cannot get a loan otherwise as it does not require a credit check or lengthy and invasive application. A pawn loan also does not affect your credit score or history.

However, it should be noted that if you are unable to pay back the initial loan amount and accrued interest within a given timeframe, the pawn shop may keep the item to resell.

Selling to a pawn shop is just as it sounds. Unlike a pawn loan where you have the potential to get your item back, selling means you completely relinquish your ownership of the item. When you sell an item in a pawn store, you do not have to pay an interest fee on your item.

Is it Better to Sell or Pawn at a Pawn Shop?

When debating about whether you should sell or pawn at a pawn shop, you need to consider several things before you do it.

The first is to figure out how much money you need upfront. If it is a large amount, a pawn loan may not be for you since you will only get a percentage of the item’s value. According to the National Pawnbroker’s Association, the average pawn loan is $150.

The other thing to consider is how long you have to pay back the pawn loan, plus interest. If this isn’t feasible, you could lose your item altogether to the pawn shop.

If you are pawning family heirloom jewelry, this can be a risky venture since there is a possibility that you may not get it back if you default on paying back the pawn loan. Pawning an item though can be done numerous times to borrow against the item’s value, whereas selling your item means you can no longer use it for a collateral loan.

Do You Get More Money Pawning or Selling?

When pawning an item, the amount you receive can vary based on the overall value of the item and what the pawn shop is willing to pay. This rate depends on the pawn shop but typically, it is about 25 to 60% of the resale value for the item.

Selling an item also nets a higher price you receive for the item. This is much more than what you can expect to get if you attempt to sell it online. Pawn shops are trained in appraising an item’s value based on its condition, resale value, and rarity.

Best Things to Pawn To Get Quick Cash: What Do Pawn Shops Buy?

Pawn shops will buy most anything as long as it is in good condition and still has a high resale value. The best items to sell include estate valuables, gold items, jewelry, diamonds, and watches.


Gold Bracelet
Gold Bracelet

Gold is as good as gold when it comes to selling to a pawn shop with its price per ounce at nearly $2,000. Gold buyers know that gold holds and even appreciates in value over time. This means any item made from gold like gold necklaces, gold bracelets, gold rings, gold collectibles, and other types of gold jewelry are valuable assets.

Brands like Gucci, Chanel, and Bulgari use high-quality solid gold. Even if they are broken, these items can be melted down by gold buyers so you’ll still be able to get money for their scrap value.


Rolex Watch
Rolex Watch

Omega, Tag Heuer, and Rolex watches are luxury brands that watch buyers covet. Even if you only get a percentage of their total value, it will still be a lot of money since a used Rolex can net a hefty price when re-sold due to its high increase in demand recently.

A trained pawnbroker will be able to determine its true value based on the specific model and its condition.


Diamond Wedding Set
Diamond Wedding Set

Diamond brands like Cartier and Harry Winston are the leaders in the industry so their name alone is popular with diamond buyers.

You can expect to get about 25% to 50% of a diamond’s original value compared with its resale value. The color, cut, clarity, and carat of the diamonds influence their true value.


Stone Pendant

Gold and platinum jewelry are valuable because precious metals can actually increase over time. High-end bracelets, rings, and necklaces from fine jewelry brands such as Tiffany & Co. and Van Cleef & Arpels that are made from materials like white or yellow gold and platinum will have a high resale value.

Van Cleef & Arpels resales for up to 86% of its original retail price. Any silver jewelry, even if it is broken, has resale value since silver appreciates and holds its value, so silver buyers are always looking for high-quality silver pieces.

Estate Valuables

Estate Valuables
Estate Valuables

Inherited estate items can also be a great source to find some extra quick cash when sold to a pawn shop. A full set of Lenox silver flatware could net between $800 to $1,200 from silver buyers if it is in good condition.

Other items may include collectibles, rare memorabilia, and artwork. As well as musical equipment and sporting goods. Coin collections can also fetch a pretty penny.

Vases from Waterford that are rare or antique could still be worth $4,000 or more in pristine condition. This is not a guarantee, however.

Finding a Pawn Shop in NYC

Looking for a Pawn Shop in NYC? Come to NYC Luxury Pawn Shop in Manhattan, NY for all of your selling and pawning needs.

Unlike other collateral loan processes and item selling platforms, you can have your item appraised and receive your cash in as little as 15 minutes. That’s right. Cash in hand in just 15 minutes.

You can even get your items appraised online before you come into our store. Fill in some information and upload your pictures for a free item appraisal.

Use our Online Jewelry Appraisal Calculator or stop by our pawn shop in New York, NY today.

More Helpful Pawn Shop Articles:

Pawn Shop Loan Agreement
Pawn Shop Loan Tips

Pawn Shop buys gold

Gold Buyers – Selling Your Gold

Share this post