Behind The Scenes Secrets of the Pawn Stars

Pawn Stars is The History Channel’s golden show that’s now approaching its 13th season! The show has all the essential ingredients such as drama, emotions, … the series has gained a mass following, it’s become one of the most popular reality shows on US television.

 

The main characters Rick, Corey, and Chumlee have become superstars in their own right, but there’s so much happening behind the scenes that we don’t know about.

A Lynyrd Skynyrd gig

As we all know Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote and performed the theme music for the show from the fourth season.

 

What most people won’t know is that the band actually went to Las Vegas to meet the cast and crew, they also performed an impromptu gig just outside the store, in the parking lot

Was Olivia Black Fired?

Olivia Black began working the night shift during season five, but soon after, it became know that she had done a bare-skinned photoshoot for the website ‘Suicide Girls’ and was quickly taken out of the show.

 

It was only the network that had an issue with her photoshoot and not Rick or anyone at the store. Even after the show, Black kept working at the store before resigning on her own.

Sued for Melting Antique Coins

There is nothing illegal about melting gold, even if the gold happens to be antique items like coins or jewelry. What is unlawful is melting stolen gold coins. Back in 2014 a woman brought in a gold coin collection and had the guys melt it all.

 

As it turns out, the coins had actually been stolen and the original owner claimed that the collection was worth $50, 000 and sued the store.

Pawn Plaza

Rick decided to expand his business as the store was doing so well and was receiving a large number of customers. He opened the Pawn Plaza nearby, which is mostly built from shipping containers and houses a variety of shops and eateries.

 

They had high expectations for their new venture but four of their stores had to close in 2016.

Rick Harrison is something of a bookworm

Rick is also interested in cars and has his own car collection which isn’t as surprising, but what we didn’t know is that he is also an avid reader!

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Rick is exceptionally well-read and has a refined taste when it comes to literature, much more than we expected from a pawnbroker.

Somebody Once Pawned Human Skulls

Pawnshops have a reputation for having some reasonably bizarre stock at any time, and Gold & Silver probably has the most impressive range of merchandise in America.

 

One person brought a sack of human skulls, which is definitely difficult to process!

The Store Is Full of Merchandise

The most significant moneymaker in the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop nowadays is their merchandise and Chumlee’s line is especially popular. But the cameras are deliberately angled away from this during filming in an effort to make it seem more authentic and real.

 

But considering the store gets so many fans visiting on a daily basis, the outgoings on the merchandise are far higher than from people actually pawning things. With its rise in popularity, the store has so many fans visiting who end up becoming customers compared to people actually pawning items.

Sometimes The Trade Isn’t What It Seems

As we all are aware by now, reality TV doesn’t accurately reflect reality, even when things may seem real, there’s usually a certain amount of manipulation.

 

For example, some of the trades and negotiations we see have already happened before. Someone might bring in an unusual item, and they will be asked to come in again at a different time so that they can be filmed for the show.

Stolen Items

The melting coin debacle wasn’t the only time that Rick has taken in stolen goods. Back in 2009, a man came in to trade a pair of diamond earrings for $40,000. It was only one day later that they discovered that they were stolen!

 

The seller was arrested and the pawnshop wasn’t liable, but they also don’t get their money back.

Subway

Shameless product placement on any show is always grating, but ‘Pawn Stars’ goes overboard. Subway is probably one of the show’s main sponsors so we often see the cast eating their sandwiches with the logo on the wrapping on display.

 

What’s probably worse is when someone talks about a Subway sandwich on the show they will call it by its proper, branded name, which only comes across as awkward.

Pimps Come to Buy Jewelry

While some of the customers who come in are good for TV, others just don’t make the cut.

 

Every now and then, local pimps often come into their shop to buy jewelry since they can bring it back in later and get half the price as an advance against it. It’s a loophole that helps them to pay bail since their cash will be confiscated if they’re arrested. Interesting, but not exactly suitable for family TV.

Deanna’s Previous Marriage

Rick married Deanna Burditt back in 2013, but she had been married before, but their marriage wasn’t exactly an amicable one.

