shopping around could put hundreds more in your wallet

11:56 PM, Feb 3, 2011   |    comments
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By Leisa Zigman, I-Team Reporter

St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - When NewsChannel 5's I-Team first tested the market to see who pays the most for your gold 14 months ago, the story took on a life of its own.  In fact, people still ask about it.

With that in mind, we decided it was time to test again and what we found could put hundreds of extra dollars in your wallet. This unscientific test looked at ten stores in the bi-state and will show the importance of shopping around.

Gail Rubsam was looking for some cold hard cash. We met her while she was selling a bracelet and a few other pieces of gold.

"They were in my jewelry box I betcha five years and I haven't touched them," Rubsam said.

Those treasures collecting dust her drawer, quickly turned into cash in her purse. Rubsam was all smiles as she walked away with just more than $260.

The I-Team recently went undercover to ten stores in the bi-state. First we took our gold to Scotsman Coin and Jewelry for an appraisal. Our hidden cameras targeted this store last time around and the manager gave us a price above our expected melt down value.

Craig Teague tested to make sure the items were real gold and determined the exact penny weight.

"A fair price would be between $1,300 and $1,500," he said.

Teague explained the price range is due to a stores overhead and profit margin.

"That is why shopping your jewelry around can find you a better price than taking the first person that offers it to you," he said.

The I-Team received the lowest offer inside the St. Claire Square in Fairview Heights. J.C.'s Jewelry & Repair guaranteed nobody would beat its price of $885. But in Overland, Dianna's Vault offered us hundreds more for our gold with an offer of $1,240. Vincent's Jewelers in Creve Coeur offered $1,244. But Metro Pawn in Overland came in with the first price in our target range at $1,300.

Things were looking up at Olde World Jewelers in Fairview Heights. The Metro East dealer offered us $1,364.00. That is a $479 difference from the St. Claire Square jeweler about a mile away.

Missouri Gold Buyers on South Kingshighway came out on top last time we conducted the gold test. This time around others would beat the offer of $1,467. In fact, in South County, Crestwood Coin and Jewelry came in at $1,485.

And Midwest Money and Coins on Hampton in St. Louis leaped into the $1,500 range. Sam's Light Loans in downtown St. Louis, beat that price with our second highest offer of $1,518. The last champion, Mike Duke, owns Missouri Gold Buyers on South Kingshighway. He also has a store in Richmond Heights which won this year's test with an offer of $1,540.

"I keep the low over head. I don't have expensive jewelry, and everything I buy is melted down as soon as possible," Duke said.

While Duke is still king, we asked why his store on Big Bend in Richmond Heights offered $73 more than his store on South Kingshighway in St. Louis.

"What you are talking about in $73 is a half-gram difference," he said.

Duke explained that discrepancy boils down to the stones in one of our bracelets. Since you can't melt the stones, at the time of the sale, they would have to be removed and then the bracelet re-weighed.

"What it comes down to is the gentleman in my Richmond heights store just estimated a half-gram difference in the stones," Duke said. "Once we would have put it on the scale everything would have worked out the same and you would have gotten the same amount."

When selling gold, it clearly pays to shop around. After all, we pocketed an extra $655.00 just by driving across the Mississippi.

We shot this story two weeks ago. In that time gold has gone up  $10.00 and is now selling for $1,353.

Several other jewelers asked to be included in our next test and claimed they had the best price in town.
What I learned about selling gold
By Leisa Zigman

--Find out if you have 10k, 14k, 18k or 24k gold before you go to sell.
--Make sure they tell you the exact penny weight
--Find out what the price of gold is that day.
--Watch the scale when your items are weighed.
--Don't let your jewelry out of your sight. Make sure it's tested for purity in front of you.
--Precious stones do not make a difference. Value is based on the weight and purity of gold and not its sentimental value. Some shops may offer to buy the stones as well. You may want the buyer to pop it out so you can use it on another piece at a later time.
--The price of gold changes all the time. The value you expect now could change by the time you go into a store. Keep an eye on the market.
--Shop around. Don't accept the first offer. After all, we had a $65,500 difference between our worst to first.



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