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A closer look at selling gold

Published: Wed, August 17, 2011 @ 12:05 a.m.

Appraisers’ advice to consumers: You better shop around

By Karl Henkel



Less than a week after gold prices surpassed $1,800 a troy ounce — the highest all-time value for gold — Mahoning Valley residents are taking notes.

They’re selling old jewelry to pawnshops and gold stores. This week the International Gold, Silver and Diamond Buyers, a traveling division of Treasure Hunters Roadshow company, set up shop in Austintown.

But are the sellers getting the best deal?

The Vindicator comparison shopped Tuesday with a handful of commonly found jewelry types — a collection that included two 10-karat diamond rings, and five bracelets and necklaces ranging from 14-karat to 18-karat — and found some intriguing results.

Both IGSDB and Boardman Gold and Coin in Niles offered similar compensation for the jewelry when they based the prices on retail rates.

The net: about $450, give or take a few dollars to account for the fluctuation of gold value throughout the day, which acts in an up-and-down manner similar to the stock market. Tuesday’s gold prices fluctuated between $1,763 and $1,789 an ounce.

But there are a couple of tricks that consumers should watch for, including how offers are calculated.

A different Vindicator reporter visited IGSDB with the same collection of jewelry and was offered $75, not for retail, but for the meltdown price. The meltdown price is applied when the piece of jewelry isn’t in high demand.

After a bit of haggling IGSDB offered $100, but still $350 less than was offered just three hours earlier.

Brian Aymer, acting manager of IGSDB, in town through Saturday at the Best Western Meander Inn, 870 N. Canfield-Niles Road in Austintown, chalked the price difference up to market fluctuations; IGSBD works closely with traders to determine the value of specific collectible items.

But the example of price inconsistency is one reason Aymer and Eddie Maughan, numismatist and appraiser at Boardman Coin, urge customers to shop around for the best price.

“I guarantee you within an hour they’ll be back,” said Maughan, who added that he’s able to build relationships with customers by letting them comparison shop.

“They’ll feel reassured that I wasn’t lying to them,” he said. “And then we’ve built a rapport.”

It could be described as friendly competition to see what business is willing to pay the extra dollar, something Melissa Ames of the Youngstown Better Business Bureau said is the extra step a consumer should take when dealing with a potentially large sell-off.

“You have to do your homework and not make snap decisions,” she said. “Especially if it’s a traveling company, find out where their home office is and find out if they have any written policies and procedures.”

Some of those procedures include a valid drivers’ license and a signed waiver stating that items sold haven’t been stolen. A company such as Illinois-based IDSDB also has to have proper site licensing for each travel city (something the Ohio Department of Commerce on Tuesday confirmed was true) and must keep gold for up to five days after purchase before they resell it.

Ames also cautioned customers that although gold remains at record highs, their expectations should be kept in check.

“The quote is for pure gold only, and even 14-karat gold is not 100 percent,” she said. “The items you have to offer may not be worth as much as you want.”


1doowoptokidrock(325 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

I would only deal with a local established shop.A 350.00 dollar change in price in hours sure raises the red flag. This story sounds a little fishy.

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2southsidedave(5172 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

Most of these places are rip-offs, but there are some legitimate dealers. Beware!

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3computer_rick(137 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

Pawn shops, yeah, right...

I was in one less than a year ago. One that is considered very reputable. Some old lady, comes in with a bag of gold. She has two young guys in tow, maybe thirty years her junior.

I'm thinking, here comes some heartbreak, that bag of of gold will just be a bag of costume jewelry. Well, about an hour later, after all the haggeling, the pawn shop owner cuts a check for almost $7,000.00 !!!

Of course, cynical me, these folks definitely did not look like the type to have that much in real gold jewelry just lying around. (I was listening in on everything that was being said. Always be aware of the IT guy who looks like he is under the desk looking totally absorbed in his job).

As this was a very touristy area, and now realizing that these two kids were not her sons, and that the pawn shop runs an instant background check on the person representing the sale, I am guessing all stolen gold. The old lady was the front. And they split it all as soon as they cashed the check.

That's just me of course...

Also, I spoke to owner. This "reputable" guy was buying gold at 50% of the spot price. Nice little profit margin there. The pawn shop owner talks about the costs of melting the gold etc... Baloney. Melt shops have this down to a science. The pawn shop owners get over 90% of the spot price on melt price. That 14k 18k stuff doesn't mean a thing as far as percentage of value of the value of the actual gold.

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4oldone(12 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

The Vindicator should have gone to a local jewelry store in the comparison. I have sold my gold at my "family" jeweler, and the price was based on the cost of gold at the beginning of the day. did not include melting down price, 14 vs 18 kt gold, or price changes in. the market

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