Family heirlooms sold for cash in face of energy price hike

People in Norwich are trading in heirlooms to pay the bills according to businesses in the city.

People in Norwich are trading in heirlooms to pay the bills according to businesses in the city. - Credit: Archant/Getty

Precious heirlooms are being traded in to pawnbrokers by city families desperately trying to raise cash to pay the boiler bill. 

In the face of the cost of living rising sharply this spring, second-hand trading shops in Norwich have reported seeing business spike. 

Graham Gauld works in Aladdin's Cave in Magdalen Street, and said: "Trading at the moment is one way, it's all people selling and no one buying."

The 61-year-old added that more people are bringing in family heirlooms to pawn. 

Nearby at Looses Emporium Adrian Lee, 50, said: "Items of quality are starting to go up in price while general antiques have gone down in price."

Looses Emporium, Magdalen Street, has two floors of weird and wonderful items from more than 60 deal

Looses Emporium, Magdalen Street, has two floors of weird and wonderful items from more than 60 dealers. Photo: Neil Perry - Credit: Archant

He added items made of valuable material such as gold are continuing to rise in price. 

Tony Beresford, 63, is a customer who now relies on second-hand trading to stay afloat, adding: "I used Ebay a lot during the lockdowns. Now I've started looking through charity shops and pawn shops for better deals."

Most Read

The North Walsham man added utilities are included in his bills as he is on universal credit, but said he may be expected to pay a higher level of rent. 

He said: "I'm definitely not going to take my eye off any of the bills coming in."

It comes as the price of energy is expected to more than double in April with the price cap going up by 54pc. 

As well as commodities like fuel costs also rising, this has lead to inflation reaching a 30-year high.

Jim Sorbon, 46, works for vintage clothing sellers Lovering and Co in Norwich market.

He said that while he hasn't started exclusively buying second-hand, he was concerned by the increase in the cost of living. 

He added: "It's crazy that in France it's capped at 4pc whereas here it's 54pc. 

"When energy prices do go up I'll try not to pawn anything really valuable - if at all. 

"But many people aren't going to have that choice."