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What We Learn from Shows like Pawn Stars

4 min read

Mandatory Credit: Photo by MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock (4775681j) Chumlee DJ Pauly D at Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, America - 17 May 2015

There has been a lot of reality television over the years but when Pawn Stars made it’s debut in 2009, it was a breath of fresh air. It also brought the world of pawnshops out in the open and people began to see that they were more than just dark dingy places that bought and sold old TV and used tools. Everyday people tuned in to watch different people walk into with all kinds of things. Each episode had something interesting and people began to see pawnshops in a whole different light. Soon, the show would become one of the highest rated reality shows in the world and ten years later, with countless spinoffs including PawnStars Australia and “Meet the Hocker’s” gracing Australian television.

If you thought pawnshops were only good for pawning grandma’s old gold jewellery for a couple of dollars then you would be surprised at some of the gold items that have been pawned and the money they were able to fetch.

The 1715 Special Spanish Fleet Gold Coin

Sometimes grandma’s gold is worth something more than you could have imagined. A woman walked into this Vegas pawn shop with a gold coin she has inherited. She knew it was old and it was gold and so, worth a pretty penny. What she hadn’t expected to hear was that she had a Spanish fleet coin that had been minted in Peru in 1715 or that the coin was worth $18,000!

Pawning Olympic Gold Medals

Olympic gold medals aren’t always the best things to pawn unless they belonged to someone who became really famous or are from Olympic games with some special significance in history. When Olympian, Joe Greene fell on hard times, he pawned his Olympic medal. He sold his Bronze medal to the Las Vegas pawnbroker in the 90s. A couple of years later, the pawnbroker decided to have the medal valued and was surprised to learn that it was worth $30,000!

1915 Panama Canal Commemorative Coin

Sometimes people visit pawnshops to find things they cant easily find elsewhere lime the. Coin collector who came in looking for 1915 Panama Pacific Canal Octagonal gold coin. He was prepared to pay $70,000 for it. The pawnbroker went in search of it at an auction house and found two of these coins. He ended up selling the one coin to the customer for a whopping $67,500. A small fraction of what he had paid for it at auction.

1500 Spanish Gold Bar

Sometimes it pays to clean up old attics, you never know what you may find. One man found a gold bar in his old attic but wasn’t sure how much h it would sell for. When he took it to the pawnbroker, he discovered that it had been one of the bars lost in a 1554 Spanish ship wreck. The man got $35,000 but IG turned out that the bar was actually worth $50,000. The pawnbroker made a staggering $15,000 from that transaction.

1922 Proof Peace High Relief coin

Gamblers use all sorts of things to cover their bets. One man used his 1922 Proof Peace High Relief Dollar thinking it was worth $20,000.  He lost the bet and his gold coin. It turned out that there were only 10 of these in existence in the world and an appraisal showed that the coins value was anything between $50,000 and $100,000. He walked out of the pawnshop with $80,000 in his pocket.

No. 3 Gold Piece

Pawnshops like old gold better than they like old electronic equipment. Unlike electronics that become cheaper to sell with time, gold items like gold actually are more expensive as they get older. The pawnbrokers at that Vegas shop found that the oldest gold coin they had – an 1859 No.3 gold coin was worth $2,650. That price is expected to go higher the longer they hold on to that piece of gold. Who knows, it could be worth 10 times that much to a gold collector. One of the oldest gold coins the pawnbrokers came across was a Greek Didrachm dating back to 325 B.C. This is a magnificent going worth thousands of dollars.

A cautionary tale

Not everything that comes into a pawnshop is legitimate. People will still try to get one over a pawnbroker by passing something off as their own when it is not.  A guy came into the store with a pair of beautiful earrings. The pawnbroker asked all the right questions and collected ID and documentation supporting the diamond earrings were his. He got $40,000 for the earrings. It later turned out that they were stolen. The items were confiscated and returned to the real owned, the thief Apprehended but the pawnbroker had lost his money.  Such is the risk that pawnbrokers have to bear.

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