Owning a pawn shop or secondhand jewelry store can be a great way to make a living. Further, being a buyer of gold, as most pawn shop owners are, can have a positive effect on a community. For many people, the local gold buyer performs the same services as a bank, providing emergency money at reasonable cost. Just as with any business, you’ll need to obtain the proper licenses if you want to start a business buying gold in New York.

The Necessary License

As in most other states, you do need to get a license before you can start a gold-buying business in New York. According to Parija B. Kavilanz, senior writer for CNN Money, you can become a gold buyer by obtaining a pawnbroker license or secondhand dealer license. Depending on your municipality, you can apply for the proper license online or at a local consumer affairs bureau.


A pawnbroker is a person who, according to the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, is “engaged in the loaning of money on deposit or pledge of personal property, or the purchasing of personal property on the condition of selling it back at a stipulated price.” This means, in essence, that you will loan people money using their property as collateral. If they don’t pay back the loan, you get to keep their property.

Secondhand Dealers

Secondhand dealers are businesses or individuals that purchase goods that have already been owned by someone else, including gold. In places such as New York City, you don’t need to obtain a permit if you are holding a garage sale or own a secondhand clothing store.

Additional Licenses Required by Municipality

You may need to obtain additional licenses depending on the county in which you plan on operating. In order to buy gold in New York City, for example, you must file for a city license to complement the New York State ones you already have.

Before opening the doors of any business, you should consult an attorney to make sure you have all the paperwork in order.