The world’s biggest pawnshop | Maclean's | JANUARY 21 1956 (2023)

The world’s biggest pawnshop

Sixty thousand Canadians each year turn to McTamney’s for cash. You can get as much as half a million dollars — if you’ve got enough security


IN DOWNTOWN TORONTO, almost within shouting distance of department stores like Eaton’s and Simpson’s, but equally close to the sleazy flophouses of the city’s Skid Row, stands a four-story building crammed from top to bottom with watches, rings, furs, cameras, sewing machines, typewriters, sports trophies, stamp collections and just about everything else of value that can be carried through a door.

Most of the oddly assorted stock isn’t for sale. Instead, it’s being held as security against loans totaling four hundred and fifty thousand dollars, for this is the pawnshop of James McTamney and Company. Each year sixty thousand borrowers enter MeTamney’s. Some walk out with a few pathetic silver coins, others with certified cheques for sums running into five figures. The pledges they leave behind symbolize their despair, defeat, pride, improvidence and hope. There are more of these symbols at MeTamney’s than anywhere else, according to Maurice and Earl Shortt, the brothers who operate the firm. While there are no international statistics to prove or disprove their claim, the Shortts say MeTamney’s is the largest pawnshop in the world.

In support of this they point out that Kaskel’s of New York, acknowledged by the pawnbroking trade to be the biggest pawnshop in the U. S., has only three booths where borrowers may show their belongings and plead with “Uncle.” MeTamney’s has ten booths. When Kaskel’s recently advanced a loan of ten thousand dollars on jewelry it rated a news item in the Wall Street Journal. MeTamney’s has loaned an individual twenty-five thousand dollars on jewelry.

More than three hundred loans have been made in a day at MeTamney’s, usually on a Monday or Friday, the busy days. And if anyone should drop in with the Russian crown jewels, the Hope diamond or the equally famous Jonker 125carat stone, he would find the Shortt brothers ready to do business with a certified cheque for as much as half a million dollars, and all within five minutes of the borrower’s entering the shop. The bank is just down at the corner.

The loans made at MeTamney’s are, like all pawnbrokers’ loans in Canada, governed by the Pawnbrokers’ Act, passed by the dominion government in 1886. It has not been amended since. The act restricts pawnshop interest rates to two percent a month on loans of less than twenty dollars and one and one quarter percent a month on loans above that figure. The pawnbroker holds pawned goods for one year, after which he may sell them as unredeemed merchandise. Ninety percent of the articles left in pledge at MeTamney’s are redeemed, the Shortt brothers claim, so more than half their profits are from interest on loans.

The Shortt brothers are wholly unlike the traditional picture of “Uncle.” They don’t go around in alpaca jackets and stringy black ties, with jeweler’s lenses screwed into their eyes. They are agreeable, soft-spoken, middle-aged men dressed in well-tailored dark suits with Kiwanis buttons in their lapels. They insist that a gentleman can be a pawnbroker and a pawnbroker can be a gentleman. The twenty employees (of a total staff of twenty-six) who meet the public are trained to believe that the man who comes in to pawn a pair of hedge clippers is just as important as the man seeking a ten-thousand-dollar loan on a fistful of diamonds, and is doing McTamney’s as great a favor by borrowing as the shop is doing him by lending. This sounds like Lesson No. 1 in Success Through Salesmanship, but it works. Two clerks have been discharged in the last twenty years for being unnecessarily brusque with customers of the down-and-out type.

When it comes to a big deal in precious stones, the Shortts have two experts on their staff to help make evaluations. Frank Cunningham is a member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (in this case “Gemmological” is a traditional spelling, like Court of St. James’s), and Cameron Webb is a member of the Gemological Institute of America. Both men put in years of study and passed stiff examinations (supervised for the gemological organizations by the University of Toronto). So far neither expert has been fooled on the quality or value of any stone brought to McTamney’s.

The late Irish-born James McTamney bequeathed the business in 1927 to his daughter, the wife of Maurice Shortt. When she died in 1953, ownership passed to her son and daughter. The son, Jim, works with the other clerks, learning the business. Management is still in the hands of Jim’s father, Maurice Shortt, and his brother Earl.