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Her ex, Richard Burditt, was convicted of domestic abuse, but he never served his time for it. Rick alleges “bureaucracy” as the reason for that, and the topic is clearly still a sore subject for both of them.

Corey Is Not Always A Safe Biker

Corey is often very vocal about his love of motorbikes, but he doesn’t talk about his history of bike accidents.

 

Back in 2014, Corey had one particularly nasty incident, he was thrown from his bike after a fender mount fell off and sent him into a tailspin. Luckily for him, he walked away with only a fractured hand.

Rick And His Fans

Pawn Stars has loads of young fans, and one boy posted a letter to the shop along with his Game Boy in the hope of trading it in for $30. The young fan in question is an autistic child nicknamed Little J.

 

Not only did Rick send him the money, but he also sent back the Game Boy! As if that wasn’t generous enough, he wrote him a letter to thank him and encouraged him to play, along with a signed photo with the cast.

You Won’t Find Them Behind the Counter

Back when the show started, Gold & Silver was just like any other pawnshop – with most of their business being done over the counter.

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But now, because of their success on TV, if we went into the store we won’t see the cast at work. They’re far more likely to be by the merchandise stand signing autographs.

The Store Was on TV Before the Show Started

Although  Pawn Stars first hit off in 2009, the store had actually appeared on TV twice before.

 

First, the store was filmed in 2001 when PBS filmed a full-length documentary about the family and their Pawn shopping business. Two years later, the comedian Dave Attell showed up to kvetch about antique watches, a “wedding night instruction” scroll, and the pawn process during an episode of his ‘Insomniac’ show in 2003.

Greek Artifacts

Many people bring antiques in the store, some of them have been around for years, even centuries. There was one coin, in particular, that was something extraordinary.

 

The coin was an antique that was proved to be a from 325 B.C., meaning it was a didrachm, an ancient Greek currency unit that would roughly be worth two dollars today – if not for inflation.

Between 3,000 and 5,000 visitors call at the shop each day

Many pawnshops receive around 5,000 visitors in a month, and that’s a good month, but Gold & Silver get around that much in a single day!

 

On a daily basis, the store is flooded with tourists, which is why the way the guys do business has changed so much since the success of the show. In fact, there are fans who will go even as far as to sneak around the back to get a peek at the cast.

No More Garage Sales

Fame has a funny way of intruding on people’s personal lives. Like in Rick’s case, he now has a reputation for being a sharp, and keen negotiator which means that he’s eyed with suspicious at garage sales and swap events.

 

Many people have been known to hide their stock if they see him so he doesn’t even get a chance to visit them.

A Special Invite from Bon Jovi

The cast was lucky enough to see a private show from Lynyrd Skynyrd as if that wasn’t enough! They were also personally invited to a concert by Jon Bon Jovi.

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According to Chumlee, Bon Jovi’s son wanted to meet them, and so the free gig was bartered in exchange for the meeting. It was a haggling approach that the guys can certainly understand and probably appreciated.

The Show Was Accused Of Overworking Scriptwriters

So apparently, “reality” shows require scripts. Who knew? Back in 2013, The Writers Guild of America issued a statement alleging rampant exploitation and overwork of the scriptwriters. One of their methods was to give them last-minute rewrites, forcing the writers to work long hours to have the final draft turned in by the deadline.

 

While there were no numbers for the individual pay lost to writers put in these positions, the report estimated a total of $40 million per year that might be owed to these writers.

Pawn Stars

Yes, the characters on the show do run a pawn shop, but that’s probably as real as it gets. Rick Harrison never actually works behind the counter, and the interactions are all carefully curated.

 

It shouldn’t even come as a surprise that all the items on the show are cleaned and vetted before being aired on the show.

Chumlee Drops the Bass

Before the show’s airing, a man once walked into Gold & Silver wanting to pawn his stand up bass. He handed it to Chumlee who leaned it against a shelf nearby, moments later the bass fell and bike into dozens of pieces. Chumlee didn’t think much of it and swept all the parts into a box.

