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Fall yard sale season can be tempting for many people looking for a deal, yet most of those deal hunters haven’t realized that there is a place with better deals and better products that is open year round. That place is a pawn shop. Here are a few reasons why you should choose your local pawn shop over a yard sale.

Guaranteed Quality

Anyone who has been to a yard sale knows that the items available can vary quite widely in terms of quality. Broken items can be placed next to board games with missing pieces, beautiful clothes hang next to jackets with missing buttons and holes in the pockets. When you go through a yard sale, you can often find products that seem amazing, only to discover they are falling apart a week after you bring them home, and you can’t do anything about it except throw it in the garbage.

A pawn shop owner understands that carrying poor quality merchandise will ruin their business and reputation, so they quickly become experts in finding quality pieces. Heading to a pawn shop instead of that yard sale can not only get you better quality items, it means you can buy with confidence.

Curated Content

When you go to a yard sale, you can often find everything from broken furniture to VHS tapes and worn out paperbacks. The actual products for sale are based mostly on two factors: the person not wanting it anymore or them really needing to get rid of it. This means the range of items available and their quality varies dramatically. By contrast, a pawn shop is curated. Items are there because the pawn shop operator knows they will sell. This means a narrower selection of goods that are at a quality that makes them sellable. It’s easier to find what you need and want in a pawn shop.

Unsentimental Pricing

Yard sales are sometimes a mixed bag. You can find pretty decent deals on stuff, but more often than not you can find items that you love that are priced with sentimentality in mind. A person putting on a yard sale is in complete control of the pricing and while they may be open to haggling, they are often too personally involved to price competitively. They have also rarely considered actual market value, meaning you could end up paying more than what the item would go for at a pawn shop.

Pawn shop owners by contrast, price things according to previous sales experience and their expertise on the products. They do not price things because of the memories associated with them. They price them to sell. That means better, fairer pricing for you and less hassle trying to haggle down someone who doesn’t understand why their pricing is too high for an item they love.

When it comes to finding quality used items, it’s best to head to a quality and reputable pawn shop like Loan Star Exchange. With curated items that are high quality and priced to sell, it can be the perfect place to find something unique for less.

A pawn shop is not a second hand shop, a consignment store, or a money lender, but it is some combination of all three of those things. Above all, it is a business and so it should behave like a business, with the proper licenses and know-how, and you should feel as comfortable doing business with a pawn shop as you would with any other retailer in the area.

The signs that you are dealing with a quality pawn shop are:

1) They can provide you with a small loan

A pawn shop is mostly in the business of giving small loans for a short period of time, with a sellable item as collateral. If you need money in a hurry, you can get a loan from a pawn shop and they will hold onto your item for an agreed upon time, until you collect it by repaying the loan within that time and with interest. Most people do return for the items, but if they don’t the store can sell it for the full value. As long as you give a more valuable item as collateral, they will be willing to negotiate for a higher price.

2) They should know the value of the items and understand what they have.

A good pawn shop will know a good piece of jewelry from something gold plated. They will have appraisers on staff and people who can repair jewelry. They will know the value of what you bring in and what you want to buy.

3) They should have a licence

Pawnshops fall under the category of “payday lender” – but don’t confuse them with payday loan companies like CashCo or Money Mart. The distinction is for their classification of licence. Pawn shops in Alberta are legislated by the: Fair Trading Act, Payday Loans Regulation, Cost of Credit Disclosure Regulation and An Act to End Predatory Lending. Each shop must undergo the province’s licensing process to operate legally.

4) They should have good security

Since they are storing your things, they should have a method in place to make sure they are keeping your belongings safe.

5) They are well established in the community and well-liked

A pawn shop should make you feel comfortable in doing business with them. They should be in a good neighbourhood and have a good relationship with the community. You should feel good about any place where you are doing business. Talk to the staff, and go and visit a number of times before you bring in your item to make sure you and the shop can enjoy a great business relationship.

Call our quality pawn shop for info on our products and services, or come and see us today!

We have all seen the depictions of pawn shops in the media: shady places where dirty dealings occur in seemingly broad daylight. The truth, however, could not be further from those common depictions. In fact, pawn shops today remain an important part of the world and business. If you have never been to a pawn shop, you may be missing out on some fantastic deals, opportunities, and people. This blog covers the things you need to know about pawn shops, how they work and what they can offer you.

You Can Get Some Quick Cash

Pawn shops offer a wide variety of services to people but one of their most common tasks is buying items from people and adding those items to their inventory. It’s a fantastic way to make some quick cash on things you have that you no longer need, especially if they are items that are in high demand. Recent versions of smartphones, recent electronics, and power tools in good condition are all viable items that can often make you some great money, and a pawn shop is the perfect place to trade them all in.

You Can Sell Jewelry

Most pawn shops these days have close working relationships with precious metal suppliers and jewelry experts. They can often give you top dollar for your gold and silver no matter the form. They can also help you find a home for any jewelry you no longer want, whether that’s selling it to someone who may want it or having it melted down for its metals. Either way, pawn shops can help you make some money off the precious metals in your jewelry.

You Can Get a Loan

People are increasingly turning to pawn shops for short-term loans. These loans are collateral-based, meaning that you have to offer something up for collateral in the event that you default on your loan. The process works differently than banks but your local pawn shop dealer will be able to walk you through the specifics. It’s an excellent way to get some cash that you may need without having to go through the bank.

You Can Find Something Fantastic

One of the best things about pawn shops has changed very little over the decades: the potential to find something amazing. These stores have been acquiring items for years and hidden away on those shelves are things you may have never guessed. Old records, books, items that you need for your home, even replacement phones and electronics. If you want it, there’s a good chance a pawn shop in your area has it, and has it for less.

Your local pawn shop is an excellent resource for everything from quick cash to loans and items that you may need. They are an important part of any community and a vibrant place where people can discover things they never knew existed. If you are in need of cash or are looking for something unique, a pawn shop may have exactly what you were looking for, and even a few things that you weren’t.

Coin collecting is big business for the truly passionate.

Just like stamp collecting and record collecting, the true connoisseurs are always on the lookout for the rarities, whether those are limited releases, misprints, or limited runs.

When it comes to Canadian coins, there are some that are more highly sought than all the others, ones that are worth more than just a pretty penny.

Here are the top 10 rarest, and most valuable, Canadian coins sought by collectors around the world! 

Let’s dive in…

10. 1947 Maple Leaf Silver Dollar

Value: $300-$10,000

These coins were made because of some confusion between the Canadian Royal Mint and Britain, resulting in coins struck in 1948 that bore the 1947 year.

The major change was a tiny maple leaf next to the year to indicate it was part of this run.

There are roughly 1,000 in circulation.

9. 1948 Canadian Silver Dollar

Value: $1,000-$20,000

When India gained Independence in 1947, the reigning monarch’s official title was shortened due to not being the “Emperor of India” any longer.

The change meant a different effigy, which the mint could only make a small number of due to the new dies.

As a result, a small run of silver dollars were made, of which only 1,000 are thought to survive.

8. 1906 Small Crown Quarter

Value: $1,000-$50,000

Canada’s rarest 25-cent piece, made with a small crown instead of a large one.

Of the rumoured 1,000 that were made, most are in poor condition, which is why their price changes so much according to grade.

7. 1921 Nickels

Value: $4,000-$100,000

When the mint decided to make nickels literally made of nickel, they gathered up all the silver 5 cent pieces and melted them down.

As a result, any surviving versions of the last silver 5 cent piece can catch quite a high price with the right collector.

6. 1969 Large Date Dimes

Value: $10,000-$25,000

Probably the newest of the top rare Canadian coins, this 1969 dime has an unusually large date and thus quite valuable.

5. 1916 Gold Sovereign

Value: $15,000-$50,000

The equivalent of a British one-pound gold coin, these coins are extremely rare and thus quite highly valued.

4. 1921 Fifty-Cent Piece

Value: $40,000-$250,000

Almost all 1921 50 cent coins were melted down due to low demand.

Any that survived are now quite the collector’s item and often referred to as “the king of Canadian coins.”

3. 1936 “Dot” Dimes

Value: $184,000

When King Edwards VIII suddenly abdicated the throne, his brother George became king.

Besides becoming the subject of the popular film, The King’s Speech, the abdication caused headaches at the Canadian mint, who did not have an effigy of the new king. 

The result: a dime made in 1937 that says “1936,” albeit with a tiny dot.

2. 1936 “Dot” Penny

Value: $400,000

The “dot” penny was made for the same reasons as the “dot” dime, but is rarer and thus more valuable.

Only three are known to survive.

1. 1911 Canadian Silver Dollar

Value: Almost $1 million

Coin collecting can be a very lucrative endeavour when done properly.

It can also help people with coins they don’t need generate a little extra income.

Whether you are on the hunt for coins or want to sell some you have around the house, your local pawn shop is an excellent resource.

They can help you assess the value of your coins and provide a place to sell your Canadian coins.

Wow! Can you believe it?

Finding one of these incredibly rare Canadian coins wouldn’t be much short of winning the lottery!

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Summary: Pawn broking is one of the oldest trades in the world, tracing all the way back to almost 3,000 years ago. While the trade of pawn broking has evolved over time, responding to contemporary needs, it remains a strong and valued part of today’s society. Here is a brief history of the trade.


What is a Pawnbroker?            

A pawnbroker is an individual or business (colloquially known as a pawn shop) that offers secured loans to people with personal items as collateral (jewelry, electronics, musical instruments, sporting equipment, clothing, antiques, power tools, etc.). Once an item is pawned to the broker (the pawnbroker), it’s called a pledge or a pawn.

While pawnshops are virtually ubiquitous in many of today’s societies, not many people realize that the history of the trade dates back to ancient times.

International Origins

The origins of pawnbroking can be traced all across the world, from China to Greece to Italy. Indeed, evidence of pawn broking has been located in ancient Greece, Italy, France, England, Bavaria, and China, dating from Roman times to the Middle Ages. Pawnbroking is not only one of the oldest trades in the world; it’s also one of the most international! In the late 19th and 20th centuries, there were nearly as many pawn shops as there were pubs in Britain, indicating the level of the trade’s popularity and necessity.

The earliest pawnbrokers have been located in 5th century China. These early pawn shops were established, owned and operated by Buddhist monasteries before moving into secular and mainstream society. In some cases, wealthy laypeople would enter in the pawn broking business with the monasteries, forming partnerships that allowed them to open pawnshops, and subsequently avoid certain property taxes that Buddhist monasteries didn’t have to pay.

The Discovery of the (New) World

Pawn broking soon spread to other parts of the world, truly establishing itself as an international trade. In England, the history of pawn broking is tied to England’s monarchical history. The pawnbroker came in with William the Conqueror. In 1338, King Edward III actually pawned his jewels to the Lombards to raise money to finance the war with France. Henry V followed a similar strategy in 1415. Pawnbroking has a long and illustrious history of financing great moments and developments in history!

According to the National Association of Pawnbrokers, pawnbroking played a part in the discovery of the Americas, as the voyages of Niña, Santa Maria, and Pinta (led by no other than Christopher Columbus) were partially funded by Queen Isabella of Spain’s pawned jewels.

The Pawnbroker’s License

The pawnbroker’s license was established in 1785. In London, the duty for a pawnbroker’s licence was fixed at £10 in London and £5 in the country. In 1790, the interest rates on advances in England rose to 15 per cent. After many repeals and amendments, the pawnbroker’s license came to resemble (at least in the UK) shortly thereafter what the modern pawn broking industry looks like. Restrictions on interest rates and licensing costs vary from region to region and country to country. The rates in the US will not, for example, be the same as pawn broking rates in England, Canada or Spain.

The Patron of Pawn broking

Did you know? Pawn broking is such an esteemed and long-standing trade that it even has its own patron saint – Saint Nicolas (sound familiar)? Saint Nicolas is a rather busy guy, as he is not only the patron saint of pawnbroking, but also of children, sailors, broadcasters, archers, and fishermen, just to name a few!

You might not know it, but pawn brokering is one of the world’s oldest professions. Many ancient cultures from Greece to Rome had set rules and regulations for pawn brokers. Even the Mosaic Law in the Torah has rules laid out for pawn broking. Pope Leo X was a notorious pawn shop customer for his frequent pawning of palace furniture and silver to cover the costs of play tickets. He was also the pope when the Catholic Church gave the official okay for pawn shops to operate.

In Canada, our first laws regarding pawn brokering appeared in 1886 with the Federal Pawnbrokers Act. The act still exists today, with additional rules and regulations about pawn shops laid out by provincial governments.

Pawn Shops around the World

China – Pawnshops existed in China as far back at the 5th century and were run out of Buddist monasteries. Occasionally wealthy entrepreneurs would form partnerships with these monasteries and help run the pawnshops.

Italy – Ancient Roman law allowed pawn shops, however items such as clothing and furniture were restricted from being pawned. In addition the Catholic Church mandated that all interest rates charged to poor people be reasonable.

England – Originally forbidden from charging interest, pawn shops in England survived on funds from the state. When that idea eventually failed many different iterations of pawn shops were tried until the government settled on allowed the shops to charge a yearly interest rate of 20%, or 1.6% a month.

America – Modern pawn shops are widespread across the United States with the average store charging 4% interest per month for a period of 4 months.

Russia – Pawn shops in Russia are only allowed to sell gold, silver and other precious metals and gems.

Canada – Pawn shops have been around in Canada for a long time. They are required to hold an item for a set amount of time which is regulated by the provincial government and will be agreed upon by the seller and pawn broker. You must also be over 18 to sell something at a pawn shop in Alberta.

Call us today to find out what we have in our Edmonton pawn shop for you! 

Now that back to school season is slowing down many students are settling into new living accommodations. Whether it is your first time moving out or your second or third place, this is the time of year you are most likely to notice what your apartment is missing.

You’ve gone out to the store, you bought some pizza pops and you’re all fired up to heat them up in the microwave and play some video games before school gets too busy in a couple of weeks. And then you realize it. You don’t own a microwave. The microwave was your room mates and he moved out at the start of the month. You start to wonder what else your place could be missing and how you are going to afford all this new stuff.

