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Pawnbrokers

All That Glitters is Gold

 

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As Led Zeppelin famously crooned, “all that glitters is gold.” At Prestige Pawnbrokers we can’t get enough of this gorgeous, gleaming metal that never loses its enduring appeal.

When it comes to gold jewellery pieces are often steeped in sentimentality. This means that owners are usually reluctant to part with their prized accessories. Lucky for all you gold aficionados out there, we’ve got the perfect solution. With our cash loans against gold, you can get your hands on instant funds, without having to say farewell to your assets.

 

An in-house team of gold gurus

At Prestige Pawnbrokers we back our service with a team of certified in-house experts. Together, they boast expertise in a myriad of precious metals, including gold. When you bring in an item we’ll have them meticulously scrutinise it in order to come up with an accurate value. This is then used to offer you a cash loan. As trusted and long-established high street pawnbrokers our offers can be up to three times higher than those of our competitors.

 

If it’s gold, we’re interested

So what forms of gold are we interested in? Put simply, if it glitters, we’re in! Jewellery is our main area of expertise, with gold chains, necklaces, bangles, earrings, bracelets, rings, lockets, pendants, charms, cufflinks and brooches all gracing our inventory on a regular basis. Haute horology is another specialty, with our team pawing luxury watches day in, day out. We’re also interested in golden collectibles, be it coins, ingots or sovereigns.

 

Gold, gold, glorious gold

Want to turn your gold assets into cold hard cash? Get in touch with our team today to discuss rates.

Of course, our love for gold knows no boundaries. Whether you live right here in London or in the UK’s home counties, or indeed in any other location, we can help you turn your gold into cash. As well as visiting us in person, you can also post in your gold. We can then pay you by cheque or bank transfer.

 

A golden Valentine’s

As well as offering cash loan against gold items, we also retail a stunning range of items right here on the Prestige Pawnbrokers e-store. If you’re in search of a Valentines gift that’s guaranteed to dazzle, this is your answer. From designer jewellery to rare collectibles, we’ve got a plethora of gilded gift ideas at prices that your budget will love.

Return of the pawnbroker

After half a century as a pawnbroker, Josh Fish has heard it all: “One day a lady put her head around door and said, ‘I promised to take the kids to the cinema, please loan us the money’. I refused and she called me all the names under the sun,” he says.
 
“The next morning she turned up again and said, ‘Thanks Josh, the horse lost’. We know our customers in a way banks just don’t.”
 
Josh is the fifth generation Fish to run the family business, which was founded in 1830.
 
When he started work, back in the 1950s, the pawnbroking industry was quietly dying. Now he is seeing it grow at its fastest rate in more than a century.
 
Fish Brothers has opened three new stores this year and is in the middle of refurbishing its five older shops.
 
“Since the Second World War, if you wanted money, you had to go to the bank,” he says. “That’s not so easy to do anymore. The choices available to people have changed.
 

Lines of credit

Pawnbroking is the growth story of the credit crunch. There are no credit checks, little paperwork and the cash is available straight away.
 
High street pawnbrokers typically charge between 5-7% interest a month. If the loan is not paid back on time, the pawned item will be sold or melted down to help cover the debt.
 
The size of the industry has risen from £296m in 2007 to £851m today, according to the analysts Apex Insight.
 
Four new stores have opened every week in 2012 on high streets up and down the country.
 
Pawnbrokers have had strong economic winds blowing in their favour – falling incomes, vacant shop space and the decision by many banks to back away from the riskier end of the personal lending business.
 
“Banks wouldn’t even look at me. They would definitely say no,” says Maria Jones. The young mother-of-three is waiting to redeem her necklace at Gemini Jewellers, a small family-owned pawnbrokers in Kent.
 
“You have to make sure you have a well-paid job to get credit these days. That’s why I come in here and get money.”
 
The number of credit cards in circulation fell from 73 million in 2007 to 61 million at the end of 2011 as banks withdrew special 0% offers and tightened up lending criteria.
 

Long history

 
Like many of the customers in the store, Maria says she pawns her jewellery to pay for everyday essentials – gas, electricity and food.
 
“I don’t have another option, apart from the family,” she says. “If my mum has got the money, she will lend it to me. She doesn’t like me coming here, but I don’t want to depend on her for things.”
 
You have to go back a long way to find the last time pawnbrokers played a major role in British life. At the end of the 19th Century there were more than 700 in London alone.
 
The local pawnbroker’s shop, or “uncle” in Victorian slang, would lend against almost anything from gold rings to clothing, blankets and boots.
 
“Pawnbrokers gave some freedom to working people in the late Victorian period,” says Alex Werner, Head of History Collections at the Museum of London. “When they didn’t need their best clothes, pawning allowed them to buy food for the family until the weekend. Then they would get paid and could have their jacket back. It was like a support network.”
 
