The story behind Pawn Stars

Pawn Stars is one of the hit shows on the History Channel, and details the crazy and wacky adventures of a group of pawn brokers at their shop in Las Vegas. They usually get rare, interesting, and historical items, but what people are there to watch are the guys’ interactions with people, and their crazy fights with each other. But it turns out that there is a lot more to the show than meets the eye.

Screen Shot 2017-08-30 at 12.59.21

begin >>


When you own a pawn shop, you are never quite sure who or what will walk in. A lot of times the things which come in can be as benign as a car stereo system or guitar, and can even be as big as a car. And sometimes, history comes knocking on the front door.

Pawn shops are interesting places with a fascinating history behind them. What a pawn shop does is give out loans to people. But as opposed to a bank, which gives out loans based on lines of credit (ie trust), a pawn shop gives out loans based upon physical things.

Let’s say that you have a really low credit score, but you need cash quickly between pay days. What you can do is take something of high value (such as a video game system, jewlery, car stereos, nice guitars, etc), and the pawn shop will give you a cash loan.

The pawn shop will then give you your item back so long as you return the money (plus interest) back to the pawn shop within a specific amount of time.

If you are not able to pay the shop back, the shop will keep your item and will then sell it.

And if you just want to get rid of an item, you can just sell it to the pawn shop, and they will give you cash for your item, no strings attached.

Sometimes, people will try to pawn or sell items which hold tremendous historical value, but many times, the pawn shops have no idea. So, at least one pawn shop in Las Vegas called (Gold and Silver Pawn) will get experts to come in and appraise the item.

As it turns out, this is really interesting to many people. So, the History Channel decided to capitalize on that, and created a world famous show called Pawn Stars. And it turns out that there is a lot hiding behind those doors.

begin >>

Private Lynyrd Skynyd show

One of the biggest rock groups in history, Lynyrd Skynyrd, actually performed and wrote Pawn Stars’s theme song. The show began using their song from season four and the song has become something of a hit. It may have been for this very reason that the band decided to have a random, impromptu show in the parking lot of the pawn shop one day. We wonder if they ended up playing Freebird.


Fired for modeling?

One of the former stars of the show, Olivia Black, was known for working the night shift, especially during season five. However, she mysteriously disappeared from the show after that, and no one could figure out why. It turns out that the Pawn Star Producers decided to remove Black from the show because she posed nude for a website. However, Rick kept her on at the store, but she ended up leaving on her own. That’s when the drama really started.


Olivia Black sues the show

It turns out that Olivia was extremely upset when she was dropped by producers from Pawn Stars, especially when she discovered that she was dropped due to a photo shoot which she did on her own time. She has reportedly sued the production company for sexism, as The History Channel only has rules against women doing scantily clad photo shoots. It seems that men posing in scantily clad outfits is just fine.


Fired over love?

While the producers of Pawn Stars – Leftfield Entertainment – may not have let a woman take risque photos on her own personal time, their punishment came full circle when the producers were not allowed to shoot a show due to the orientation of one of their new shows’ hosts. The producers wanted to do a show about estate sales and sell the show to Fox Business, but one of the stars is LGBT. The Fox executives refused to pay for the show, and outed the LGBT man to his family at the same time.



One day a woman came into Gold & Silver – the pawn shop featured in Pawn Stars – in order to sell off a coin collection. However, a few weeks later, the woman’s uncle came into the store, claiming that the coins were stolen from him, and that they were worth over $50,000. But instead of blaming his niece for stealing from him, the man sued the store for melting down the precious coins.


Ill-gotten gains

Sadly, it is very common for pawn shops to inadvertently buy items which were stolen from their original owners, and Gold & Silver is sadly no exception to being duped. One day, a man came in with diamond earrings which Gold & Silver took off him for $40,000. However, the earrings turned out to have been stolen. While Gold & Silver did in fact give the earrings back, they were unable to get back the $40,000 they gave the man.


Pawn Plaza failing

Now that the show Pawn Stars has made the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas so famous, the owner of the shop Rick decided to expand. He bought some land and built a shopping plaza out of shipping containers, naming the shopping center Pawn Plaza. Initial projections for the plaza seemed good, but four stores located in the plaza have closed since 2016. Hopefully the plaza will get back on track soon.


Rick reads

Rick is a man of many interests, many of which we get to see in the show. He is well known for loving history and cars, but did you also know that Rick absolutely loves reading? As it turns out, Rick is an avid reader, and has probably read just as many books and classic novels as the average English literature professor. Pawnbrokers aren’t known for being the most well read of people, but as we already know, Rick isn’t your average pawnbroker.


