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Protecting precious metals

A licensing requirement was implemented this week for businesses buying or selling precious metal in Douglas County.

On Tuesday, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners approved the measure.

The new precious metal license fee is $75 and affects businesses that buy secondhand items containing precious metals, including things like jewelry, watches, eating utensils, religious and decorative objects and more. “Precious metals” includes silver, gold and platinum.

The new license is required from businesses like pawn shops, coin dealers and jewelry stores involved in secondhand transactions.

According to Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson, the purpose of the new licensing requirement is because precious metal dealers and their businesses have the ability to easily and quickly receive and transfer property stolen by others. The license requirement and holding period allow law enforcement an opportunity to locate stolen items before they are lost in the black market.

Dealers in Douglas County that purchase a secondhand item containing precious metal are required to hold that item locally for at least 14 days.

The licensing requirements do not apply to:

--Occasional transactions at garage sales, farm auctions or estate sales; precious metal dealers, however, must comply with state statute requirements.

--Transactions involving coins or bullion.

--Transactions in which secondhand items containing precious metal are exchanged for new items containing precious metal and the new items exceeds the value of the old.

--Transactions between precious metal dealers if both are licensed.

--Transactions in which the buyer of the secondhand item containing precious metal is engaged in the business of buying and selling antiques.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

(320) 763-3133