What Should I Expect at a Pawn Shop?

If you’ve never set foot in a pawn shop – you are not alone. Most people miss out on the true pawn shop experience simply because they don’t know what the experience will be like. Let’s look at some of the things you can expect the next time you visit a pawn shop.

Expect to be surprised at a pawn shop

Contrary to popular belief, pawn shops are not dark, shady, dingy places loaded with stolen items and people trying to scam you out of your hard-earned money.

Instead, they are bright, clean, secure, well-organized businesses with friendly, experienced employees who are ready to serve you with a huge variety of quality merchandise and services. Pawn shops are highly regulated at the federal, state and local levels, and they work closely with local and federal law enforcement to help prevent and identify stolen property. 

So, if you’re expecting to walk into a shady-looking business that deals in stolen goods, look elsewhere. Pawn shop owners and staff are highly trained and work proactively within the industry and with law enforcement partners to ensure you’re getting quality merchandise and excellent service, all at fair prices.

Expect knowledgeable, friendly staff

Again, contrary to what most people expect, pawn brokers are friendly, outgoing people who enjoy working with all types of customers who visit their store. Since pawn brokers deal with so many different items on a given day, they must be able to assess items quickly, know the going market value and demand for a particular item, and be able to negotiate professionally and fairly. At Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn, we are always working to provide you with the best-trained staff who have the top-notch education and experience to help you get what you need – from large diamonds and firearms to luxury watches, handbags, accessories and more.

Expect to find great deals

Whether you’re a bona fide bargain hunter or simply looking for a better way to go easy on your wallet, you can save big and find amazing deals on so many different items by simply shopping at your local pawn shop. It is likely to sell just about anything you may need at prices well below retail – including tools, musical instruments, jewelry, watches, firearms, electronics, antiques and more. Pawn shops thoroughly clean and test their items before they hit the sales floor, and most shops will let you try out items right there in the store before you buy, so you know exactly what you’re getting. Plus, most pawn shops offer warranties, protection plans and return policies, so you know you’re getting the most value for your money.  

Expect to have options to pawn, sell or buy

When people hear “pawn shop,” many forget that in addition to pawning items for quick cash, you can also sell items directly to the store. Pawning and selling can take the same amount of time and may even result in the same amount of money – but there is one clear difference. Selling your item means you are turning over the ownership rights to your item immediately in exchange for money. Pawning is another form of a collateral loan. The pawn store gives you a cash loan in exchange for your item. If you return within the terms of your loan to repay the loan amount and any interest, your item is then returned to you. 

If you’re selling, expect to get a portion of the item’s value

If you’re looking to sell an item, you should do a little bit of research upfront and be realistic in what the pawn shop may offer you for your item. Pawn brokers specialize in evaluating a wide variety of items, and they must be able to make a deal that accurately reflects the item’s condition, value and demand. On average, you can expect to sell an item for about 30 to 60 percent of its online or retail value.

So, in other words, don’t expect to walk in and be able to get top dollar for a bunch of stuff that’s been gathering dust in the back corner of your shed. Instead, take a little time to clean up your item, make sure it’s working properly, round up any accessories that go with it – like remotes, instruction manuals, etc. – and look at several online selling sites to see what similar items are selling for. This should give you a better idea of what the pawnbroker will offer, before you even walk in the door.

Also, be mindful of other factors that could affect your potential offer, like time of year, location, or customer demand. For example, don’t expect to get much interest in selling your snowblower if it’s the middle of summer, or you’re in an area that receives little to no snow. Same thing goes if you’re trying to sell an air conditioner in the middle of winter. However, pawn shops are always looking for certain items that have good resale value and are always in demand, like jewelry, precious metals, electronics, power tools, gaming consoles, watches and firearms, so expect to receive a decent offer on these goods, regardless of the time of year or your location.  

Expect a no-hassle experience

We’ve all had an expensive repair or bill pop up at the worst possible time. The last thing you want to worry about is dealing with a lot of paperwork or having to wait to get the cash you need. If you find yourself in a situation where you need some fast cash, relax. Most people are pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy pawn shop transactions can be. Whether you’re looking to pawn, sell or buy, you can expect a convenient, hassle-free experience. Most pawn shop loans can be done in minutes with very little paperwork, and unlike traditional loans, there are no credit checks required and there’s no impact on your credit.

At Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn, we specialize in treating customers like family and offering you the best prices for your items. For more than 30 years, we have provided our customers with the high-level service they deserve. Visit one of our locations in North Charleston, Moncks Corner or Goose Creek, SC, today and see how we can help you. Visit us online to see some of our outstanding merchandise or to get a free estimate!

Summer Must-Haves to Buy at a Pawn Shop

Have you noticed how your buying habits change depending on the season? Winter calls for warmer clothes, coats and hot chocolate, spring and summer shift to gardening supplies and vacation gear, while the fall focuses on back-to-school supplies and getting ready for winter.

Since summer is now here, you may be thinking of special items you need to entertain the kids, try out a new hobby, get stuff done around the house, or take along on your next vacation. Check out your local pawn shop and use these tips below to save some cash without sacrificing quality and variety!


Bikes are not only great exercise, they also help your kids get outside and explore, especially in the summer. You can easily find quality, gently-used bicycles for kids of all ages – and adults – at most pawn shops.


Many homeowners like to take advantage of time off and good summer weather to tackle a DIY project around the house. Whether you’re refreshing your rooms or home exterior with a fresh coat of paint, building a tree house or swing set with your kids or remodeling your kitchen, most pawn shops carry a wide range of used power tools and specialized equipment at reasonable prices to help you get the job done. 

Look for items like drills, saws, woodworking equipment, and combination sets like screwdrivers or wrenches. You can try out items right in the shop before you buy, and most pawn shops offer a limited warranty, so if something happens after you get home, you’re not stuck with tools that don’t work.

