As we’ve said before, if you have an item that you’re sure would fetch a good price at the market, but you need the money right away, the best way to do that is by pawning the item! But how do you figure out if your item is valuable before pawning it?

1) Pawning Jewellery? Make Sure It’s Real

For a variety of reasons, costume jewellery is a very popular item in people’s houses. For some it’s to preserve their expensive pieces; For other people, it’s a bit of insurance against theft.  However, costume jewellery just isn’t all that valuable. But that doesn’t decrease its prevalence, and so it’s important to know how to tell costume jewellery from real jewellery.

If it’s made from precious metal?

Hold a magnet over top of it. Copper and other cheap metals like aluminum are not magnetic. Precious metal, like gold and silver, will always react to the magnet.

If it has precious stones?

When a stone is set, the metal is bent around the stone in an artistic way. Fake stones are usually glued in place, and are not enclosed in metal settings.

To discern jewellery’s value, search the internet for the current value of the metal and stones, and scale it to the size of the piece.

2) Pawning Collectibles? Check Their Rarity

The most valuable baseball card is a Honus Wagner card owned by hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky. Its valuable due to the fact that there are very few of these cards in this condition, let alone with such a famous owner. If you’re looking to pawn a collectible item, it’s important to both have hard data on the rarity of the item, and to deal with a pawnshop who would understand the value of that collectible.

3) Pawning An Instrument? Check Its Year

No two guitars are alike, even if they come from the same factory on the same day. But a much bigger disparity is seen over a year or decades. One notorious example is that Fender guitars made during the timeframe when they were owned by CBS (1965 to 1985) were often made with cost saving measures in mind that affected the playability and aesthetics of the guitar. As a result, most of these guitars are worth less than those made before or after. Learning whether or not your year was “good” can really help you tell the value of an instrument.

Image Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons