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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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B-CS pawn shops inspect Aggie Rings with trained eye

Lost+Rings
Photo by Shelby Knowles
Lost Rings

A 10 karat gold men’s Aggie Ring costs $995 while a 10 karat gold women’s Aggie Ring costs $502.
Pawning in either ring would amount to about $130 in cash back to the customer selling it. 
Although trading in something as valuable as an Aggie Ring — whether it belongs to the customer or not — may seem unthinkable to many Aggies, it is a common occurrence at local pawn shops.
Many of the Bryan-College Station pawn shops follow the same procedure when a customer presents an Aggie Ring for sale. Cassandra Moncada, a pawnbroker at Cash America Pawn at 3511 South Texas Avenue, said all identification must match up, right down to the middle initial engraved on the ring.
“Our policy is we’re not allowed to take it — we have to ask for an ID,” Moncada said. “So basically if the initials don’t match, name doesn’t match or if the ID or something else doesn’t match, we have to refuse service. We’re not allowed to take it in, pawn it, we don’t refer them to anywhere else and that should be everybody’s policy.”
Various factors may cause a person to attempt to profit off lost or stolen rings by taking them to be cashed out at pawn shops, said Kathryn Greenwade, Class of 1988 and vice president of the Association of Former Students.
“We certainly discourage pawn shop owners from taking them for that very reason unless someone can prove it was theirs,” Greenwade said. “And there are people who have maybe hit a tough time financially and they need money and so that’s the option that they choose at that time.”
Moncada said she has witnessed customers come in needing extra cash and reluctantly parting with their Aggie Ring to obtain it.
“They were upset because it’s something that obviously means a lot to them,” Moncada said. “We have to take it in, they’re really good at picking it up because it’s something that means so much to them, we would hope that it would. We have a frequent customer, she always comes in and pawns it and it sucks for her, you could tell in her face, to have to pawn that, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
Aggie Rings sometimes show up for sale online, Greenwade said.
“It does happen and sometimes Aggie Rings do end up on eBay — we don’t like to see that,” Greenwade said. “Sometimes they are rings that the owner is deceased and maybe the family member didn’t have that connection to A&M.”
The Association aims to monitor local pawn shops and online sales sites for Aggie Rings, even if they have not been reported missing.
“We certainly look to see if that is a ring that has been reported as lost,” Greenwade said. “If that’s the case then we would notify that individual. Most of the time they’re going to scratch the name out of it or they’re not going to say what the name is on the inside.” 
Maria Diaz, Cash America pawnbroker at 2228 Texas Avenue, said her shop makes no exceptions for a difference in identification when considering buying an Aggie Ring brought in, even if the name on the ring is of a former girlfriend or boyfriend.
“Who wants someone else’s Aggie Ring?” Diaz said. “If it has their name on them, we scrap it and we can’t sell them.”
The pawn shops have few ways to recognize a ring as stolen when it is brought in by a customer. When a ring has been reported lost to the Association or the police, pawn shops will be notified to be on the look out for it. 
Moncada said they have to rely fully on the ability of the customer to provide identification.
“Say they got married and the last name [on the ring] is their maiden name,” Moncada said. “If they have proof of that then we’re able to take it in.”
Raul Rodriguez, assistant manager at the 3807 South Texas Ave. Cash America Pawn, said students come in sometimes to sell their rings for cash needed to spend on books and other school supplies.
“I’ve seen several students come in,” Rodriguez said. “Ninety-nine percent have picked it up. They pawned it, they go by older policies, they show their ID and what not, we take them in. They have a lot of value for [the rings].”
Despite common encounters pawnbrokers have with Aggie Rings, Greenwade said there are ways Aggies can prevent lost and stolen rings from ending up in pawn shops or displayed online for sale.
“We have a database of both lost rings and found rings,” Greenwade said. “And of course if they’re found, we encourage them to turn them into us and let us try to find the owner. A lot of times when people find a ring, they’ll put out something on social media. And that’s fine to share that, but come to us first because it’s very likely that that ring has been reported lost, or if you tell us the name and the class year, we can probably find them through our database.”

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