Yard equipment

Spring and summer are also peak seasons for working in the yard. Whether you need some handy tools to help you trim back overgrown bushes, plant a garden, do some much-needed tree work or just cut the grass, visit your local pawn shop. Most pawn shops regularly feature all kinds of yard and garden equipment, from push mowers and riding mowers to weed eaters, blowers, gardening tools and more.

Sports Gear

No matter what type of outdoor sports you and your family enjoy, you’ll likely find excellent options at your local pawn shop. Many people upgrade and pawn their old gear in the spring and summer, so you can often find great deals on all types of sports gear and equipment. Look for things like surfboards, kayaks, canoes, boats, jet skis, life vests, golf clubs, tennis rackets, soccer gear and much more.

Hunting, camping and fishing supplies

While summer may not be ideal for hunting, it doesn’t hurt to check out your local pawn shop in the summer to find rifles, pistols, ammunition, sights, clothing, camo, boots and other quality gear for your fall hunting trips. If you and your family enjoy camping or fishing instead, you can find gently used fishing poles, rods, tents, tackle boxes, coolers, backpacks, sleeping bags and everything else you may need to enjoy your next outdoor adventure.  


Whether you’re looking for a new hobby to express your creativity or looking for some new camera gear to help you document your next trip, visit your local pawn shop first. Pawn shops often carry high-end cameras, lenses and other photography gear from several of the best camera manufacturers, and you can buy a well-known brand with numerous features and accessories for far less than retail.

Drones and remote-control items

Drones continue to grow in popularity, and if you or your kids are interested in trying one out without breaking your wallet, a pawn shop may be the answer. Most pawn shops carry a great lineup of incredible drones and other remote-control cars, trucks, boats and helicopters that are fun and easy to operate, at prices you can easily afford. Buying drones and remote-control toys at a pawn shop can be a great way to improve your hand-eye coordination, or just get outside with the kids and have some fun.

Wedding and anniversary gifts

Summer is generally full of weddings and anniversaries, and while the happy couple is unlikely to be registered at the pawn shop, you can still find some great gift ideas and deals at your local pawn shop. Most pawn shops offer extensive selections on unique pieces of modern and antique jewelry at a fraction of their normal retail price. Pawn shops are also great places to buy a quality, affordable engagement ring! And if you’re looking for a special anniversary gift for your loved one, you’ll find a wide variety of cool anniversary gift ideas – from high-end custom jewelry to beautiful cufflinks, watches, necklaces and more.


“I’m bored!” How many parents have heard that from their kids, especially on those summer days when it’s too hot to go outside? You might need some high-end gadgets to help entertain them – and get them out of your hair! Pawn shops carry all kinds of quality pre-owned electronics and accessories, from TVs, computers, laptops, cell phones and gaming systems to DVDs, video games, tablets, headphones and everything in-between. Most pawn shops offer the latest technology at a fraction of the price you’d pay at a retail outlet. And unlike buying from an independent seller, you’ll also get a warranty that what you buy has been tested thoroughly and can be returned if something goes wrong once you get it home.

Why Gene’s Pawn?

Whether you’ve got home improvement projects to tackle, new hobbies or sports your family wants to try, or you’re just looking for cool, new ways to get out and explore this summer, check out Gene’s Pawn. We have a wide variety of gently used goods available, so you can find just the right gear to get you through all your summer adventures and projects, without putting a strain on your bank account. 

With over 30 years in business and three locations across the Lowcountry of South Carolina to serve you, our staff caters to you. We listen carefully, carry a vast array of quality merchandise at low prices and provide the professional expertise and advice to ensure you are getting the most value from shopping with us. Visit us today and let us show you why Gene’s is the best!

How Pawn Shops Make Money

Have you ever wondered how  pawnshops make money? Since pawnshops function as both a regular retail shop and as a money lender, it can be a bit confusing. Let’s make it simple. Earning interest on personal loans and profits on retail sales are the two main sources of income for a standard pawnshop. They can also make money by providing extra services, such as money transfers or layaway, depending on their specific business model and/or local market.

Key Takeaways

  • The top two ways pawn shops make money is by making personal loans and by reselling retail items.
  • A pawnshop owner makes a loan to a customer, who pledges a personal item as collateral. The customer gives the item to the pawnshop to hold during the term of the loan.
  • If the customer does not repay the loan or keeps up with the monthly interest charges, the customer forfeits ownership of the item they put up as collateral to the pawnshop.
  • Pawn shops usually charge higher interest rates on personal loans because they assume more risk from customers potentially defaulting on loans.
  • Pawn shops generally earn about 65% of their income from personal loans, interest and fees, while they earn about 35% of their income from selling retail merchandise.

Making Personal Loans

Standard pawn shops typically make most of their income from personal loans, including interest and fees. How does this work? Let’s look at an example:

  • The customer brings a gold watch to the pawn shop as collateral.
  • The pawnbroker carefully examines the watch to assess its value at $200 and offers a cash loan of $100 on the spot.
  • The customer agrees to the offer and has 30 days to pay back the loan, plus any interest. 
  • If the customer doesn’t pay back the loan in time, the pawnshop keeps the watch and sells it to make its money back, plus any profit.

Personal loans can vary greatly from pawn shop to pawn shop, even in the same area. Why? A lot depends on the shop’s current inventory and customer demand. While loans are based primarily on the item’s value, the pawnbroker also must consider how many similar items they currently have in the shop’s inventory and how quickly the item might sell if the customer defaults on the loan. So, for example, if you bring in a TV as collateral, and the shop is already full of other TVs for sale, you probably won’t get a high loan offer. However, if you bring in a unique high-value item, like a designer handbag or a piece of antique jewelry, chances are the shop will offer you a higher loan amount.