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Not all the sixty thousand men and women a year who walk with self-conscious nonchalance to the rear of McTamney’s shop are the beaten and the forlorn. Typical of hundreds is the old customer who drops in with an electric razor, on which he raises a quick five-spot. “He’s in and out with that razor about a dozen times a year —and there are lots like him,” Shortt told me. “He is the independ, type: when he runs short of lut

money a few days before pay day, would rather come to us and make tb touch a business proposition than borrow from a friend or rifle his wife’s purse. In a few days he’ll be in to redeem the razor. Meanwhile he falls back on the old Gillette.”

Another aspect of human nature was revealed not long ago when a man drove up in a shiny new Buick and wheeled in a five-hundred-dollar set of golf clubs. “He borrowed one hundred dollars on them and didn’t mind telling us why, although no one is obliged to say anything,” Maurice Shortt relates. “It was to make the second payment on the Buick.”

Early last fall a man who owns a small manufacturing plant went to McTamney’s with his wife’s jewelry and borrowed twenty-five hundred dollars. He needed raw materials for the plant, in expectation of Christmas orders, and the bank would not extend his overdraft. The man who borrowed the twenty-five thousand dollars on jewels was a real-estate operator who had a big deal pending and resorted to McTamney’s when the bank refused him further credit. What’s more, he swung the deal and redeemed the gems—and twice later raised the same amount on them for similar reasons. He pledged them a fourth time and came a cropper. “The deal that time must have fallen through,” Shortt recalls. “He never redeemed them—a beautiful collection of diamond and emerald rings, brooches and bracelets and a few pendants. We finally sold them to Birks, who re-cut and re-set many of them before they, in turn, sold them.”


Pawnbrokers look tragedy in the eye many times a day, every day in the week. It is not uncommon to have a would-be borrower remove false teeth, slap them down on the counter and mumble, “How much?” Glass eyes and hearing aids as well are sometimes removed on the premises and hopefully offered for a loan. It is a relief for the pawnbroker when an element of humor is provided, as when a young man limped in last winter and first of all shoved a pair of crutches across the counter; these were followed at once by a pair of skis. “They go together, and I’m through with both,” the customer growled.

The last-ditch stand many people make in the pawnbroker’s booth is eloquently depicted in McTamney’s ledger of April 1955, a typical month. When I saw it, names and addresses were carefully concealed, so that I could see only the descriptions of articles and amounts loaned. Scattered among such items as “dia. ring—$500,” “16mm projector, snd.—$200,” “man’s watch, g. case—$75,” there were: “lady’s wed. rng.-—$1,” “alarm clock—75 cents,” “meat cleaver—$1,” “man’s 2pc. suit —$3,” “lighter—50 cents,” “lady’s wed. rng.—75 cents” (such wedding rings, of course, would have a low gold content of ten carats or less).

“The poor are with us always,” Earl Shortt says, and he should know. He and his brother and their two oldest clerks, Webb and Cunningham, are giving loans on alarm clocks, knives and forks and wedding rings to people they have watched grow up. Today’s customers were once toddlers who crowded into the booths with their parents to watch the ageless transaction in childish wonderment. Then followed the years of understanding when they waited just outside the booth and a quick glance at father’s or mother’s face told whether the loan was sufficient or not. Now they are customers in their own right. “And «me already are initiating the next generation,” Earl Shortt sighs. “They carry them in in their arms.”

“What can really get you down,” Maurice Shortt says, “is having a young doctor shove his surgical kit at you. It has happened more than once. The shattered hopes of the young are harder to face than chronic poverty. But when elderly men bring in watches and tea sets inscribed to good old Joe for such and such a number of years’ faithful service to the old firm, it’s a grim reminder that the present cost of living hits the pensioner pretty hard.”

Not long ago a young lady was also hit pretty hard. She stepped nervously into one of the cubicles and, after making exhaustive enquiries about pawnshop dealings in general, slipped off her engagement ring. “My fiancé will be away for several weeks and I need fifty dollars,” she explained. “I know I’ll be able to redeem it before he returns.” It was the clerk’s painful duty to tell her that fifty dollars would buy a carload of such rings. “Disillusionments of that kind occur every now and then,” Maurice Shortt says. “It’s a blow when it happens, but perhaps the girls are lucky to find out these deceits so soon.”

