Antiquing at Pawnshops: 5 Things You Should Know

Antiquing at Pawnshops: 5 Things You Should Know

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!

Fake Vs. Fact: How to Avoid Buying Designer Knockoffs – Louis Vuitton Edition

Fake Vs. Fact: How to Avoid Buying Designer Knockoffs – Louis Vuitton Edition

Louis Vuitton is one of the most counterfeited designers out there. Scammers know that there is a massive demand for their bags. With all the different lines that have come out through the years, including canvas monogram, epi, vernis, damier azur, making sure you are buying a genuine article has never been more challenging. Luckily, at Central Mega Pawn, we’ve put together a guide to help you make sure you are spending your hard-earned dollars on genuine Louis Vuitton bags. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to avoid buying knockoff material.

An authentic Louis Vuitton bag always has the following characteristics:

  • High-Quality Materials: Louis Vuitton bags are expensive, partly because they are made out of genuine, costly materials such as top-tier leathers made from boa, crocodile, lambskin, and camel skin. Knockoffs, on the other hand, are easily recognizable by their use of pleather or vinyl, or other material that feels rough or stiff to the touch. A genuine Louis Vuitton bag feels smooth and soft to the touch, thanks to the expert craftsmanship that goes into its construction at every step of the process.
  • Trim: Louis Vuitton trim tans naturally as it ages because it is genuine material. Fakes, on the other hand, have tags that do not age or tan. If you encounter a so-called gently used Louis Vuitton bag with trim that looked worn but not aged, you have not found an authentic piece.
  • Careful Monogram placement: On genuine Louis Vuitton bags, monograms are always consistent. There will be no misalignment or incorrectly cropped monograms, and you will never encounter a seam in the middle of the genuine Louis Vuitton bag.
  • Separate Tags: These are never attached to a genuine Louis Vuitton bag. Keep in mind that even when tags are part of the purchase, they are placed within the purse itself or in the accompanying dust bag. Tags are never attached to genuine Louis Vuitton bags with plastic pins!
  • Genuine Hardware: the hardware on a Louis Vuitton bag is always an indicator of authenticity. Fake purses will very often have painted or decorated plastic tags. In contrast, an authentic piece will have gold, or sometimes, brass metal hardware engraved with Louis Vuitton bags’ trademark logo.
  • Dust Bags: All genuine Louis Vuitton bags come with a soft dust bag. While imitators may try to throw you off with nylon or plastic dust bags, real articles will come with a bag in a soft tan leather that features the trademark LV log in the center.

Do Your Research

As a savvy buyer, you should know about some basic features about the bag you are buying. For example, if you are looking for a bag in the “Speedy” line, you should know that no genuine bag has metal or gold feet on the bottom.

Whenever possible, do your research on the type of bag you are interested in. A knowledgeable buyer will be able to spot the tiny additions or changes that make knockoffs so hard to discern by other buyers.

Beware of Extra Accessories

Many Louis Vuitton knockoffs attempt to con people by throwing in fake accessories along with their counterfeit bag. To this day, authentic Louis Vuitton bags do not come with extra accessories. However, while lines like the Neverfull have the option to add a shoulder strap, it is never included as a standard purchase.

Examine Details Like Handles and Stitching

The high-quality workmanship of genuine Louis Vuitton bags is easy to spot on genuine articles. The handles and stitching are precise and durable. If your potential bag has any loose threads, the chances are good that you’re dealing with a knockoff.

Lettering

The lettering on your bag is another clear indicator of a knockoff or an authentic Louis Vuitton bag. Lettering done by scammers is hasty and sloppy. On the other hand, genuine bags proudly feature clear and precise lettering that gives all their bags their signature quality. Thankfully, there are some signs you can look out for to ensure that your Louis Vuitton bag is authentic:

  • The “O” in Louis Vuitton should be perfectly round, not oval.
  • The horizontal line in the “L” should be very short.
  • The name Louis Vuitton is almost always spelled out in all capital letters. However, even on models where the brand name is not capitalized, it is done in a distinctive script that is difficult to replicate.