Also, in areas where there are multiple pawn shops nearby, you may be able to shop around and see if you can get a more competitive offer elsewhere. Most pawn shops compete directly with each other for business and will offer higher loan amounts and competitive prices to attract more customers to their shop.

Pawnshop loan terms, interest rates and fees

Monthly interest rates charged by pawnshops generally vary from as low as 2 to 3% all the way up to 25%. State laws determine what pawn shops can charge for interest on personal loans, and state regulations can vary greatly from state to state.  

Pawn shops generally make loans on a 30-day basis, but they can also be extended, based on personal circumstances. To avoid forfeiting the property put up as collateral, the customer must either pay back the loan in full plus the interest charge by the end of the 30-day period or simply pay the monthly interest charge, which extends the loan for another month. If the customer pays the minimum monthly interest on time each month, most shops are willing to extend the loan indefinitely. However, this means they may hold onto your stuff indefinitely, too, so just remember that by extending the loan, you are essentially paying the pawn shop to store the item you put up for collateral.

Be aware that most pawn shops make loan offers around 25% to 50% of the expected resale value of the item you’re pledging as collateral, so don’t expect your loan to be worth the full value of your item. Why? In addition to your loan, the pawnbroker must consider the potential costs to store, clean and repair your item, especially if you default on your loan, as well as what it would take to advertise it for resale and any general overhead expenses.

Selling retail merchandise

Pawn shops make about a third of their total income from retail sales. This includes any merchandise the broker bought directly from customers, as well as any items that were pledged as collateral by customers who then defaulted on their loans.

So, when you take an item to a pawn shop, you’ll always have the option to sell or pawn. You can always ask the pawnbroker how much more you would get for selling your item outright rather than pawning it. Most shops offer about 10% to 15% more to buy items than they would offer to pawn, mostly because it’s a much easier transaction for them, resulting in a good quality item that can be immediately resold, often for a decent profit.

Providing extra services

In some locations, pawn shops may offer additional services for a small fee, including check cashing and bill payment services to money transfers and shipping locations for major delivery carriers. Providing these services not only helps the local community, but it also helps the shop owner bring in additional customers and potential income.

Gene’s is here to help!

At Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn, we specialize in treating customers like family and offering you the best prices for your items. For over 30 years, we have provided our customers with the high level of service they deserve. Visit one of our locations in North Charleston, Moncks Corner or Goose Creek, SC, today and see how we can help you, or visit us  online to get a free estimate for your items or shop our outstanding selection from the convenience of your couch!

What Can I Pawn to Get the Most Money?

When people think of pawning something, they likely think of jewelry or electronics. But there are many other things you can pawn quickly for decent money. In fact, there are a lot of common household items that are always in demand with pawnbrokers.

What do pawn shops buy most?

Generally, pawn shops will buy just about anything that has some value to it. However, pawn shops are always interested in buying big-ticket items they can sell quickly, including jewelry, guns, electronics and tools.

Before you decide to visit your local pawn shop, make sure you grab your driver’s license or ID and proof of ownership of the item. Doing this now will save you some time, help the pawnbroker process your transaction easier, and make you a more valuable customer. If you’re pawning a gun, make sure you also bring your concealed weapon license or state permit if required.

What items are considered high demand?

  • New, vintage or estate jewelry – Any type or condition, as long as the gems are intact
  • Precious metals (gold, silver), gemstones and Rolex watches
  • Electronics – Everything ranging from old cell phones, tablets, iPhones, iPads and laptops, to even high-end headsets
  • Guns – Any type or condition, but newer firearms or unique collectors’ items are more likely to get more money
  • Power tools – Drills, saws, sanders, grinders
  • Musical instruments – Guitars, violins, cellos, trumpets and pianos are most popular
  • Collectible coins or stamps – These must be in mint condition to fetch the most money
  • Electronics – Flat-screen TVs, laptops, tablets, cell phones or computers
  • Furniture – Think of bigger pieces, like couches, chairs, dressers or bedroom sets
  • Yard equipment – Lawn mowers (especially riding lawn mowers), weed trimmers, etc.
  • Expensive camping gear – Large, multi-room tents, heavy-duty sleeping bags or other expensive gear
  • Fitness equipment – Treadmills or ellipticals are most popular, but don’t forget a good set of weights or other premium gear
  • Sporting equipment – Golf clubs or fishing rods are probably the most common, but don’t overlook things like snowboards, skis or surfboards if you are in the right area for them to sell
  • Gaming systems – Xbox, Nintendo, PlayStation

What other items sell well in pawnshops?

While the items listed above are nearly guaranteed to generate quick cash in a pawn shop, there are also some other high-end or expensive items that pawn shops deal in regularly that may not be quite as common.

Vintage technology – Got an old stereo receiver or older model computer (hello, original Macintosh) that still works well? Or perhaps you were lucky enough to score an original, unopened iPhone. These types of items are harder to find and would be scooped up quickly by potential buyers.

Vehicles – Not every pawnshop deals in cars, trucks, RVs or motorcycles, but if you find one that does, you can probably pawn your vehicle for a good chunk of cash. Make sure you can demonstrate ownership of the vehicle in question, and don’t be surprised to be asked to leave all your keys and documentation once you complete the transaction.

DiamondsQuality diamonds are always in high demand at pawn shops across the country. Whether you have a cut stone or it’s part of an old ring or necklace, it can’t hurt to get it appraised before you walk into your local pawn shop. Make sure you understand the stone’s quality and size, so you get the best deal possible.

Designer clothing, handbags or accessories – Fashionistas and bargain hunters alike are always looking to scoop up luxury pieces at bargain prices. If your items are clean, in great condition and easy to authenticate, you have a better chance of pawning it for even more money.

