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 Post subject: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:26 am 
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Ever watch Pawn Stars on History Channel? Silly show but fun to watch, and they occasionally feature interesting old guns. They had a marathon today; one episode featured a Colt model 1861 musket, made in 1863, in apparently unissued condition. They were a bit leery of it, so they called in one of their experts to evaluate the gun. He said it was real, had a New Jersey stamp on the left side of the barrel, but no gov't inspector cartouches on the stock. He thought the stock had been replaced soon after the gun was made, and likely sold off to a state militia. The expert thought the gun was worth $1,200-$2,000. The guys behind the counter offered the owner $700, he decided to keep it. Interestingly, here's one in very good condition at Cabela's, they're asking $4,500 for it:

http://www.cabelas.com/gun-inventory--- ... -leh.shtml



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:02 am 
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That is a fun show to watch, although when an idiot takes 10k for something that could fetch 30k at an auction... Just put the sucker up there, or use EBAY or something...

Gah.

Still like the show and the guys.



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:59 am 
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CombatController wrote:
That is a fun show to watch, although when an idiot takes 10k for something that could fetch 30k at an auction... Just put the sucker up there, or use EBAY or something...

Gah.

Still like the show and the guys.


Well, that's the nature of the pawn game.

They are in the business to loan money, not to buy shit; and if they buy shit, they have to buy it at around half what they think they can sell it for, to make it worth while. At MOST 3/4 what they think they can sell it for, unless it's a high turnover or highly convertible item like gold. Otherwise it's just taking up shelf space.

Not that I think the pawn business is a bastion of business ethics, but the math of it is pretty simple.

Somewhere between 50% and 80% of all pawn loans are redeemed (depending on the category of merchandise pawned, and the location. Low price jewelry is hardly ever redeemed, musical instruments and tools are redeemd at 80% or higher) for a dollar for dollar average redemption rate of around 60%, in an average term of two months, at an average interest rate of 25% per month (simple interest).

On average, a pawn is for 50% of the expected resale value of the item, though for particularly desirable items, or easily saleable items, you might get as much as 75%.

So for the 60% of dollars redeemed, they will make, on average, 50 cents, or $0.30 net per dollar loaned.

The remaining 40% is a little more complicated.

Other than gold, guns, gemstones, musical instruments, and tools; most unredeemed pawn merchandise of any value (dvds always do well, bought at $0.50 and sold for $2, but they take up more shelf space than they're worth) goes unsold, and after 90-365 days (depending on how busy a shop is and how much space they have) is resold at well below "expected resale" value to jobbers, recyclers, or over ebay. They recover on average $0.25 on every dollar loaned.

On the easy turnover items, they recover on average $0.75 on every dollar loaned.

Overall, it works out to about $0.50 recovered for each unredeemed dollar loaned, or a $0.20 net loss for every dollar loaned (40% of dollars loaned are unredeemed at a loss of $0.50 per dollar, equal $0.20 per dollar loaned).

On average, this works out to about $0.10 gross profit on every dollar loaned.

The same equation works out for purchased items. Overall, long term they end up making about $0.10 actual profit per dollar (that's after buying items at $0.50 to $0.75 on the dollar).

All of this isn't because the pawn guys are bad at estimating what they can sell a product for; it's just because so much of their inventory goes unsold until it is discounted massively. There just isn't that much market for the goods they sell.

As you can see, the money isn't in the goods, it's in the loans. The goods just help to partially offset the losses on unredeemed loans.

You might assume that a pawnbroker who ONLY deals in guns, gold and gems, watches, musical instruments, tools, and current generation consumer electronics might be better off; because after all, they get most or all of their money back on those; and other than gold and gems (which they may actually make a profit on given melt value) they have a very high redemption rate.

You'd be wrong. Oh, most pawnbrokers won't actually BUY anything for resale that doesn't fit into those categories; but they would be fools to turn away all the loans on that other stuff.

