Online Pawn Shops Might be the Ticket for Quick Holiday Cash

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — When Thomas Fischer, who lives in Detroit, Mich., learned 10 days before Christmas that his father might have surgery at the beginning of the year, he decided he needed to make a trip during the holidays to visit his parents in Tampa, Fla.

“I knew I had a bonus coming, but didn’t have the cash on hand at the time,” says Fischer, a pharmaceutical representative. “Flying is never cheap during the holidays, and it’s even more expensive at the last minute.”

Fischer had some items he thought would be worth pawning, but says he had never been into a pawn shop. “Pawn shops are sometimes not in the best of areas,” Fischer says “I started looking at online pawn brokers.”

Fischer found Pawntique, an online pawn broker, spoke to a representative and decided to pawn a 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card from his collection. He said the process was very easy; he sent a photograph of the baseball card, got an appraisal and used an emailed label to send his card to the company.

The agreed-upon money came within 36 hours, he says. “There is always nervousness when putting something like that into someone’s hands, but I felt comfortable doing business with them after talking to them,” Fischer says. “It was very important for me to see my parents, and it is only a baseball card. I could get another one of those, but I can’t get more parents.”

Fischer saw his parents – his father is fine – paid off the loan with his bonus within 1.5 months as planned, and the baseball card is back in his collection.

Don Battis, CEO of Pawntique, a 1-year-old company in Portsmouth, N.H., has only one holiday season under his belt, but says his company saw a lot of business last year from people looking to pawn items for quick holiday cash.