Appliances – While most people think of small hand-held appliances like mixers or toasters, there are always people looking for great deals on big-ticket appliances like refrigerators, washers/dryers, or air conditioners.

Collectibles – Depending on the item, there is often a market for specific collectibles. Remember how hard it was to get your hands on some Beanie Babies, special edition dolls, collector’s cards or retro comic books? That’s still true today, and collectors are always looking for unique pieces to fill out their favorite collections. See if you have anything like vinyl records, vintage ads, classic video games/gaming systems or even any old sports cards sitting around. Chances are they could earn you some quick cash.

Tips to keep in mind when pawning

While pawning items isn’t difficult, keeping these tips in mind can help you earn even more on your items:

  • Be confident.
  • Be polite and friendly – a great attitude goes a long way!
  • Understand you may need to negotiate, and don’t be surprised if the pawnbroker asks you a lot of questions about your item – they have a business and reputation to protect, too, so be willing to provide as much information about your item as you can.
  • Do your research before you step foot in the pawn shop – take some time to understand what your stuff is worth beforehand, so you have a better idea of what’s reasonable.
  • Ask questions – if you don’t understand something, or you want clarity – ask for it.
  • Visit multiple pawn shops to comparison shop – you’re not obligated to pawn or sell anywhere, and visiting different shops can often lead to different quotes for your item.
  • Bring multiple items to sell, especially if you’re trying to get a certain amount of money from pawning.

Visit Gene’s Pawn Shop today!

If you need cash quickly and have valuable items you wouldn’t immediately miss, a short-term pawn loan could be a great option for you. At Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn, we specialize in treating customers like family and offering you the best prices for your items. For more than 30 years, we have provided our customers with the high level of service they deserve. Visit one of our locations in North Charleston, Moncks Corner or Goose Creek, SC, today and see how we can help you, or visit us online to see some of our outstanding items or to get a free estimate.

What It Takes to Open a Pawn Shop

If you’ve ever considered opening your own pawn shop, you may have thought it was simple – set up a shop, fill it with inventory and open the doors. However, there’s a lot more planning and research that goes into opening and operating a pawn shop. Let’s dive into what it takes to open a pawn shop and create a successful business.

Do your research

Visit as many pawn shops as you can, both inside and outside of your immediate market area. Note what works well for each shop, as well as where they’re located and what kind of customers they attract. If there are multiple shops within the same area, pay attention to how they distinguish themselves. Attend industry trade shows and speak with fellow owners. This not only helps you make important business contacts, it also helps you learn the industry more quickly. Reading up on the industry in trade magazines or online can also help you learn more and clear up any misconceptions you may have about owning a pawn shop.

Understand the requirements needed to open a pawn shop

One of the biggest misconceptions about the pawn industry is how regulated it is. Because pawn shops are considered “financial institutions” under federal law, becoming a pawnbroker means you will have to understand and follow a number of federal, state and local regulations. At the federal level alone, this includes the IRS Code, the U.S. Patriot Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and the Truth in Lending Act, as well as federal firearms licensing and consumer privacy and protection regulations. There are severe fines and penalties for owners who fail to comply, either knowingly or unknowingly, with these regulations. 

Licensing at the state, city or county levels varies by state, so it’s important to check thoroughly at all levels to make sure you’re adhering to the proper requirements. Besides obtaining some sort of business license, you’ll likely need to register for other licenses, including a pawnbroker and/or secondhand dealer license, a precious metal dealer license, a firearms dealer license and possibly more.

Focus on quality, not quantity

Most new pawnbrokers are eager to set up their showroom and start filling it up with all sorts of used merchandise. However, it’s more important to keep the “money lender” perspective in mind at first. Make sure you have sufficient start-up capital available to begin building up your pawn loan base. Make it as easy and clear as possible for potential customers to get the cash they need quickly and conveniently. The inventory will come quickly after that.

Also, make sure you have the right knowledge and tools to test and identify precious metals and gemstones. In most pawn shops, fine jewelry accounts for over 50% of items pledged for a pawn loan or offered for sale. If you or your staff can’t properly identify a diamond from a cubic zirconia or a solid gold ring from a heavily plated one, you will have a hard time attracting and keeping good customers.

Communicate clearly

Based on your location and the state and local regulations, make sure you adopt clear policies and procedures for how you do business. Ensure your customers are just as clear on how you run your operation as you and your staff are. This includes everything from the minimum amount of time you can hold collateral from pawn loans or how you store and secure merchandise, to how you complete a pawn loan transaction, including all the applicable finance charges and fees.

Create a community of support

Set up time to meet with your local law enforcement team. Meeting with local law enforcement helps you and your customers in several ways.

First, it helps build trust and transparency right from the beginning. Second, it not only helps protect your business and your customers, it helps deter crime. No pawn shop owner wants to be suspected of dealing with stolen property, so being proactive with your local sheriff’s office and police department helps recover stolen goods and punish thieves.

Design with your customer in mind

Your customers should feel safe and comfortable in your shop. It’s important to select colors, lighting, signage, flooring and other design finishes and security features for your space that make your customers feel welcome. You’ll also want to think about available floor space versus inventory, and how to best lay out the flow of your shop, based on your customers’ needs. For example, your jewelry area should be clean and brightly lit, while other areas of the shop may feel more home-like, with seating areas, muted lighting or warm colors and textures.

Focus on ways you can specialize

Again, the name of the game here is distinguishing how your shop is unique and why customers should shop with you. Some shops may specialize in a particular niche or selection of items, especially if the store staff is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about it, whether that’s comic books, sports memorabilia or antique furniture. However, being able to offer a wide variety of specialty items means you can be more creative in your business and potentially attract even more customers.