Don’t Fall for “Certificates of Authenticity”

Some scammers try to fool buyers by providing certificates or cards of authenticity. While genuine bags sometimes come with a white or cream-colored card on the inside with the model name and a barcode, real bags do not come with cards or certificates of authenticity.

Look for Date Codes

Since 1980, every Louis Vuitton bag comes with a date code that indicates where and when it was made. The codes are usually stamped on a leather tag on the bag’s interior or into the lining itself. However, the codes can be difficult to find, depending on the model. The codes’ structure can vary as well – some have all numbers; some have a combination of letters and numbers. Scammers try to fool buyers by sloppily stamping a serial number on the inside.

Commonly Replicated Louis Vuitton Bags

One of the many things that not only make Louis Vuitton bags so beloved but also susceptible to fraud is the fact that there are so many innovative styles and types of bags in the Louis Vuitton collection. While some styles are more frequently knocked-off than others, below is a list of the most commonly replicated bags on the black market:

  • Signature Monogram Canvas
  • Takashi Murakami Collection
  • Damier Graphite Canvas
  • Speedy
  • Neverfull
  • Alma

At Central Mega Pawn, we take every step possible to ensure that you will find only genuine articles in our shop. When you’re in the market for a genuine Louis Vuitton bag, you can rest assured that ours will be the real thing. Visit us today to see what bags we have in stock!

A Guide to Pawning or Selling Your Guitar to Your Local Pawn Shop

A Guide to Pawning or Selling Your Guitar to Your Local Pawn Shop

Guitar owners are a special kind of person. Once they start playing, they never seem to have enough guitars or accessories. But, sometimes, life happens, and guitar players need to pare down their collection due to a move or for some quick cash. Whatever the reason, if you are a guitar owner and are thinking of pawning or selling your guitar at your local pawn shop but are not sure where to start, Central Mega Pawn has you covered. Keep reading to find a guide to getting the most for your guitar at your local pawn shop.

How Pawnshops Work

If you are new to working with your local pawnshop, you should know a few things beforehand. For one, a pawnshop can only make loans against or buy items that they can resell. This means that you may not get the full amount that you are expecting. Generally, count on an offer of about 40 – 60% of your guitar and gear’s going rate, unless it is a rare specimen.

Also, every pawnshop is a reflection of the community it serves, which means that demand for guitars will be a factor in how much your pawnbroker will offer, or if they will even accept it at all. Some guitar brands can also command a higher price due to their popularity or reputation for quality, while other brands are generally avoided. Popular guitar brands include but are in no way limited to:

  • Gibson
  • Yamaha
  • Fender
  • Epiphone
  • Gretsch

Finally, pawnshops are in the business of making collateral-based, short-term loans. This means that your loan is secured by an item of value – in this case, your guitars. When you take out a pawn loan, your pawnbroker will hold on to your guitar until you repay your loan. If you do not repay, the pawnbroker takes possession of your guitar and sells it to recover the amount.

When it comes to reaching a price, feel free to negotiate with your pawnbroker. However, be sure to have realistic expectations. We will go over how to figure out a fair price a little later.

Pawning

Pawning your guitar and gear is an excellent option if you need a quick, safe cash loan. Pawn loans are one of the safest kinds of loans out there. Pawn loans do not put your credit score at risk, and they do not trap you in a vicious cycle of debt like other sources of loans, such as payday advances.

Even better, you can get your guitar back when you pay your loan back on time, which is excellent news if you are not entirely ready to part with your instrument or gear just yet. Your guitar and guitar gear can be a source of quick cash whenever you need it.

Selling

Selling your guitar and gear to your pawn shop is an excellent alternative to selling online through Craigslist or Reverb websites. When you sell to a pawn shop, you get your cash in hand in minutes, unlike selling where you will have to create an account at the website, take and post photos, then deal with picky buyers who will try to lowball you, then risk your safety by meeting in public for the handoff. Selling to your local pawnshop is quick and easy.

