‘Pawn Stars’: How a Pony Express Bible Led to Intense Negotiations

by Courtney Blackann

“Pawn Stars” frontman Rick Harrison absolutely loves a good piece of history. When you’ve been in the business as long as he has, there’s no telling what hidden treasures you’ll come across. And Harrison has seen a lot of them. That’s why when a man brings in an old bible from the 1860s, allegedly used by the riders of the Pony Express, Harrison is completely enthralled.

But like every good pawnbroker, Harrison and his son Corey, have to check the authenticity of the old book. A man named Adam came across the bible from his friend who was cleaning up after an estate sale. He thought the book was pretty interesting and had it checked out by both a museum owner and an auctioneer. This is where he discovered that the bible could have been used during the time of the mailing service’s operation.

‘Pawn Stars’ Expert Explains Pony Express

For those who are unaware, the Pony Express was a mailing service that would carry letters and other parcels between Missouri and California. The reason it was so innovative for its time is that the service was super fast – between 8 and 10 days (think Amazon Prime speed, but in the 1860s). Carriers would transfer mail on horseback to another rider, who would carry it to another rider after that until it reached its destination. The service’s founders were deeply religious and would insist riders take an oath by placing their hand on a bible and riding with the Good Book as they worked.

This is what makes the “Pawn Stars” customer’s piece so cool – if it is indeed authentic. Harrison wants to believe the bible truly is from the Pony Express, however, he brings in Pony Express expert Rebecca Romney to share some information about the bible’s history.

Romney shares that there are more than 13 Pony Express bibles that have been discovered since the 1960s. However, this doesn’t mean that this particular one isn’t rare. But upon further examination, Romney explains that the item is inscribed with “Overland Mail Company.”

This means the book is not a part of the Pony Express. But rather, a closely related mail service company. Despite this, she still values the bible at around $6,000. The customer wants $5,000 for it.

Harrison, being the negotiator he is, initially offers the customer $2,500. However, after a heated discussion, the two settle on $3,000 – a pretty good deal, especially considering the bible is in pretty poor condition. But, Harrison argues, it’s still a great piece of Americana, which means a buyer will eventually come.

The two make a deal and walk away with a happy ending.