TV Review “The Pawn Edition”: Beverly Hills Pawn, Cajun Pawn Stars, Posh Pawn,Pawn Stars

Pawn Stars - group shot

This week I have been watching a lot of programs about pawn. And programs about buying wedding dresses, or buying storage containers, but mainly pawn. There are a lot of programs about pawn on TV at the moment; high end and low end. As someone who grew up watching the antiques roadshow, there’s a certain fascination for finding out the value of the pieces people bring in or finding out the authenticity of them.

Pawn Stars is shown on the History Channel (Mon, 9.30pm) and is set in a pawn shop in Las Vegas, Nevada where it chronicles the day to day activities in the Gold and Silver pawn shop. A 24 hour business that opened in the late 80’s by father and son Richard and Rick Harrison the shop is also run by Rick’s son Corey and his friend Austin. Each episode will concentrate on five or six pieces brought into the shop where the staff will give a potted history lesson on the piece. If the staff can’t give the object a value then a local expert is called in. The show is as much about the interpersonal relationships between all the family members and their interactions throughout the day. Often Rick will buy a piece in order to restore it himself to sell on and the program will follow the restoration process.


Pawn Stars had many spin offs including Hardcore Pawn and Cajun Pawn Stars. Cajun Pawn Stars is shown on Lifetime and centers around another family business, the Silver Dollar Pawn and Jewellery Centre in Louisiana. The shop is owned by Jimmie DeRamus, his brother Johnnie and daughter Tammie. The shop is 20,000 square feet and they claim they have over 100,000 items for sale. In Louisiana it would seem that people will pawn anything from priceless first recordings of Jerry Lee Lewis to pigmy goats. Cajun Pawn Stars is as entertaining for the people coming in to sell the items than the items themselves – including the town sheriff who comes in to pawn his old pistols to pay for the reception of a family wedding who presumes the value of the item will get him baloney roll and ends up with a valuation that lets him buy fillet mignon.


High end items are sold in Beverly Hills Pawn (Watch, weeknights, 7pm) as the rich and famous try and get some ready cash from movie memorabilia and diamonds as big as the Ritz. Set in the Dina Collection shop run by Yossi Dina. The master businessman and former army captain runs his luxury shop with an iron fist and is known for his savvy negotiating and his superior taste. Yossi makes million dollar pawn deals at a moment’s notice for masterpieces, gems, antiques and priceless Hollywood treasures only attainable by the rich and famous. Each episode follows Yossi and his loyal team as they put hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake for incredible collectibles. It’s a real insight into how the other half live, to see Elizabeth Taylor’s jewellery, Steve McQueen’s automobiles or even Frank Sinatra’s rocking chair- which incidentally was brought into the store by someone who found it when dumpster diving and made 25,000 from it.


Posh Pawn brings us a bit nearer to home (Channel 4, Thurs, 8pm) with UK pawnbrokers, Prestige Pawnbrokers. Originally a one off documentary this series follows the business headed up by slick former property developer James Constantinou, and with a quirky team of asset experts including salt-of-the-earth jewellery expert Lawrence and feisty PA Jo, Prestige is the go-to place for people who want fast cash in well-heeled Surrey, pawning everything from million-pound helicopters to Lambourghinis and £25,000 Hermes handbags. It also shows the stories behind the deals, as recession crushed people who are down to their last penny and in order to save their homes are selling off whatever valuable items they own.

by LAW

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