Selling a sack of skulls

One of the most fun things to do at a pawn shop is to go in and find the weirdest stuff people have ever tried to pawn. In fact, that is why Gold & Silver are on Pawn Stars – because they specialize in weird, historic artifacts. Some of the more interesting items that Rick and the crew have ever been asked to appraise are a sack full of skulls and Japanese adult erotica which dates back over 250 years.


Merchandising money making

Believe it or not, Gold & Silver does not make the majority of its revenue from its pawning off of historic items – at least not anymore. It turns out that the biggest money maker for the pawn shop is the merchandise from the show – especially the clothing line and merchandise designed by Chumlee. Despite the fact that the counter looks like any normal pawn shop on the show, if one were to look behind the camera, they would see lines of people buying Pawn Stars merchandise.


Not all is as it seems

Reality TV is not necessarily reality. Many times it’s based on a real story, just filmed to appear more extreme. This is the case as in Pawn Stars where some of the trades are a bit more fictionalized than they would seem. Many times people will come in with interesting artifacts, and a deal will be made. The person may then be asked to come back to the store at a later time in order to actually film the trade more theatrically.


Subway specials

Nearly all television shows have some sort of product placement, and Pawn Stars is no different. However, sometimes, the show takes it to the next level. One of the companies which sponsor the show is Subway Sandwiches, and it is not uncommon to see the guys eating subs while filming. What makes the product placement even more obvious is the fact that they call the sandwiches by their actual brand names, and make sure the Subway labels are always showing.


Ilicit managers buy the jewels

There are all types of people who come into pawn shops. Some come in to check out any interesting merchandise, while others just need a couple of extra dollars. However, there are those who come in for the jewelry, especially criminals and managers of women of the night. They buy jewelry at pawn shops because they are able to take out loans against the jewelry when they get arrested and their money impounded. However, these guys won’t make it onto Pawn Stars.


Deanna’s harsh first husband

Rick is married to a woman named Deanna Burditt, and the two tied the knot in a ceremony back in 2013. However, it turns out that Deanna was married before, but split from her former husband. She got a divorce because Deanna’s first husband was forcing her to do acts that she was against doing. While what the man was doing to Deanna is illegal, according to Rick, the man has never been arrested due to bureaucratic red tape.


Corey loves biking

One of the things that really gets Rick’s son Corey going is motorcycles, and they are something he talks about incessantly on Pawn Stars. However, with such a hobby comes a high degree of risk, and it is that risk which Corey knows all too well. That is because Corey was involved in a motorcycle accident back in 2014, when a fender mount fell off which sent the bike into a tailspin. Corey luckily walked away from the incident with just a fractured hand.


A good man to the fans

Pawn Stars has a lot of fans from all different age groups, and one of the younger ones decided that he wanted to pawn something himself. The kid, an autistic boy named Little J, sent a letter to the shop saying that he wanted to pawn off his Game Boy for $30. Rick sent the kid the money, along with the Game Boy and even a handwritten letter with a signed picture of the cast.


No longer behind the counter

Gold & Silver Pawn used to be just like any other pawn shop in the United States. It used to be that all of the business transactions happened behind the pawn shop counter. However, due to filming restrictions and the cast members’ popularity, if you go into the shop today you more than likely won’t see Rick behind the counter. He’ll probably be by the merchandise signing autographs.


Previous TV exposure

The show Pawn Stars only began in 2009, but it turns out that Gold & Silver had actually already been on television, twice. The first time the pawn shop was featured on TV was when PBS aired a documentary on pawn shops in 2001. And then, two years later, Dave Attell showed up at the shop in order to film part of an episode of his hit show Insomniac. Rick seems to have been born for television.


An ancient artifact

People bring plenty of antiques into Gold & Silver, some of them centuries old. But one coin in particular was on a whole different level. The antique coin proved to be a didrachm from around 325 B.C., which was the ancient Greek equivalent of about two dollars if you don’t adjust for inflation.


Lines to get in

Following Pawn Star’s success, the Gold & Silver pawn shop gets over 5,000 visitors coming through the store every day. This is a major reason that the way that the business is run has changed focus from pawning to selling merchandise and signing autographs. In fact, most small businesses would be lucky if they got 5,000 people coming to them a month, let alone a week or a day.


Fame has changed the business

Fame is not always kind. One of the ways that Rick used to get a lot of his wares in his pawn shop was by going to garage sales and looking for things that he knew were valuable but that the person selling them might not. However, now that people know who Rick is and know his tough negotiating style, people will straight up turn him away from garage sales, afraid that he will bargain them way down from their asking price.