Again, the money isn't in the goods, it's in the loans. People pawn their computers, their stereos, their TV's... Merchandise that can't easily be sold makes up a lot of a pawnbrokers business, and he makes his money on the loan. Even that relatively low redemption stuff generally redeems above 50% and the more money the pawnbroker has out, the cheaper his money cost is, and the more money he makes for every dollar loaned.

This all assumes worst case of course; which is what you base your business case on. On individual items, particularly good deals etc... they might make 100% on the dollar.

This makes a good year in a pawnshop something like a 25% gross profit year.



Any small business owner will tell you, 25% gross profit on a per dollar revenue basis sounds nice, but expenses add up. Net profit ends up being a lot less. Insurance and underwriting fees take up a lot. Money cost (most pawnbrokers leverage their own cash with other peoples cash on a commercial brokerage paper basis, because they don't have enough loan capitol to make real money given the margins) eats up another percentage (highly variable these days). Then there's staff cost, floorspace costs, licensing, taxes...

Unless a pawnbroker loans out entirely their own cash (gold and silver pawn - the pawn stars guys - are self financed), they aren't making any more than any other small business... at a higher risk than most.

There's a lot of money in the pawn business, no doubt; but it's not the consumer screwing money making machine some people seem to think it is.



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:12 am 
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My grandfather was partners with folks doing pawn work and he was their resident gemologist, doing appraisals and such. For a LONG TIME he used to bitch to any of us family who'd listen that the money wasn't in the gems and jewelery, but instead it was in working the pawn side of the business!!

I can't recall just how many time he'd whine and bitch about his other partner making so much money while he just made a few buck off of the appraisals. The pawn side was making money hand-over-fist while he was just scraping by.

There's some SERIOUS money to made in pawn, IF YOU FOLLOW THE RULES and do everything legally - otherwise you extra winnings will be absorbed in attorney fees when your court case comes around.

It simply isn't worth it to break the law if you're involved in pawn dealings. If you LIKE dealing with regulatory agencies and police agencies going through all your records on a regular basis, then perhaps working a pawn shop is for you.

There's a SERIOUS price to be paid for being in this business, and it not about graft and corruption - more like zoning laws and other restrictions on just WHAT you may or may not have inside your pawn shop - ESPECIALLY if you're within 1000 feet of a school.

Just be aware of ALL the hurdles if you decide to do something like this.



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:26 am 
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CByrneIV wrote:
They are in the business to loan money, not to buy shit; and if they buy shit, they have to buy it at around half what they think they can sell it for, to make it worth while. At MOST 3/4 what they think they can sell it for, unless it's a high turnover or highly convertible item like gold. Otherwise it's just taking up shelf space.


You guys would have heart attacks if you heard what the typical markup is for used industrial machinery - from buying it at auction, to final sale. 400% isn't uncommon.


HTRN



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:36 am 
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HTRN wrote:
CByrneIV wrote:
They are in the business to loan money, not to buy shit; and if they buy shit, they have to buy it at around half what they think they can sell it for, to make it worth while. At MOST 3/4 what they think they can sell it for, unless it's a high turnover or highly convertible item like gold. Otherwise it's just taking up shelf space.


You guys would have heart attacks if you heard what the typical markup is for used industrial machinery - from buying it at auction, to final sale. 400% isn't uncommon.


HTRN



Sounds like the markup for musical instruments and jewelery.



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:38 am 
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HTRN wrote:
CByrneIV wrote:
They are in the business to loan money, not to buy shit; and if they buy shit, they have to buy it at around half what they think they can sell it for, to make it worth while. At MOST 3/4 what they think they can sell it for, unless it's a high turnover or highly convertible item like gold. Otherwise it's just taking up shelf space.


You guys would have heart attacks if you heard what the typical markup is for used industrial machinery - from buying it at auction, to final sale. 400% isn't uncommon.


HTRN


Gold and diamonds often have 1000% or higher markups when sold at retail.

The single largest purchaser of goods from pawn shops? Independent local jewelers.

Pawnbrokers typically buy pieces at 50% to 75% melt value; and do not give gem value for anything under .125 carats. They then sell what pieces they can, at 10% over melt to local jewelers, or to jewelry remarketers (who sell pawned jewelry in large lots to stores in other markets).