Pawning vs. Selling Your Guitar

Pawning or selling your guitar and guitar gear is a personal decision. If you are not ready to let go of your guitar forever, a pawn loan may be your best option. If you just need the most cash possible for your gear, selling may be the way to go, as on average, a pawnbroker can offer a little more money when you sell. However, you will not get your gear back when you sell, which may be a concern if you plan to keep using your guitar, either to play or to use again and again for a pawn loan.

How to get the most for your guitars at your local pawnshop

Regardless of if you are buying or selling, here is a quick guide to getting the most for your gear:

  • Do your homework – Even if you have lots of experience with buying and selling guitars and guitar gear, it is still vital to learn as much as possible about the going rate for everything you plan on pawning or selling. While prices on guitars don’t fluctuate too wildly, the market is still vulnerable to change. So, in addition to looking around for prices at big-box music stores like Guitar Center, look at completed sales on auction sites like eBay or Reverb.
  • Clean it – Make your guitar look as beautiful as the day you took it home. The more appealing it is right off the bat, the more attractive it will be to your pawnbroker, and the more leverage you may have when it comes time to negotiate an amount.
  • Gather any and all accessories – Do you have a case, straps, amps, pedals, extra strings lying around too that you can also bear to part with? The more “complete” a set up you can offer your pawnbroker, the more they may be willing to offer.
  • Negotiate – Whether you are selling, or pawning your guitars, a skill that will come in handy is the ability and willingness to negotiate with your pawnbroker. One of the best things about working with your local pawnshop is that you may have room to negotiate the offer on your price or loan terms. This is where your research will come in handy – you will walk in knowing what it is a fair price and will be able to work knowledgeably with your pawnbroker to arrive at a price that works for everyone.

Pawnshops are members of your community. As such, they want to make connections with their neighbors and support them in times of need. Visit us today to see how we can help you get a fair price for your guitars and guitar gear.

How Much Do Pawn Shops Pay for Silver?

How Much Do Pawn Shops Pay for Silver?

If you’ve got loose silver, silver jewelry, watches, or other authentic silver items lying around, you might be wondering if you can turn them into quick, safe and convenient cash by pawning or selling them at your local pawn shop. Luckily, silver is always in demand. However, how much you can expect your pawnshop to pay for your silver is subject to many factors. Keep reading to find out what affects the amount of money you can expect, why silver is always in demand, and how to get the most for your silver at your local pawn shop, regardless of if you are selling or pawning.

Two main factors that affect the price of silver

Although silver is undeniably valuable, the amount of money you can expect your local pawn shop to pay for your silver can change wildly. The following factors can affect how much you can expect when you pawn or sell your silver or silver items:

The Open Market – all buyers of silver, from pawn shops to fancy boutiques, use the current market value for silver. Market value consistently fluctuates and is affected by current events, the national and global economy, and supply and demand. To check the market value of silver per ounce, you can visit sites that track the prices of precious metals to get an idea of the current value and see if the value has gone up or down in recent weeks.

Purity and Weight – while the purity of another popular precious metal, gold, is measured in karats, the purity of silver is expressed as a percentage. This means that the higher percentage of pure silver in your item, the greater the weight, and the more you can expect for your items.

How to determine the purity of your silver

For most people, the easiest and most obvious way to determine their silver purity is to look for markings, particularly on jewelry items. Sometimes, these markings may be printed extremely small, so you might need a magnifying glass. Markings usually measure the percentage of silver in the metal mixture of the particular item. For example, a marking that states “Sterling .975” means that the thing is 97.5% silver.

Some people may choose to opt to buy equipment like electronic testers or investing in density tests. Still, it is usually easier and more economical to take it to your local pawnshop. They will have the tools and equipment to find out for sure the purity of your silver. At Central Mega Pawn, we employ an in-house jeweler, one of only a handful of pawnshops nationwide to do so. They will be happy to use their tools, expertise, and experience to tell you what you have.