Why was the violin sold?

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A case that worried the Shortts so much that they still talk about it was that of a Toronto musician who pawned his violin more than ten years ago. “He was so well known that you wouldn’t have to be a musician or music lover to l'ecognize the name if I mentioned it,” Maurice Shortt relates. “We were quite surprised when he appeared in a booth one day and quietly asked what we could let him have on it. It was a good instrument, of course, of foreign make. We loaned him twelve hundred.” The musician died before the year was out and his widow brought the pawn ticket to McTamney’s to see if they could sell the violin for enough to pay the pledge and leave her a few dollars. While the Shortt brothers were wondering where to find a generous buyer, a man from New York came into the shop and asked for some good-quality unredeemed violin cases. He was a violin collector. They showed him the dead musician’s violin and he recognized it at once. “He knew the instrument and he knew the musician,” says Shortt. “When he was told the circumstances he gave the widow enough to redeem the instrument and have a good chunk of money left for herself.”

Not such a happy ending befell one of the Canadian winners of the Diamond Sculls, the world’s most coveted rowing award, competed for each year at the Royal Henley Regatta in England. He could not redeem his gemencrusted trophy; it was broken up and the stones re-set in other pieces of jewelry. A well-known marathon swimmer pawned trophies at McTamney’s, and more than one national cup or medal for track and field, and boxing, has ended up there.

Such transactions tell their own story. There are others that have the pawnbroker itching to ask a few questions, as in the case of the man who brings in a diamond ring about two or three times a year and borrows as much as four thousand dollars on it. For a long time it has been a routine chore of writing out the ticket and reaching for the bank notes when they see him come in the door. The ring is always redeemed and no one knows the reason for these sudden financial transfusions.

A woman pawned fifteen hundred dollars’ worth of jewels two winters ago, smilingly announced, “I’m going on a binge,” and tripped gaily out of the store. Two months later the Customs office notified McTamney’s that it was holding an emerald brooch for clearance. The brooch was addressed to the pawnshop. It was from the pleasure-bent lady, in Florida. She wanted another five hundred dollars. Although McTamney’s will make loans on articles sent by post or express within Canada, and send redeemed articles to any address in this country, the company will not accept goods through Customs. McTamney’s advised the Customs office to return the brooch. Two weeks later the lady turned up to redeem her earlier pledge. “And thanks for refusing the brooch,” she said. “It’s time I came home anyway.”

McTamney’s was once nonplussed by a man who brought in a surveyor’s theodolite (an instrument for measuring angles) two or three times a year. The mystery was cleared up when he came back to redeem it after it had been left in pledge for almost a year. The clerk mentioned that he hoped the customer had not lost any surveying jobs by having had to leave it in so long. “I’m not a surveyor, I’m a taxi driver,” the customer volunteered. “Saw it in a store window once and went nuts over it. Had to save for a long time, but I got it. Interesting

thing to have around.’*

There are customers to whom McTamney’s is simply a convenient place to store their valuables. Some pledge their winter coats in the spring and redeem them in the fall. Others leave in jewelry for years at a time, keeping up payments on their tickets but never withdrawing their property. Several such items have been in McTamney’s vaults for more than fifteen years.

Pawnbrokers are not compelled by law to issue a new ticket each year and keep a borrower’s goods in storage. But McTamney’s—and most other Canadian brokers—will allow a borrower to renew a pledge if he pays up the interest each year. McTamney’s gives a borrower a month’s grace at the end of the year, then mails him notification of expiry. Following that, the store holds the goods another four weeks before putting them on sale. Even when articles are placed in the shop’s retail showcases, cards bearing the numbers that correspond to the pawn-ticket number are left on them. If a borrower should appear before his article has been sold, he may redeem it from the retail section.

