For whatever reason, there appears to be a popular misconception about pawn shops suggesting they’re only for the seediest of people, desperate for quick cash through whatever means necessary. Granted, there are definitely some people out there who would hock their children’s beloved instruments if it meant affording their next fix, especially in Las Vegas. However, there are just as many people walking into pawn shops looking to make some serious business transactions, which could be worth upwards of tens of thousands of dollars.
Of course, anyone who’s watched a few episodes of the hit reality show Pawn Stars is probably already well aware of this. While Rick Harrison and his family will occasionally make a deal worth all of $10, at least once per episode, they inevitably hit the five-figure mark, or more. Harrison’s philosophy has always been that if he can make money on it, he’s willing to buy it, meaning he’s totally willing to drop $100,000 or more on the right item.
Obviously, the catch here is that “the right item” only walks into his store on rare occasions, and he needs to be extremely discerning to spot it when it arrives. Considering the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop has been in business over 30 years now and is still going strong, it’s a safe bet to say Harrison and his staff most certainly have that ability. To see just how well it’s paid off, keep reading to learn about a cigar box owned by JFK that could be worth roughly $500,000 and 14 other extremely expensive items found on Pawn Stars.
15. 1932 Custom Ford Roadster — $68,250
Two of the most popular items on Pawn Stars are antiques and cars, so naturally, when the two concepts get combined into one, big bucks quickly enter the conversation. That was definitely the case when a customer invited Rick and Corey Harrison to his home for negotiations over a beautiful black 1932 custom Ford roadster similar to the classic Model B. When cars of this style were first introduced, they cost a cool $490, which even with inflation is just a modest $8,822 today. However, the age of the car, plus the fact it was in practically perfect condition, with only 450 miles on the speedometer after almost 80 years of existence. Despite how good things looked, Rick and Corey were understandably a little bit hesitant to make such a big money deal on an extremely old vehicle, until their car expert friend Danny “The Count” Koker talked them into it.
14. Stephen Stills’ 1941 Gibson SJ-200 Guitar — $85,000
Aside from cars and guns, the most common item to enter the Gold & Silver Pawn shop may well be guitars. This is because an expertly crafted instrument can be extremely expensive in and of itself, and the value can only skyrocket when it was owned by a noteworthy name. Like, for example, Stephen Stills, of Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, & Nash fame. When a customer walked into the shop with a guitar owned by the man who wrote “For What It’s Worth,” the Harrisons were immediately interested, especially since there was proof Stills had owned and played it. Even if Stills never touched it, a Gibson guitar of this quality definitely fits into the category of instruments worth a whole lot already, which is why Rick was willing to spend $85,000 to have it on display in his store.
13. 1932 Lincoln Roadster — $95,000
Thanks to the fact they appear on TV every week, Rick Harrison and his family sometimes get a better deal than they should. When a customer sold them a 1932 Lincoln roadster, he made a number of concessions in his asking price while repeatedly admitting he just liked the guys and their show, wanting to make a deal even if it cost him a little. Chances are, it probably did, since his classic luxury vehicle was both beautifully maintained and rather historic as one of the first vehicles to carry a V-12 engine, making it far more powerful than the average ride at the time. The one thing the customer asked in exchange for giving Rick and the Old Man his car for much lower than his original asking price was that the deal be made in pure solid gold. Luckily, the Harrisons keep plenty of it in their shop for trade purposes, and $95,000 worth of solid metal was all it took to get this roadster in their possession.
12. Mary Ford’s 1961 Gibson SG Les Paul Guitar — $90,000
When it comes to guitars, there’s pretty much no name that carries more respect than Les Paul. One of the original inventors of electric guitars, Paul continued tweaking and innovating his creation for decades until he found the perfect instrument to make the sound he wanted. Not only did Paul invent and play many of these guitars himself, he also gifted a few of his best creations to his wife, with whom he also formed a very popular duo in the 1950s. Together, Les Paul and Mary Ford sang and played on dozens of huge pop hits, selling millions of records. For all these reasons, it was immediately apparent that Rick Harrison stumbled into something huge when a customer walked into the store with a guitar built by Les Paul and played by his wife Mary. On top of it all, there’s also the notoriety that comes with a deceased artists name, as both Ford and Paul had long since passed on when Rick bought their guitar, hence the high price tag.
