Frequently Asked Questions

• What is the pawn industry?

The pawn industry is one of mankind’s oldest financial institutions. Simply put, the pawn industry offers clients a way to get quick cash by selling their personal itmes in one convinient location.

• How long has pawnbroking been around?

Pawn broking can be traced back as far as 3,000 years to ancient China, and can be traced in historic Greek and Roman financial records.

With reference to England it was in the mid-18th Century when bills were passed through Parliament regulating pawnbrokers i.e. proposing licensing and a levy of 1/5th of all interest charged going to hospitals and workhouses. At about this time three balls, either golden or blue became the sign of the pawnbroker – Blue was in fact a more fitting color than gold, since the sign probably came from the coat of arms of the Medicis, from whose territory the Lombard Goldsmiths (the first registered money lenders) originally came. Between the mid-18th and 19th Century pawnbrokers had expanded all over the country and further acts were introduced to regulate this expansion. By 1851, there were about 4500 pawn broking establishments mainly based in industrial working class areas. At the turn of the century most pawnbrokers were open until mid-night on Saturdays taking in all manner of pledges from linen to furniture, blankets and clothes. These were generally put in store rooms above the premises where people slept to protect the goods.

What do the 3 balls outside of pawnshops mean?

The Medici family in Italy was moneylenders during the Middle Ages and operated pawnshops throughout Europe. Legend has it that they also slew a giant for King Charlemagne using three bags of rocks. These three bags became stylized into three golden balls, which became a part of their family crest and the source of the symbol we see today.

What can be pawned?

Just about anything of value which is legal in that state can be pawned. Some shops may take appliances, while other shy away from large items like refrigerators and washing machines. Common items are those that have value today yet will keep their value over time. Gold, diamonds and tools are good examples of items that keep their value. Conversely, laptop computers that depreciate quickly overtime will receive less of an offere. Since Lowell Pawn has a diverse customer base, you never really know what you will find. One thing is certain; there are some amazing deals and opportunities.

Are pawn shops safe to buy from?

Most pawn shops are established businesses looking at long-term business profits. The pawnbroker is not here today and gone tomorrow like the flea market, auction sale, garage sale, or the guy selling out of his van on the side of the road. Today’s pawnbroker knows his business and is only as good as his reputation. He must be fair, but at the same time ensure profits to remain in business. It’s as simple as that. Lowell Pawn is an accredited pawnshop with a track record of serving our communities.

Can I sell items directly to a pawnshop?

Anything of value which is legal can be sold directly to a pawnshop, so the job is to decide on which pawnbroker will give you the best price. The question is: if you can sell it for so much more on eBay, why would someone need to sell the item to a pawnshop at a much lower price? The answer is easy: CASH NOW. If you really need the money now, the pawnshop represents instant gratification.

What are the classifications of inventory at a pawnshop?

There are three simple classifications at a pawnshop.

There are three simple classifications at a pawnshop.

2. Items on layaway. Many pawnbrokers offer a layaway plan allowing customers to pay for merchandise over time. While merchandise is being paid for, it sits on a shelf in the back room of the pawnshop awaiting redemption.

3. Items in pawn. These items are waiting for an interest payment, redemption or the item to fall into what is called a “pull” cycle. If the item is forfeited, the pawnshop will “pull” the item and place it onto the general sales floor to be sold .

How do I know the item is real?

In today’s society, we are becoming more and more aware of fraud. All pawnshops can test gold using acid assay tests. Most pawnshops have devices which test either the thermal conductivity or the hardness of gemstones to determine their content. Some pawnshops have an EIG Gemologist who can appraise or evaluate diamonds.

Who regulates the pawn industry?

The pawn industry is one of the most regulated industries in the country; it is regulated by both the city of Lowell and Massachusetts state laws and ordinances. Each jurisdiction has its own set of guideline which must be adhered to. And where would we be without the Feds. We also have several Federal rules to follow in order to operate this business.

Who uses the pawn industry?

A wide variety of people use pawnshops to buy and sell quality items. The pawn industry serves them all. With the advent of LowellPawn.com everyone with an internet connection can now visit us. One consolidated location for some of the best values around.

Can you pawn firearms?

You can pawn virtually anything in a pawnshop. Federal laws, however, limit the number of shops that might deal in firearms by virtue of the licensing requirements. Massachusetts laws forbid us from pawning firearms.

Can you purchase firearms from pawnshops?

You can pawn virtually anything in a pawnshop. Federal laws, however, limit the number of shops that might deal in firearms by virtue of the licensing requirements. Massachusetts laws forbid us from firearms.

Can you purchase things on layaway from a pawnshop?

It really depends on the pawn shop and the management. We do allow layaways, however we limit the time you have to purchase them in. We tend to keep it to a term of less than 90 days.

