Pawnbroking is no longer the seedy back alley trade it was once seen as, instead it is a thriving and necessary trade that is rapidly expanding. Today there are over two thousand licensed pawn brokers in the UK and last year, according to the National Pawnbrokers Association, the industry grew by a massive eight percent, a huge achievement when business all around were shutting up shop due to lack of trade. So what exactly is a pawnbrokers? How do they work? And what could you use one for?
For all these answers and more keep reading!
A brief history
It is believed that pawnbroking began in the earliest documented ages of the world, and possibly even before. Trading cash for portable yet secure items such as gold jewelry or watches is one of the oldest professions on earth. The pledge system that is now so familiar is believed to have originated in Italy and thereafter spread across the continent. However, in the early days many religions including Judaism and Christianity, forbade charging interest to the poor and as such most pawnbrokers targeted the upper classes for their trade to ensure a profitable business.
The picture today is quite different with the majority of pawnbrokers targeting those with the least amount of disposable income. Most agencies offer short term loans in exchange for portable security. It is then agreed that the items will be held for a set period of time (usually somewhere between seven and ninety days) before being placed for sale in the shop if the customer does not pay back the loan.
Although a recent channel four documentary highlighted a new development in the pawn world, which is really a re-development, more of a return to old times called Posh Pawn. This programme focuses on high end pawnbroking where customers are trading million dollar rings and Lambourghinis.
To use a pawn shop is relatively simple when you know how. Firstly phone the pawnbroker and make sure that your item is of interest to them. When you’re certain it is, prepare the item by cleaning and testing it before taking it into the shop with an amount in mind that you would like to get. Next negotiate the price with the pawnbroker, take your pawn ticket and mark the due date on your calendar. Make sure to collect your items and pay back your loan well before the due date as often last minute mishaps mean you can’t get there in time.