Selling items at your local pawn shop is a great way to get some quick cash on unused things sitting around your home or garage. Most people believe pawn shops will buy absolutely anything. However, this simply is not true. While pawn shops DO buy a wide variety of merchandise, there are exceptions. Here is what you should know about before you visit your local pawnbroker.

Items pawn shops WILL NOT buy  

Despite popular belief, there are certain items that pawn shops will not or cannot buy for various reasons. Here are some of the most common items that pawn shops will not buy:

Stolen/illegal items

You’d be surprised how many people try to exchange stolen or illegal goods for cash at a pawn shop. Pawn shop owners must follow all local, state, and federal laws on dealing in stolen goods. Pawn shops also work closely with local law enforcement to establish positive seller identification and track items that may have been stolen to deter criminal activity.

Counterfeit items

As our blog about luxury handbags explained, pawn shops go to extreme lengths to verify high-end merchandise. This includes all brand-name items – from jewelry, handbags, and watches to musical instruments, electronics, and power tools. Pawn shops caught selling fake items – even unknowingly – can face hefty fines and lawsuits and lose trust with their local community.

Outdated technology

While it may be tempting to think about selling your old gadgets, technology changes fast. As a result, most of these items quickly become obsolete. Unless you have something truly rare—like an original iPhone still sealed in the box—you’re not likely to get much selling your old laptop, cell phone, or TV to your local pawn shop.

Broken items or missing pieces

Some pawn shops DO buy broken items. However, each shop decides what they’ll accept and how much they’ll pay for it. Some items, like a broken piece of jewelry, still has quite a bit of value, especially if it’s easy to repair or has precious gemstones that can be removed and used in other pieces. Some pawn shops specialize in repairing and reselling certain items, taking things apart, and selling off the individual pieces or parts. However, it’s always best to call ahead and verify if your local pawn shop is interested.

Old mattresses

Not only are they clunky and not easy to transport, but old mattresses are also often not worth the time and effort. Old mattresses are usually made from older materials and have a short usable lifespan. Your best bet is to donate or trash your old mattresses if you don’t want them anymore.


While not always a traditional part of their business, some pawn shops DO specialize in buying and selling vehicles. Most, however, are restricted by law and/or space to park or store such large vehicles. If you’re interested in pawning or selling a vehicle, it’s always best to confirm whether your local shop can buy and pawn vehicles. South Carolina law limits the types of vehicles that can be pawned or sold. For this reason, at Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn, we can only pawn boats, trailers, and ATVs.

Everyday items that most pawn shops WILL accept

It’s almost always possible to pawn these types of items:

Jewelry, watches and anything made from precious metals

Pawn shops generally accept any fine jewelry or brand-name watches made of gold, silver, or platinum and gemstones like diamonds, rubies, sapphires, or emeralds. Anything made of platinum or gold will be even higher in value, as will any antique or vintage pieces. Besides jewelry, pawn shops will also pawn or buy cutlery, silver tea sets or candlesticks, coins, or bullion.

High-end fashion

Quality items from famous designers like Hermes, Burberry, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and Chanel are always in demand. You can often pawn or sell designer items, including shoes, handbags, and accessories, especially at shops like Gene’s specializing in luxury goods.

Musical instruments

Common pawnable instruments include drum sets, guitars, pianos and keyboards, violins, flutes, cellos and trumpets.

Electronics and gaming systems

Pawnbrokers are always interested in smartphones, tablets, laptops, TVs, stereo equipment, computers, speakers, and headphones manufactured in recent years—even security equipment!

Power tools

Pawn shops always look for gently used, quality name-brand tools that will resell quickly. Popular brands that usually fly off the shelves include Stihl, Bosch, DeWalt, Craftsman, and Milwaukee. As well as, power tools that are like-new and in good working condition.

Sports and camping equipment

Pawn shops are treasure troves for those seeking great deals on pre-loved sports, camping, and recreational equipment. From bikes and skateboards to tennis rackets, golf clubs, and more, your local pawn shop is the perfect place to find gear that will last for years.

Antique or vintage items and collectibles

Pawn shops are also great places to find cool and unique items, including antique clocks, vintage jewelry and watches, stylish cufflinks, music or sports memorabilia, retro video game equipment, and much more.

You can pawn almost anything of value at a pawn shop, but not all pawn shops are created equal. If you’ve got items you’d like to pawn or sell but aren’t sure whether your local pawn shop accepts them, it’s always a good idea to check the pawn shop’s website or ask around first. Some pawn shops specialize in certain goods, like firearms or luxury items. In contrast, others focus on carrying various goods like jewelry, watches, electronics, musical instruments, power tools, and more.

Whether you want to pawn or sell your valuables, Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn is ready to help! 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. You can also get a free estimate for your items or browse our outstanding selection of items from the convenience of your sofa!