Pawn Stars: Fascinating Facts About the World-Famous Pawn Shop
Pawn Stars debuted on the History Channel on July 19, 2009. The reality show instantly made the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop an essential Las Vegas tourist attraction. People across the globe flocked to the shop to try and catch a glimpse of Old Man, Big Rick, Corey and Chumlee in action. Some even brought treasures from home with hopes of pawning a rare and expensive item. But the truly fascinating stuff took place behind the scenes.
Meeting the Pawn Stars
The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop is the subject of History's reality television series Pawn Stars. The show gives us an inside glimpse into the pawn shop's operations. We also witness some intense negotiations with shop owner Rick, his son Corey and their friend Chumlee.
On the show, we witness countless people arriving at the shop with potential treasures in hand. The guys look up from their work to see these prospective pawners approach the counter. They happen to show up with expensive merchandise when the cameras are rolling.
Paid Promotional Appearances
Speaking of "spontaneous" moments, the guys are incredible at looking excited when a celebrity walks through the doors of the shop. Even though they pre-plan the guest appearances, it's still fun to see a movie star try and sell something to the guys.
They Bring in Experts, Not Friends
If we can say anything about Rick, it’s that he does his due diligence. He has a vast knowledge base on a lot of items that come through his doors. When he's not so familiar with something, he calls one of his subject-matter-expert friends to get their valued opinion. Fact-checking is the sign of a real historian.
The Broken Bass
Accidents happen to everybody. They’re just a part of life — nearly everyone has washed dishes and broken one or two. It's tough to get mad because plates are replaceable, and you might think the same logic applies to some items at the pawn shop.
The Melted Coin Collection
David Walters loved to collect coins. Over the years, he’d amassed a collection valued at over $50,000. His niece Jennifer Beckman decided she wanted the coins instead. Over three different trips, Beckman pawned the antique currency at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop for only $12,375.
Someone Tried to Pawn a Human Skull
Rick has seen some intriguing items during his long career running the shop. Even if he’s not interested in paying for the item, Rick always seems to get a kick out of seeing something unique come into the store.
Corey Was a Motorcycle Stuntman
Corey Harrison has been a staple on Pawn Stars since the beginning. The heir to the shop has always displayed his extensive knowledge of motorcycles, including makes and models and their respective histories. Corey used to be an amateur stunt rider.
Rick knows how to run a pawn shop. He’s a skilled negotiator with an expert-level awareness of world history — he understands which items can make considerable profit in an auction and which ones will fly off the shelves in his store. Rick also has a keen eye for inauthentic merchandise. He's a great businessman.
Rick Bought $40,000 Worth of Stolen Jewelry
Rick's knowledge of gold and jewelry makes it hard to pull a fast one on him. It seems a new customer is coming each week believing they possess the holy grail of items to pawn. You can see it in their eyes; they’re expecting to walk out of the store with massive wads of cash.
Subliminal Subway Sandwiches
Product placement is a widespread occurrence in television and film. It makes perfect sense for a company to pay cast members of a show to wear or consume its products for monetary gain. Many people believed that Pawn Stars was immune to such behavior. But eagle-eyed fans quickly noticed something with the cast's eating habits.
Taping Impedes Business
A lot of people don't realize what’s required of production teams when taping a television show. Establishing perfect lighting and scheduling shoots are just small aspects of the process. If the shop is busy, producers have the difficult task of either having people sign release forms or keeping them out of the shots.
The Lines Extend Around the Block
Even though business resumes once the cameras stop rolling, the lines outside of the shop begin to back up. It takes a lot of patience if you want to experience Pawn Stars in person. Even when the show isn't taping, the queue to get in can go around the block.
Secrets of the Beard of Knowledge
Mark Hall-Patton is a recurring expert on Pawn Stars. He’s an expert in 20th-century artifacts and history as the curator of the Clark County Heritage Museum. His appearances are unique because he never offers a monetary value for any items.
Misinformation on Typical Pawn Protocol
Pawn Stars has received acclaim from both television critics and audiences alike. Most of the show's criticism is from the store’s colleagues. Other pawnbrokers are quick to point out the operations of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop that are unique to the industry.
