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Many raising extra holiday cash by selling old gold jewlery

By Staff | Dec 23, 2009

Getting a second job or logging overtime isn’t the only way to earn some extra cash on the holidays.
Most people seek out extra money during the holiday season by picking up hours at work or selling some unused items from their garage or attic.
Yet this year many savvy shoppers are trying to sell their old gold jewelry to buy presents for loved ones or trying to re-gift rings or earrings with updated gemstones. Cheryl Schaaf from Cape Jewelry Brokers said consumers are “absolutely” choosing to bring in their old items.
“A lot of them want extra money to spend on Christmas presents,” she said. “Mainly what we are getting are folks who have odds and ends around and they will sell it off.”
Sign holders up and down major thoroughfares in Cape Coral, such as Del Prado Boulevard, have held signs declaring “Cash 4 Gold” and “We Buy Gold,” and as the holidays approached and wallets have emptied, more people have begun taking notice.
Pawn shops were historically the best option to get rid of old stuff and earn cash, but local pawn brokers said the industry is in trouble. Christmas is usually a busy time for pawn shops, but according to David Close from Larry’s Pawn Shop in Cape Coral, no one has anything left to hock.
“People are to the point now where they don’t have anything left,” said Close. “Normally we are a lot busier but we are down just like everybody else.”
Close said the store is selling more than it is taking in, mostly old electronics and tools, and most people are to the point where they have sold anything they are willing to part with. He added that most of the buyers have been Canadians and foreign visitors.
Many local people are also choosing to sell their items online using Ebay or Craigslist rather than turning to a traditional pawn shop.
Schaaf said many are choosing to sell or upgrade their old jewelry at Cape Jewelry Broker because they can get items at a discounted price, and some people are just uncomfortable with visiting a pawn shop.
“It is very cost effective that way, they can get the item they want at a discount price,” she said.
Furthermore, the dollar’s value is lower than ever, but the price of gold continues to increase. Even though the price fluctuates at a regular basis, the price of gold this week was over $1,000 per ounce.
Some enterprising gold dealers have taken the concept of the “Tupperware party” and twisted it to offer a comfortable environment for selling gold. Schaaf said some people don’t want to visit a store and as a result households are hosting “gold parties.”
“It is a good way to raise money,” she said. “Sometimes when people don’t have money they will go in and whoever hosts the party gets a percentage of the gold they buy.”
These parties are growing in popularity and being organized nationwide.
Many families still have a lot of Christmas shopping to do, according to the National Retail Federation. By the second week in December, only 46 percent of shoppers were finished buying gifts, and 42 percent of the remaining shoppers are searching for bargains at discount stores.
The amount of shoppers using a credit card has decreased by 3 percent — 30.9 percent versus 33.8 percent in 2008 — but Schaaf said she expects more people to come in to sell old jewelry in January.
“We will see another round of folks coming in once the credit card bills come for Christmas and for tax time,” she said. “They really need it then.”