Biggest payouts in Pawn Stars history

On the History Channel's hit series Pawn Stars, the folks at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas rake in the big bucks with savvy purchases. Each episode depicts the shop's staff meeting regular folks with interesting items to sell, and outside experts who appraise these artifacts. Sometimes the stuff people bring in isn't worth very much at all, but on several occasions the Pawn Stars have struck gold. Let's take a look at some of the diamonds in the rough that have brought the biggest payouts.

Dutch East India Trading Company bell - $15,000

When a woman looking to earn cash for an upcoming move brought this 17th century ship's bell into the shop, she wasn't sure what to expect—she'd actually been considering putting it out in a yard sale. Richard "Old Man" Harrison thought the bell had to be a reproduction, because it showed no signs of corrosion from seawater. However, the expert they brought in confirmed that it was indeed a shipwreck bell from 1602, and was worth at least $15,000. The Harrisons quickly struck a deal with the bell's owner.

1715 Spanish fleet gold coin - $18,000

In 1715, a Spanish fleet carrying millions of pesos worth of gold and silver left Cuba on a trip to Spain, but was hit by a hurricane and sank to the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Florida. Lucky customer Jody inherited an exceptional gold coin from this shipwreck, and was looking to earn $2,000 for it. At first, Rick Harrison thought the coin was in too good of a condition to be genuine, but the expert confirmed that it was an Eight Escudos coin minted in Lima, Peru, and was worth a cool $18,000. Given that Jody originally only wanted $2,000 for the coin, he was quite pleased to walk away with the $11,000 that Rick ended up offering.

Edward Curtis photogravures - $20,000

One of the biggest profits the Harrisons have ever turned came 20 years ago, when a woman walked into Rick's shop with four sets of photogravures by famous American photographer Edward Curtis. Harrison didn't know much about this early photographic process, which used copper plates and gelatin paper with an etching process to create prints. But as the woman was only asking $50 for the entire collection, he took a chance on the purchase. After doing some research of his own, he found the photogravures were worth a bundle, and ended up selling them for $20,000.

Joe Greene's Olympic medals - $30,000

When Olympian Jumpin' Joe Greene came upon hard times in the late '90s, he needed money, and fast. He ended up turning to the Harrisons' shop, selling them his Olympic bronze medals from the 1992 and 1996 games. While the long jump star regrets his decision, Rick assured him that he would never sell the medals in case Greene ever wanted to buy them back—despite their $30,000 value.

Order of the White Eagle medallion - $30,000

A very lucky yard sale fanatic picked up this medal for only 75 cents. Rick knew the heavily enameled medallion might be of interest, and took a chance on it for $6,000. Expert Craig Gottlieb later told Rick that the medal dated back to the era of Tsarist occupation of Poland, and was actually worth much more than he had paid. Both the original purchaser and Harrison made excellent profits from the item, with Rick eventually selling the medal for $30,000.

Book of Mormon - $40,000

Adam got more than he bargained for when he brought in his 5th edition copy of the Book of Mormon printed in 1842. This edition was the last one printed while the religion's founder, Joseph Smith, was still alive. Expert Rebecca Romney surprised both Adam and Rick when she appraised the book at $40,000. Rick and Adam finally settled on a purchase price of $24,000, and both walked away happy with the transaction.

1554 Spanish shipwreck gold bar - $48,000

Talk about treasures in the attic! When one man was cleaning out the belongings of his grandfather after his passing, he found this gold bar hidden away in a box. Unsure of its worth, he took it into the Pawn Stars to find out more. Its melt-down value alone turned out to be $24,000, but when an expert confirmed it was from the 1554 Spanish shipwreck off Padre Island in Texas, that price doubled instantly. Rick managed to purchase the bar for $35,000, even though it's actually worth almost $50,000.

2001 Patriots Super Bowl ring - $100,000

Like Joe Greene, former Patriots defensive back Brock Williams hit a hard patch and turned to the pawn shop for fast cash. The rookie had been plagued with injuries that forced an early retirement, so he decided to pawn his 2001 Patriots Super Bowl ring for a modest $2,600. Even though he had 120 days to reclaim his ring by repaying the loan, he never came back for it, and the ring became the property of the shop. While similar rings have sold for around $30,000 on auction websites, Rick isn't ready to let go of his favorite item any time soon, which is why he's set the sale price on this beauty to a whopping $100,000.

200 pounds of silver - $110,000

Rick and the Old Man were blown away when a customer walked into their shop carrying suitcases full of silver that he'd been hoarding in a storage unit for almost a decade. The Harrisons don't typically deal in this much silver at once, and when they weighed it out, they found it totalled a whopping 3,300 ounces. They purchased the silver for $110,000, and managed to parlay that into even bigger profits. One of the unique ways they have cashed in is with custom-minted $70 silver coins featuring a portrait of the elder Harrison with the inscription, "In the Old Man We Trust."

John F. Kennedy's cigar box - $500,000

The biggest payout in Pawn Stars' 12-season run belongs to a piece of presidential history. A seller walked into the shop with the box of cigars that once sat on John F. Kennedy's desk in the Oval Office. This seller was no dummy, asking $95,000 for the box. After some haggling, Rick managed to purchase JFK's cigar box for $60,000. Harrison definitely made a good purchase on this one-of-a-kind item—a similar JFK humidor was purchased by the publisher of Cigar Aficionado in 1996 for a massive $575,000 during an auction at Sotheby's.