Finding deals at the local pawn shop

December 12, 2011 4:03:17 PM PST
Maybe it's the economy. Maybe it's the reality shows about them. But pawn shops are seeing increased business this holiday shopping season.

Katie Koziar, a Temple student from Reading, had never been in a pawn shop, until today, when she saw a banjo in the window of Society Hill Loan on South Street.

"I was looking at banjos in the past and I didn't think I could afford one and then I came here and literally, when he said only $125, I almost fell over I had to buy it," Koziar said.

Nat Leonard says shops like his have always offered great deals on everything from jewelry to musical instruments to electronics.

"You can never beat the price at a pawn shop," Leonard said.

Leonard sells items he buys outright from owners who need quick cash, along with items that were left as collateral on loans that aren't paid back.

You can buy a digital still camera for $35 to $40, An HD Blu-ray capable video camera with a 30GB memory is selling for $150 And laptops restored to their factory settings are $150 to $200.

If you have a budding musician searching under your tree, there are starter guitars for $70 and a guitar and amplifier for $125.

But the most popular holiday gift item is jewelry. Leonard stocks thousands of pieces of jewelry at deeply discounted prices

"Here's a perfect example. [one] ring just came out of pawn. It's five-carat, She paid $43,000 for it. We're going to take $25,000 for it," Leonard said.

A five-carat multi-diamond cocktail ring that originally sold for $9,500 will sell for about $2,500. A Breitling watch which retailed for about $4600 can be yours for $2,200.

Here's a little note: The prices on the jewelry at this pawn shop are so low there are retail jewelers who come every week, buy items, and then mark them up to sell for retail.

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