11. Spanish Gold Bar From The 1500s — $50,000
In a manner of speaking, it could be argued that people who own pawn shops are almost modern day pirates. Okay, so they pay people for what they take, but the idea of giving someone a small pittance for a precious family heirloom isn’t that far off from looting and plundering. Even if you don’t agree with this assessment in general, one has to admit Rick Harrison seemed a whole lot like a pirate when he purchased a giant chunk of gold found during the 1554 wreck of the San Esteban. The Spanish ship was destroyed in a storm while delivering various items including gold and silver through the Gulf of Mexico, killing most of the 300 sailors on board and leaving all that precious cargo at the bottom of the sea. One way or another, one of the gold bars on the vessel wound up in a Gold & Silver customer’s attic, so he brought it in for Rick and the gang to examine. After calling in an expert, they learned exactly where it was from and what it was worth making a $35,000 deal on the $50,000 piece of naval history.
10. Fifth Edition Book Of Mormon – $40,000
While most people these days have made the jump to movies or TV, the people who still read books really enjoy reading books. Granted, the ones who prove this the most are the sort who would be happy to pick up a shabby, barely-put-together copy of any old classic and get lost in it as if it were brand new. However, if a book fan is going to actually drop huge bucks on a particular text, it better be pretty darn special. When a singular book is responsible for creating one of the biggest religions in the world today, it’s fair to say it reached that level of uniqueness. That was definitely the case with this 1842 copy of a 5th edition Book of Mormon, one of the last printed in the lifetime of Mormonism’s founder Joseph Smith. When a customer brought this in to Rick’s store, he understandably doubted it could possibly be real, only for expert Rebecca Romney to confirm it was. Given the historical value alone, Rick was willing to drop $24,000 on a book Romney said could probably make him $40,000.
9. Polish Order Of The White Eagle Medallion — $30,000
Every time someone walks into a garage sale or cleans out an attic, they subconsciously hope some rare or mysterious artifact will be waiting for them to find it. Unfortunately, this almost never happens, but in very rare occasions, it actually does and with fortuitous results to the person who made the discovery. An extremely fortunate Pawn Stars customer felt this thrill after purchasing a pretty chunk of metal for a whopping 75 cents at a random yard sale. Despite not knowing much about it, Rick Harrison recognized there may be some value to this pretty piece of silver, dropping $6,000 on the piece before even bringing in one of his experts to appraise it and tell them exactly what it was. Turns out the shiny medallion was actually a literal badge of honor from 16th century Poland, making Rick just as lucky as the person who brought it in. Rick later found out that it was an Order of the White Eagle medallion and that $6,000 investment might be worth roughly $30,000 to the right buyer.
8. 1922 Proof Peace High Relief Dollar Coin — $100,000
Believe it or not, some of the priciest items that fall into Rick Harrison’s hands are tiny little trinkets most people could easily lose in their pockets. If they don’t get lost, the original owner of these classic collectibles might not realize the value and do something silly, like lose it in a poker game. That was the story when a high roller wandered into Gold & Silver pawn shop with this coin from 1922, apparently winning it with a single lucky hand. While the customer knew the coin was extremely rare and believed it to be one of less than a dozen still in existence, he was nonetheless blown away when an expert told him the actual value. Despite originally asking for just $20,000, it turned out this particular chunk of metal was a Proof Peace High Relief Dollar coin, worth around $100,000 in mint condition. With this new information, Rick was able to talk the guy down to $80,000 to ensure he’d still make a decent profit out of the deal, as well.
7. 1915 Panama Pacific Octagonal Gold Coin — $67,500
Ever the consummate businessman, if a customer tells Rick Harrison they wants a particular high price item that Gold & Silver might not have in stock, the pawn shop proprietor will seek it out in one way or another to make the deal. That’s what happened when a regular told Rick they would be willing to pay roughly $70,000 for a particular an extremely rare coin that is in mint condition, specifically the 1915 Panama Pacific Octagonal $50 gold coin. In addition to the rarity factor, the coin is also noteworthy for its historic value, commissioned by the United States government upon the completion of the Panama Canal. Knowing he had a surefire deal once he found one of these things, Rick traveled all the way to a coin auction in Atlanta to pick one up. Surprisingly, he managed to find two and was able to talk one of the owners down to $67,500. While he sold it for $70,000, with the time and travel costs, he may have actually just broken even on this seemingly huge deal.
6. 2014 Hertz Penske GT Mustang — $60,000
For the most part, when the Pawn Stars crew buys a car, it’s because the vehicle is considered a classic in some way. What this means is, in order for the Harrison family to get interest in a recent car, it better be extremely special or unique in some way. That was definitely the case with this 2014 Hertz Penske GT Mustang, of which only 150 models were created, truly defining the term “limited edition.” The car was intended to be rare from the start when a partnership between the rental company Hertz and NASCAR team owner Roger Penske was formed. The model purchased on Pawn Stars was actually one of the first 10 ever made, and in order to verify it and prove it worked, Rick brought in an actual member of Penske’s NASCAR team in Joey Logano to give it a test drive. With a professional race-car driver’s approval, Rick bought the extremely rare ride for $60,000 large.
