After years in the industry, Rick Harrison knows the ins and outs of pawnshops. The Pawn Stars star has about seen everything there is to see. Stolen jewelry, illegal firearms, and all kinds of wacky, random people and items. Through it all, Harrison has tried to be the most honest and fair he can be.
With as many people that come into Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, there are bound to be stories. One story that Rick told to NPR involved a customer who didn’t know exactly what she had. That isn’t too crazy. People have family heirlooms and other pieces and have no clue what the value of the item is. So, Rick had a decision to make. As all pawnshop owners do when faced with a similar challenge. Do you pay more than the asking price or inform them what they have and pay accordingly?
Well, Rick Harrison took the high road.
“I actually had a lady come into my pawnshop with a Faberge brooch,” the story started, “And she wanted $2,000 for it. And I just explained to her, ‘You know what? I can’t do it to you.’ I ended up giving her $15,000.”
Faberge items are jewelry made by the famous Russian goldsmith, House of Faberge. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they made gold and jeweled items for European royalty. Most notably their eggs are the most valuable and sought-after pieces. The original eggs were Easter gifts for Russian tsars.
For the main man of Pawn Stars, it is all about karma.
“I really do believe in six degrees of separation…And I’m sure [good karma] works, because that woman will be worth her weight in advertising because she will tell everybody for the rest of her life what I did for her.”
Now that’s a healthy outlook.
‘Pawn Stars’ Deals with Stolen Items
One of the hardest things about running a pawn shop is dealing with illicit items. There are rules on which firearms that the Pawn Stars can buy. Also, items such as tortoiseshell guitars come in, which have murky legality when selling. Not to mention there are stolen items sold to pawn shops all the time. While shops have a database that helps them deal with these issues, it is not full proof.
During an earring purchase, things went very wrong for Rick Harrison. Often, it seems Chumlee is the only one who gets bashed for bad purchases. However, it is a common thing in the business. Rick himself bought a pair of diamond earrings for $40,000! Turns out, the guy who sold them had stolen them. By the time it was all said and done, the woman got her jewelry back and Harrison was out 40 grand. That is the risk they take when purchasing items from people walking into the Pawn Stars store.