McTamney’s advises a customer who loses his ticket to get to the pawnshop by all the short cuts he knows. If the finder has not already redeemed the merchandise, the customer will be given a new ticket, with a new number, after supplying proof of identity. If the finder reaches the shop first and gets away with the pledged article, there is nothing the customer or the pawnbroker can do except chase him, and it’s generally too late by then for that.

Although the pawnbroker must depend on his own judgment to protect himself against accepting stolen goods, the number of stolen articles brought to a pawnshop is becoming smaller all the time. Even the least ambitious crook is usually aware that the police receive a daily list of all goods left at a pawnshop. Most municipalities license pawnbrokers and require them to provide such lists or forfeit their licenses. The police check descriptions of all goods reported stolen against these daily lists.

During the first six months of 1955 the Toronto police asked to examine only twenty-six articles out of thirty thousand pawned at McTamney’s, and in regard to all but eight of the twentysix found no reason to continue the investigation. In all eight cases where the goods were proved to h.n,” stolen, the owners repaid McToeijney’s the amount of the loan and recovered their goods.

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Few pawnbrokers in Canada are charged with receiving stolen goods these days. McTamney’s has never been so charged. Although the broker may innocently take in a stolen article, it can still be recovered without payment in most provinces if the owner takes legal action to prove his title to the goods in civil court. This involves engaging a lawyer, loss of time and other factors which induce most people to pay the pawnbroker and be done with it. A Toronto crown attorney, while explaining this to me, said, “You’re thinking it is a bit harsh for a man to have to pay a pawnbroker to get his own possessions back. Well, that’s the way it usually works out.” Of course, if a stolen article is located in a pawnshop and the thief is caught, he and the article are brought into police court and, if a conviction is registered, the court orders the goods restored to the rightful owner and the pawnbroker receives no compensation.

The uncles don’t haggle

McTamney’s assumes that in most cases the customer is honest but not above making the best bargain he can. When one enters one of the little cubicles at the rear of McTamney’s shop to offer an article for a loan, his natural opening is, “How much can I have on this?” The clerk counters with, “How much will help you out?” It is an inflexible rule with pawnbrokers the world over to have the customer name his figure first. It gives the broker a working figure on which to base his offer. If the amount asked by the customer suits the pawnbroker, the ticket is made out and the money handed over without further parley. If it is too high the broker offers the nearest amount he feels he can come to. A brief skirmish may follow but the customer will always have to accept something very close to the broker’s offer. If the customer’s figux-e is low, the broker says nothing and makes out a ticket. Prolonged haggling is rare in McTamney’s.

The only way a pawnbroker can learn to appraise merchandise is by experience. The Shortt brothers have learned a lot since they entered the business twenty-nine years ago. McTamney’s clerks are in varying stages of competence as appraisers, depending on how long they have been working at it. All loan applications on precious stones are referred to the Shortts, or to Cunningham or Webb. Most others on the staff can handle watches—for which there are only four or five standard movements—cameras, radios and all other articles that come their way. “It’s just a matter of common sense,” Maurice Shortt says, adding quickly, “—and experience.”

No one knows better than he how valuable experience is. One Saturday afternoon soon after he took over the business, a customer came in with a stone that glowed with all the fires of the Kohinoor diamond itself. The diamond expert Shortt had engaged was taking an afternoon off, so the new boss was on his own. The customer wanted five hundred dollars. Shortt did the best he could. He scratched the stone against glass. It cut the glass as a diamond should. He rubbed carborundum on the stone and this didn’t cloud its flawless beauty one iota. Still cautious, Shortt told the customer he would give him one hundred dollars and, if McTamney’s gem expert approved, he would give the remaining four hundred dollars on Monday when the gemologist would be back on duty. The customer agreed, with just the right amount of hesitation, and pocketed the money. On Monday the gemologist identified the stone as a fair sort of zircon, worth about ten dollars.

Shortt was to take a further beating. When he placed the zircon on sale a year latér (a loan had been made and a ticket issued, therefore it had to be kept in the vault a year), with a tendollar price tag on it, the first buyer who showed any interest offered to toss a coin to see if he should pay twenty dollars or nothing. Shortt lost the toss. Such unorthodox business methods have been frowned upon ever since.