Concerts for meets

One of the coolest things that happens to you as a famous pawn broker is that you can haggle for almost anything you want, including free concerts. This is exactly what happened when Bon Jovi was in Las Vegas recently. It turns out that Bon Jovi’s son is a huge fan of Pawn Stars and wanted to meet the cast. The cast said that they would love to meet him as long as they were able to see Bon Jovi perform for free.


Chumlee drops the bass

One day a man came in with a beautiful, stand up bass. Chumlee stood the bass up against a shelf when the bass fell over and shattered. Chumlee did not think much of it and just put the pieces in the box. When the man came back for the bass, Chumlee handed him the box, and the man got extremely angry. It turned out that the bass was a rare, high quality instrument worth $20,000.


Chumlee got arrested

Chumlee got himself into some legal trouble recently when he got arrested for possession of large amounts of illegal substances as well as a huge cache of weapons. It turns out that the Pawn Stars star may have been selling the illegal substances, and that several of the weapons may have been in his home illegally. His house was being searched as part of an investigation into an alleged assault case.


Rick net worth

Rick Harrison of Pawn Stars is worth approximately $8 million. He earned the vast majority of his wealth via his pawn shop, but also earns a decent amount through his various investments. Now his main source of income is coming from the Pawn Stars TV show as well as the show’s merchandise that he sells at his shop. Not bad for a pawn shop owner in Las Vegas.


Chumlee net worth

Chumlee is the comic relief of Pawn Stars and is one of the show’s most beloved characters. However, he is only worth an estimated $6 million. That has not stopped him from buying a mansion outside of Las Vegas with his very own Chum Chum room featuring a dancing pole. Chumlee got his job at the pawn shop because of his best friend Corey, who’s father Rick is the owner.


Corey net worth

Corey Harrison is Rick’s son and Richard “Old Man” Harrison’s grandson. He is worth approximately $2.5 million, something which was actually a point of contention on the show. Corey threatened to leave Pawn Stars unless he got a stake in the company, so Rick gave his son five percent ownership in the shop. However, Corey also makes money in other ways, including charging $1,000 for appearances at clubs around Las Vegas.


Richard net worth

Richard “Old Man” Harrison is the patriarch of the family and receives $15,000 per episode, and, after all of his hard work throughout his life and on the show, he is worth approximately $8 million. The 72 year old has no plans to retire any time soon, and has even joked that he would only survive retirement for six months before he would get so bored that he died. It looks like we won’t have to worry about him leaving the show any time soon.


Stan Lee appears on Pawn Stars

In order to authenticate different items, the crew at Pawn Stars always try to get an expert opinion before making an final offer. Experts come in to check anything from priate gold to musical instruments to civil war or even medieval weapons. Sometimes they get celebrities to come check out different items. One of these celebrities is Stan Lee, who helps the guys check out the authenticity of comic book memorabilia.


OJ Simpson’s car on the show

Recently, a man tried to sell the guys on Pawn Star an item which is as infamous as it is famous. The man attempted to sell the guys OJ Simpson’s white Chevy Bronco from the running back’s famous slow speed car chase. Rick offered the man a half million for it, but the man refused, saying he wouldn’t take less than a million and a quarter. However, for what it’s worth, Rick said that the car drove and handled well.


Chumlee’s home for sale

Do you want a giant, fancy, mansion with all of the history of a playboy and in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Las Vegas? Do you want to ball hard on a budget? Well we have the house for you! Chumlee from Pawn Stars is selling his home to pay for his mounting legal costs. Get everything from a pool to a Chum Chum party room included for a measly $1,850,000. This is a price too good to pass up!


Chumlee’s bodyguards

Not too long ago Chumlee was cruising through downtown Los Angeles when a random guy stopped his Rolls Royce in order to start an argument with our favorite Pawn Star. However, because Chumlee is street smart, he is always surrounded by bodyguards. The bodyguards told the man to step away and step back, but the man still took a swing. The guards then punched the man to the ground, got in the car, and took off.


Chumlee’s chocolate factory

Chumlee has always wanted to have his own store, especially ever since his best friend Corey Harrison told him that he shouldn’t take being Rick’s coffee boy any longer. So, Chumlee decided to start a business in Pawn Plaza. He didn’t want to affect any of the other businesses in the plaza, so he found something that he can enjoy selling and that he feels would be a good business. Therefore, Chumlee opened a candy shop.