If you do specialize, you’ll likely need more education and/or tools to properly authenticate luxury items, such as high-end watches, vintage jewelry or exclusive name-brand handbags. Customers expect you’ve done your due diligence to thoroughly review and verify legitimate luxury items, so take advantage of training opportunities, expert advice and authentication tools that help you build specialty merchandise into your business.

The Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn difference

As you can see, it takes much more than just stocking a lot of secondhand merchandise to successfully open a pawn shop. And, with over 30 years in business and three locations to serve you across the Lowcountry, we here at Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn have worked hard to create and establish a business that caters to you, our dedicated customers. We listen carefully, carry a vast variety of quality merchandise, and provide the professional expertise, tools and advice to ensure you are getting the absolute best value possible when you shop at Gene’s. Visit us today and let us show you why Gene’s is a cut above the rest!

Consignment Shops vs Pawn Shops

With spring cleaning season in full gear, you might be eager to clear out some space and get rid of clothing that no longer fits your style or other gently used items around your house. If you’ve got some personal items you want to sell, read on to figure out the key differences between consignment shops and pawn shops.

There are three main differences when comparing consignment shops vs pawn shops:

  • When you give up ownership of your item
  • When the seller (you!) is paid
  • How the shop is paid

Item Ownership in Consignment Shops vs Pawn Shops

At a pawn shop, the item you use for collateral on a short-term loan is still yours all the way through the term of the loan. The pawn shop keeps and stores your item safely for you, but it still belongs to you. If you decide to sell your item outright or fail to meet the terms of the pawn loan, you give up ownership of your item to the pawn shop.

Consignment shops are designed specifically to sell your unwanted items directly to the public, which then earns you a percentage of the sale price. When you leave your items at a consignment shop, you are giving them immediate ownership of your stuff. If it sells, you receive a cut of the profits, while the shop takes the rest. If the items don’t sell within a specified time, which could be anywhere from 30 to 90 days, some shops may still try to sell them at a discounted price, or you can get the item back.

When You Get Paid

If you want to earn some extra cash for your unwanted items, but aren’t in a hurry to get it, a consignment shop may be a better option. If, however, you need that cash immediately, or you need the cash quickly but don’t necessarily want to sell your items, you’re better off going to a pawn shop.

With consignment shops, you receive money when the item sells. Depending on the store’s policies, you may be waiting 90 days or more to get your money. You also run the risk that if your item doesn’t sell, you won’t get paid at all. However, if your item doesn’t sell on consignment, you can still get your stuff back and then try to sell it another way.

With pawn shops, you get cash on the spot. When you visit the pawn shop, the employee will ask if you want to sell or pawn, so you have the option of selling your item(s) right then and there and walking away with your money. If you decide to pawn, you get the best of both worlds. You maintain ownership of your stuff and can use it as collateral for a short-term loan. 

Getting a pawn loan is quick, easy, and hassle-free. Most loans can be done in minutes, require very little paperwork, are paid immediately and, unlike traditional loans, have zero effect on your credit. Once you repay the loan, usually within 30 days, you get your stuff back. You can even use it as collateral multiple times, as long as you repay each loan on time and become a trusted repeat customer. In fact, most pawn shops prefer to issue loans rather than buy or sell personal property, because it’s easier and more cost-effective.

How the Shop Is Paid

Consignment shops and their sellers get paid when items are sold. Generally, the consignment shop receives a percentage of the item’s sale price, while the seller receives the rest. Because consignment shops typically have standard store policies on how these percentages are charged, you should be aware of these terms and ask any questions you have before you give your items over for consignment.

By comparison, pawn shops get paid in two ways. First, if you pay back your pawn shop loan in full, the pawn shop earns interest on the loan. About 80% of all pawn loans in the U.S. are paid back in full. However, if you don’t pay back the loan on time, the pawn shop can then sell your item and keep the entire profit earned from that sale.

Consignment shops and pawn shops offer different advantages for people looking to make some money from their gently used goods. Hopefully these tips can help you determine which option works best for you, depending on your needs and personal situation. If you need cash quickly and have valuable items that you wouldn’t immediately miss, a short-term pawn loan could be a great option for you. 

At Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn, we specialize in treating customers like family and offering you the best prices for your items. For more than 30 years, we have provided our customers with the high level of service they deserve. Visit one of our locations in North Charleston, Moncks Corner or Goose Creek, SC, today and see how we can help you. Or visit us online to see some of our outstanding items for sale or to get a free estimate for your items!

Buying Resale vs Retail

These days, buying anything, especially new products, can be a bit of a challenge. Between price increases, product shortages, delays and all sorts of other factors, shopping for the stuff we want can be downright time-consuming and frustrating. However, more people are turning to shopping resale versus retail and discovering the many benefits of buying gently used items.

By 2023, the secondhand and resale market is expected to reach $53 billion in sales. The resale industry is booming – growing 11 times faster than traditional retail – thanks to a combination of factors, including inflation, supply chain shortages and customer demand for more sustainable, affordable ways to shop. 

When it comes to shopping for things like clothes, toys, electronics, furniture and more, our tendency is to buy them new. Let’s face it, it’s fast and convenient to be able to pop into the closest big-box store and pick up whatever you need. But have you ever really stopped to think about what buying retail may really cost you? Buying all new products not only costs you more money, but it also has a significant impact on our environment. Bargain hunters can easily tell you there are many benefits to buying gently used goods, including big savings, more value, less impact on the environment and extended life for many of the things we use every day.

Saving Money by Buying Resale vs Retail

This is perhaps one of the most obvious and well-known benefits of buying secondhand. You can often find gently used goods priced up to half off what you would pay if you were buying new. And those savings can seriously add up over time, which means you can buy even more for the same amount you would spend on a brand-new item.

