Home Back Issues April 2009 High prices, bad economy create gold rush for pawnshops

High prices, bad economy create gold rush for pawnshops

| Print |  Email
Archives - April 2009
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

Fork & Bottle

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

National media can’t get enough of Oregon’s pinot noir, artisan-food purveyors and lively, independent film scene.


Read more...

Grape Expectations

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Well-financed outsiders from France and California are buying up vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley.


Read more...

College Conundrum

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

University and college tuition fees have been rising for more than a decade, while state funds for higher education have steadily declined.


Read more...

Tight and Loose

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS

As schools implement more rigorous academic standards, holistic and flexible approaches to K-12 education flourish.


Read more...

Two sides of the coin

Contributed Blogs
Monday, August 25, 2014
0825 thumb moneyBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Ferguson Wellman’s investment views on the economy and capital markets.


Read more...

A Recipe for Success

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Two businesswomen, two iconic food brands and one food-obsessed city. We thought this sounded like a recipe for good conversation. So in late August, Oregon Business sat down with Wendy Collie, CEO of New Seasons Market, and Kim Malek, owner of Salt & Straw, to discuss their rapidly expanding businesses and Oregon’s trendsetting food scene.


Read more...

Innovation: a critique

News
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
1008 innovation thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A Design Week panel discussion raises questions about how innovative we really are.


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