Tales from The Pawn – Weirdest Pawn

For most people, if you ask them about pawn shops, they’ll imagine something like the store from the TV series, “Friday the 13th” where everything sold is cursed. Or the shop from Stephen King’s “Needful Things.” Also cursed. 

In reality, very little sold in pawn shops is cursed. Avoid the monkey’s paw, and you’ll be fine. To help illustrate the more interesting side of pawn shops, and to share stories from pawn shop owners, we’re starting this erratic series of … (cue scary music):

tales from the pawn


 A question was asked: What was the strangest thing someone ever brought in to pawn?

Common answers were: prosthetic limbs, fairly common wheat pennies (lots and lots of wheat pennies), “special” jewelry, food, a brick painted gold, and one person even tried to pawn their apartment bathroom. XXX of XXX once had someone try to pawn goats from the back of their truck.


Most of the time these pawns don’t work out, as people don’t understand the value of what they have. Or don’t understand that junk is still junk. 

So, as a pawn shop owner, how do you tell if something is valuable or not? Well, there’s the hard way and the easy way. The hard way is through experience or access to experience. If you’ve been selling gold for a long time, you’ll have an idea how to price it. If you’ve been selling collectible comics for a long time, you’ll know what they’ll sell for and what is unrealistic.

The other way is to use the internet.  eBay and Google are the time-tested way to fin dout what some strange knick-knack might be worth. Who knew people paid good money for milk bottles from the early Twentieth Century? Or that the New 52 run of Batman was once pretty valuable and now is slighty less so (should have sold that Court of Owls issue when it was hot)?

Run your search in eBay, for example, and see if that glass eye is worth anything. Then pay close attention to what it may have actually sold for, versus what someone is asking for it. There are people on eBay who will list an almost worthless item for thousands of dollars just to see it someone bites.

Don’t bite.

In PawnMaster, we have a feature called the Price Guide. You can do a search in the Price Guide to see if you’ve sold something similar to the item in the past. You can also extend this search to eBay and Google to get a list of similar items on the Web. A one-stop search feature. 

The next installment is to discuss what to do when the potential customer freaks out because you won’t give them $5,000 for an invisible box of good vibes.