 

So when the man came back, Chumlee gave over the box and as we would expect, the man was distraught. The bass was valued at $20,000.

Chumlee’s Arrest

Chumlee has been in trouble with the law lately, as he was charged with assaulting a woman. The assault charges ended up being dropped, but when the police conducted a routine search of his home, the authorities found large quantities of weapons and ammunition.

 

They also found several Ziploc bags and jars filled illegal substances that he had been selling.

Rick’s Net Worth

We wouldn’t have guessed it but it turns out that Rick Harrison is worth around $8 million. Most of his money was earned from his pawnshop, but he was also smart and invested some of his money in the stock market.

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Of course, nowadays his primary source of income comes from the Pawn Stars merchandise sold at this store.

Chumlee net worth

After his appearance on the show,  Chumlee quickly became a fan favorite because of his lovable personality.  Chumlee is estimated to be worth $6 million, with all he has to his name being his mansion outside Las Vegas.

 

He must have made quite a profit for selling illegal substances before he was caught by the local authorities.

Corey Net Worth

Being Rick’s Harrison’s son, Corey has a stake in his father’s store. But it wasn’t always his, he had to negotiate with his father and even threatened to leave the show if his demands weren’t met.

 

Corey also capitalizes on his fame by making appearances in Las Vegas, he charges $1,000.

Richard Net Worth

Richard, who is often called “Old Man”, is arguably the funniest family member, isn’t doing too bad either. For every episode, he earns $15,000. Allegedly he has a net worth of $8 million.

 

Richard is 72 now and he does not see himself retiring any time soon, he even explained that if he were to retire, he would die within 6 months of boredom.

Stan Lee appears on Pawn Star

One facet of the show that makes it so captivating is the experts that often come in to examine and validate items that have been brought in. There have been many of these kinds of appearances on the show, ranging from experts in medieval weaponry to pirate treasure.

 

The show has even had celebrities such as the famous comic book writer, Stan Lee, who assisted in authenticating comic books.

OJ Simpson’s Car

Some cars brought onto the show are more interesting than others, and one of the more controversial wheels that were ever brought in was OJ Simpson’s car, a white Chevy Bronco. This is the same car that the former famous footballer used in his car chase with the police.

 

Oftentimes customers try their luck to get as much money as they can, which is what this man wanted for OJ Simpson’s car. He initially wanted over a million dollars but Rick would only pay half of that.

Chumlee’s House

With the rising legal costs of Chumlee’s trial, he has had to sell his amazing house situated in one of the plushest neighborhoods of Las Vegas.

 

We can only assume that Chumlee knows how to throw a party and that his house would be well suited for such occasions. It turns out he is asking for $1,850,00 for his place.

Chumlee’s and His Bodyguards

A couple of years ago Chumlee was driving around LA when a man recognized him and wanted to get his chance at the famous reality star. Eventually, this turned into a tiff and Chumlee had his bodyguards with him.

 

The bodyguards gave the man a warning to move away but instead, the man took a swing at Chumlee, and soon enough his bodyguards got involved, breaking his jaw. Yikes!

Chumlee’s Sweet Shop

Chumlee and his brother had been speaking with his brother Sage about opening up their own business in Pawn Plaza some time, but without upsetting the business of other food shops in the area.

 

This is precisely what happened when they did when they opened their candy store that specializes in selling a wide range of American candy along with collectible Pez dispensers.

Chumlee’s Accuser

Back when the police raided Chumlee’s house and they stumbled upon his illegal substances and guns, the police department was initially doing an investigation into an alleged assault that Chumlee was charged for.

 

Apparently the alleged assault charge came from a co-worker at the store.

Cartoon Nickname

Austin “Chumlee” Russell is a big guy, and it seems that he was always a little bit beefier than the other children. Which explains the fitting nickname ‘Chumlee,’ which comes from the cartoon called Tennessee Tuxedo.

 

One of the characters was a big walrus named Chumlee, and it was one of Russell’s friends that noticed the similarity and that’s how the nickname stuck.

