‘Pawn Stars’: A Rare WWII Photo Could Be Worth a Fortune

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by: Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Fans of Pawn Stars know that the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop gets some incredible military artifacts. Sellers have brought in military vehicles, Civil War-era guns, and more. So, when a photo of one of the most important military planes in the history of warfare came through the door, the crew wasn’t surprised.

WWII History on Pawn Stars

Back in season 9 of Pawn Stars, a seller named Jeff came in with two signed photos of the Enola Gay and her crew. The Enola Gay is the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. That bombing run, coupled with the second bomb in Nagasaki, persuaded the Japanese government to surrender. As a result, collectors happily buy photos of the plane, her crew, and their signatures.

Jeff’s photos featured the signatures of Paul Tibbets, the Enola Gay’s pilot, and some other crew members. With that much history tied up in the photos, he hoped to take home $1,500. However, before appraisal, Jeff said he wouldn’t take less than $500.

Richard “The Old Man” Harrison was interested in the photos. However, he wasn’t ready to drop $1,500 on them. So, he sent Chumlee and Corey to get it appraised and make sure the signatures were real. They took the photo to Rebecca Romney at Bauman Rare Books of Las Vegas.

Romney told the Pawn Stars crew that the Enola Gay photos could be worth tens of thousands of dollars. The most valuable thing on the photos, though, was Tibbets’ signature. When he signed the photo, he dated it August 6, 1945 – the day they dropped the bomb. Rebecca told the guys that any autographs he signed on that day would be worth a small fortune.

A Mushroom Cloud of Disappointment

However, she could immediately tell that it was not a Tibbets signature from 1945. Instead, it was from much later in the pilot’s life. Romney noted that his signature changed over the years and the one on the photo was consistent with those he signed in his old age. The Pawn Stars crew showed a combination of disappointment and relief at this. Jeff, on the other hand, looked like Romney had just dropped a bomb on him.

Rebecca Romney told Jeff and the Pawn Stars crew that the signature from Tibbets was worth about $150. The crew members’ signatures were worth a little less. In total, she valued the photos and autographs at $600. Jeff decided that $600 was his new bottom line.

Chumlee told Jeff that they would usually say “hell no” immediately. However, The Old Man wanted the photos. So, he had Corey call to double-check. Chumlee was right on the money. After a brief pause, The Old Man proved why he was the best part of Pawn Stars when he was still alive. “Hell no! I don’t pay retail for nothin’, Corey. You know me better than that.”

In the end, Jeff decided that he’d just hold on to the photos.