Nor does McTamney’s lend money any more on anything that can’t be brought to the shop. During the war Maurice Shortt lent twenty-five hundred dollars on a thirty-eight-foot cabin cruiser. “It was the only collateral a stockbroker could put up for a loan,” he recalls. “I looked it over. It floated, had engines and the brass was shiny. So 1 gave him the loan.” A few months later the stockbroker was in a Pennsylvania prison, and he was still there when the ticket expired. Shortt gave the cruiser to the Canadian Navy.

With unredeemed merchandise arranged in showcases at the front of the shop, McTamney’s resembles a wellstocked well-kept jewelry shop. From velvet-lined trays a customer can select anything from a watch (reconditioned by McTamney’s staff of four watchmakers) or a dollar birthstone to a ten - thousand - dollar diamond, ruby, emerald or sapphire. Wall cabinets display cameras, rare pieces of china and porcelain—Rockingham, Dre fern, Sèvres, Limoges—and gleaming silverware. A constant flurry of activity surrounds the central cash desk, to which money flows from the retail counters up front, and from which money issues to the pledging counter, divided into cubicles so that clerks and customers may conduct their business with some privacy.

Beyond the pawn section is a large showroom to which shoppers are admitted through a door kept locked when not in use. In this room are the bulkier articles that have not been redeemed—everything from sewing machines to kiddy-cars.

The huge vault where watches, jewelry and the costlier cameras are stored is also on the ground floor, just back of the cubicles. At the present time this vault contains forty-one thousand watches, rings and other items of jewelry, and more than three hundred still and movie cameras. And on the remaining three floors of the building are long rows of shelves stacked with another twelve thousand cameras, radios, sewing machines, musical instruments, vacuum cleaners, typewriters, electric razors, portable power tools, golf sets and outboard motors. A coldstorage vault on the top floor holds more than a thousand articles of clothing.

McTamney’s, which never runs out of borrowers, never runs out of purchasers either. And all the buyers are not patronizing a pawnshop because they can’t afford to buy on Yonge Street. A former lieutenant-governor of Ontario dropped in to McTamney’s one Christmas and bought a fifteenhundred-dollar brooch. Four mayors of the city have been customers. The president of one of the largest homeappliance firms in the country is a steady customer. He bought his engagement ring there many years ago because he couldn’t afford to go anywhere else, and success and riches haven’t altered his opinion of McTamney’s.

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If you want to pawn a gem

The reason for pawnshop bargains is obvious. McTamney’s lends up to twenty-five percent of the retail value of an article if it is in practically new condition. The same percentage of retail value is lent on good-quality stones of modern cut and in modern settings. Inferior stones, and merchandise that too obviously has had some wear, have a much lower loan value. McTamney’s retail markup runs from sixty to seventy-five percent of the shop’s “costs.” Thus, a diamond that sold originally for one thousand dollars would be worth a loan of about two hundred and fifty. If unredeemed, the amount of the loan, plus fourteen months’ interest, would bring the total cost price to just over three hundred dollars. A markup of seventy-five percent would make the McTamney price tag about five hundred and fifty dollars. According to the Shortts’ arithmetic the price of an identical diamond at any other retail shop (except another pawnbroker’s) would still be one thousand dollars.

The maximum loan of twenty-five percent of original value is not actually the limit at McTamney’s. The Shortts have lent as much as a third of the value on some flawless precious stones, but that would be the absolute top. A borrower may naturally wonder why most individual loans are not higher, with a consequent higher interest appreciation for the broker. Earl Shortt explains it candidly: “We have to

think of the ten percent of goods that are unredeemed. If loans were higher, our markup on these goods would have to be higher, bringing them close to the ‘new’ retail price and thus lessening the attraction of buying at a pawnshop. And if loans were higher many people would be unable to redeem their goods. It is twice as easy for a man to redeem a watch at five dollars plus interest than at ten dollars plus interest. Smaller loans mean a larger volume of redeemed goods.”

