I-Team Investigation: Buying, selling gold - get the best price for your old gold


by Andy Treinen


Posted on February 13, 2012 at 7:39 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 14 at 7:03 PM

Think you know what gold items are worth by looking at them? Check out our slideshow of gold items and see if you can guess their highest appraised value.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) - After a series of complaints about those businesses buying gold for cash WHAS11 I-Team investigator Andy Treinen to a look into how those businesses work.
WHAS11 News went undercover to get the answers to questions a seller needs to ask - with the price of gold where it is,they're answers that can be worth thousands of dollars.
For something to be worth its weight in gold these days you have to find a buyer willing to pay.

The investigation started on a day when gold was valued at $1,725 per ounce and we found few who were willing to pay that price.
After several complaints to our consumer line from people who said they felt they were getting a raw deal we decided to test the market.

"They know what they did, so I’ll see them in court," Tina Warfield said about her local pawn shop.

Her complaint, and one from Bethany Francis are just two of several examples from viewers who are fighting mad.

“I said excuse me and she said they're fake," Francis said.
Jeff Dangler has heard these kind of complaints and more. He worked in the gold buying business for five years.

"They size up their customer. Basically your just taking a gander what they got on, how they're talking, if you smell alcohol,” Dangler said.

 Dangler said if you're selling gold it's important to develop a relationship with the buyer.
After consulting the Better Business Bureau and people who work in the business, Louisville Numismatic was chosen as a dealer who could give us a fair price. We collected gold from several employees and we brought it here to find out what it was worth.

The price of gold that day $1,725 per ounce. We had them price rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces.
Armed with a hidden camera and microphone we then took that same gold to other dealers, jewelers and pawn shops.

"So they offered you $600 for all this?” one dealer who was pitching a smaller price said.

 Dan's Pawn Shop on Preston Highway wouldn't give our production assistant prices when they found out she was shopping store to store.

 "So there's no way you guys could just kind of price it out?” Elle fuller, WHAS11 production assistant, said.

“Well I don't want to shoot you a price and you don't come back because I didn't beat the next person," the teller at Dan’s Pawn Shop said. .
We visited other locations and at three of them we got good hard numbers to compare against our Numismatic offer - and those numbers were all over the place. For instance, a fish bracelet ranged from $314 to $120.

Dangler said many places will negotiate.

"It’s here you go what can you give me for this and then they low ball you back," Dangler said.
When we sent Warfield into Mister Money looking for a deal. She said they told her up front what they were paying.

 "We do 75 percent of what gold is priced at, everybody else in town does 50 percent,"  the man behind the desk said.

Mister Money was also the only dealer to claim one of our necklaces was bogus. Everyone else tested it as 10 karat gold.

 "This gold chain is fake.” the employee said.

Here are some of the breakdowns of the jewelry we took to local businesses:
WHAS11 producer Barbara gave us this fish bracelet, a heart bracelet, a lightning bolt necklace, dolphin earrings and an 18 karat airplane bracelet. When added together Numismatic valued them at $850.88 - Mister Money offered $571 for the same gold.

De Prez on Preston was willing to pay $416. We then went to Conner Jewelers in New Albany, Ind. Elle asked whether they gave straight up value for gold or some kind of percentage.

”It varies,” the woman working at Conner said.
Conner warned us about selling in Louisville and then offered us the lowest price. Just $324 for gold that was sold anonymously weeks later to Numismatic for more than $800 dollars.

For Andy’s gold wedding ring, a gold nugget and gold chain Numismatic offered $386 dollars. De-Prez was second at $263, followed by Mister Money at $253. Conner offered $159 - although they did tell us, just like Dan’s Pawn Shop, they might be able to do better if we come back.
“I mean it's just about who wants it and we want it," an employee at Dan’s Pawn Shop said.

Selling locally is almost always better than mailing your jewelry or going to a traveling hotel buyers gold show.  With those it's not uncommon to get only 30 percent of the value for your gold.

"Times are tight people are trying to make it any way they can," Dangler said.

So take a little advice from the WHAS11 I-Team - shop around because a buyer you trust can be worth its weight in gold.

Think you know what gold items are worth by looking at them? Check out our slideshow of gold items and see if you can guess their highest appraised value.