Secondhand Article, Jewelry &/or Pawn Dealers


Pawnbrokers:  any person who engages in the business of lending money on the deposit or pledge of any article or jewelry other than choses in action, securities or written evidences or indebtedness; or purchases any article or jewelry with an expressed or implied agreement of understanding to sell it back at a subsequent time at a stipulated price.

Secondhand Article or Junk Dealer:  any person, other than an auctioneer, who engages in the business of purchasing or selling secondhand articles as defined above, who is not either a "pawnbroker" or a "secondhand jewelry dealer," as defined here in this section.

Secondhand Jewelry Dealer:  any person, other than an auctioneer, who engages in any business of any transaction consisting of purchasing, selling, receiving, or exchanging secondhand jewelry, who is not a pawnbroker within the above definition.

  • Exceptions. The requirements of this license do not apply to the following:
    • Transactions involving occasional garage or yard sales, estate sales, coin, gem, antique or stamp shows, conventions or auctions.
    • Transactions involving the purchase of grindings, filings, slag, sweeps, scraps or dust from an industrial manufacturer, dental laboratory, dentist or agent thereof.
    • Transactions involving the purchase of photographic film, including lithographic and x-ray film for reprocessing.
    • Transactions between dealers licensed under this section.
    • Any transaction between a buyer of a new article and the person who sold the article when new which involves a return of the article or jewelry or an exchange of the article for a different, new article or jewelry.
    • Any transaction as a purchaser or seller of a secondhand article which the person bought from a charitable organization if the secondhand article was a gift to the charitable organization.
    • Any transaction entered into by a person while engaged in a business of smelting, refining, assaying or manufacturing precious metals, gems or other valuable articles if the person has no retail operation open to the public.


Completion of the City application form and payment of fees.


Secondhand Article Dealer: $100
Secondhand Jewelry Dealer:$185
Pawn Dealer$240
Background Check:$16 for every WI resident listed as a part of the Partnership/Corporation/LLC.  
*If you hold multiple licenses, you will only be charged for one background check*
**Cash or Check Only**


  • Background Investigation - The West Allis Police Department will complete a background check.
  • Issuance - If there are no items on the background check and all other requirements are met, the license is placed on a separate License & Health Committee agenda or on the Common Council agenda with the License & Health Committee discussion during the recess meeting.  
    • If there are items on the background check, you may receive a notice via email to appear before the License and Health Committee. If the License and Health Committee recommends granting the license, it is forwarded to the Common Council for final approval. Council Meeting schedule is located here.  
    • If the council grants your license it will be e-mailed to you the day after the meeting. If it is denied you will receive notice via email.



Click here to file an application.