This policy is as time-honored as the Pawnbrokers’ Act itself. It has been the rule at McTamney’s since the firm was started back in the nineteenth century. James McTamney, the founder, was a pawnbroker’s clerk in Toronto nearly sixty years ago. He bought out the boss. He also bought up a pawnshop next door to the one where he learned the business, and in 1916 he moved the new business to its present location on downtown Chui’ch Street. When McTamney died in 1927 the management of the firm fell to his son-in-law, Maurice Shortt, who had been with the sales department of a roller-bearing company.

Maurice persuaded brother Earl to abandon a selling job in Montreal and join him. With Webb and Cunningham enlisted for technical guidance, McTamney’s zoomed to its present size. It is still growing. The Shortts are dickering for the building next door, which will give them more stox'age space. TV sets, bulky things to store, are crowding them now.

Storing TV sets may worry the modern pawnbroker, but his is a business that has seen little basic change since it began three thousand years ago in China. The ancient Chinese broker allowed his borrowers three years to redeem their goods, and the maximum interest rate was three percent a year. Borrowers had it even better in Italy and the Mediterranean area genei'ally during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Pawnshops were run by the Roman Catholic Church as charity institutions (rnonti di picta—charity banks) and no interest at all was charged. The church couldn’t afford that very long and in 1464 the pope allowed the charity banks to charge a maximum seven and one quarter percent a year.

Today few countries are without pawnbrokers in their larger cities. Even Thailand, which was without an “Uncle” for centuries, licensed its first one in Bangkok three, years ago. The first customer was a former cabinet minister who hocked his suit for eight dollars.

The normal flow of goods at McTamney’s is “in” at the back of the shop and “out” at the front; at least the unredeemed ten percent go back into the world via the retail section. It took an unknown but unforgotten operator to reverse that process one black Saturday a few months ago. A small adding machine had stood for years on the retail showcase, near the pledging booths. It was used to total the day’s receipts. On this particular day Maurice Shortt couldn’t find the adding machine at closing time and his enquiries soon brought forth a new clerk who stammered out the information that he had made a loan on an adding machine that afternoon. Before a hushed staff he retrieved the machine and sure enough it was the shop property which had always stood on the counter.

“That some low-life should snitch the thing x*ight off our counter was bad enough,” Maurice Shortt relates, “but that he should take it to the back end of the store and get a loan on it. . .” ★


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What is the largest pawn shop in the world? ›

World's Largest Pawn Shop
  • 2206 N Whitley Dr. Fruitland, ID 83619. Directions.
  • (208) 452-4786.
  • Products for World's Largest Pawn Shop.
  • Known For. No. Accepts Credit Cards. Accepts Cryptocurrency. Bike Parking. Wheelchair Accessible. Dogs Allowed.

What state has the most pawn shops? ›

Which States have the highest number of businesses in the Pawn Shops industry in the United States? Texas (1,731 businesses), Florida (847 businesses) and Georgia (825 businesses) are the States with the most number of Pawn Shops businesses in the US.

What is the biggest pawn shop in America? ›

American Jewelry and Loan opened in 1978 and has become one of the largest and most recognizable pawn shops in the world.

Did Rick sell the pawn shop? ›

Gold & Silver Pawn Shop is still around and is located at 713 S. Las Vegas Blvd in Las Vegas. Although Rick is not a full time employee at the store anymore, he does occasionally visit the shop and stay for photos and autographs with fans, according to Distractify.

Who owns the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop? ›

Richard Kevin Harrison (born March 22, 1965) is an American businessman, reality television personality, and owner of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop which is featured on the History series Pawn Stars.

Which city has the most pawn shops? ›

Click Here to Get his Trades for only $0.99. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "My only regret is I wish I joined earlier..." If we're going by the city with the greatest number of pawn shops, that title goes to Houston. They've got a whopping 128 shops.

Why are pawn shops so popular? ›

Pawnbroking is one of the oldest professions in the world - but many people have never even been inside a pawnshop before. Typically, people use pawnshops because they are able to quickly trade collateral for cash. Collateral being any item of value that they can give the pawnshop in exchange for money.

Do other countries have pawn shops? ›

Pawnbroking is also a traditional trade in Thailand, where pawn shops are run both privately and by local governments. In Sri Lanka, pawnbroking is a lucrative business engaged in by specialized pawnbrokers as well as commercial banks and other finance companies.

