Sponsored by Oregon Business

High prices, bad economy create gold rush for pawnshops

| Print |  Email
Wednesday, April 01, 2009

STATEWIDE Near record-high gold prices are drawing growing numbers of cash-strapped Oregonians to the state’s pawn shops with items ranging from the sentimental — pocket watches — to the odd — gold nuggets and dental crowns.

Pawnbrokers across the state are reporting increases in the number of customers looking to sell or get a loan on their gold, silver and platinum, with some stores reporting increases in gold-related business of more than 25%.  

“Everybody in the industry is seeing increases,” says Josh Oller, vice president of Silver Lining Jewelry & Loan in Portland. “We are seeing many more people selling their gold outright, instead of getting loans.”

Faltering international financial markets and a weak dollar have fueled gold’s dramatic $600 jump in value over the last five years, with the commodity reaching over $1,000 an ounce in February. Although the market has corrected slightly during the last month, gold still remains extraordinarily valuable at $900 an ounce.    

For customers — whose gold is valued based on the purity, or karat, and spot gold prices — the stronger the market, the more valuable their pieces. However, pawnbrokers also benefit from high gold prices when it comes time to resell an item or melt it down.  

While much of the gold purchased by pawnshops will be turned around and sold to customers, some of the less valuable or broken pieces, or “scrap” gold, is accumulated and sent to a refiner to be melted, says Oller. Depending on how much pure gold the melt produces, pawnbrokers receive a payment for the gold which is usually then reinvested back into the pawnshop to fund additional loans and purchases.  

Pawnbrokers are seeing increased competition from websites such as Like.com and Brokengold.com, which offer similar gold appraisal and purchasing services. But despite increased competition, Oller says that customers generally turn to pawnshops and jewelers first because they can shop around to sell at the highest price and can get cash immediately.              

NICOLE STORMBERG

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

More Articles

Letting Go

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

As baby boomers sell their businesses, too many forget the all-important succession plan.


Read more...

Thy neighbor's house

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Vacasa may lack the name recognition of Airbnb. But not for long.


Read more...

Help Wanted: Poached Jobs aids restaurateurs

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

“We thought there was room for something new.”


Read more...

Beyond Bodegas

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Five years in the making, the Portland Mercado — the city’s first Latino public market — will celebrate its grand opening April 11. A $3.5 million public-private partnership spearheaded by Hacienda CDC, the market will house 15 to 20 businesses in the food, retail and service sectors. It has some big-name funders, including the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and JPMorgan Chase. The project goals are equally ambitious: to improve cross-cultural understanding, alleviate poverty and spur community economic development. 


Read more...

ZoomCare rolls out new on-demand health clinics

News
Monday, March 02, 2015
zoomcarethumbBY KIM MOORE |  OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Portland-based healthcare provider ZoomCare said it plans to “remake American healthcare” by expanding its on-demand urgent care model to emergency, surgery, dental and primary care, among others.


Read more...

Where do Portland demographics rank among the largest 50 cities in the US?

The Latest
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
thumbpdxinperspectiveBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The Portland in Perspective study, done by the City Budget Office, was released Tuesday.


Read more...

Downtime with the president of NAI Norris, Beggs & Simpson

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Live, Work, Play: Catching up with Chris Johnson.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS