Wednesday, May 13 2020
Diamonds are beautiful and valuable — making them the perfect target for people who want to make fakes for profit.
Fortunately, there are some tests you can run to see if a diamond is real or fake. They can be done at home and cost you a few bucks at most.
None of these tests are conclusive, but failing several of these tests is a strong indicator that you should get a diamond test kit or bring the piece to a gemologist to learn the truth.
The Loupe Test
A loupe is a magnifying glass used by jewelers to see the fine details of jewelry. Since diamonds form in nature, there are bound to be imperfections. A perfect diamond is likely fake.
This isn’t always the case, though — you may stumble across a real, perfect diamond. Lab-created diamonds are also generally flawless, yet they’re real.
However, the loupe test can still indicate that further inspection is required.
The Black Light Test
Another initial screening test you can run is the black light test. Turn off all the lights and shine a black light on your diamond. You should see a bluish fluorescence. Green, yellow, and other colors could indicate a fake.
The Heat Test
Diamonds are incredibly strong. High heat will not damage them.
To perform the heat test, fill a glass with cold water. Using plyers or fireproof gloves, heat your diamond with a lighter for about a minute, then promptly drop your stone into cold water. A fake diamond will shatter, as its components will not be able to stand the rapid expansion and contraction of heat.
The Water Test
If the heating element of the heat test makes you uncomfortable, you can still use the other half of the test to determine if your diamond is real. When dropped in water, a diamond’s high density will cause it to sink to the bottom.
If your diamond floats, however, then it isn’t a diamond at all.
The Fog Test
The fog test uses condensation to determine diamond authenticity. Condensation doesn’t stick to the surface of a real diamond.
All you have to do is hold the diamond in front of your mouth and breathe on it as if you were trying to fog up a mirror. If the condensation immediately disperses, the diamond is real. If not, it’s fake.
The Sandpaper Test
Again, diamonds are made of tough material. It’s quite hard to scratch them.
Scratch the stone in question with sandpaper. Scratches indicate your diamond is actually something else, whereas no damage indicates authenticity.
Did your diamond pass this battery of tests? You can fetch a pretty penny by pawning it. If you’re looking for a pawn shop in Philadelphia, stop by Cash Express. We love diamonds and jewelry here — we’ll get you a fair price for your piece and have the money in your hands the same day.
Monday, March 23 2020
Is There Any Value in Sports Collectibles?
Have you ever dug through your attic and found some old baseball cards? Or perhaps you have an autographed football with a famous name on it. Whatever sports collectibles you have, it probably occurred to you that you can sell it for a nice pay day. But can you? Do your sports collectibles have any value? And if so, how much money could you get for yours?
Let’s look at some factors that can determine how valuable your collectible is.
Authentication is the only way to get a concrete value of your sports collectible. Without authentication, your collectible is only worth as much as someone will pay for it.
If someone authenticates your collectible, it’s value can increase dramatically — sometimes by hundreds of dollars.
To get your collectible authenticated, you’ll have to contact a third-party authenticator. You may have to pay a fee as well — but if you plan on selling your collectible, a small fee will be worth the hundreds extra that you bring in.
Players that are/were objectively better the their sport will naturally bring a higher price — partially because of their skill, but also because they don’t give out their signature that often.
Take Tom Brady, for example. Sure, he’s good at what he does. However, he also doesn’t sign things that often, making his signature even more valuable.
Player skill matters in determining value, but so does player popularity.
For example, Michael Jordan’s signature will be worth more than most other basketball players in history partly because of his huge popularity. He was also great at the game, of course, which makes his signature worth even more.
It isn’t likely for a Michael Jordan signature to fluctuate in value, but value fluctuations in value are definitely possible for memorabilia from other players.
Take Jeremy Lin, for example. He was killing it on the New York Knicks. During that time, his signature was worth a pretty penny.
But now that he’s not in the spotlight, fewer people value his signature, making it worth less than what it used to be.
The Item Itself
Last but certainly not least, the signed item itself can play a significant part in its value. A good example would be footballs. A football used in a Super Bowl game would be worth a lot more than a football used in a regular season game.
This also plays off of the player in question. For example, a signed Kobe Bryant jersey would be worth a lot more than a signed Kobe Bryant picture.
In fact, jerseys (along with helmets) are some of the most valuable items — they did belong to the player, after all.
If you have any sports collectibles that you have laying around that you want to sell for quick cash or want to pawn, come to Cash Express and get the cash you deserve! We specialize in a variety of goods such as antiques, gold, watches, jewelry, coins and more. Check us out online!
Thursday, March 12 2020
Do Silver-Plated Antiques Have Any Value?
Have you ever wonderd why your fork, spoon, and knife are called “silverware”? Believe it or not, cutlery items and dishware used to be made of silver quite often, which is where the name came from. The silver was used by ancient societies as it killed microorganisms that could cause sickness.
Today, we call everything silverware. However, it’s commonly made with stainless steel to make it more affordable. But you may have old, true “silverware” and other silver-plated antiques. The question is, do they have any value? And if so, how much can you get for them?
Let’s explore this more below.
Sterling Vs. Silver-Plated
You may be excited to learn that your stainless steel cutlery is coated in silver. You could make a killing at a pawn shop!
Well, not exactly.
As it turns out, silver-plated items don’t have much value. That’s not to say they are worthless, but there simply is not enough silver in the items for them to have value when melted down.