How do pawn shops make money? ›

Pawnshops make money by providing personal loans, reselling retail items, and offering auxiliary services, such as money transfers or cellphone activation. Earning interest on loans and profits on retail sales are the principal income sources for the standard business model for a pawnshop.

What is Pawn Stars net worth? ›

According to Celebrity Net Worth, he has a net worth of $9 million. Rick Harrison is the owner of Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas. He is best known for starring on History Channel's Pawn Stars.

What does Seth Gold do now? ›

Seth Gold – Seth Gold is a pawnbroker and reality television personality whose family owns and operates American Jewelry and Loan in Detroit, Michigan, USA.

Why did chum go to jail? ›

David Chesnoff, Russell's lawyer, confirmed that Russell had pleaded guilty to a felony weapons charge (unlawful possession of a firearm) and a gross misdemeanor of attempted drug possession in a deal that calls for three years of probation and counseling.

Why did Pawn Stars go to jail? ›

In 2011, Corey Harrison was arrested for battery in California (via FindLaw). The affable Chumlee (aka Austin Lee Russell) was arrested on felony weapon and drug charges in 2016, according to USA Today. Rick Harrison's history page shows that he was a hustler of fake merchandise in his youth.

Who is suing Rick from Pawn Stars? ›

“In fact, one of the companies she is suing is owned 100 percent by my mother.” Joanne Harrison appears to have one priority through all this legal action – she wants to know where her money went.

Why Corey lost ownership in the Gold & Silver pawn shop? ›

Corey Harrison found that his work schedule wasn't conducive to having a committed partnership because he had to work every day. With World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop being open 24 hours a day, there wasn't enough downtime for Harrison to have much of a home life.

Is Pawn Stars still open 2022? ›

“Pawn Stars” is now is chugging toward its 600th show, expected to air in early 2022. Such celebs and superstars as Roger Daltry, Billy F. Gibbons, Steve Carell and George Stephanopoulos have made cameos over the years.

Can you visit the Pawn Stars shop? ›

Yes, you can visit the Pawn Stars shop. There are a few things to keep in mind, though. The Gold and Silver Pawn Shop is a popular tourist attraction, thanks to Pawn Stars. There's often a long wait to get in, and a doorman controls the coming and going of people.

What do pawn shops take the most? ›

High-Demand Pawn Items
  • Jewelry.
  • Precious metals.
  • Watches.
  • Firearms (registered to you)
  • Electronics.
  • Power tools.
  • Musical instruments.
  • Sporting goods, such as bikes.
30 Nov 2021

Why do people pawn jewelry? ›

That jewelry has collateral value. You can use it to obtain a loan that might allow you to start a business, pay off your debt or even take a vacation. If you sell your property to a pawn shop, we are required to hold the property for only 10 days. However, if you pawn your property, we hold it a minimum of 120 days.

What is a pawn shop meaning? ›

a store that lends money in exchange for a valuable thing that they can sell if the person leaving it does not pay an agreed amount of money by an agreed time: a pawnshop loan/owner.

Why are pawn shops so cheap? ›

Understand that all merchandise there is used, and could break down on you. That's the main reason why it's less expensive than buying brand new. Keep in mind that most pawn shops have a “no cash back” policy.

Why do many go to pawnshops more than banks? ›

These days, pawnshops are popular more than ever. Not only are transaction costs on the part of the borrower very minimal, loans are also easily obtained provided an item of value can be presented as collateral.

How do I start a pawn business? ›

Start a pawn shop by following these 10 steps:
  1. Plan your Pawn Shop.
  2. Form your Pawn Shop into a Legal Entity.
  3. Register your Pawn Shop for Taxes.
  4. Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card.
  5. Set up Accounting for your Pawn Shop.
  6. Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Pawn Shop.
  7. Get Pawn Shop Insurance.
8 Oct 2022

Why do pawn shops give 3 balls? ›

Pawnbrokers were easily identified by their signs of three golden balls, a symbol of St Nicholas who, according to legend, had saved three young girls from destitution by loaning them each a bag of gold so they could get married.