How long does a pawnshop have to hold an item before it can sell it?

A pawn shop has to hold your item as long as the pawn is active, which means as long as the interest on the pawn is current. The actual term of the pawn contract is dependent upon the jurisdiction governing the transaction in Massachusetts is for four (4) months.

What trade associations are in the pawn industry?

Lowell Pawn is a member of the National Pawnbrokers Associations. The association is the industries leading method of passing information to its community and leaders. Our CEO is also part of the National Society of Professional Engineers. In addition, we are proud members of the Lowell Chamber of Commerce. In today’s diverse society, many people depend on pawnshops to help them meet their daily financial needs not met by other financial institutions. Our customers represent the working families of America who have an unexpected cash needs. Pawn Shops help keep the electricity on, rents paid and cars working.

Bargain hunters and pawnshops go hand in hand. A wide variety of pre-owned and new merchandise ranging from musical instruments and appliances to electronics, jewelry and power tools can be found at the neighborhood pawnshop. Today’s pawnbroker may be an entrepreneur operating a single location or a larger company with multiple locations around a city or a state. This growing competitive industry is working hard to upgrade the image of pawnshops and to offer needed services to the public.

When visiting a pawnshop you’re likely to find bright, sophisticated lighting and modern merchandising programs to rival the major discount stores. Pawnshop employees are trained in the latest customer service skills and sales contests take place like any other retail store.

The National Pawnbrokers Association encourages giving back to the community and offers guidance to pawnbrokers on how to get involved. Pawnbrokers are also realizing the benefits of becoming active in city government. Educating city and state officials about the industry and the customers served continues to be a worthwhile but challenging endeavor.

Working with law enforcement has always been an important part of operating a pawnshop. Pawnshops comply with all federal, state and local regulations. classifications of inventory at a pawnshop? There are three simple classifications at a pawnshop. 1. Items for sale. Just like a showroom at any retail location, items on shelves in public are tagged for customers to purchase. 2. Items on layaway. Many pawnbrokers offer a layaway plan allowing customers to pay for merchandise over time. While merchandise is being paid for, it sits on a shelf in the back room of the pawnshop awaiting redemption. 3. Items in pawn. These items are waiting for an interest payment, redemption or the item to fall into what is called a “pull” cycle. If the item is forfeited, the pawnshop will “pull” the item and place it onto the general sales floor to be sold . How much money can you get for pawned items? There is an elaborate dance played out daily in pawnshops across America. If a pawnbroker offers too little money for merchandise, attempting to maximize profits on the retail side of the business, customers will go elsewhere to pawn their goods. then more customers will default on their pawns and the pawnbroker will be left with a lot of merchandise he paid too much for and can’t sell for a profit. The balance is somewhere in the middle: paying enough to entice customers to utilize his services, but not paying so much that the shop owner ends up with too much inventory that he can’t move. Now, the truth of the matter is you are only likely to receive about 15-35% of the estimated amount the item might sell for in the pawnshop. Who can pawn an item? A pawn is a binding contract and, as such, may only be entered into by a person who has attained the age of maturity, 18 in most states. How do I know the item is real? In today’s society, we are becoming more and more aware of fraud. All pawnshops can test gold using acid assay tests. Most pawnshops have devices which test either the thermal conductivity or the hardness of gemstones to determine their content. Some pawnshops have an EIG Gemologist who can appraise or evaluate diamonds. Who regulates the pawn industry? The pawn industry is one of the most regulated industries in the country; it is regulated by both the city of Lowell and Massachusetts state laws and ordinances. Each jurisdiction has its own set of guideline which must be adhered to. And where would we be without the Feds. We also have several Federal rules to follow in order to operate this business. Who uses the pawn industry? A wide variety of people use pawnshops. The pawn industry serves them all. With the advent of LowellPawn.com everyone with an internet connection can now visit us. One consolidated location for some of the best values around. How fast can I sell an item? At a pawnshop there’s is no need for a credit check because you selling you personal merchansise. The paperwork process is fairly quick, usually less than five minutes. INSTANT CASH! Can you pawn firearms? You can pawn virtually anything in a pawnshop. Federal laws, however, limit the number of shops that might deal in firearms by virtue of the licensing requirements. Massachusetts laws forbid us from firearms. Can you purchase things on layaway from a pawnshop? It really depends on the pawn shop and the management. We do allow layaways, however we limit the time you have to purchase them in. We tend to keep it to a term of less than 90 days. What happens to items once they are “in pawn”? Pawnshops store all pawned merchandise behind closed doors in a secured storage facility. Once an item is pawned, it is usually logged into a computer database and tagged. Next, the item is placed in organized holding units ranging from bins, drawers, shelves or larger areas and they basically just sit there for as long as the item is on hold to meet the required 30 day hold period.

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