We’ve all seen the ads encouraging us to send our old, unwanted gold and get cash back. With the price of gold at an all time high, we are promised oodles of money if we just turn in our old wedding rings from our first, second or third marriages, and perhaps even our unwanted jewelry or grandpa’s fillings.
You might think that this annoying phenomenon was the product of the Age of infomercials, but you would be wrong.
Perhaps as further proof that there is really nothing new under the sun, I recently came across an example of the cash for gold business model in an ad published in the 1916 edition of the World Almanac.
Here it is:
The text reads: TURN INTO CASH. Your old gold, silver, platinum, duplicate wedding gifts, diamonds, etc which you don’t use; also discarded false teeth, broken or otherwise, with or without gold; will send you cash same day that goods are received and hold your shipment for 15 days. If the amount sent is not satisfactory will return your goods at my expense. ALEX LOEB. Jeweler and Smelter.
Note the striking similarities to today’s version of the same business model. As with the modern TV ads, this ad 1) asks you send gold by mail 2) pays you immediately 3) will return the items if you are not satisfied. Note also that the advertiser claims to be a smelter of gold. This is similar to certain ads now on tv where the advertiser says they operate their own refinery.
The only difference, in 1916 if you did not like the price they offered you for the gold, they would ship it back at their cost. Today, if you don’t like what they offer you you have to pay for the shipping, and because most people don’t want to be bothered with the extra shipping cost they usually agree to the price offered to them.
There is not much new in the world of advertising or money for gold.