DJ ChumLEE

Chumlee is also known for another unexpected talent, which is his ability to spin records on a turntable and play a groovy tune.

 

Chumlee frequents various clubs and occasions in the Las Vegas area, as an MC and DJ to earn a bit more money.

Just a Normal Guy

In a recent interview, Chumlee professed that he is content with his life and role on the show Pawn Stars, adding that he feels very lucky.

 

When questioned if he still feels like a normal person, he was quick to respond that he drives to the grocery store and buys his own groceries just like everybody else, even if it is in a Maserati.

Rick Is a Conservative

Rick doesn’t necessarily talk about his political views but it is known that he is not enthusiastic about Former President, Barack Obama. Rick had issues with the many regulations that the Obama administration passed during his presidency.

 

One of Rick’s biggest reservations was that he couldn’t give loans out to active-duty members of the United State Military and that he was required to pay a person to keep an eye out for all the new regulations which kept heaping up.

The Most Watched Reality TV Show

2012 had proved to be a remarkable year for reality TV, and it was also one of the Pawn Stars’ best years. Up until then, the show had steadily begun growing in popularity since its debut back in 2009 on The History Channel, but 2012 was when America actually fell in love with the Harrisons and Chumlee.

 

The only show that performed better than Pawn Stars was ‘The Jersey Shore.’

Corey’s Assistant

As millionaires can afford it, Corey Harrison, the son of Rick and potential heir to the Gold & Silver shop has his own personal assistant. Corey always takes her everywhere he goes, and one of those places is dune buggy racing out in the Nevada desert.

 

One of the most bizarre things his assistant had to do for him is having her clean out his trailer’s septic tank.

Rick’s Quizno’s

As an entrepreneur, Rick has many business ventures, which include; merchandise, his plaza, restaurants. One of those restaurants is a Quiznos subway franchise.

 

Rick and Corey are both partners in the business and share ownership.

A Bus Driver

Originally from Danville, VA, the Harrison family used to be ‘dirt poor,’ in the words of Richard’ old man’ Harrison. The family was struggling to get by with barely enough money to survive, so Richard had to work from a young age.

 

According to his memoirs, Richard started working as a school bus driver when he was just 14. Clearly, underage driving was not a pressing issue back then!

An Educated kid

Rick is known for being well-read, seeing as he loves books and especially history books. The story behind his love of reading comes from a difficult period in his life. When Rick was a child he had epilepsy, which meant he had to be confined to his bed for weeks at a time.

 

During that time, the only source of entertainment he could turn to was reading, and he read everything he could.

Corey Gets Healthy

Corey Harrison has lost about 200 lbs in the past few years. He decided to lose all the extra weight after a doctor’s appointment when he learned that he might get diabetes if he didn’t change his lifestyle. On his ride home from the doctor, he saw a billboard for adjustable gastric band surgery and immediately went to the clinic.

 

When he was asked if he started eating healthier, Corey responded “when you only have four or fives ounces of space, you don’t want to eat junk.”

The Show And Its Title

There was another pawnshop that bragged about their name being the exact same. Their rival show received a “cease and desist” letter, telling them to alter their name or face copyright infringement law.

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The shop’s owner, Frank Bishop eventually did agree to give up their name if the price was suitable. So did they settle out of court or were the charges finally dropped? We may never know.

Rick Makes Uncomfortable Remarks

Rick Harrison made a blunder when speaking about transgender women. He didn’t attack any women directly, but he did help spread panic and misinformation around the hotly debated transgender bathroom bill at that time.

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This happened after remarks claiming that the world is too PC and he admitted his fear around losing the show because of his political beliefs.

Rick Thinks Pimps Make The Best Customers

Rick just does not know when to stop talking. This little remark may have been a joke, but yet again, it fell terribly flat. During a podcast interview, Harrison revealed his all-time favorite pawnshop customers: pimps.

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He followed up on his statement by openly acknowledging that, by buying jewelry from the pimps, his shop was essentially helping post their bail money.