The raid

Chumlee’s house was recently raided by the Las Vegas Police Department. It was there that they found tons of narcotics and enough weapons to arm a separatist group. However, the reason for the raid was due to allegations of inappropriate relations between Chumlee and another woman. And the woman who brought up the allegations which led to all of this apparently was a co-worker of Chumlee’s. We hope that everyone involved is ok.


Chum the cartoon

Austin “Chum” Russell is a big guy (well, at least he used to be before he lost 100 pounds!). When he was a kid he was always a bit more, well, chubby, than the rest of the kids in his class. It looks like that is how he earned the nickname Chumlee. The name Chumlee is the name of a big old walrus in the cartoon Tennessee Tuxedo, and one of Austin’s friends’ fathers said that Austin looks like Chumlee. And thus a legendary nickname was born.


Chumlee on the ones and twos

As fate would have it, it turns out that Chumlee is actually quite musically gifted. He knows how to lay down a fat track, turn up the base, and record a sick drop on a set of turntables. In fact, Chumlee will be invited to various casinos and night clubs in order to man the turntables, making a bit of extra cash in addition. One of the spots that you are most likely to see Chumlee on the ones and twos at is a Vegas club called Tru.


Chumlee in Japan?

An anime show which is big in Japan called Little Witch Academia is alleged to have included a likeness of Chumlee in one of their more recent episodes. In the show, a man, who looks suspiciously like Chumlee (same hair, face, and even same tattoos on his arm) is behind the counter of a pawn shop. When viewers told Chumlee about this, he didn’t get angry like many other celebs would have. Instead, he was all for it!


Just a normal guy

During a recent interview Chumlee said that he is quite happy with the way his life has been unfolding along with his role on Pawn Stars. He was asked if he feels like he is out of touch with the average American, but he said that he doesn’t feel that way. In fact, he still goes out and does all his errands himself! The main difference, however, is that he is driving to all his appointments in a Maserati.



Rick Harrison is not the biggest Barack Obama supporter. This is because he believes that the heaps of regulations piled upon business owners by the Obama administration actually stifled business and negatively impacted the average person. In fact, due to all of the new regulations which were coming out, and the high speed that regulations would be changed during Obama’s eight years in office, Rick had to pay a person to make sure his businesses were keeping up.


#2 spot

2012 was a really great year for TV, and it was also the year which really put Pawn Stars on the map. The show itself had been growing in popularity little by little since the first episode came out in 2009, but it took three years for America to really connect to the show, especially with Rick and Chumlee. But when they did fall for them, the show skyrocketed to the number two reality TV spot, with only Jersey Shore receiving better ratings.


Getting a little help

Just like it is with most people who are millionaires, Rick’s son Corey has his own personal assistant. This potential heir to the Gold and Silver pawn shop kingdom takes his personal assistant with him everywhere, even dune buggy racing in the Nevada desert. He says that it’s a bit weird to ask his assistant to clean out his trailer’s septic tank on these long dune buggy trips, but that it’s better the assistant doing it than Corey.


Loving subs

Rick is what one would call a serial entrepreneur. He not only has his wildly successful pawn shop, but he also has a merchandise line, a shopping plaza, and even a couple of restaurants. But it turns out that Rick has some joint ventures with his son Corey as well. The father-son team are joint owners and managers of a Quizno’s subs franchise. We are shocked that they haven’t bought a Subway franchise yet.


Old Man’s life

Richard “Old Man” Harrison is actually from the other side of the country from Las Vegas. It turns out he grew up “dirt poor (and) white trash” in the small southern town of Danville, VA. His family was so poor that Richard was actually forced to become a school bus driver at the age of 14. It must have been weird for him having to go to class with the same kids that he drove the bus for.


Educational entertainment

As we’ve mentioned before, Rick is a really well read person, one of the things which makes him such a sharp pawn shop owner. He loves all kinds of books, but he likes historical books most of all. He really got into reading during a childhood bout with epilepsy which confined him to his bed, and the only way he could entertain himself without going into a seizure was by reading every book he could lay his hands on.

Rick_Harrison_of__Pawn_Stars__to_Host_a_Game_Show_ (1)

Corey lost 200 pounds

Corey Harrison has managed to lose close to 200 pounds over the past couple of years, shedding the pounds after a doctor told him that if he did not lose weight he would contract diabetes. Corey was driving back home from that appointment terrified when he saw a billboard for lap band surgery. He walked in and immediately paid to have one done. He now tries to eat as healthily as he can in order to keep the weight off.

pawn-stars-600 (1)