The second largest purchasers from pawn shops? gold melters, gem buyers, and jewelry makers (often the same people).

If you sell, or fail to redeem a pawned piece of diamond and gold jewlery; within 7 days of coming off restriction (some states it's the day after failure to redeem, some states it's up to 1 year) it will be either resold to a jeweler, or melted down; unless the guy thinks he can sell it for at least three times what he paid for it, within a year.



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:20 pm 
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Thanks Chris, but my comment was not about the pawn broker but about the idiots who let stuff go when they could maximize their profit. I think it's the whole being on TV thing and feeling the pressure of "needing" to make a deal.



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:22 pm 
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Oh, I know most of the pawned jewelry(and quite a bit of the cheap gold that is bought by Jewelers too) winds up at the smelters(who typically pay somewhere around 75% of the spot market).

But the machinery business is up there - a typical 1500 buck 2J BP is sold at 4 grand or so "retail". I've seen stuff bought for a coupla hundred bucks, turned around and sold for thousands, before it even leaves the auction. Much of it comes down to the buyer will pay, because he can make even more money using the machine.


HTRN



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:03 pm 
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Yeah, but often its still vastly less than new - I've paid more for one valve, than the man paid for the entire store room of them, and was happy to do so (I was looking at something else when they auctioned off the valves.) - I still managed to by a 2" 3-way dairy valve for $100, so I was ecstatic. I think I paid the same man $150 for a check valve - not the right name, but it functions in a similar fashion.



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:44 pm 
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CombatController wrote:
Thanks Chris, but my comment was not about the pawn broker but about the idiots who let stuff go when they could maximize their profit. I think it's the whole being on TV thing and feeling the pressure of "needing" to make a deal.



Oh no I got that, I just wanted to hit the other side, what a "lowball offer" really means.

When people go to pawn shops to sell something, it's usually because they need the money that day. It creates a pressure for them all on its own.

Next most often, it's people trying to get rid of something they have some notion "is valuable" but they don't want, can't use, don't have room for etc...

In neither case, do the folks generally have a good idea of what their item could be expected to resell for.

People do this in pawn shops constantly. They come in with no real idea of what something is worth, just a number in their head of what they "need to get".

When the pawnbroker shatters their illusion of value by giving them a MUCH lower number, they tend to either stupidly stick to their original number or close to it, get huffy about it and leave, or they have no real intellectual and logical basis for setting a realistic value, so they default down to whatever the pawn broker is offering, plus some round number.

The most "fun" ones, are those who have had jewelry "professionally appraised". Jewelry appraisal is essentially a scam to maintain the high markups of retail jewelers, with a little insurance scam on the side.

Then when a pawnbroker offers them 1/10th of what the "professional appraise" said the piece was worth, they think they're getting ripped off. They go and try to find a jeweler who will buy their piece for 75% appraised value... then 50%... then 25%.... They MIGHT find someone who will buy it for 25% of appraised value, if it's an exceptional piece, in a common size, and they hunt around a while.... Most of the time they end up feeling scammed by their jeweler, and back at the pawnshop.

Another one is the "auction value" appraisal... which is usually about twice what an item less than around $5k can be expected to sell for in a resale environment, or at least 20% more than big ticket items.

We're not talking ebay type auctions here, we're talking about your classic art/antique etc... auction, which has fees, and timelines, and lots of other issues associated with them.

Auction valuations are based on what other similar items went for over the past two years, but often have very little connection to reality, and are generally used as a negotiating tool, or for insurance purposes.

I have never walked into a pawn or resale shop not knowing what I intended to sell to them would resell for. If I got an offer I thought was reasonable given the value of the item, and my needs at the time, I took it. If not, I either went somewhere else, or I sold the item through another venue.



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:05 pm 
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After reading this thread, now I'm going to feel even more confused about trying to get a reasonable price on a custom engagement ring at the jewelers. Ug... :?



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:58 pm 
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My suggestion on that is: A) Call someone knowledgable about stones - if need be, send me an email, there are some family friends in the jewelry business. B) Find someone who can actually make what you want - they may want you to buy the stones from them. C) If he makes what you want, pay him, and forget the price.

