Friday, 3 February 2012

Parenting for pawn


Soon to be 18, my son is full of it! He wants money for this, money for that, and fancies himself as a bit of a wheeler-dealer. Like every parent, I want to encourage his independence so I try to guide him through the process of making informed choices when buying or selling.

Around 18 months ago, he had a real stroke of luck, picking up a gold bracelet in the US for $40. When he brought it home, I took it straight to the jewellers and had a valuation of £350. Nice one, son (he is nice, my one and only son, and his luck was totally legit)!

My son hung on to the bracelet, and because it did not fit, I suggested that with gold prices rising he might want to keep his investment in an asset that was increasing in value. Last weekend, the opportunity to experience Cash for Gold could no longer wait...

After researching gold prices online, we went to four establishments to consider a sale - one jeweller, one traditional pawnbroker and two cash converting types. My son wisely suggested avoiding a table-top booth in the shopping arcade, where everyone can see your transaction.

The jeweller looked at the bracelet through an eye glass, weighed it and came back with an offer of £345 – less than I had been told it was worth 18 months ago and less than our digital valuation – shame on you, who abuse your profession...

The pawnbroker advised that with so much fake gold on the market, the bracelet would need to be tested, but only if we agreed that a sale could go ahead first. Before shopping around for more information, the bracelet was weighed and a price of £415 suggested.

Cash Converters refused to give a price without testing the bracelet and as this involved scraping and acid by someone who had to refer to several layers of management before confirming a recognisable hallmark, we walked out.

Cash Generators, where we had previously sold a long since abandoned student trumpet, weighed the bracelet, checked the internet and confirmed a price of £12 a gram for 14 carat gold - £288, no questions asked, though to be fair, the valuer is an ex-pupil of mine.

Within less than 500 yards of each other, four gold buyers had offered prices with a difference of £127 – around two weeks rent for a small council or housing association property and top dollar for a budding entrepreneur of 17.

Of key importance to anyone wishing to cash in their assets is knowing that these new style pawnbrokers cut at least 40% off the value of any item you trade. Fine, perhaps, if you’re selling items that a traditional pawnbroker will not buy, but not so fine for serious valuables.

What did we do? Well, despite my best efforts to trade at the start of a week rather than at the end of it, when that Friday feeling takes over, my son could resist the call of filthy lucre no longer. Who am I to criticise? The kid just made £390 profit - #duecredit, son!


Shared by Emma Bryn-Jones, Zero-credit founder and coop director.

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Image: Idea go /

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