But the industry almost died out after World War I as incomes increased, banks offered new forms of credit and the welfare state was created.
 
By the 1980s there were fewer than 50 pawnbrokers left in the UK.
 

Taking on the banks

 
The industry’s resurgence started in the late 1980s as regulations were relaxed and larger pawnbroking chains started to emerge.
 
Many now offer other forms of financial services from payday loans to gold buying and money exchange.
 
Modern stores with their well-lit counters and private valuation rooms are designed to look less like a Victorian money lender and more like a high street bank.
 
Pawnbrokers say the new look is started to attract a new type of customer.
 

Twenty per cent of Fish Brother’s business now comes from the Asian and East African communities that have settled around the East End of London.
 
The size of the average loan has risen six times over since the start of the financial crisis, partly because the company has started to target a more affluent customer.
 
“The middle classes are now using us in a way that has never happened before,” says Josh Fish. “Ten years ago, pawnbroking was hidden away down the side of the shop. Now it is right there on the high street.”
 

Asset finance

 
At the very top end of the market is a new type of pawnbroker.
 
The “asset finance” company takes the same business model and applies it to rare, high value items.
 
“We’ve loaned against everything from boats, planes and helicopters to a Picasso and a Lowry,” says James Constantinou, the founder of Prestige Pawnbroking based in the affluent market town of Weybridge in Surrey.
 
He set up the business three years ago in the middle of the financial crisis, lending not just to individuals but to companies struggling in the downturn. Clients must pay between 2-7% interest a month, depending on the nature of the loan.
 
Businessman Mark Landsberg, handed over the keys to his Porsche 911 to pay a looming tax bill due in the New Year.
 
“You just can’t get a bank loan for a couple of months,” he says, “We just don’t have that relationship with them anymore.”
 
“Nowadays it feels like you can’t get money out of a bank for a business unless it’s made of solid gold.”
 

Read the article here

 
Watch Jim Reed’s full film on the changing face of pawnbroking on Newsnight on 20th December 2012 at 10.30pm on BBC Two, then afterwards on the BBC iPlayer and Newsnight website.

Prestige Pawnbroker review

Cash-poor-asset-rich?

Pawnbrokers in Weybridge? The word brings to mind a rather dingy, Dickensian world, doesn’t it? But Prestige Pawnbrokers in Queen’s Road is not like that. It’s clean, professional, airy – more like a bank or a building society office.

 

Which is exactly the point. In the modern world, where cash-poor-asset-rich individuals and small businesses have liquidity problems, pawnbrokers can be just like a bank – only more effective. Which is why Prestige’s proprietor James Constantinou set up the business.

 

“I realised I was dealing with lots of very successful professional people who had temporary cash flow problems as a result of the recession,” he says, “and I saw a gap in the market to provide a cost-effective way of helping them through it.”

 

We all know the old cliché: banks are delighted to lend you all the money you want – as long as you don’t need it. In an emergency many people find that a lifetime’s carefully protected credit rating counts for nothing.

“This is where we have the edge,” James adds. “All we need to worry about is the value of the items offered as security – we don’t have to ask patronising, long-winded questions about why you want the money and your budget for repayments.”

 

That’s one place where they score – the other is cost. Because the loan is effectively guaranteed, interest rates can be as low as 4%. Try getting that from one of our nationalised financial institutions.

 

The Weybridge business has had a storming opening month: examples include a local independent businessman pawning his Ferrari to raise funds to complete a property development project. The client was waiting for funds from a previous deal to be released; Prestige provided a quick and simple solution that avoided a cashflow crisis that could have ruined him.

 

Other items include a pair of classic Harley Davidsons pawned by a dealer looking to raise working capital from his stock – quicker, easier and cheaper than trying to secure an overdraft from his bank. Weybridge, like the rest of the country, is obviously having to tighten its belt. Prestige are providing a valuable extra solution to help people through their short term problems.

 

Prestige Pawnbrokers Birthday

TREASURE CHEST

 

PRESTIGE PAWNBROKERS FIRST BIRTHDAY

 

One of the perks of the pawnbroking business must be the fact that you spend a lot of time dealing with fascinating and attractive objects.

The old traditionals of jewellery and watches are still there, of course, but it is amazing what people can use to raise money. Weybridge based Prestige is a year old this month, and here are some pictures of the more out of the way objects that have been entrusted to them. Are they sorry to see them go? Not so, says owner James Constantinou: “We’re here to provide people with cost-effective, short-term financial solutions. Contrary to popular belief, pawnbrokers don’t want to sell people’s goods. If someone redeems their loan, it’s a success. It means we’ve solved their problem and we have a happy customer”. Happy customers hopefully mean repeat business, so over the next year the team at Prestige will be looking forward to even more intriguing things passing through their hands.

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