By any measure, antiquing is an underrated pastime. However, with the popularity of television shows about antiques, house flipping, and interior design, the hobby is taking off. And it’s no wonder – the best thing these shows have done is to help people develop an appreciation for older, well-loved items. Finding, cleaning, and having that first, or next, unique item seems to provide a level of fun and satisfaction that can’t be beaten. It is certainly not hyperbole to say that antiquing is the closest most of us will ever get to real-life treasure-hunting!

If you are interested in antiquing, you might be wondering where to find your next great acquisition. If you follow the recommendations of the popular shows and channels about antiquing, your first instinct might be to spend countless hours scouring every flea market, garage sale, and run-down antique store in your area.

However, there is a resource in every community worldwide for fun, high-quality antiquing, including your own neighborhood: the local pawn shop. Your local pawn shop is likely a treasure trove of unique items that would thrill any fan of antiquing, from beginner to veteran. If you are surprised to hear that a pawn shop might have what you are looking for, it is understandable. Pawn shops are the secret weapon of many smart shoppers. However, as with everything else, it is a good idea to arm yourself with helpful knowledge before you begin your search.

At Central Mega Pawn, we want to help you get the most for your money and to enjoy the fun of antiquing. To that end, we have put together this helpful guide to get the most out of your pawn shop explorations. Keep reading to find five essential things that you should know about antiquing at pawn shops.

How do pawn shops work?

First, let’s look at why and how a pawn shop is a great place for antiquing. For starters, pawn shops have long been valuable members of their communities. They provide everything from emergency cash loans to a place for people to easily and quickly sell unwanted valuables. People bring their valuables to their local pawnshops to either sell or pawn, which is how your next great antique found its way to the shelves.

For the purposes of antiquing, pawn shops are valuable to you because they only purchase and stock high-quality items. Unlike places like garage sales, where you must sift through piles upon piles of useless things, your local pawnbroker has already done a great deal of the hard work of deciding what is valuable and what is not.

1. How to Start Your Search

Pawn shops are reflections of their communities. So, before you choose a pawn shop to check out, study its community. For example, in farming communities, you will likely find farmhouse-style antiques at that area’s local pawn shop. This is perfect if your goal is to find a great farmhouse or farm style antique, but it is not ideal if you are looking for something unrelated, such as a vintage typewriter or globe. The more distinct a community, the more likely it is that you will find related items.

2. How to Spot Valuable Antiques

Spotting valuable antiques is vastly different than how people evaluate other items. For example, human imperfections and minor wear often make an antique more valuable than pristine items. You can also know where to look for designer marks on a particular item and use a magnet to determine sterling silver vs. silver-plated metal.

3. Become a Specialist

If you are just starting out in antiquing, you might be in the middle of figuring out what items genuinely speak to you and what your goals are. Below are some popular types of items for antiquing. Each has its own rubric for determining its rarity and value. Some are even more likely to have documentation on its origins and history.

  • Wood
  • Rugs
  • Art
  • Silver
  • Porcelain and ceramics

Becoming knowledgeable about what to look for in a particular type of item will arm you with a valuable resource when looking for genuine antiques.

4. Trust Your Gut

Always trust your gut when deciding on buying an antique, regardless of the circumstances. If something seems a little off about an item, it is usually the right decision to walk away, even if you feel conflicted. Sure, you might miss out on a unique item, but your peace of mind is not worth sacrificing. Plus, one of the great things about antiquing is that there is always something new and different around every corner. Also, keep in mind that trusting your gut goes for good feelings as well! If you have a great feeling about an item, be sure to pick it up!

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate

Sometimes, people are too intimidated to haggle or negotiate at a pawn shop. This might be because pawn brokers are professionals, or due to what people see in the media, but dealing with a pawn broker does not need to be a stressful experience. After all, unlike many sellers at flea markets or garage sales, pawn brokers do not overvalue their items. Also, pawn brokers are used to haggling! They will not take it personally and will not be offended if you decide to walk away.

At Central Mega Pawn, we love taking the difficult part out of antiquing! You can rest assured that every item you find in our shop has been verified to be authentic to the best of our professionals’ abilities. We run a clean and well-organized shop so that you can quickly find what you’re looking for, which is unlike most antique stores that charge a premium for their items. We are picky about what things we purchase and sell and are proud to offer you a great central location in the Inland Empire for all your antiques, relics, and collectibles. Visit us online or in-person and see how we can quickly become your secret weapon for your antiquing!