Whether you’re shopping for furniture, power tools, musical instruments, jewelry, or electronics, you’ll be able to find quality items at lower prices than if you bought them brand new. You can also find name-brand clothing, shoes, luxury purses and more for a fraction of the cost. By spending less, your money goes much further.

For example, did you know you can often find genuine luxury items, like coveted Louis Vuitton handbags, at your neighborhood pawn shop? You’ll be amazed at the wide variety of quality merchandise you can find at deeply discounted prices. Check out our tips for the best things to buy at a pawn shop and start looking for great ways to lighten the impact on your budget by shopping secondhand.

Helping the Planet and Reducing Waste

When you consider all the resources that go into creating new products, as well as all the packaging that goes along with it, it’s no wonder our environment is feeling the pinch. For instance, did you know it takes an average of 1,800 gallons of water to make a new pair of jeans?

Buying secondhand means the natural resources and energy that went into creating those goods have already been used. In fact, when you buy used, you’re giving well-loved items a second life, saving them from being thrown out, reducing waste, and preventing old items from ending up in landfills or incinerators.

Supporting Local Businesses and Your Neighbors

Whether you’re buying from a pawn shop, thrift store, consignment shop, vintage store, or a pop-up market down the street, the money you spend stays in your community. Besides being a trusted reseller, pawn shops also provide another valuable community service by offering convenient short-term loans for immediate cash. So, by shopping at your local pawn shop, you’re also supporting local businesses and your neighbors and helping your local economy. Not only do they appreciate your business more than the big-box retailer down the street, they support your neighborhood by using the dollars you spend to invest in their business and supporting other area businesses.

By buying resale at a local pawn shop, you can also benefit more than if you buy from an unknown seller online. From saving time to offering more security, flexibility and convenience, buying gently used merchandise at a local pawn shop is more advantageous than buying on Craigslist or other online resellers.  

Finding and/or Creating Unique Items

Besides offering numerous benefits, half the fun of thrift shopping, browsing consignment shops or venturing into a pawn shop is the thrill of the chase. By shopping resale, you never know what you may find, and if you treat it like a fun adventure, you’ll reap even more benefits from your shopping experience. Whether you’re looking for an interesting piece of furniture for your home, a new outfit to wear for a special event, or a cool gift for a special loved one, you’ll find unique, sometimes hard-to-find items at your local pawn shop.

When you buy new, you’re often buying a mass-produced item your friends and neighbors might all have. But by buying used, you get to own special items you can’t find just anywhere. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer or want to make a special piece even more unique, refurbishing used furniture or rehabbing gently loved home goods are great ways to put your crafty skills to work and create one-of-a-kind pieces no one else has.

Appreciating the Art of Second-Hand Shopping

Now that you know more about the benefits, you can better appreciate how fun and exciting it can be to buy secondhand items. And if you’re new to buying gently used items, we can certainly help. Gene’s Pawn is committed to treating you like family. Our business is built on trust, reliability and honesty. We offer only the highest quality merchandise and an extensive collection of pre-owned jewelry, electronics, home goods and much, much more. 

Visit one of our three greater Charleston area locations today and take your time strolling through the shop. You never know what you may discover, but we can guarantee you’ll find the best selection for the best price at Gene’s. When you’re looking for a great bargain on a wide variety of quality merchandise, Gene’s is the perfect place! Visit us today – we look forward to seeing you soon!

Can You Pawn a Car at a Pawn Shop in Charleston, SC?

Can you pawn a car for an instant loan in Charleston? The short answer is no. Because of state laws, you can sell your car, truck, motorcycle or RV at a pawn shop, but you can only pawn a boat or ATV and get instant cash.

For many of us, our vehicles are our lifelines for getting from point A to point B, and often, our vehicles are the most valuable thing we own besides our home. So if you need cash quickly for a financial emergency, selling your vehicle may be the most obvious choice.

Before you rush to your nearest pawn shop to sell your car, review our list of helpful tips below so your transaction goes as smoothly as possible.

Tips for Selling Your Car at a Pawn Shop

Find your car title. Make sure you have your original car title when you visit our shop. We cannot accept copies. If you can’t find your car title, contact the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles to order one.

Make sure your car title is free and clear, and you’re listed as the legal owner. If you already have a loan on your vehicle, it needs to be paid off before you can sell it. If your original car loan is paid off but you didn’t update your title, you’ll need to bring a letter from the lender that verifies they are released from the car title.

Bring your driver’s license. Presenting your valid driver’s license is the easiest way to prove you are a South Carolina resident.

Clean up your vehicle and get it appraised. Taking the time to wash and detail your car helps you get the best value and loan offer possible. Once your vehicle is clean and looking its best, you can always visit a dealership or used car lot or do some online research to get an idea of what your car is worth before you visit the pawn shop. 

However, make sure you understand the pawn shop will never offer you the full resale value. Instead, your offer will be a percentage of the vehicle’s value based on its condition and how much the shop can resell it for. Remember, vehicle values depreciate over time, and they depreciate even more if the vehicle is in poor condition. If you have an older vehicle and/or one in poor condition, contact the pawn shop directly to see if they are interested in buying it for resale.

Don’t feel obligated. Even after visiting the pawn shop, getting your vehicle valued and finding out what the pawn shop will offer, you are free to change your mind and walk away. You are never under any obligation to sell your car.

Make sure you have a ride. This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you decide to sell your car to the pawn shop, you’ll need a ride home.

Pawning a Boat or ATV

Getting a pawn loan is quick and easy, especially compared to selling a boat or ATV yourself or applying for a traditional loan through a bank or credit union. Anyone can qualify for a pawn loan if they are at least 18 years of age, a resident of the state, and have a verifiable source of income and a valid driver’s license.