Rick's Wife's Convict Ex-husband, Rick
When we first met the stars of Pawn Stars, we only met the men in the family. Rick was twice divorced, so there's little wonder why we never met Mrs. Harrison — that is, until his very public engagement and marriage to Deanna Burditt in 2013.
A Small Percentage of Visitors Are Customers
Even if you don't want to pay to meet the pawn stars themselves, you can show up to the shop without a charge. Since the show has gained worldwide attention, a lot of Vegas vacationers make a point to visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. It's one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sin City.
Sued by a Disabled Veteran
Not all business at the shop goes smoothly. Sometimes, the guys have to deal with angry customers, even ones who get out of control. Disabled 62-year-old Vietnam veteran Daniel Callahan entered the store hoping to sell his rifle. After a disagreement, Callahan became angrier and started to cause an incident.
Corey and Chumlee’s Assistants
Throughout the show, we witness Corey and Chumlee doing a lot of work in the warehouse and running errands. Pawn Stars lets us know that there’s a lot more to pawning than just negotiating with clients. In reality, Corey and Chumlee have personal assistants.
Rick's Great Idea
The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop opened in 1989. The original staff included store founders Richard "Old Man" Harrison and his son Rick Harrison. Young Rick's son started to learn the tricks of the trade with the hopes of one day taking over the family business.
Rick's Shipping Shopping Center
In 2016, Rick decided to purchase some land near the shop and build a shopping center made of repurposed shipping containers. He called it Pawn Plaza. Tenants have included Rick's Tavern, Rick's Rollin' Smoke and Pawn Donut & Coffee.
Corey Harrison earned the nickname "Big Hoss" as a young man. The apparent reason was because of his size — over 400 pounds. His dominating presence undoubtedly helped when he was negotiating the price of an item. But Big Hoss was diagnosed as pre-diabetic, and his health was becoming a concern.
Some Scenes Are Recreations
The Pawn Stars producers are responsible for setting up a lot of the transactions that appear on the show. Not much of any episode happens off the cuff. Showrunners vet most of the items and sellers before the cameras are rolling, and not much happens on the show that isn’t already carefully planned out.
Producers Sometimes Reshoot Scenes
Reality television producers do a fantastic job with what they have. When the cameras are rolling, they often capture thousands of hours’ worth of footage. They edit the footage down to each hour-long program that winds up on the air. But no one expects to have to do a second or third take for a reality show.
A Former Agent Sued the Cast
Anyone who’s in the limelight is subject to not only scrutiny but also lawsuits. The Pawn Stars stars are no different. Former agent Wayne Jeffries filed a suit for damages from Rick, Big Rick, Corey and Chumlee, alleging that Rick was not honoring an oral agreement.
Chumlee's Legal Trouble
Pawn Stars never intended for Chumlee to appear in front of the camera. Producers wanted to focus on the Harrison family. But Chum's approachable personality and unique sense of humor made it challenging to keep him out of the spotlight. He seems so good-natured when the cameras are rolling.
From Pinup Star to Pawn Star
Many fans of Pawn Stars will remember cast member Olivia Black from the early days. She was a refreshing voice of logic and a welcome female presence on the show for a while. One day, she vanished and was never seen again.
The Pawn Stars community was saddened to hear the news of Chumlee's passing in March of 2014. Despite his questionable behavior in his free time, Chum was a fun addition to the Pawn Stars cast. His sense of humor added immeasurable value to the show and ensured its continued success.
Why the Old Man Left the Show
Richard "Old Man" Harrison, the patriarch of the Pawn Stars family, founded the shop in 1989. He’s one of the reasons many fans watched the show. His sarcasm, quick wit and genuine interest in history made him not only entertaining but also hugely successful. One day, Old Man disappeared from the public eye.
Following the success of Pawn Stars, Leftfield Pictures realized it was alone in an untapped market. Americans aren't the only ones who appreciate the value of historical objects. Since the show debuted in 2009, the production company has been responsible for similar programs across the globe.