One gold cufflink ... £40 variation

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SCARBOROUGH’S MP Robert Goodwill is encouraging any members of the public selling gold to shop around after carrying out a “mystery shopper” experiment.

Mr Goodwill decided to do the survey after reading an Evening News front-page story about gold prices being expected to reach an all-time high.

He said he was also concerned after hearing negative reports about some online gold companies.

Mr Goodwill asked one of his caseworkers, Susan Briggs, to visit shops in Scarborough which buy and sell gold to see how much they would offer for a single 18 carat gold cufflink.

Offers varied from £40 to £80 and the shops visited were Cash Converters, Scarborough Pawnbrokers, Herbert Brown, Time Centre, Cash 4 Gold, Bonds and the Antique and Collectors Centre, who gave the highest price.

Mr Goodwill said: “I was really surprised at the spread of prices, especially as each shop went through the same process of using scales and looking at the hallmark.

“I would encourage people to shop around and I would also hope that some shops might raise their game.”

The experiment was done over the course of three days using a cufflink that Mr Goodwill had bought 10 years ago. He said: “I’ve lost the other one, but I bought them in a second-hand shop and have had a lot of wear out of them over the years.”

Colin Spink, who runs the Antique and Collectors Centre in St Nicholas Cliff with his niece Caroline Bowne, said: “The shop has been here 45 years and we’ve been buying and selling gold for the last five.

“There seems to have been an incessant supply which is continuing. The price shot up at one point in the 1980s, but current prices are certainly the highest I’ve ever known.”

Mr Spink said that he has people coming in every day who are interested in buying and selling gold jewellery, either broken or in good condition.

He added: “We believe we give a fair price and would always encourage people to shop around.”