Uncertain economy leads gold prices to stratospheric heights

Uncertain economy leads gold prices to stratospheric heights »Play Video
REDMOND, Wash. -- Uncertainty about the debt ceiling has sent the price of gold thru the roof -- at over $1,600 an ounce.

With prices going higher and higher, some want to buy gold, and there are plenty who are eager to sell.

"I think the world debt crisis has had everything to do with it," said Nancy Robinson with Cash Company Pawnbrokers.

Robinson has been in the pawn store business for a long time, selling everything from jewelry to jackhammers. She's stunned at the price gold is commanding these days.

"It's shocking," she said. "I used to sell gold retail, and now nobody can afford to buy jewelry, so all the gold that comes in here we sell to the refiners to be melted."

Rings, necklaces, charms -- you name it, they can be more valuable turned into something else. She's constantly picking out pieces to send off, because she can't sell them.

Gold has tripled in value since 2009, skyrocketing to prices never seen before. It's a precious metal a lot of people have faith in during tough economic times.

Buyers are popping up all over, even hiring sidewalk sign wavers to get your attention.

But there are problems. Sometimes, customers get much less than they should be getting. And in Federal Way, the police chief says burglary is up 15 percent, and the loot of choice is gold.

"We're seeing kiosk type of businesses in different locations," said Brian Wilson, Federal Way police chief. "We're seeing them in the back of gas stations, we're seeing them in temporary parking lots."

Oddly enough, some buyers say there's now a shortage of gold because sellers were quick to make a buck, never dreaming the prices would get this high.

"They sold when it went over $1,000 -- you know, gold averaged about $400 an ounce for years and years," she said.

There is plenty of speculation that gold could soon top $2,000 an ounce. Some believe if a debt ceiling deal is reached soon, the price of gold will take a minor hit, but we won't know until it happens.