The true value comes in items that are sterling silver. Sterling silver items are made with at least 92.5% silver. The other 7.5% comes from various other metals — copper being an example.
You can sell sterling silverware at several types of locations.
Of course, it’s less likely that you’ll have sterling silverware in your possession. It’s worth a look, though.
Is It Still Possible to Sell My Silver-Plated Antiques?
Yes, it’s still possible, although you won’t be able to make as much money.
Most pawn shops typically won’t take silver-plated flatware, but don’t count them out — some flatware patterns have followings, so people may be looking for the specific pattern you have.
Silver dealers may be a better option for selling your silver-plated antiques.
Sell or Pawn Your Silver Items
If you have a true silver item, you can sell or pawn it at Cash Express if you want some extra money. We love precious metals!
Bring your items in — we’ll get you a fair price on your item and have you out with the money in your hand the same day.
Thursday, February 20 2020
We don’t often think about the value of random thing we have in stuffed away in boxes. However, tons of old items — including things you might own — could be worth a hundreds or even thousands if you bring them to the right place.
Here are some of the most valuable antiques you might find.
You might not have the Mona Lisa, but you never know if you have a valuable painting in your possession. Some people have said that they lived by painters who gifted them a piece of artwork that later became valuable when the painter struck fame. Worth looking into if you have any paintings.
Guitars are not only musical instruments, but some consider them pieces of art. They don’t have to be antique, either. Guitars in good condition — even those from the 60’s and 70’s — can be worth a lot.
Head over to your shed or workbench and take a look at your tools. See anything that’s quite old? Older tools can be worth a lot, but you’ll want to check out a price guide to get a more accurate estimate of their value.
If you find anything valuable, you could sell it and have enough money to buy a brand new tool set.
4. Persian Rugs
Persian rugs take a long time to appreciate in value, but the wait is worth it if it’s been in your possession for decades. Rugs over 100 years old are considered antiques. Price is determined by factors such as size, material, and design.
Did your grandparents or great grandparents buy a well-known book when it came out decades ago? First edition books from the 1930s - 1950s (and before) can be worth thousands of dollars.
6. Baseball Cards
In general, baseball cards increase in value as they get older. That being said, there are several other aspects that play into the card’s value. If you have baseball cards, consider getting them appraised.
If you’ve inherited an old lamp that just doesn’t seem to fit your current decor, don’t fret — depending on brand, an old lamp could earn you thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars. Brands like Handel and Pairpoint will net you a pretty penny.
8. Christmas Ornaments
New Christmas ornaments are a dime a dozen, but older Christmas ornaments passed down through generations could be worth a lot. A single ornament could be worth several hundred dollars; not bad for a little orb you hang on a tree once a year.
Believe it or not, old sterling silverware can net you a good amount of cash. Individual pieces can fetch you a few hundred — but if you have a whole set, that’s potentially a couple thousand dollars.
10. Vintage Ads
Vintage-style ads add a touch of fashion to your home when placed well. However, real vintage ads may be worth selling instead. Even ads for the most mundane items could fetch your hundreds.
Monday, February 10 2020
How to Discover the Price of an Antique
Do you own a historical or valuable antique, such as an old coin, artwork, or a firearm? You’re probably wondering what it’s worth out of curiosity; or maybe you want to sell it and you’re hoping to maximize your earnings.
There are several sources you can use to discover approximately how valuable your antique is. Try some of these place.
1. Search for Similar Antiques for Sale Online
A great place to start your search is online. Begin by searching for items for sale that are similar to your antique. For example, if you have an old coin, see if you can find other coins for sale.
While you’re using your search engine, try look for databases related to your item; to do so, just run a search for your item plus “database”. You’ll find a lot of pricing information regarding your item.
eBay is another online place you should check out, as tons of people sell antique items on there every day. Run a search for your item and see what prices you find.
2. Find an Appraiser for Your Antique
Nearly every type of item has an appraiser for it. Find an appraiser that is certified by the American Society of Appraisers, the Appraisers Association of America, or the International Society of Appraisers. You can seek out an appraiser directly, or you may be able to find one at an antique store.
You will have to pay for an appraiser, but getting an accurate estimate may be worth the cost.
Don’t have time to visit an appraiser or an antique store? You can get an estimate online from a valuation site. It won’t be as accurate since the appraiser can’t look at the item, but you should get a decent estimate if you’re thorough and honest in your description.
3. Auction Houses
Auction houses will evaluate your item for a fee that depends on location. However, some auction houses will host an occasional “Valuation Day” where they will estimate the value of your antique for free.
4. Collectibles Dealers
Is your antique a collectible item, such as a coin or a set of baseball cards? It likely has more established guidelines of determining its value; in this case, you’ll want to take your antique to a collectibles dealer.
As with appraisers, make sure the collectibles dealer you visit is certified by an appraisal organization. Also, read online reviews of any dealers you visit to ensure they’re reputable.
5. The Library
Your local library should have resources to assist you in discovering the price of your antique. One of these resources is a type of book called a price guide. Price guides contain an assortment of typical antique items and what prices they have sold for.
Look at collector’s books as well. In collectors books, you’ll find a detailed look at your item, including aspects such as size, condition, and sometimes pricing information.
If you’re having trouble finding the resources you need, ask a librarian to help you out.