An open sign of a store front.

Smart Lessons from the TV Show Pawn Stars

Think pawning isn’t popular? This age-old business practice is so universal that a TV show about it on the History Channel turned into an international hit – with a lot of lessons to learn for anyone tuning in. 

The most valuable pearls of wisdom viewers got from the show could apply to any exceptional pawn service. To name a few:

1. Pawning Is Universally Popular

Since launching in 2009, the reality TV show Pawn Stars has kept millions of viewers around the globe enthralled with everything pawn-related. It’s taught us what to look for when exploring the different services our neighborhood pawn shop is offering. Also, about the kind of relationship you can build with an honest, expert pawner once you find them.

2. Pawn Shops Are Fascinating – You Never Know What You’ll Find

On TV, people who tune into the show are treated to more than haggling. Those scenes are part of the entertainment and may be partly scripted. But you also get to listen in on interesting conversations about the history of artifacts like a nineteenth century navy pistol or a poker cheating device. With an inventory in the thousands, the pawn shop in question chooses a few items to focus on in each episode, delving into the history behind each one.

3. How Much Is It Worth? Customers Want Accurate Appraisals of Goods

Other than some fun family dynamics, the main attraction of the show is often the recurring segments showcasing product appraisals. When folks bring in valuables from their attics, they want to know how much they are worth. This aspect of the show is a chance to display experts discussing what the market value of goods might be and why, which is why the show was often compared to Antiques Roadshow. Watch enough episodes and you’ll get a sense for how your own family heirlooms might be appraised.

4. Good Pawn Shop Brokers Tell It to You Straight

What stands out about Rick, the co-owner of the shop behind the show, is that he is a straight shooter who tells it like it is. If he doesn’t know the value of an item brought into his store, he takes his time to find out. 

Granted, this kind of plot makes for good TV and doesn’t necessarily reflect how the average exchange goes in real life. One highlight of the show is that numerous experts are introduced to offer up insights into the objects that will indicate what their market value would be today. All of this gives these segments an air of authenticity – a quality you too should expect from any service you would consider.

5. Honest Pawners Gain a Trusting Clientele

Perhaps the central lesson in Pawn Stars is that shoppers need to trust the person they’re considering doing business with. Remember, there are multiple services that consumers could potentially take advantage of at a reputable pawn shop:

  • Selling antiquities 
  • Taking out small loans
  • Using personal valuables as collateral
  • Assessing the value of merchandise 
  • Shopping for unique items

Every good business must earn the confidence of its customers. At the end of the day, Rick and the other characters know their stuff. They know when not to take the advice of certain appraisers, as well as when to learn from them.

6. Some Pawn Shops Can Repair Valuable Items for You, Too

Some episodes involve the Pawn Stars offering to repair items to determine their potential worth (or because something needs fixing). Need a piece of electronics equipment checked out for a possible repair? At Fullerton Pawners on Chicago’s north side, we also restore merchandise for customers, depending on the item and its condition. Give us a call or stop by to discuss your request. 

Fullerton Pawners in Chicago Has the Best Reputation Around 

Need a loan on short notice, or just want to browse some pretty cool inventory? There won’t be any TV cameras. Just a highly experienced and knowledgeable staff that gives clients an honest assessment of their goods, as well as loans when they need them.

Contact Fullerton Pawners by calling us at 773-637-9999, or stop by today to have your own merchandise evaluated.

A person examining a ring.

Top Qualities Pawners Look for in Merchandise Appraisals

Giving proper appraisals for merchandise is one of the most important services a pawn shop can provide. But how do they come up with their appraisals – and how do you know you can trust them? It starts with an appreciation for the process itself. Some appraisals stem from a comparison against an identical or near-identical item. If the shop doesn’t have the exact item on hand, they must familiarize themselves with the goods that come in their door so they can do their best to provide an accurate dollar amount when buying and selling goods.

Shoppers are sometimes surprised when they get a different appraisal when shopping around. Before selling your grandfather’s watch or buying a beautiful antique brooch you saw in a window, take a closer look at the process so you can understand how appraisals are done. Just like pawn shops look for certain qualities in products, the customer is also seeking out qualities in the appraiser

Details Pawn Shops Look for to Make Appraisals

If you’re thinking of selling something, it will help to find out for yourself as much about the item as possible. If it’s a family heirloom, have a conversation with someone in your family to discover more about the background and condition of the watch, artwork or piece of jewelry you’re having appraised. Talking to an older relative may provide you with unexpected details that can give a more accurate picture of the item. 

Meanwhile, the pawner will also examine a range of details aimed at assessing every aspect of the item in question. Some things they may look for include:

  • Condition
  • Age
  • Size
  • Distinctive features
  • Where it originated
  • Market value of product or materials

Since there is not always going to be a highly similar item against which to compare your belonging, they will do their best to come up with an assessment based on the above factors to make a determination.

Specific Appraisal Expertise

The appraiser should have expertise in the area of your particular item. For example, to have your antique Tiffany lamp appraised you want to talk to an antiques appraiser with knowledge in that specific area to get an accurate assessment. It’s easier to appraise turn-of-the-century sterling silver pocket watches when they have done so multiple times in the past. Industry certifications, designations and licensing can be helpful in letting customers know that they’re dealing with someone reliable who is able to make informed and accurate appraisals.

Carat Levels of Gold and Silver Jewelry

Jewelry is one of the most common items to be brought into pawn shops. And the carat level can be measured to tell you the purity of the piece of jewelry being examined – for gold, silver, copper and even zinc. There is a different composition of gold at different carat levels, so the pawner may take a look at the percentage of gold to determine the value of the jewelry.

Understanding the purity of what you have, as well as something you may want to buy, is important because it helps you know whether you’re engaging in a good-faith transaction with the business. 

Do You Have to Visit the Pawn Shop in Person?

Find out what the process is of the pawn shop in question. If you call or contact them online, some pawnbrokers may request photos to come up with an initial estimate or determine whether there is potential for the item to be sold at all.

Fullerton Pawners In Chicago Is Trusted to Make Reliable Appraisals 

At Fullerton Pawners, our team of professionals is prepared to answer all of your questions about how we come up with appraisals at our shop. With 30-plus years of experience in the neighborhood, you know a few things about us already:

  • We are a trusted local business.
  • We have a history of merchandise appraising expertise.
  • We have a good reputation in our industry.
  • We take our time making accurate appraisals.

In addition to buying and selling goods, we can also exchange them for loans. Reach out to Fullerton Pawners online, or call us at 773-637-9999 today.

Illinois Pawn Association National Pawnbrokers Association Chicago Jewelers' Association IWJG
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