Pawn Facts

1. The Logistics of Loaning
When you pawn something, that item is actually collateral for a loan. They give you money, and take something from you as collateral in the event that you don’t pay it back.

2. Ethical Behavior
A lot of people maintain stereotypical beliefs about pawn shops, namely that many of them deal in stolen merchandise. They assume that you can just walk in off the street with a stolen item, pawn it, and get money for nothing. In truth, less than one percent of the transactions that occur in pawn shops deal with property that’s been stolen.

4. Selling It Off
You can, of course, simply sell off your positions at pawn shops as well. One of the things you might not know about pawn shops, however, is that they aren’t automatically interested in everything. For that matter, you’re probably not going to get what you expect to get. Pawn brokers value things fairly, but they’re also running a business, and thus have to  consider what kind of profit they can get on an item if you don’t want it back and they go on to sell it.

6. Treasure Troves
Some people think all pawn shops are kind of dark, drab, and depressing, with nothing good for sale. On the contrary, one of the things you might not know about pawn shops is how much neat stuff you can find! These places are virtual treasure troves, and you can find some really interesting things. For the most part, you can also rest assured that you’re getting a fair price.

7. Quick Cash
As briefly mentioned, pawn shops are a way to get fast cash when you need it. This is a plus for the many people out there who have no bank account to speak of, although it definitely comes at a price. When there’s a legit emergency, however, and you need funds, it’s nice to know this option is available

8. Reclaiming Your Stuff
Just because you pawn an item doesn’t mean you can’t get it back. As I said, it’s considered collateral, so you have different options. You get a pawn ticket when you turn in an item, which you need in order to reclaim it. If that’s your choice, you make payments on the item – plus interest. If you pawned a necklace for $400.00, then you have to pay that back at the agreed interest rate, or you can pay it back all at once. You can also simply leave your item in the shop. If you can’t or don’t make payments on it at the agreed upon time, that is what will happen anyway, and it will be sold.

Did you know?

  • Queen Isabella of Spain pawned her crown jewels in order to finance the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World in 1492. But even before that, she is known to pawn most of her assets. Some of these items include the pearl and ruby necklace given to her by King Ferdinand as a gift on their wedding and the crown of Castile. When Columbus was set to sail, she also pledged her other pieces that served as endorsements to other investors who also provided for the voyage’s capital.
  • Ever wonder where the name “pawn shop” came from? The word “pawn” originated from the Latin word “platinum”, which means cloth or clothing. Also, it comes from the French word “pan” which means skirt or blouse. In the early civilizations, the only main assets that people can trade with were their clothes. So, they pawn their clothing in order to borrow or loan some money.
  • This term of “cash customers” was used in an article in Forbes Magazine in 1993. It described the almost 25 million households or almost 75 million people who do not own a bank account. Without any bank account, it becomes extremely difficult for them to obtain loans or even credit cards. So, they turn to pawnbrokers as their main legitimate source of loan.

A little history…

Pawnbroking is not a new practice nor does it appeal to just one social class. As humankind’s oldest financial institution, pawn loans can be traced back at least 3,000 years to ancient China as well as early Greek and Roman civilizations. During the 14th Century, King Edward III of England is said to have frequented pawn stores in Europe. Queen Isabella is reported to have pawned her royal jewels to finance Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World. Traditionally, the pawnbroker’s symbol is three gold spheres hanging from a bar. This stems from St. Nicholas, often referred to as the patron saint of pawnbroking. He is reported to have left three bags of gold so the daughters of a poor man could afford to marry, thus saving them from a life of slavery or prostitution. Later the tradition transformed the bags into three gold balls, which became the symbol of pawnbrokers.

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