Pawn Stars destroy stolen coin collection.

The store and the family that run it are very famous now so it operates more like a TV set/souvenir shop than a working pawn shop these days (although they have pawn brokers on hand if you really want to buy or sell something - it just isn’t generally the people you see on the show). However, it was a working pawn shop for decades before the show and a very successful one at that.

I have been there. It is in a fairly seedy part of Las Vegas about 1 1/2 miles from downtown. The cab driver that took me there freely admitted that he knew the whole family quite well simply because he was a drug addict and criminal for many years and often needed to pawn or sell stuff at 3 am to get his next fix. He said he hated all of them because they were assholes to him but consider your source.

People often say that the show is fake based on observations like you just made. My family owned a pawn shop in rural Louisiana for years. You typically get junk just worth a few dollars in a location like that but really valuable and rare things also walk through the door with surprising regularity. We got everything from very rare firearms to prehistoric artifacts, horrendously expensive gold items, rare coin collections and everything else you can imagine. My father kept a lot of the really rare stuff for himself because the people often didn’t know what it was worth and sold things pennies on the dollar or less (this was pre-web and before cable shows about pawn shops).

The whole show is legit as much as a TV show like that can be. The shop was very gritty and real until it got too famous to be what it once was anymore. They pick and choose what items to show and schedule the bartering plus the experts because that is what you have to do to make a show like that but they are all real too.

What I’m curious about is why would they melt them down?

Whether or not the coins were actually as valuable as the owner estimated (probably not), but I would assume that their value as collectors items would have been higher than pure metal value?

I’m sure the value the pawn shop purchased the coins for was less than the metal value, but if you’re trying to maximise profits, I would have thought the difference between the metal value and the ‘collectors’ value would have been worth the effort to sell them intact.

Also, does anyone know what happens with respect to who has to repay who? If the actual coins are now gone, does the Pawn Shop have to give the owner the ‘value’ they paid for them? and try to recoup that from the thief? Or is there some protection in the law for the Pawn shop that the owner is out of luck?

Pawn shops are licensed fencing operations. If they were closed, the number of thefts in many areas would likely go down as it would be even more difficult for thieves to sell their loot. Or they (the thieves) would have to satisfy themselves with far less than they often receive from selling their stolen goods to them.

Nevada’s pawn shops (no single store, the entire collection of them) are among the worst as they assist the casino industry in pilfering the goods of the local citizenry. Florida’s may be the worst as according to Florida law,** if you locate your stolen goods in a pawn shop, you may in some instance have to pay the pawn shop a percentage of what they paid the thieves who pawned to reclaim them.**

That’s right…you may have to pay a pawn shop in Florida to recover your own stolen merchandise. Nice,eh? Fortunately, a provision allowing them to sell your item if you failed to do this even after it had been identified as being stolen did not pass the Florida legislature.

Even Florida has its moral limits, I suppose.


Reading the legal documents cited in the story, which described the coins in good detail, I(my company which deals in coins of this type day and day out), would have paid about $16000.-17000. for those coins. We would have sold them back at retail for perhaps around $20,000.

They were in no way worth $40K at the time.

The pawn shop was pretty cheap, but that’s what pawn shops are, as opposed to coin shops.

They didn’t IMHO. They just said they did. Otherwise, the true owner could have recovered them by paying what was paiud for them.

I don’t understand why they were melted. Almost all gold coins have some value greater than the bullion value, and even the bullion coins have the same value without melting. Why melt them?

Utter rubbish opinion. While pawn brokers pay far less than local coin dealers for coins, closing them wouldf not reduce thefts one whit.

Those laws about reclaiming stolen goods while repaying the buyer are operative in all states.

In Ohio, if my coin shop bought your stolen item for $100. , you can get it back by reimbursing us $100. If we still have it. Months after the theft, we quite often don’t.

How much time and money does it take to get them all properly graded? It may be standard procedure to go for the quick and easy profit instead of waiting and hoping to make more trying to sell them to collectors.

And I like how some are acting like they think Rick is still working the counter. For one thing it’s open 24 hours.

This makes me so glad I have renter’s insurance. Anything of mine gets stolen, I just call Allstate.

Better check how they reimburse you for coins. You might get a shock.

It was first seen on an episode of Dave Atell’s Insomniac. He went to the store in the middle of the night when they only had a walk up window. Rick wanted to try and do a reality show like Taxicab Confessions. Real stories of the characters that found themselves pawning their wedding ring at 3am. Once producers got ahold of it they decided to go in a lighter direction. No one who has ever had the need to use a pawn shop thinks they are like how it’s shown on TV. IIRC one of the reasons why those in charge of getting the show up and running liked that particular store is because their items were a cut above what you would find in just about any other pawn shop.

Coin dealers almost always require provenance or some proof of ownership before the purchase coins. And the majority probably wouldn’t risk buying coins from obvious junkies using fake IDs as they could be sued and lose their business over this.

Pawn shop owners have few such qualms and DAILY purchase items which they know or should strongly suspect, are stolen. in fact, I advise people who have had their homes broken into to go to the nearest pawn shop and travel outward within a day or two of the robbery as this will often net them their stolen items.

Here’s Indiana’s pawn laws:

No such law.

Here’s Nevada’s:

Nothing there,either.

I already posted Florida’s and it would take too long to research the other 47 states.
Suffice it to say that pawn brokers routinely buy from criminals and then resell stolen property. Whether most do this knowingly is a matter for debate; that they routinely do so really is not.

I remember Corey (Big Hoss) saying if they bought something that turned out stolen and it was identified by the police they just loose the item and whatever they paid for it too.

That is absolutely true in most if not all states. Pawn shops are one of the places the police check first for stolen merchandise. They come around roughly once a week in most jurisdictions to check your inventory against a list of stolen goods. If they find any there, you simply lose it no other questions asked. It doesn’t matter how much you paid for it or why you thought it was legit in the first place. That is a cost of doing business. Granted, it is a shady business model that is custom tailored to the low-life’s of society but there are serious repercussions if a pawn shop owner repeately buys stolen merchandise up to and including prison time plus a financial loss of all goods involved.

Pawn shop owners are like bail bondsmen. Their clientele tends to be the absolute scum of society and they charge exorbitant rates to compensate themselves for dealing with that level of risk. Every one I have ever known can be quite nasty when necessary and they tend to be well armed at all times. My father for example is physically intimidating in general but always wore a visible sidearm when he was in the pawn shop business plus backup shotguns right under the counter.

Again, untrue. Both coin dealers and pawn shops operate similarly.

Payday loan places are much worse.

Publicity. The show’s getting old. They had to gig it.

How long do they have to hold them to give the person (who pawned them) a chance to get repay the loan and get them back?

Depends on the terms. In my area, it’s usually 30 day to the first interest payment and then 30 days to default, so they can be sold after 60 days if no money is forthcoming.

However in this case the coins weren’t pawned, they were sold. So they original owner didn’t *want *to but them back.

The original thief, I think you mean…