Why silver is always in demand

Despite the many things that may affect the price of silver, it is almost always in demand. This is because it is considered a “precious metal,” which means that it is inherently rare. Throughout history, silver has been used for a multitude of purposes, such as:

  • Electronics – Silver is an excellent electrical conductor. Also, it is durable and can last for many cycles, which means that nearly all modern electronics have a silver component of some kind. From kid’s toys to microwaves, silver is a vital part of electronic items.
  • Jewelry and decoration – Since ancient times, silver has been used for jewelry, and is still a popular metal for all kinds of jewelry today. Silver is durable, reflective, and malleable, allowing for customization. Although silver may tarnish after wear, it can be polished and cleaned, looking like new all over again for many years to come.
  • Photography – The traditional practice of developing photographs with chemicals depended heavily on the use of silver. Although digital photography has lessened the demand for silver for these purposes, artists and photographers still use silver to develop images.
  • Medical uses – Silver has powerful microbial properties and is used in bandages, creams, and even eye drops. It can help prevent infection in open wounds and can be used to sanitize medical devices that are susceptible to bacterial infection, such as respirators.
  • Currency – Silver has been used for coins and bullion for centuries and still continues today. Silver coins are popular with collectors, and mints worldwide still use silver in their coins today.

How to get the most for your silver at your local pawnshop

Gather as many pieces as you can – if your silver item has certificates of purity, original packaging, or any other accompanying material, bring it with you. This will help your pawnbroker make the best deal possible.

Do your homework – teach yourself some of the basics of how precious metals are appraised and weighed, and remember that the purer the metals, the more valuable they are.

Clean your jewelry – do your best to clean your silver safely. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive materials. The cleaner it is, the easier it is for your pawnbroker to appraise the item.

Have realistic expectations – once you have an idea of what you might expect, be prepared to get an offer of a fraction of the value. Your local pawnbroker must make a profit on every item in their shop, so they cannot offer you an even exchange against the actual value of your silver.

Be prepared to negotiate – your pawnbroker will be open to realistic negotiations. The more homework you do, the more knowledgeable you will be. Don’t be afraid to walk away if the offer doesn’t come close to your standards. Unlike many other items that pass through the pawnshop, your jewelry will retain its value, and you will be able to come back another time or visit another shop.

Lastly: get your cash! – at Central Mega Pawn, we get you cash in hand in minutes.

If you live in or around the Inland Empire in Southern California, Central Mega Pawn should be your one-stop shop when you need to sell or pawn your silver. Contact us today to see how we can help you!

Do Pawn Shops Buy Loose Gemstones?

Do Pawn Shops Buy Loose Gemstones?

The answer is an emphatic “yes!” Pawnshops are always interested in buying gemstones. If you have loose gemstones on hand, you may not know what to do with them. Instead of letting them gather dust or go unused in a drawer somewhere, turn them into quick cash at your local pawn shop, such as Central Mega Pawn!

Your options when it comes to selling gemstones

When it comes to selling gemstones, you’ll have lots of options. Thankfully, gemstones are almost always a seller’s market. This means that you can contact lots of places and choose the one that’s best for you. Popular places to sell loose gemstones are:

  • Auction websites – sites like eBay and eBid are popular, but because buyers rely on sellers to accurately depict and describe the gemstones themselves, they will generally pay little.
  • Specialty websites – specialty websites can generally offer more than auction sites because experts verify the items.
  • Person-to-person sales apps – apps like LetGo allow you to advertise your gemstones and have buyers contact you.
  • Community board sites – sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace can be an option, but sellers must use caution when meeting up with buyers, especially for high-value items like gemstones.

