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Gold And Silver Pawn Shop

February 21, 2012 by staff 

Gold And Silver Pawn Shop, THE Gold and Silver Pawn Shop sits in a seedy section of Las Vegas Boulevard, a world away from the multi-billion dollar casino complexes down the road.

It doesn’t look like much, but each day thousands of tourists, including hordes of Australians, line up to visit the store.

When it opened in 1988 the pawn shop was not world famous, but that did not stop the slick salesmen from declaring that on signage.

Thanks to a hit reality TV show focusing on the colourful Harrison family and its eclectic clientele who walk in each day the pawn shop today is world famous, with one US critic describing the show as “Antiques Roadshow meets American Chopper”.

Rick Harrison, 46, who owns the store with his dad Richard, recently sat down to chat about the Aussie tourists who visit the store, the key to his vast knowledge and why he no longer wears a gun in the store.

Q: HEY RICK. AUSSIE TOURISTS LOVE TO VISIT YOUR STORE WHEN THEY ARE VACATIONING IN LAS VEGAS. WHAT’S THE NUMBER ONE ITEM AUSSIES ARE LOOKING TO BUY?

A: The Aussies come in and if there’s any silver, they buy it all.

Q: SILVER?

A: Yeah. I don’t know why that is. I don’t know if there’s a silver shortage in Australia, but they always want to buy the silverware.

Q: WHAT’S THE BIGGEST PROFIT YOU HAVE MADE ON A PAWNED ITEM?

A: It was in the 1990s. A lady walks in and has a collection of photoengraves. It’s an old, weird photographic process where instead of having a glass negative, they would have a copper plate. They were of native Americans and I knew anything old and with native Americans could be worth money. I gave her $50 for them. All of the original copper plates went to the Smithsonian and I got a lot of money for them – $US48,000 ($A44,663.63). Percentage-wise, that was the biggest profit.

Q: WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU HOPE COMES THROUGH THE FRONT DOORS WITH A “FOR SALE” SIGN ON IT?

A: I’ll take a Class 1 race car if you have one.

Q: YOU SEEM TO HAVE AN ENCYCLOPEDIC KNOWLEDGE WHEN IT COMES TO IDENTIFYING THE THOUSANDS OF ITEMS THAT COME IN TO YOUR STORE. WHERE DOES THAT COME FROM?

A: I never went to high school. I have had a really weird life. When I was eight years old I developed epilepsy and had really bad seizures. I’d be lying in bed for a week because when I had a seizure I’d pull so many muscles in my back and legs I couldn’t walk. I read books and have been a book worm ever since. I read history books and science books. I read every night and I love weird, obscure stuff like The History of Mercury Poisoning. I read The History of Financial Systems twice because it was interesting. I read The History of Salt twice. I don’t read that much fiction and I never watch television. I hate television.

Q: NO TELEVISION? THAT’S IRONIC CONSIDERING YOU ARE A REALITY TV STAR. YOU MUST WATCH PAWN STARS.

A: I have never seen a full episode. I’ve tried. It weirds me out. I sit there and say ‘I should have said it this way’ or ‘Damn, I didn’t shave that day’.

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