Pawning has been around for centuries. It was in 15th century Florence Italy that the Lombardi family established the first pawn-banking system. It has long since been considered a way for the poor to attain needed funds using collateral. Throughout history, every civilization has practiced pawning with varying regulations. One consistency however, has been that pawns and loans are meant for the very poor. Meanwhile, the term “pawnbroker” or even the name “Lombardi”, has been synonymous with usury, or immoral financial practices. So, despite the negative connotations, how has pawning lasted so long? What does pawning mean today?
The pawn industry has gone through several ups and downs throughout history, mainly based on changing levels of necessity and economic factors. In times of recession, pawn shops are more heavily relied upon as a source of much needed income without the same risks of bad credit, or heavy laden bureaucracy. Now, something has happened. Pawnshops are becoming a more popular way to get cash fast, without exceeding the risk of the collateral itself. Even more so, pawn shops are diversifying beyond the commonly known ‘cheap’ shop on the corner. There are now pawnshops that meet the needs of several income groups, not just the poor or hard-fallen. Are you middle-upper class? Very wealthy? A small business owner? This is where the notion of an “upscale pawnshop” comes into play.
In a recent New York Times article, we were introduced to a very high-end pawnshop in Manhattan, Suttons & Robertsons. With it’s luxurious, jewelry store feel, the wealthier crowd can feel comfortable ‘quietly’ liquidating assets into cash without the looks or potential gossip that may follow a visit to the local pawn shop. The owner, Mr. Wiess states “There are more and more people who are asset rich and have a temporary liquidity problem.” Plenty of individuals spend beyond their means and seek temporary help to carry them through and cover necessary expenses.
The modernization of pawnshops has also reached the internet, providing an even more discreet and elegant way to attain needed funds. Here at iPawn, we help all kinds of individuals and small business owners get cash for their valuables when they need it the most. By financing and facilitating the sale of luxury jewelry, gems, and watches we too provide a high-end solution with the utmost discretion and not to mention, convenience.
Whether it is online, or at a luxurious brick and mortar location, it cannot be denied that pawnshops have had a makeover. The notion that pawn shops are intended only for the poor or the immoral can at long last be put to rest. Rather, they have become a remarkable financial tool for all.