Why a pawn shop is your best bet

A pawn shop might not seem like the obvious solution to get the most money for your gemstones, but it is very often the right choice. Here are just a few reasons why your local pawnshop should be your only stop when you want to sell your loose gemstones:

  • No shipping, handling, or insurance costs – when you sell gemstones online, you will often have to pay for the shipping, handling, and insurance yourself.
  • No picky buyers – selling to a pawnshop means not having to deal with people who want to pay as little as possible. Your pawnbroker understands the value of your gemstones and will work to find a fair price. Another danger of selling online is that you risk a buyer filing a fraudulent complaint, which can unfairly harm your reputation or even cost you money.
  • No waiting – when you sell to a pawn shop, you get your cash in hand safely in minutes! No waiting for an online payment to come through or risking your safety by handling a cash transaction in public with a stranger.

Pawnshops want gemstones of all kinds

When you hear the word “gemstones,” you might think mostly of diamonds. However, there are many different beautiful and valuable gemstones out there.

While gemstones almost always have value, sometimes, that value skyrockets when they become famous. For example, blue sapphires are enjoying a moment of popularity, thanks to the famous engagement ring of Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

Gemstones are among the handful of items that your local pawnshop will always be interested in. Unlike some other items whose value tends to go down year after year, such as electronics, there is always value to be found in gemstones. This is because the stones can be used for various things, are durable, and are traded all over the world.

Some basics of selling gemstones at your local pawnshop

Although most gemstones will have some value, not all gems are created equal. So, before you sell your gemstones to your local pawnshop, keep the following things in mind:

  • There are four main types of precious stones: Diamond, Ruby, Blue Sapphire, and Emerald. These are the most valuable types of gemstones and will always command a high price.
  • Any other stone aside from the main for types is considered semi-precious. While these can still have value, they will not get as high a price as a precious stone.
  • Size matters. Tiny stones are not as valuable to your local pawnbroker as larger stones.

How to get the most money for your gemstones at your local pawnshop

Regardless of the type of gemstones you are selling, here are some tips to help you get the most for your items:

  • Bring your paperwork – if you have certificates of authenticity, verification of carat or purity, or even receipts, bring them with you. Counterfeit or impure gemstones are a concern for any buyer of gems, so the more you can back up the value of your gemstones, the more leverage you will have when it comes time to negotiate a price.
  • Have them appraised by a professional (optional) – if you do not have paperwork but want the security of knowing exactly what value you have in your gemstones, you can have them appraised. However, be wary of going to a retail jeweler for this service. It pains us to say so, but there are lots of buyers out there who will not hesitate to take advantage of vulnerable sellers. Instead, contact the American Society of Appraisers, who can help you find a trustworthy appraiser in your area.
  • Do your homework – as any buyer would, your pawnbroker will have lots of questions about your gemstones. Help them help you by being prepared to answer things like: where did you get your gems? Have they been treated? Can you verify their authenticity? (this is where your paperwork will really come in handy!)
  • Let your pawnbroker help – if you have any doubt about the validity of your gemstones, your pawnbroker can help. Your pawnbroker will appreciate your honesty and do what they can to help you figure out if your gems are real.
  • Do not be afraid to negotiate – if you have done your homework, have determined that your gemstones are authentic, and have the paperwork go back it up, be prepared to negotiate with your pawnbroker. If you have realistic expectations, your pawnbroker will be able to work with you to reach a price that works for both sides.

As you can see, pawnshops all over the country will buy loose gemstones. When you are ready to sell your loose gemstones, contact your local pawnshop. If you live in Ontario, California, or anywhere in the Inland Empire, see how we can help you today!

Top 3 Reasons to Pawn and Sell Your Power Tools at Your Local Pawn Shop

Top 3 Reasons to Pawn and Sell Your Power Tools at Your Local Pawn Shop

There are many reasons people might want to sell or pawn their power tools at their local pawn shop. If you are thinking of selling some or all of your power tools, keep reading to find just three of the many great and numerous reasons why people would choose to pawn or sell their power tools to their local pawn shop.

