How Old Do You Have To Be To Pawn Something?


Amanda Owen


June 10, 2024

Pawning or selling items to a pawn shop is an easy way to make fast money without ruining your credit score or going bankrupt. This can be pretty tempting to those who don’t have an income, and many that fall into this category are those younger than 18. Unfortunately, how old you are determines whether you can pawn stuff or not. To sell or pawn anything to a pawn shop, the seller must be at least 18 years old. 

What Is A Pawn Shop?

A pawn shop is a business that buys mostly secondhand goods outright or offers a loan keeping the item(s) you bring them as collateral. If the loan isn’t paid off in time, the item is simply kept by the pawn shop and nothing else is required by the seller. 

Xtreme Pawnshop store front

Federal Law Vs State Law

Federal Law states that the age of majority for pawning is 18 years old. State Law, on the other hand, differs by state. Federal Law Trumps state law, and as federal law has the minimum age set at 18, all other states have either the same requirement or an older age. Most states still have the majority age set at 18, but a few range from 19 to 21 years of age.It is highly unlikely that you will find any pawn shop that does not follow the age regulation. 

What Age Do You Have To Be?

According to Federal law, you cannot pawn or sell anything to a pawn shop under the age of 18. This is because minors cannot enter into legally binding contracts, which are required in the process of pawning and selling to Pawn Shops. Due to the Patriotic Act, brokers must validate the identity of the Pawner/Seller, meaning the individual must provide a valid ID. So even if you look old enough, you still have to prove it. Keep in mind you can still buy from a pawn shop, there’s no age limit for that!

Classic Blue Passport

Why Can’t You Pawn If You’re Under 18?

Individuals under age are not allowed to pawn stuff in order to protect both the pawn shops and the sellers from potential legal and financial issues. People under the age of 18 do not have the same understanding as those who are older. Without experience and knowledge, minors are more likely to get ripped off or have difficulties paying back their loan. 

Other Options For Those Under 18

Don’t lose hope! If you are under 18, you can still sell/pawn items if an adult sells them through their name. Meaning you must be accompanied by an adult and they must sign the legal documents. Be sure you choose a trustworthy adult who will turn the money over to you after the transaction is complete. If this is not an option, try selling online through the Facebook Marketplace or eBay.

Person taping a cardboard box closed

Pawning VS Selling

Pawning an item and selling an item are not the same thing. When you sell an item to a pawn shop, it is considered a straight sale. There are no loans or obligations, and you as the seller relinquish your rights of ownership for that item. No strings attached. When you pawn an item, you receive a quick loan that you must pay back within a specific time frame, if you want to get your item back. Usually, the loan is a generous portion of the value of the item.

How To Pawn/Sell Step By Step

  1. Make sure to have the proper documentation, as well as your item(s).
  2. Go to the nearest Pawnshop and talk to the broker. No appointment necessary.
  3. After you’ve provided Identification, they will look over your stuff and question you to determine rightful ownership.
  4. They will make an offer. You can choose to haggle over it or accept.
  5. Make it official, sign any necessary documents, and take your money!
  6. Don’t forget! You need to know how to pay off your loan if you pawned the item(s).

Man signing documents

What You Need In Order To Pawn/Sell

To sell/pawn anything, you have to have a valid form of ID. This could be a driver's license or passport. You may need proof of ownership depending on the type of item you are trying to pawn/sell. It would be a good idea to bring any appraisals or certificates of authenticity that you have. They are not necessarily required but would definitely help your case for ownership and possibly get you a better price for your goods. One thing that people might not think about is the appearance of the items. Be sure to clean them up and make any repairs before trying to pawn/sell them, this could influence the price offer significantly. We recommend having an idea of what your product is worth before heading to the pawn shop.

Appraisals And Certificates Of Authenticity

If you are trying to sell Jewelry or precious stones, you may want to have appraisals to save time in the inspection and to secure adequate pay for your goods. Items that are autographed, vintage, or one-of-a-kind would need certificates of authenticity because the broker isn’t going to just take your word for it. For items like cell phones, brokers might require proof of ownership before they take it off your hands.

Signed Certificate

Think about it…

In the end, pawning is still a great option and while those under 18 cannot directly engage in pawning or selling, they can still do so with the assistance of a trusted adult. And remember, it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still buy from a pawn shop. We recommend ours: Xtreme Pawn for a trustworthy loan. Call or text us at (801) 876-1727 if you have any questions!