Les Gold is known for his business savvy when it comes to his Detroit pawn store, American Jewelry and Loan, which is the center of the TV show “Hardcore Pawn.” The cornerstone of the pawn business is to buy low and sell high—a lesson that Gold learned the hard way.
Years ago, Gold’s father-in-law had “the inside track on the price of cattle,” so he and Gold traded in it as well as pork bellies. It didn’t go well.
“What happened was we thought the prices would be closer together, except it went the opposite way: Pork bellies went up, and cattle went down,” Gold says. Gold sold the investment at a $15,000 loss and opened his pawn business soon after that in the mid-’80s.
Today, “I’m still a commodities trader,” Gold says. He buys and sells gold, silver and platinum as well as diamonds. “I look at the financial world and metal prices every morning and at night to figure out how I’ll proceed the following day,” he says.
Gold says he performs his own research and sticks with what’s familiar. “I’m not a stock guy,” he says. “I invest in what I know. I know the metal and diamond markets.”
Gold’s portfolio is 80 percent in gold and diamonds, 10 percent in real estate and 10 percent in a 401(k) account and profit sharing from his store.