Furnishing or refurnishing a student apartment doesn’t need to be expensive, but that doesn’t mean you need to settle for low quality items. LoanStar carries a full range of household and kitchen appliances from top name brands at prices that match a student budget. Unlike at a thrift shop or garage sale you won’t be left guessing if an item works because we test all items before putting them on the shelf. We also have experienced staff to help you find the items that meet your needs.

Our stock is always changing so give us a call or come by if there is something specific you are looking for. Otherwise we carry a range of microwaves, blenders, toaster ovens, irons, any many more items. We’re conveniently close to both Grant MacEwan and NAIT so you can even come by and browse on your spare.

Contact us for more info on our small appliances.

Come by our shop and browse our selection of jewelry. When you find that perfect piece, let us know you’d like to buy it on our layaway plan.

We take 20% of the total cost of the item as a down payment.

We’ll also take the item off our shelf and set it aside for you. After that we’ll set up a monthly schedule, where you pay 20% of the total cost of the item each month. Then at Christmas when the item is paid in full, we’ll give it to you so you can really wow that special someone.

Benefits of a Layaway Plan

We all know sometimes it can be hard to afford the gifts your loved ones deserve. By making easy monthly payments, you can free up room in your budget.

Layaway plans don’t build interest, unlike a credit card.

With layaway you’ll pay the price of the item and that’s it. Buying an item on a credit card before you can afford to pay in full can cause the costs of the item to sky rocket with never ending interest payments. With layaway you’ll save money.

Finding the gift for someone special can be a real challenge. Especially when it feels like everything has already been picked over and you’re forced to settle for something less than perfect. By doing your shopping early you can find that perfect piece for that special someone before everyone else.

No credit card? No problem! We take cash, debit and credit for our layaway plans.

Call us today for more information on our jewelry layaway plan!

Loan Star is Edmonton’s favourite pawn shop for a reason… Actually, a few reasons! You may think all pawn shops are the same, but there are some great benefits from shopping, pawning and borrowing with Loan Star.

Did you know…we lend for less! While almost all pawnshops in Edmonton have raised their rates in the last couple of years, Loan Stars’ rates have not changed since 1989. This means borrowing from Loan Star will cost you 20 – 40% less than borrowing from our competition.

When you shop at Loan Star, all items purchased come with a warranty. Other shops in the city charge as much as 15% of the purchase price for a warranty. We pride ourselves on great prices so there won’t be unexpected added costs on your purchase.

The team at Loan Star All follow a daily, weekly and monthly cleaning schedule, so our store doesn’t look like pawn shops in the movies. It’s clean and inviting.

Customer service is our focus. We know our customers are what keep us in business, and we appreciate the support. We always treat our customers with the respect and courtesy that they deserve and strive to build long-lasting relationships.

Our merchandise quality is top notch. You will never find items on our sales floor that has not been cleaned, tested and price checked. We try as much as possible to find a local store’s retail price on items and price our merchandise at 40-60% of that price. If you think our price is high, bring it to our attention – we respect your feedback!

Come and see us or give us a call today!

We love answering customer questions because everyone seems so interested in the pawn business these days (we lovingly blame those guys on TV!) This is a question we seem to get a lot: What Are the Most Commonly Pawned Items? There are a lot of different items brought through our shop, but we definitely have a few categories that top the list.

1. Jewellery: As expected, jewellery tops our list. We buy and sell a large amount of gold and jewellery.  People bring in jewellery for several reasons:

  • it is one of the most valuable items they own;
  • it was given to them by someone they no longer have a relationship with;
  • they have too  much and won’t miss it!

We love to see jewellery come in because it gives our buying customers more selection, and we get the chance to sell some really cool pieces at a fantastic price!

2. Power Tools: We know this sounds kind of weird to some people, but barely used power tools can bring you some quick cash and be resold at a great price. If you’re ever in the market for a power tool you may want to give us a call before you head out to the big home stores as we have quite the selection of power tools! Drills, saws, planers, sanders, rotary tools… you name it, we may have it.

3. Guitars & Musical Equipment:  If you’re just starting out as a musician or you’re looking for something unique, we have a fantastic selection of musical instruments. People come through here with classic guitars, barely played drum kits and gently used amps.  On a good day we carry Fender, Ibanez, Gibson and more. We guarantee the quality of these – we ahve some high quality pieces.

Aside from the top 3 most commonly pawned items, we also get some very unique pawns as well (which are pretty cool.) Some of the neatest things that have come through our door are:  uncut sheets of money, rolls of silver dollars from the fifties and sixties, and Cartier alarm clocks.

You just never know what you’ll find here at Loan Star. Call us to see what came in today…

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Nice clean store. Friendly helpful staff. I went to 2 other pawn shop before stopping in there, this place made the others look like junky garage sales.

- John Doe
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