Las Vegas might be best known for its singularly awe-inspiring stretch of land commonly referred to as the Strip, as well as for the many lively, primarily adult-themed activities one could pursue on Las Vegas Blvd. in this city that never sleeps.
However, there’s a flip side to Vegas that might not be quite as glamorous as one might think; a side all too familiar to locals that includes innumerable Walgreens stores peppering the landscape, along with an unquantifiable number of 7-11s on practically every corner. Well deserving of a 3rd place ribbon for “Tacky Las Vegas Outlets that Appear with Shocking Frequency” would have to go to pawn stores.
In Las Vegas, pawn stores are everywhere. And they seem to share a particular commonality, a kind of bland, impersonal cloud that hangs heavily over most ot them. Generally, one gets the uneasy sense that pawn store personnel may not be as competent or experienced as one would hope; indeed, it looks as if the majority of the staff at pawn stores are fresh out of high school. How do you trust that you’ll get top dollar for the historically significant silverware set passed down by Grandma if you’re not even sure the kids behind the counters passed History 101 last year?
Most of the pawn phenomenon in Vegas is really rather yawn-inducing. Thankfully though, Gold & Silver Pawn Shop (aka: Pawn Stars on the History Channel) is refreshingly different.
Gold & Silver Pawn Shop is a breath of fresh air. Bolstered by its specialty in antique assessment, this pawn store, a family-run operation, easily stands heads and shoulders above the fray. Aside from its specialization in antiques, the store is also a veritable must-see due largely to the outgoing personalities of the guys running the show.
Richard Old Man ‘The Appraiser’ Harrison opened the store in 1989, and subsequently enlisted his son, Rick ‘The Spotter’ Harrison, to work behind the counter at the store when puberty hit. Also recruited was the Old Man’s younger son, Corey ‘Big Hoss’ Harrison, who began his own pawn career at the tender age of 9. Austin ‘Chumlee‘ Russell, Corey’s childhood friend, eventually joined the family operation, becoming that final piece of Pawn Stars particular brand of magic.
Each of the store’s major players have distinct personalities, making them immensely fun to witness their exchanges with patrons and amongst themselves. The Old Man takes no guff; The Spottert – made in his father’s mold – is just as tough with an uncanny knack for spotting fake merchandise. Big Hoss takes a softer stance than the rest of his family – irking his father to no end, but he definitely knows how to throw his weight around when necessary. Chumlee tends to get ribbed on the most mainly due to his tendency to acquire items that might interest him (comics, videogames, etc.) rather than items that are in the best profit-making interest of the store.
There’s no doubt these guys really know their stuff; whether they‘re assessing a 18th century music box, a 19th century stenograph or a baseball signed by Mickey Mantle, their expert assessments fly fast and furious – and most importantly, accurately. As a free bonus to lucky patrons, they‘re apt to dole out richly-detailed history lessons about the origins of antique items brought in.
Throwing the Harrisons and Chumlee all in one mix has the potential for hours of great entertainment – it‘s an interaction that‘s undeniably fun to watch. See just how much fun their antics are by watching their reality television series on the History Channel, Pawn Stars. Hugely popular, the show is the number one reason why tourists from all of the world make a pit stop to visit the store and / or their favorite famous Pawn Star personality. Just how popular and engaging are these guys? Their current nationwide tour they’re on should give you some idea.
Gold & Silver Pawn Shop covers all bases. Antiques are generally assessed by the family clan in the center area of the store, whereas a full staff of other employees – jewelry on the left, electronics on the right – manage the evaluation of some of the more mundane items that one could typically find in a pawn store.
Aside from the staff’s immense popularity, engaging repartee and expert assessment skills, there’s another obvious reason why visitors come to the store: to find great values on rare antiques, art and priceless memorabilia. What’s old is new, and what’s new is hot: whether you’re a serious collector, or just want to find an item that closely matches a long-long, nostalgic treasure, chances are that Gold & Silver Pawn Store will have exactly what you’re looking for.