Bring your employment information and the past few months of pay stubs. These show you have the reliable income necessary to repay your pawn loan. You also may need to provide your supervisor’s name, as well as your employer’s address and phone number.

Bring a list of personal references. Along with your driver’s license and pay stubs, you also may be required to provide the names, addresses, and contact information for three to five personal references.

Know how much you want to make from selling your boat or ATV. The pawn shop will ask you how much you want to borrow for your pawn loan. Knowing exactly how much money you need may help you avoid taking on a higher loan than necessary. You don’t have to borrow the full amount the pawn shop offers, you can request a lower amount.

Read all the paperwork before signing. Make sure you understand the full terms of the pawn loan, including when you have to repay your loan and the amount you’ll need to re-pay. If you have questions or concerns, this is the time to ask. There’s no going back once you sign the contract.

Know upfront if you want to pawn or sell. If you know for sure you want to keep your boat or ATV, make sure you pay off your pawn loan on time. You can also avoid added fees and interest if you pay off your loan by the due date. However, if you decide you don’t want or need your vehicle back, you can also sell it outright to the pawn shop. If you start with a loan and decide you don’t want to keep your boat or ATV, let the pawn shop know as soon as possible so they can close out your loan and sell it.

Keep your insurance and plates current. If you plan on keeping your boat or ATV, you’re required to maintain your plates and insurance for the duration of your pawn loan, even while it’s in storage.

Don’t be afraid to ask for an extension if you are having problems paying back your pawn loan. Most pawn shops offer options to extend your loan if you can’t pay it in full by the contract date. However, know that you’ll likely incur additional fees each time you extend the loan. You may also need to re-sign your paperwork each time you extend the loan.


Visit us today!

As you can see, there are many things to consider when you want to pawn a vehicle for quick cash. That’s why you should choose an experienced pawn shop like Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn. For more than 30 years, we have proudly served customers throughout North Charleston, Moncks Corner and Goose Creek, SC. Our business is built on honesty, trust, and reliability. We can help you get the most value for your vehicle. For more information or to find out how much your car, truck, motorcycle, boat, ATV or RV is worth, please feel free to stop by your nearest Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn location or call us today!

The Weirdest Things People Have Pawned

Many people like visiting pawn shops just for the unusual items they will find. If you’re looking for a great conversational piece for your home, stroll through your local pawn shop. You’re bound to find interesting items that are sure to add character, whimsy, and charm. Check out some of the weirdest things people have pawned, as well as some ideas for unusual things to pawn that you may not have considered.

Gold Fillings

Teeth with gold fillings are more commonly brought into pawn shops than you’d think. While pawn shops can’t really do anything with the natural tooth, you may be able to sell the gold itself. Just be aware that unless gold prices are really high at the time you visit, you will likely not get as much as you were expecting.

Used Dentures

When people desperately need money, they often grab unusual items, including their own, or someone else’s, chompers. Did you know you can’t pawn dentures in Las Vegas? Because dentures are considered to be prescribed medical devices, state law actually bans them from being sold or auctioned in any capacity.

Stainless Steel

Pawn shops see a lot of customers who bring in stainless steel items and try to pass them off as sterling silver. Silverware is pretty common, but customers have also brought in stainless steel jewelry, bracelets, belt buckles, even full tea sets, and insisted they were real silver.

Historic Military and War Memorabilia

History buffs young and old love to collect original military and war memorabilia. Items brought in to pawn range from old uniforms or military patches, to weaponry and goods that were taken from foreign countries, museums, even enemy combatants. Customers also love to bring in propaganda posters or leaflets, old letters, watches, medals, helmets, and military gear that may have been worn or used on the front lines. 

Military Surplus

Along with wartime memorabilia, there are plenty of military surplus supplies that customers regularly bring in to pawn. This is usually especially true around military bases. Common items typically include ammo pouches, crates and ammo cans, foot lockers, surplus guns and ammunition, even field supplies like meals ready to eat (MREs).

Funeral Urns

While this may sound kind of morbid, it’s actually not that unusual for someone to try to sell or pawn an unused urn. People often buy them as a “just-in-case” item, then end up wanting to pawn or sell them to cover some sort of unexpected expense. While pawn shops may be willing to help you pawn or sell an unused urn, please don’t try to do this with your grandmother’s ashes that have been sitting on your fireplace mantel.  

Glass Eyes

This is another one that’s kind of gross, and may be more of a tall tale. Several different pawn shop owners and employees have shared stories about people trying to pawn their glass eyes. The really gross part is that – for some reason – the customers seem to wait until they are in the store, standing at the counter, before they remove them. Yuck.


Yes, prosthetics. There are plenty of stories of pawn shop owners having customers come in and try to pawn their own prosthetics, or ones from deceased relatives. Some pawn shops may be reluctant to buy used prosthetics, and they likely won’t make you rich, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Vintage Cans and Bottles

A lot of people seem to think old limited-edition soda or beer cans or bottles are valuable. While there are some rare exceptions, most are actually pretty worthless, especially if they are pull tab or pop tab cans made after the 1970s. If you’ve been saving these up thinking you’re sitting on a nice little stash, you may want to reconsider. While there is big business in truly rare bottles and cans, chances are you’re not going to find one in the trash bin or laying in your backyard. 

Vintage Typewriters, Phones or Cameras

In the modern age of everything digital, old-fashioned manual typewriters, landline phones and old cameras may seem archaic. You’d be surprised at the number of people who will buy these, not for functionality’s sake, but for the cool vintage vibe. They are definitely collectible items that are great conversation starters, especially if they sport a unique design or look.

Wine Bottles and Corks

While most people automatically throw their used wine bottles and corks into the trash or recycling bin, these are actually great collectible items, especially for crafters and artists. Just Google “wine bottle art” and you can find tons of creative ideas for repainting and reusing wine bottles as unique art pieces or home or yard décor. And don’t just toss the corks, either. There are plenty of people who will pay good money for real wine corks to make corkboards and recycled art.

