The Weird and Wonderful Things Found in a Pawnshop

It’s easy to see why pawn shops can provide such great entertainment. The fascinating stories behind each item, combined with the sheer value of some of the things that come through the doors, makes for an endless stream of television drama and documentary ideas. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next story idea, we’ve put together a list of ten weird things we’ve found in our years working in the business:

1. Dentures

For one pawnbroker in the U.S., giving a pawnbroking loan on a set of dentures was his strangest request. Surprisingly, he agreed! Using the logic that the customer was virtually guaranteed to repay the loan in order to reclaim his teeth, the pawnbrokers deemed it a good opportunity. And they were right – the customer did return to pay off their loan in full and regained ownership of their Gnasher’s.

2. Military Weapons

Military memorabilia and antiques can be extremely collectible and can be very valuable, which means they can often be found among items in pawnbroking shops and can be used to borrow cash. 

Amongst memorabilia, British Victorian war medals and military items such as vintage military uniform items, or compasses, military brooches and other items are very collectable and can have surprisingly high values.

When it comes to weapons, however, very strict decommissioning procedures need to be followed before these potentially dangerous items become collectibles. 

Some pawn shops will accept antique pistols and rifles as collateral for a loan. Some come with their original boxes and accessories such as flasks and binoculars 

3. Unique and Historical Jewellery

If you want to obtain a pawnbroking loan, then pawning jewellery can be a good option. Pieces often have a high value, which will enable you to obtain a considerable amount of funds. However, you might be hard-pressed to get the same result as a group of builders did in London in 1912.

When working on a local construction site, they stumbled upon a horde of jewellery and precious stones. Upon visiting their nearest pawnbroking shop, they were told that the items were ‘unique in the world’ and dated back to the 16th and 17th centuries. The mixture of jewels, including a Swiss watch set with Columbian emeralds and an emerald-studded salamander, were quickly dubbed the ‘Cheapside Hoard’ as news of their finding made its way around London. In fact, they remain on display at the Museum of London, so why not see them for yourself?

To talk to us about pawning your own jewellery, get in touch with our friendly team now on 0208 518 1828

4. An Oscar

Although the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science prohibits the sale of its iconic statuettes, this hasn’t prevented them from turning up in pawnbroking shops from time to time. In fact, one pawnbroker in Beverly Hills has sold a number of authentic Oscars, with prices ranging from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands. 

5. JFK’s Humidor

Gifted to John F. Kennedy on the day of his inauguration, a walnut humidor created by Dunhill of London made its way to a pawnbrokers after it was purchased by a private collector following JFK’s assassination. Eventually selling for $575,000 at auction at Sotheby’s, the humidor is now owned by the publisher of Cigar Aficionado magazine.  

6. Gold Teeth

Surprisingly enough, a considerable number of gold teeth have been found in pawnshops over the years. Well, if you’re going to pawn dentures, why overlook any gold teeth you have?! Although gold is a popular item in pawnbroking shops, gold teeth simply aren’t going to be a viable way to get a pawnbroking loan, no matter what you might have seen on pawnbrokers TV shows. 

7. Ford Roadster Model B

Sold to a famous pawnbroking shop in Las Vegas, a 1932 Ford Roadster Model B in outstanding condition was the hit of the day when it was discovered. However, this wasn’t the only car that the pawnbrokers provided a loan on. At a later date, they also took ownership of a rare 2014 Hertz Penske GT Mustang. With only 150 ever made, the vehicle’s owner was able to use the car to pocket a tidy sum. 

If you’re wondering what type of asset to use to obtain a pawnbroking loan, then your vehicle could be a great option. Many people ask, ‘Can I pawn my car?’, without realising that cars are extremely common forms of collateral. As most vehicles have a relatively high value and ownership can easily be proven, it can be a simple and straightforward way to secure a loan. If you have a rare or vintage car, you could get in touch to see how much can be borrowed against its value.

8. A ‘Death Clock’

Made prior to 1830, these clocks got their infamous name due to the conditions in which skilled craftsmen would create them. Hand-pressing mercury into the brass and then heating it meant that these talented artisans were regularly breathing in toxic mercury fumes, which sadly often led to an early demise. 

As production had to cease due to safety concerns, the clocks skyrocketed in value and can sometimes be found in pawnbroking shops. However, you don’t have to wait to stumble across a death clock if you’re thinking about borrowing from pawnbrokers. If you’re looking for something to use to get a loan, do what millions of people do and ‘pawn my watch’ instead! To find out what level of loan you could obtain by using your watch as collateral, contact our team today on 0208 518 1828. 

9. Archaeological Artefacts

Smuggled out of Panama in the 1980s by a teacher, rare, pre-Columbian pottery and gold caused quite a stir on the second-hand market in America. Eventually, the items were seized by the FBI and returned to the Panamanian government at an official ceremony. 

10. A Helicopter

If you can pawn a car or motorbike, why not a helicopter?! Which is exactly what one helicopter owner thought when searching for collateral for a loan. Subsequently auctioned for £1 million, it just goes to show that the weird and wonderful things you find in pawnbroking shops can sometimes be worth a great deal!

Are You Ready to Pawn Your Items?

Are you interested in selling valuables in Essex? Maxcroft has over 40 years of experience, offers outstanding service, and issues pawnbroker loans against assets & valuables. 

If you’d like to discuss an item that you are considering selling or pawning, take a look at our What Are Pawnshops website page here.