How to Sell My Stuff to a Pawnshop

Be prepared to play the negotiations game at a pawn shop.

Be prepared to play the negotiations game at a pawn shop.

Telling a pawn shop dealer the extent of your emotional attachment to the items you want to sell isn't just worthless, idle chatter. Instead, it lets the pawn dealer know how much the items mean to you and lowers the chances of him pitching you an insulting offer. Unfortunately, a pawn dealer will try to get your items for as little as possible. Bottom line: The more you know about how the pawn game works, the better you'll do when it comes to the cash payout from selling your items.

Research what your items are worth before you visit the pawn shop. For example, if you have what you consider a valuable piece of jewelry, take it to a reputable jeweler or two and ask for an appraisal. Look on online auction sites to find out sales prices for items similar to yours. Knowing what your items are worth can keep you from making the mistake of selling them for a price that's way under their value.

Decide what is the lowest price you will take for each of your items. If you have a bottom price in mind, you are less likely to get ripped off by the pawn shop.

Clean, polish or repair your items so they are in the best condition possible.

Visit several pawn shops and see what each has to offer you. Different pawn shops might value your items in different ways. You might find that you can make more money if you split up your items and sell them at different shops.

Negotiate, but don't make the first offer. The pawn dealer will most likely ask you what you want for each item. Don't answer. Instead, ask him what he's willing to give you and negotiate from his offer. If you make the first offer, the pawn dealer will likely lowball you on the price. For instance, if you have a piece of jewelry that's valued at $1,000 and you ask for $1,000, the pawn dealer will likely try to acquire it from you at half of it's value. However, if you let him make you an offer, it's more likely his offer will be closer to the item's value because he won't want to insult you.


  • Don't trust the pawn shop appraiser's opinion on the value of your item. If he's connected to the pawn shop, it's likely he's going to give customers appraisal information that benefits the pawn shop.
  • Research pawn shops in your area through online services such as the Better Business Bureau or consumer review sites to find out how a business ranks with customers. Go to shops that have the best reviews and the most satisfied customers.
  • High-end items sell better at pawn shops than those that are inexpensive to buy in retail stores or have lost value over time.


  • Don't tell pawn shop dealers how much you paid for your items. It's none of their business.
  • Consider the existing condition of your item when valuing it. For instance, a computer tablet that has scratches and dings will be worth less than one that looks brand new.

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About the Author

Based in Texas, Cynthia Measom has been writing various parenting, business and finance and education articles since 2011. Her articles have appeared on websites such as The Bump and Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.

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