Pawn Stars has showcased a huge number of treasures throughout its long run on TV. For 20 seasons and more than 500 episodes, the show has given audiences many history lessons revolving around arts, sports, literature, and much more. The show’s popularity has carried it to be one of the longest-running reality shows on the History Channel.
The show’s setting at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop is now a major landmark in Las Vegas. The shop is now a popular tourist stop that can bring up to 5000 visitors per day hoping to catch some of the deals in action. Despite being a major attraction, the store continues to operate as a working pawnbroker.
Reality TV is usually known for its desire to push the envelope. As such, popular reality shows often undergo major changes in an attempt to outdo the previous season. But 20 seasons in, Pawn Stars has made very few changes to their formula. Aside from a few casting changes, the viewing experience of new episodes is largely the same as the show’s first.
Consistency is part of what made Pawn Stars such an enduring presence on TV. At any given moment, viewers can tune in and find something interesting to learn about regardless of how many episodes they’ve seen. Whether you’re a long-time viewer or someone who randomly landed on the History Channel at random during an episode, there’s always something cool to see.
But there are a few details that have changed over the years. Aside from the increased production value, there are some noticeable differences to the show today.
What’s Unique About the First Episode of Pawn Stars?
Perhaps the most notable difference from the first episodes compared to now is how many people we see in the store. In the first episodes, Las Vegas’s most popular pawn shop is almost entirely empty.
We don’t see much of the storefront in those early episodes. But where thousands of fans line up now, back then was completely devoid of customers. Bystanders were often kicked out for filming, but now so many people line up at the store that seeing the empty sidewalks of the first season feels eerie by comparison.
In addition to the primary stars from the Harrison family, the show is also known for its revolving door of experts who provide analysis and values of the show’s items. Some of the experts are just as recognizable as the show’s stars. Some of them even spun off into their own shows like Rick Dale with American Restorations or Danny “The Count” Koker with Counting Cars.
Rewind back to the first episode and you’ll see the first-ever expert called in (someone to evaluate a cannon Rick Harrison wanted to buy) never made another appearance on the show. Even after 20 seasons.
A major aspect of the pawn business is something we now almost never see on the show. Most people negotiate a deal to sell their items, but pawn shops primarily operate on small pawn loans. Even though they always offer the option, we never see customers take the pawn option. In fact, the only time we ever see a pawn was in the very first episode where Rick gave someone a loan for a custom table saw.