5. Super Bowl XXXVI Ring — $100,000
Cars, weapons, and pop-culture history might be Rick Harrison’s bread and butter, but it should go without saying that sports memorabilia can be just as big a seller to fans of a given franchise. When it comes to football, there’s no greater piece of history than a Super Bowl winner’s ring, an honor even some of the best players in history never got to hold. Ironically, other players somehow won them without ever playing a single second for the victorious team, as was the case with rookie Patriot Brock Williams in 2001. Right after getting traded, Williams tore his ankle, leaving him out of action the entire season, include the Pats trip to Super Bowl XXXVI. Despite this, Williams still got a ring when his team beat the Rams 20-17. Perhaps feeling like he didn’t directly earn it, Williams was willing to pawn it off for $2,600, assuming he’d get it back pretty soon. For whatever reason, he never came back for it, making it Rick’s possession after the requisite 120 days. Because it’s now his to sell, the price tag has rocketed up to $100,000.
4. Vic Flick’s 1961 Fender Stratocaster — $55,000
Just because a musician’s name doesn’t instantly inspire millions of fans to celebrate their contributions to music doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t heavily impact the medium. For example, Vic Flick is a guitarist who even music experts probably didn’t recognize when he appeared on an episode of Pawn Stars, yet he’s been involved in some of the biggest records in history. In addition to working with The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Tom Jones, John Williams, and Nancy Sinatra, Flick’s iconic guitar playing is featured in just about every 007 movie as the lead player on the “James Bond Theme.” Given Flick’s fame, and the fact he was offering the relatively-pricey guitar to the shop in person, Rick Harrison knew there was a deal to be made, but he wasn’t sure on the price until consulting with guitar expert Jesse Amoroso. After examining the axe and discussing it with Rick and Vic, it was decided $55,000 was the perfect price for it.
3. Over 200 Pounds Of Silver — $111,000 And Rising
Ask Rick Harrison, his son Corey, or even their idiot friend Chumlee what the Old Man loves above all else, and any one of them could easily tell audiences the answer is cold, hard silver. Even more so than gold, the Old Man is obsessed with collecting the slightly less valuable, yet still incredibly pricey, precious metal, and always jumps on the opportunity to make a deal with someone if they have any to spare. The only catch is that he or Rick need to be absolutely sure the silver is legitimate, and not some cheap knock off of far lesser value. This is especially a concern should a customer comes in with what they claim is a giant bar of pure silver they claim was sitting in their garage for over a decade. Surprisingly, when that exact scenario happened, Rick soon confirmed it was the real deal by drilling into the bar and testing it’s core. Knowing he struck true silver, Rick gave his Old Man a gift to the tune of $111,000 of his favorite substance.
2. Four 1-Kilo Gold Bars — $128,000
Obviously, a classic car or a beautiful guitar can net a whole lot of money with the right customer, as this list is repeatedly proving with these high-ticket items. However, the standard of money in America and around the world is still precious metals, with gold in particular high atop the list of the most valuable things in existence. There’s a reason Rick Harrison and the Old Man named their pawn shop Gold & Silver, and it tracks that the most expensive item they ever bought would be one of those two alloys. According to the History Channel website, the most money Rick ever shelled out on a single deal was predictably the golden substance itself, giving a customer $128,000 for four 1-kilo bars. How exactly this person came into all that gold isn’t quite clear, but we bet they took their earnings straight to the bank — or maybe a nearby casino. Hey, after that trade, they had money to spare.
1. President John F. Kennedy’s Box of Cigars — Approximate $575,000 Value
Notwithstanding today’s divided and tumultuously wintry political climate, John F. Kennedy remains as one of America’s most beloved and respected former presidents. Even before JFK was elected to the nation’s highest office, his family was already basically American royalty thanks to his extremely wealthy father and their connections to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This made the younger Kennedy remarkably popular upon arrival at the Oval Office, and the unfortunately short tenure of his presidency prior to being assassinated gave additional historical importance to everything he did while there. Though not exactly Earth changing, even a simple little cigar box that sat on JFK’s desk could be extremely noteworthy and valuable to his biggest admirers. If there were a few cigars left in the box, unsmoked but presumably touched by JFK as he reached for another, that would be even better. Rick Harrison knew all this the moment a man handed him JFK’s cigar box and offered him a cool $60,000 for it. Turns out this was a massive steal, as similar items have sold for over half a million.
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