While no one ever thought pawning artifacts and valuables was a honest business, you have to expect both sides to get a fair deal. Pawn Stars, a reality show based on the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas has been making deals on air for years.
Like any pawn brokers, Rick, the Old Man, Corey, and Chumlee have the task of haggling with sellers, trying to turn a profit on the items they buy.
The value of the items that are pawned depends on many factors including rarity, condition and how desperate the seller is for quick cash.
There have been times though that the Pawn Stars have made questionable deals that ended up being big potential losses for the sellers.
Book from Isaac Newton's Library
When Bob, a seller with a 450 year old book on alchemy walked into Gold & Silver Pawn, he knew he had something special.
"I don't know what the book is worth, but if it did belong to Isaac Newton, it should be worth thousands," Bob guesses, with no evidence to back his claims.
After a call to his rare book expert, Old Man finds out the book is worth $20,000. That's when Bob amazingly accepts the low offer of $7,000 after Old Man says "You know if I give you seven for it, I won't have money for dinner tonight." Yeah, sure.
As it turns out the rest of Newton's collection was either destroyed or archived, which makes this piece a rare addition to anyone's collection.
15th century Samurai sword
Corey was looking to slash through negotiations on a 15th century Samurai sword that could potentially have brought the shop over $10,000.
The seller, David, claimed to be a lawyer that took the old piece of weaponry as collatorial for a client. The client never returned, so he was looking to sell the item to recoup his costs.
Before the haggling began, Corey admitted in the backroom that he's "seen a few of these sell for thousands of dollars." He then opened his offer at a meager $800.
The seller was unprepared for such offers, "When he offered me $800 I wanted to jump and do a dance, but I had to keep my cool, because the price was still going up."
They ended up agreeing on $1,500 which was a modest price. An expert later determined that it was actually worth $5,000 to $6,000 in its current condition, but if it was restored for $3,000, it could sell for as much as $15,000.
"That's a score, Big Hoss!" Chumlee says as he and Corey high five.
I bet David didn't feel the same way after he watched the episode.
1890s Colt .45 Peacemaker Revolver
The seller, Brian, met with Rick to sell an old Colt Revolver that he admitted he picked up for only $25.
Rick is excited about the new addition because this particular revolver "sell[s] better than just about any antique gun I carry."
The pair eventually agree on a price of $3,000 before Rick consults his weapons expert.
After consulting with his weapons expert, Rick learns the gun is worth $5,000 in its current condition.
Many guns manufactured during this time range from $2,000 in value to $42,000, so while it was within market value, Brian made the low range on his sale, which meant a win for the Pawn Stars.
Baseball signed by the 1951 New York Yankees
A seller, Clint, experienced a screwball when Old Man pitched an offer to him for his 1951 signed baseball of the World Series Champions, The New York Yankees.
Handwriting analysis confirmed it was the real deal and the haggling began.
"The value of the ball is really subjective. It just comes down to what a buyer is willing to pay for it and what the seller is willing to get for it," Brenda, the handwriting analyzer said.
Clint's initial asking price for the ball was $3,000. That's when Old Man struck him with what he was willing to pay for it.
"I'm gonna shoot you a price, if you don't like it, don't hit me, but I'd be a buyer at about $800," Old Man said.
Clint respectfully declined, and it's a good thing he did.
In 2017 a similar ball was sold, but it also included the future wife of Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn Monroe's signature. That ball went for $15,000 on Antiques Roadshow. Even without the scarlet's signature, Clint's ball was estimated to have a worth of between $5,000-$7,000.
Autographed Screenplay of The Godfather
Another one that falls into the category of "almost ripped off" was this seller, Diane. Diane had a copy of The Godfather screenplay signed by Al Pacino.
After Rick's handwriting expert confirms it was indeed the actor's signature, he offers the seller $500 for the leather-bound book, thinking that it would only generate $1,000 at auction.
Diane, doesn't counter, and instead responds with, "now that we know it's Al Pacino's signature, a fundraiser would probably net more money than that."
And she was right.
She ended up selling the screenplay that was donated along with "thousands of other books" for $12,000.
After the auction, producer Al Ruddy actually stepped forward saying it was actually him who signed the screenplay, which makes Pawn Stars's evaluation wrong for another reason.
Would you ever sell anything to a pawn shop?