Old Books, Magazines and Comic Books

Got a bunch of old books, children’s books, magazines, comic books, even college textbooks taking up space at home? Lug them into your local pawn shop. You may be surprised at their worth. Comic book collectors will happily snap up older comics, especially if they have been stored well and are in great condition. Artists, crafters and hobbyists alike are always looking for back copies of magazines to use for various projects or inspiration.

Autographed Items or Celebrity Memorabilia

There are stories all over the internet and reality TV about people supposedly bringing in weird celebrity items as collateral on pawn loans. While the most unusual (and outrageous) items are likely to get the most notice – and the most money – don’t discount any items you may have that have been autographed or were used or worn by a celebrity. More common items brought in to pawn include autographed pictures, posters or books, or if it’s a sports celebrity, think of autographed jerseys, gloves, or balls.   

Get Creative

The next time you visit your local pawn shop, ask the pawn broker if he or she has had any strange items offered for pawn. Chances are you’ll hear a few interesting stories! No matter what items you have around your home, strange or average, stop by Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn Shop in Charleston. We can find just the right buyer for your item.

Eight Tips for Buying Items at a Pawn Shop in Charleston SC

When you’re looking to save big on brand name items like tools, electronics or jewelry, your neighborhood pawn shop simply can’t be beat on price and selection. Bargain shopping at your local pawn shop can be a fun and exciting treasure hunt!

The number of makes, models and styles of merchandise in the pawn shop is virtually limitless. You’d have to drive around town and visit dozens of other retail shops to find the same amount of variety your local pawn shop offers. While there are tons of great reasons to shop at a pawn shop, it can be easy to miss out on the best buying opportunities if you don’t know what to look for. Make the most of your next trip to the pawn shop by putting a few simple tips into practice.

Find the right pawn shop in Charleston SC

Pawn shops often specialize in certain items, like antiques, firearms, or jewelry, so do a little research before you visit to make sure your shop carries the type of item you’d like to buy. You can also find out more about the shop’s staff, showroom, inventory, and expertise, all at the click of a button. Many pawn shops sell items online, so you may even be able to browse their selection without leaving your couch! 

Check out your local shop’s website to learn more about their hours, merchandise selection, and purchase and return policies. You can even read reviews from other local customers and find the pawnbroker that meets your needs. However, you still get the best deals in person (read more of the tips below to see why), so keep that in mind.

Ask around

Personal referrals and references are great ways to identify a pawn shop like Gene’s Pawn that treats you like family. We all love when someone we know tells us they had a great experience at a particular shop, and pawn shops are no different. Ask around or check reviews online to find a shop you’ll feel comfortable visiting. You can always visit several, walk around, and get a good feel for the shop before you commit to buying anything.

Do your homework

If you’re shopping for something specific, take time to research the type of item you’re interested in and how much people are willing to pay for it in its current condition. Don’t get stuck on what an item may cost when it’s brand new. While some items may depreciate significantly over time, other items, especially hard-to-find goods or rare or unusual items like coins or vintage luxury purses, may hold or even increase their value over time.

Inspect or test the item

Pawnbrokers carefully review and test incoming items to make sure they work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also take a look yourself. In most pawn shops, all sales are final, so make sure the item and any added accessories like remotes work properly before you walk out the door. If you’re buying something that comes with added accessories like remote controls or game controllers, it might not be a bad idea to bring some batteries with you, just in case. That way you can thoroughly test your item and get a sense for its current working condition, before you decide to buy.


Pawn shop prices are rarely set in stone, so don’t be afraid to haggle a bit with the pawnbroker. Just remember that pawnbrokers are professionals who have extensive experience in buying and selling, so be polite, don’t get carried away and have a reasonable number in mind before you start bargaining. The longer an item’s been in the shop, the more willing the pawnbroker may be to make you a sweet deal.

Read the fine print

Make sure you understand the pawn shop’s policies before you purchase something. Policies can vary widely from store to store, so pay attention or ask the staff what their particular policies are on things like product protection plans, returns or guarantees of authenticity.

Pay with cash

Paying for items in cash might help you score an even better deal. The pawnbroker may be more willing to take your offer or even give a bit of a discount if you follow it up by paying with cash.

Be polite

If you treat the staff with respect and kindness, chances are, you will get the same treatment in return. No one wants to deal with rudeness or bad attitudes. Here at Gene’s Pawn, our staff works hard to treat every customer like family, and we appreciate being treated kindly as well. 

Other benefits to pawn store shopping

Your local pawn shop is just that – local to you and your neighborhood. Besides offering great quality products at fantastic prices, we are right here in your own community! Who wants to waste time driving to multiple stores to comparison shop or find the features you want? And who wants to pay extra for shipping, run the risk of meeting up with a stranger, or getting scammed on an item? Let our friendly staff show you around at one of our three Lowcountry locations, answer your questions and help you find the perfect product, at the best possible price.

Happy pawning at Gene’s

You’ll have a great time bargain shopping with us at one of our three Charleston pawn shops. Gene’s Pawn is committed to treating you like a member of our family. For more than 30 years, we have offered our customers the high level of service they deserve. We proudly serve customers throughout North Charleston, Moncks Corner and Goose Creek. Our business is built on honesty, trust and reliability. We offer only the best and highest quality merchandise, and we carefully test the products we buy to ensure you get the most value for your money.

Our mission is to provide the best merchandise at prices you can afford. Visit one of our greater Charleston SC pawn shops today and see all the amazing treasures we have for sale! Take a look at our extensive and unique array of pre-owned jewelry, electronics and firearms. We look forward to seeing you soon!