Would you be a Pawn Star??By Editor
How have the recent TV shows Pawn Brokers and Storage Hunters affected the number of people choosing to pawn their valuables?
Pawnbrokers have been the unlikely subject of two new reality TV shows that are pulling in a record numbers of viewers. The cheekily-named 'Pawn Stars' has become the History Channel's highest rated show. It is a reality TV show set in Las Vegas, in the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. What makes the show so engaging are the stories behind the objects that people bring into the shop.
It seems as though TV audiences enjoy the emotional angle of 'Pawn Stars' as well as the fun, financial side to each episode. It's always interesting to learn how much things are worth, especially luxurious objects like designer watches and heirloom jewellery.
The popularity of 'Pawn Stars' took off in 2012, and since then the pawnbroker industry has experienced an increase in its customer revenue. According to the National Pawnbrokers Association (NPA) in the States, the size of the average loan taken out in pawn shops grew from $100 (£60) to $150 (£90) in 2012. In 2013, the NPA discovered that most of the pawn shops they asked, said that the number of loans that were taken out increased by 10% from the previous year.
Perhaps, as shows like 'Pawn Stars' are becoming more popular, the idea of pawning objects has become the norm to people who otherwise wouldn't have considered it. The programs can also be persuasive; viewers see people making lots of money from pawning objects, so they make plans to do the same however these TV pawnbrokers are very different to the normal high street stores like Albemarle Bond.
TV show 'Storage Hunters', is gaining a cult following in the UK currently. Real auctions are filmed where Americans bid for the contents of mysterious storage units that have passed into the hands of the American Auctioneers. As the bidders have no idea what will be in the containers, the show is unpredictable which makes it so addictive.
Even when bidders discover what they think is treasure inside their storage unit, they never really know how much anything is worth until they take it to a pawnbrokers to be valued. There's always the thrill of not knowing if someone is going to make their fortune in a pawnbrokers, with something they bought at an auction for next to nothing.
Recently one bidder who bought a storage unit through an American Auctioneers found gold and silver coins in his unit that turned out to be worth $5 million. Gold and silver are the most common items bought by pawnbrokers but it's very rare for a pawn shop to come across $5 million worth!