On something custom, the most important thing has to be getting what you want done, the way you want. Don't tell him to cut corners, just order it done right, and forget the price once its done. You'll be much happier.



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:43 pm 
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Quote:
Pawnbrokers typically buy pieces at 50% to 75% melt value


HA!!! The place I frequent starts their offers out at 18% and will go no higher than 25% of melt value.That is still higher than any of the "we buy gold" places.

There is a shop local to me that is one of the few places that carries primers and powder. Their prices are fair and the guy behind the counter is a regular on the local shooting forums. Their transfers are cheap too. So I stop in every few weeks to say hello and see what is new. It isnt much let me tell ya.

Anyways, last time I was in there, a few months ago, his ENTIRE wall of TVs was bare. So I asked about it. His reply: "It is tax time, we will get 90% of them back in 6 weeks"

:lol: :lol: :lol:



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:00 pm 
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I should clarify, They buy GOOD gold, and GOOD pieces, at 50-75% melt value.

Junk gold, and anything under 10 grams, they'll offer $0.15 on the dollar.



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:06 pm 
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Getting back to the show..... I really like Pawn Stars. They get some great stuff in. I especially like watching when they go out to test some pieces. Old guns, old cannons, old motor bikes. Even gliders. Usually they let Chumley test it out. It is a good thing they have lots of open area to test it in. :lol: :lol:



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:06 am 
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JustinR wrote:
After reading this thread, now I'm going to feel even more confused about trying to get a reasonable price on a custom engagement ring at the jewelers. Ug... :?


Just hope the intended engagee doesn't read the forum... ;) Unless she already knows you're going to ask, of course.



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:14 pm 
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Buy a man made diamond. Diamond Nexus labs, for instance, has 1 carat rings starting in the 400 buck range, and they basically top out at at under 2500 bucks.

If you want to get really sappy - next time she visits the hairdresser, get some of her hair, mix it with some of yours, and have a lab make a Memorial Diamond from it - An eternal representation of devotion.

Just don't blame me when all that saccharine platitude gives you diabetes, or a heart attack at the prices. :lol:


HTRN



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:55 pm 
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JustinR, I was real happy with Collections in Saginaw. I provided the gold and the diamonds and they built her engagement and wedding rings, and my ring, too, although I haven't seen it yet, for less than a grand. We used her great grandmother's, grandmother's, mother's, my great grandmother's, and my grandmother's rings, and an old necklace of my mom's and melted them all down and used the diamonds from them. I drew out the designs for her rings and then they re drew them :) And they were fairly quick, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:11 pm 
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Thanks Gandalf, I'll have to check them out.

Well I already had one wedding set made and proposed, by a supposed "custom" jeweler. In short it was a cluster, with one of the prongs breaking after only a month of wear, and repair job leaving the ring in horrible shape, prompting me to get a full refund. I'm very glad that my gal is so understanding about the whole thing.

LOL @ HTRN...I've heard of those places, but usually where you can turn deceased family members or pets into artificial diamonds. She might kill me if the jeweler loses her favorite dog, so I don't know if I can risk that. :)



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:41 pm 
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http://www.jared.com/webapp/wcs/stores/ ... |10001|-1|



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:07 pm 
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JustinR wrote:
Thanks Gandalf, I'll have to check them out.

Well I already had one wedding set made and proposed, by a supposed "custom" jeweler. In short it was a cluster, with one of the prongs breaking after only a month of wear, and repair job leaving the ring in horrible shape, prompting me to get a full refund. I'm very glad that my gal is so understanding about the whole thing.

LOL @ HTRN...I've heard of those places, but usually where you can turn deceased family members or pets into artificial diamonds. She might kill me if the jeweler loses her favorite dog, so I don't know if I can risk that. :)


If you ever go down to Kerrville, Jim Morris is a good man, and does good work.



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 Post subject: Re: Guns Of Pawn Stars
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:33 am 
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Too bad you're so far away, I have a brother in the business and he has THOUSANDS of wax castings to make just about any design you could want.



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