First, let’s talk about the demand for power tools. When people think of pawn shops, they might think of them as places to find firearms, jewelry, or electronics; or, they might think they can mostly find local interest. For example, in farming communities, you can always find lots of farming and rodeo apparel.

While every pawn shop certainly has lots of the usual items and items that reflect the interests and occupations of its communities, a well-kept secret is that pawnshops are places where you can almost always find power tools.

What does this mean for you and all other people interested in selling or pawning your power tools? It means that there is always a high demand for what you have. Even better, it means that you can turn your unused or unwanted power tools into quick cash!

However, we know that when it comes to selling things like your power tools, you have many options, such as Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and person-to-person sales apps like LetGo, not to mention websites like eBay and eBid. If this sounds familiar, and you are trying to figure out if a pawn shop is the way to go, let’s talk about three of the top reasons people would choose to pawn or sell their power tools to their local pawn shop.

Tools can be recovered through pawning

Sometimes, people are not fully ready to part with their tools but need some quick cash. Or, there are slow periods during the year where the tools sit dormant, waiting for the change of season. Thankfully, when you pawn, you not only receive a safe, quick, short term loan, but you can get your tools back when you repay your loan within the repayment period. Most pawnshops have generous loan terms designed to make it possible for you to reclaim your items after. In this way, pawning your tools can be a way to get emergency cash over and over.

On the other hand, when you sell your tools through a website, app, or another person, your tools are gone forever. And not only are the tools entirely out of your hands but so is their value, which means that your tools got you some cash only one time, whereas a pawn shop can work with you to get some money from them repeatedly, as long as there is a demand for your tools.

Quick and easy cash

Selling through a website takes time. A seller must take and post accurate photos, write a description, decide on a price, and deal with buyers. If you are lucky, you’ll get a buyer who accepts your price. However, even then, you are responsible for shipping and handling, which can be expensive or even prohibitive in large or heavy tools. Most sellers encounter buyers who want to pay as little as possible and who haggle over every little cent. And even after you have gone through all that, you must wait for the payment to come through, then wait even longer to turn it into cash. When you sell in-person, you might still deal with annoying hagglers. You also risk your safety if you do not take extra precautions when meeting up to make the handoff.

However, when you sell to your local pawn shop, you remove all the headaches we have just described. Your pawnbroker will work with you to negotiate a deal that works for both sides, and that is based on the actual value of your tools, not just to pay the lowest amount possible. Additionally, once you have arrived at a fair price, you will get your cash in hand in minutes, not days or weeks. It will be cold hard cash in your pocket, not codes in your electronic account.

Pawn loans are one of the safest loans out there

Pawn loans are one of the safest and underrated sources of personal financing. This is because:

  • Pawnshops are part of your community – unlike big banks, pawnshops can be flexible with interest rates and loan terms. Pawnshops like Central Mega Pawn have your best interest in mind. It is our mission to go above and beyond every time.
  • No applications or credit checks – you will not have to fill out an application, then wait for approval while your bills continue to pile up. Nor will you have to submit to a credit check. With a pawn loan, you come into our shop in need and leave with cash in hand in minutes.
  • Pawn loans are safe – a pawn shop will not loan you more money than you can realistically expect to pay back. According to the National Pawnbrokers Association, a majority of people who take out a pawn loan repay them on time. This makes it more likely that you will repay your loan and regain possession of your item.
  • Pawn loans do not affect your credit – because your pawn loan is secured by the value of an item that you own, there is no need for it to affect your credit. This is significant because a low credit score can harm your chances of qualifying for fundamental things like housing and employment.

How a pawn loan works

1. You bring us your item plus your identification.

2. Our professionals evaluate the monetary value of your item and will offer a loan based on that value.

3. We carefully go over the loan terms with you.

4. Get your cash!

5. You repay your loan and reclaim your item! If you cannot repay, we simply keep your item and resell it, with no additional penalty to you.

If you live in or near Ontario, California, or in any of the cities that make up the Inland Empire, visit Central Mega Pawn to see how we can help you turn your power tools into quick cash.