The COVID crisis we are experiencing is unprecedented in modern times. Aside from the human toll, it has affected nearly every aspect of life as we know it.
Looking at the past year, we continue to see appreciation of precious metals across the board. Within the past 12 months, gold went from a low of $1270 per ounce to $1574 per ounce currently. Silver experienced its lowest price of the past year at $14.34 per ounce to its highest of $19.57 per ounce. Platinum soared from around $785 per ounce in January of 2019 to around $1015 per ounce in January of 2020.
The world is far from a peaceful, stable place. Geopolitical tensions seem to increase, and then subside, but most every storm has been weathered to some extent or another. Those that believe this to be as cyclical as the weather will allude to the fact that every generation has faced its own set of crises, many of which may have been worse than current events, only to have prevailed and come out stronger as a result. And although this is true, if one examines the broader story arc of where things are going, the big picture does raise some concern.
We all know that pawn shops, ours included, deal in many common commodities. There are firearms, coins, jewelry, tools, home electronics, car audio and many other products you would expect to find at a pawn shop. But one of the most interesting things is that our inventory is always in motion, and by the very nature of a business like this, we sometimes come across unique items that do not fit into our general product categorization.
Most people are at least somewhat familiar with the process of financial bankruptcy. Whether it involves an individual, a business or even a country, when debts rise above one’s capacity to pay those debts, financial insolvency ensues. When people and companies are involved in bankruptcy, lawyers file papers, wave a magic wand, and the debts are resolved while adverse effects take hold on said party’s credit rating. So what happens when a country goes bankrupt?
Gold is a precious metal and fairly rare element that has been used throughout history as a monetary system in the form of coinage, in jewelry and other forms of adornment, and in other arts as well. Although the world monetary gold standard was abandoned in favor of a fiat currency system in the 70s, the value of gold persists and actually continues to grow in spite of this.
“Pawning” is a process in which you bring an item into the pawn shop in exchange for a cash loan. For example, you might pawn a gold ring as collateral for a $150 loan. If you repay the loan by a predetermined date, you can retrieve your gold ring. The loan repayment amount will include interest and fees that are typically regulated by the state. You also have the option to extend the repayment time frame, although this will incur continuing interest. If you fail to repay the money on time, the pawn shop takes ownership of the ring and can offer it for resale. A large percentage of pawned items are reclaimed by their owners, but some are forfeited and thus provide inventory for the pawn shop to sell. Pawn shops also purchase items outright to resell, which is another way to provide clients with the cash they need and to acquire inventory for the store.
Some things in the ‘general market of everything’ hold greater value and appeal than others. Technologies change, fads come and go, and styles evolve to reflect the consumers they target. There are also certain ‘fixed points’ in these markets – goods that are equally desirable, if not more so, at any given time.
Pawn shops get a bad rap. While they certainly offer much-needed items at low prices, they’re not necessarily places of bad business, cheap items and scams. Despite being local establishments, pawn shops have a high amount of resources available. They use these resources to abide by the law, hold competitive rates and uphold community values. We’re debunking the top five myths surrounding pawn shops, one fact at a time.
With the holiday season upon us, giving (and receiving) gifts is part of the cheer during this time of the year. No matter the winter blues, the inconvenient blizzards and the frosty car windows – a cup of steaming hot chocolate and classic holiday movies with the family makes everything right.
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