‘Pawn Stars’ Customer Brought Extremely Rare Guitar Made From Tortoise Shell

by Keeli Parkey

You never know what items you are going to see when you tune in to an episode of “Pawn Stars.” After all, there have been some crazy items come through the shop’s doors over the years.

However, have you ever seen a musical instrument made out of an animal shell? Well, keep reading and you will. This instrument was part of a showcase of illegal items shared by the show during early 2021.

This part of the clip starts with a young man named Jon walking in to talk to the show’s star, Rick Harrison. He sets a very unique-looking instrument on the counter in front of the reality television host.

“I have this guitar here,” Jon said. “And I wasn’t sure whether or not I could legally sell it.”

What made this guitar unique is that it was made out of tortoiseshell. Such an instrument, according to the “Pawn Stars” host isn’t something one sees all that often. He was also surprised that a potential seller would ask about the legality of selling his guitar.

“I’ve never had anyone ask me if it was legal to sell their guitar,” Harrison said. The “Pawn Stars” host then flipped the instrument over to discover that it was made out of tortoiseshell. “That would explain why. …” he then said.

The young seller was then given a chance to explain why he wanted to sell the unique instrument. “I came to the pawnshop today to see if I could sell my turtle shell guitar,” Jon also said. “As far as its value, I had no clue. If I was able to sell it today, that money would towards my daughter’s college.”

‘Pawn Stars’ Star Rick Harrison Asks How the Seller Acquired the Tortoise Shell Guitar

Unsurprisingly, “Pawn Star’s” Rick Harrison wanted to know where Jon acquired his tortoiseshell guitar.

“I bought it at a pawn shop, and for some reason, I was drawn to it,” Jon shared. “I’ve done a little bit of research on it. The (United Kingdom) government has one that they confiscated through customs. So does the Australian government. And there’s a very limited amount of them.”

Harrison then discussed some of the history that surrounds items made out of tortoise shells. “For centuries and centuries, people used tortoiseshell for everything,” he also explained. “I mean, it was really prized for a long time.”

However, according to the “Pawn Stars” star, because tortoises were endangered it was decided that trading in tortoiseshell could no longer happen. This ban took place in the 1970s. It is this timing that impacted Harrison’s decision to buy this unique guitar from Jon.

“I mean, it really is beautiful – the way the light goes through it, its browns and reds and oranges,” Harrison said. “But my problem here at the moment is, I don’t know if it’s early 70s or or older, which would whether its legal for me to buy this thing. …”

In the end, Rick Harrison decided not to purchase the guitar. But he sent Jon to a fellow pawnshop owner who might have been able to help him.

You can watch the tortoiseshell guitar appear on “Pawn Stars” below. The footage begins around the 4:15 mark of the video.