Why are pawnbrokers called Uncle? ›

noun A pawnbroker: so called in humorous allusion to the financial favors often expected and sometimes received from rich uncles.

What is the symbol for a pawn shop? ›

The traditional symbol for pawn shops is three gold balls suspended from a bar. While this has come to be a well-known symbol for pawn shops, the origins of the symbol aren't so clear. There is a variety of lore associated with the origins and meaning of the symbol.

How much did Pawn Stars sell the JFK cigar box for? ›

According to The Huffington Post, the customer came into the shop asking for $95,000, but after some haggling, he accepted the shop's $60,000 offer. "To actually have a cigar box that sat on his desk in the Oval Office? It's just one of those things I can only dream about," says Rick in the episode.

What is Pawn Stars net worth? ›

Pawn Stars Net Worth
Net Worth$25 Million
NamePawn Stars Net Worth
Own ByRick Harrison and his family
Original releaseJuly 19, 2009 –; present
Networks:History, A+E Networks
10 Apr 2022

Is Rick Harrison rich? ›

Rick Harrison is an American business owner and reality TV star who has a net worth of $9 million. Rick Harrison is part of the Harrison family which owns the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Did Rick buy the Declaration of Independence? ›

The seller was originally seeking $2 million for the Declaration of Independence copy but was also satisfied with his final $1.45 million haul.

What was the biggest profit on Pawn Stars? ›

The biggest payout in Pawn Stars' 12-season run belongs to a piece of presidential history. A seller walked into the shop with the box of cigars that once sat on John F. Kennedy's desk in the Oval Office. This seller was no dummy, asking $95,000 for the box.

What was JFK's favorite cigar? ›

The favourite cigar of US President John F. Kennedy was the now-discontinued, machine-made H. Upmann Petit Upmann (sold under the name Demi Tasse in the United States).

How much did Rick sell the everlasting gobstopper for? ›

An actual Everlasting Gobstopper prop used in the Gene Wilder movie was sold for $100,000 to the owners of the television show Pawn Stars.
Everlasting Gobstopper.
Multi colored Everlasting Gobstoppers
Similar dishesAniseed balls
5 more rows

How much of the pawn shop does Rick own? ›

He stated the ultimatum that, if he was not given 10% of the business, he would leave the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop and pursue other ventures. Ultimately, he and Rick settled on the agreement of a 5% stake in the business with the prospect of more to come as time went on.

What is Chumlee's salary on Pawn Stars? ›

Austin Chumlee Russell Net Worth
Net Worth:$5 Million
Salary:$25 Thousand Per Episode
Date of Birth:Sep 8, 1982 (40 years old)
Nationality:United States of America

Is Pawn Stars still running? ›

“Pawn Stars” is now is chugging toward its 600th show, expected to air in early 2022. Such celebs and superstars as Roger Daltry, Billy F. Gibbons, Steve Carell and George Stephanopoulos have made cameos over the years. Even Bob Dylan demurely signed a copy of “Self Portrait” for Chumlee early in the show's run.

Who is Rick's new wife? ›

Diane was Rick Sanchez's wife and Beth's mother.

How old is chumlee? ›

How much do Pawn Stars experts make? ›

Reportedly, experts on Pawn Stars do not get paid. According to, “They work without a script and they're not paid a dime, but being on the show has boosted their businesses and made them brand names in the appraiser field."

Who is suing Rick from Pawn Stars? ›

“In fact, one of the companies she is suing is owned 100 percent by my mother.” Joanne Harrison appears to have one priority through all this legal action – she wants to know where her money went.

How much is a copy of the constitution worth? ›

An Original Copy of US Constitution Sells for $43.2 Million, Becoming Most Expensive Document Ever Sold. MoMA board member Ken Griffin went well over asking for the document, beating out cryptocurrency enthusiasts who crowdfunded to purchase it.

What is the highest price ever paid for a copy of the Declaration of Independence? ›

A rare copy of the Declaration of Independence just sold for $4.4 million. The copy was presented to signer Charles Carroll in 1824 and had disappeared from public view.


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