Chumlee Makes Bad Jokes

Even though Chumlee’s assault charges were dropped, you would think Chumlee would be very careful not to make off-color jokes. However, you’d be wrong. He did make such a “joke.”

 

The reality TV star raised his shirt up and boastfully declared himself to be the next Jared from Subway. Given Chumlee’s former run-in with assault accusations, this joke was in very, very poor taste.

Johnny Was Arrested

After responding to a reported assault, police examined surveillance footage of the reality star and his girlfriend fighting at. Jimenez’s girlfriend appeared to be intoxicated and at first glance, Jimenez appeared to calm her.

 

However, Jimenez grabbed the strap of his girlfriend’s purse which sent her falling to the ground. He later reassured police that her fall was a total accident and that he only wanted to get her to eat so she could sober up.

Corey Was Arrested For A Bar Fight

Corey Harrison got embroiled in an argument with another visitor at Murray’s Saloon and Eatery in 2011. The security was brought in and the entire situation escalated rather quickly. Corey was accused of shoving both a deputy and the reality TV star was then arrested for battery and resisting arrest.

 

Corey’s time in jail was short, with the police department reporting his release only a few hours after he arrived.

Rick Pitched The Show

Rick knew his store would make for a good reality TV show and so he pitched it a lot, long before it even got picked up!

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He wanted to get on TV in order to get the store a lot of attention, so he went around for years trying to get it made into a TV show and ultimately, someone did buy it.

Ancient Artifacts

One fortunate man purchased a vivid medal for $.75 at a yard sale. When the man brought his medallion into the shop, Rick had a good feeling about it and bought the item for $6,000. When an expert assessed the medal, they realized it dated back to the Tsarist occupation of Poland.

 

While Rick paid a high price for it, he multiplied his profit by five, trading in the Medallion for $30,000!

That’s A Weird Thing…

Someone actually dropped off some Japanese adult books. And this wasn’t just anyone’s Japanese raunchy adult magazines either, it’s quite the opposite.

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The books in question were 200-year-old hand-painted Japanese adult material.

Corey Got In Trouble For Public Urination

Corey Harrison and some of his friends took a motorcycle trip through Missouri before ending up in Jefferson City. As we would expect, Harrison and his crew got inebriated which led to some bad decisions and one very awkward photo. Harrison relieved himself publically and wasn’t bothered by this.

 

A few weeks later Harrison did finally realize his fault and made a public apology for the unwise act.

1500’s Spanish Gold

While there are many things happening behind the scenes, let’s talk about all of the unusual items that have been brought into the Pawnshop? Even better, how much did they cost? Next time you’re out at a garage sale and spot some coins, do not ignore them. When a woman brought in her inherited gold coin, she knew it was old and must have some value.

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When the experts came in, she was not expecting their evaluation. The lucky lady discovered the coin dated 1715 and was first issued in Peru. It was valued at $18,000!

The Book of Mormon

This is not the hit Broadway play that we’re talking about. This was the 5th edition of the Book of Mormon, which was printed back in 1842 and is the final one that was printed during the founder Joseph Smith’s lifetime.

 

When an expert assessed the book, they found it bore a $40,000 value. The guys from the store ended up paying $24,000 for it.

1500’s Spanish Gold Bar

Most attics are bound to hold certain treasures. Once a man found a golden bar that he assumed was solid gold but he wasn’t for sure. Once a specialist examined the bar, he found that it was from a 1554 Spanish shipwreck off the Southern coast.

 

The Pawn Stars ended up buying the gold bar for $35,000!

1922 Peace High Relief

A man once won this coin at a poker game and it turns out that the coin is a 1922 Proof Peace High Relief Dollar, the man believed, was worth around $15,000. Following an authority’s examination, they soon enough realized this coin was one of 10 in existence.

 

The new value? $100,000! They ended up buying the coin for $80,000. That was one lucky hand!

1941 Gibson Guitar

This guitar had once belonged to a famous musician. Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, and Nash had this 1941 guitar. After seeing the original receipt of purchase signed by Stills, the guys snapped up the guitar for $85,000.

 

Now that’s a collector’s item for life!