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Chumlee Talks About His Cross-Country Adventures On Pawn Stars Do America - Exclusive Interview

Since 2009, audiences have been able to tune into the History Channel to learn all about valuable artifacts from an unlikely source — a pawn shop. The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas featured on "Pawn Stars" is no ordinary hock shop. Behind the counter, you'll meet the likes of Rick Harrison, Corey Harrison, and Chumlee, who have seen their fair share of antiques over the years and can speak as authorities on the value of everything from vintage firearms to Pokémon cards

In particular, Chumlee has been the breakout star of the series. Audiences can't get enough of his candor, and they've likely enjoyed watching Chumlee go on a journey to become a true asset to the shop. As such, it's no surprise to see that Chumlee went on the road with the Harrisons for the newest History Channel series — "Pawn Stars Do America." 

Looper had the chance to sit down with Chumlee for an exclusive interview to talk about the new series, including some of the best finds and what viewers can look forward to from the reality show. 

Hitting the road with Pawn Stars Do America

Can you tell me a little bit about "Pawn Stars Do America?" What can viewers expect?

You can expect all the fun and games that you would get from regular "Pawn Stars" as far as the cast interaction goes, and the cool stuff as far as learning about an item goes. The new part of it is that we are traveling the country looking for items that normally wouldn't have the chance to come in and walk through the door at the pawn shop. That's the pretty cool part of it.

Did taking the team out of the comfort zone of the shop in Las Vegas change the energy or dynamics you have with your friends/coworkers?

We have traveled many times throughout the years to do road deals. More recently, we traveled up ... What is it? Route 56, or whatever it's called, and did some stuff. We were definitely familiar with doing it, and it didn't really affect our dynamic very much, if at all. I just turned 40, and I've known Rick [Harrison] since I was probably 12 years old. There's not much you could do to break the camaraderie between me, Rick, and Corey. We've all known each other. [Rick is Corey's father], and I've known Rick for as long as I've known Corey.

Can you tease some of the big finds that viewers can look forward to in "Pawn Stars Do America?"

As in some of the stuff that we saw on the road, in Seattle, I love clothing and the fashion, so I came across a really cool sample Chanel cardigan. A sample means that it was produced for a look and then possibly never produced again. I've never seen it before. It's a one-off thing where they've made maybe one or a handful of them. That was really cool. 

I love TCG cards, which would be trading card games along the lines of "Pokémon," "Yu-Gi-Oh," "[Magic: The Gathering]," stuff like that. We had some really cool TCG cards come in. We had a Blue-Eyes White Dragon. [card from] "Yu-Gi-Oh" come in. It was really expensive for $2,000. I don't think I bought that. We had a "Magic" card come in for a crazy amount of money, a couple hundred thousand dollars, and I definitely wasn't able to purchase that. 

We had a field gun cannon. Rick bought that for [about $100,000]. He has a collector ready to sell it. I bought a Robert Oppenheimer medal, which was really cool, something that was given to him, and the collector, he came across it randomly by purchasing some other stuff through an estate sale. That was super cool. I bought some 1949 leaf baseball cards. I spent $14,200 on four cards. It was a Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, a Babe Ruth and a Jackie Robinson, all very low grades, very rare cards.

In Austin, Texas, I bought something really cool: antique carousel horses made from wood, and they're antique, because one of the things that they would do when they first started making carousels is make the carousel horse with actual horse hair for the tail and the mane.

Some cool Pokémon finds

Did you notice any regional differences in the kind of stuff you were being brought depending on where in America you were?

When you're in the South, you have a little bit of different stuff than the rest of the area, because it's been around so much longer — so much more stuff being handed down that it sits in a basement or a farm or something like that. We see a lot of antiques, a little bit of a regional difference compared to what area we're in. For the most part, it's lots of antiques. I saw Pokémon cards at every location. I saw sports memorabilia and music memorabilia at every location. There's a lot of the same, but when it came to the antique side, a lot of different stuff suited to the part of the region we were in.

What was the coolest Pokémon card you found, even if you didn't necessarily buy it?

It was two sheets of Pokémon. One of them was the first edition Machamp uncut sheet, and the other one, I believe, was a base set theme deck sheet ... two whole sheets of Pokémon cards uncut. [It was] basically a poster-size sheet of 20-year-old Pokémon cards that had never been cut by the machine.

Las Vegas is such a big part of the original "Pawn Stars," and it's a town that probably lends itself more to pawn shops than anywhere else. Did you notice a big difference in the kind of stuff you were being brought in "Pawn Stars Do America" versus what you might get in to shop any given day?

I worked at the pawn shop for 20 years, so it all comes in all the time. One of the things about our pawn shop in particular is, yes, we are in Vegas, but we're also on a very popular television show that people have been watching for [at least 10 years]. That being said, when people come to Las Vegas on vacation, they can't wait to bring their antiques into us and show us what they have. We do get a wide variety of stuff at our pawn shop that you might not normally see at your typical Las Vegas pawn shop because we're known for buying that. 

Las Vegas is such a huge tourist destination. We are always getting super cool stuff, man. We did see a lot of cool stuff on the road, but not very much that we haven't seen before, at least maybe not in the amount that we saw it on the road, but it definitely would come in from time to time.

The cool thing of being on the road is you see some different stuff, and depending on what part of the country you're in, you know you're going to get different types of antiques.

Celebrities who have appeared on Pawn Stars

Will we be seeing any celebrity cameos in "Pawn Stars Do America"?

I don't think there's any celebrity cameos. The biggest celebrity cameo is good ol' Rick there.

Which celebrity guests had you feeling the most starstruck on "Pawn Stars?"

I never got starstruck on any of them. The coolest one that was on the show with us was Mick Foley. I do love Cactus Jack, one of my favorite wrestlers growing up. He was my favorite celebrity to film with. There were a few celebrities that came into the shop to visit that I definitely would've been starstruck on if I was there, but I wasn't there. Mick Foley, it was super cool to sit down and talk to him and see what a really intelligent person he is.

Which celebrity visiting the shop gave you the most FOMO that you weren't able to be there?

Dave Chappelle or Shaquille O'Neil. I met cool people. When we first started, Joe Montana came in with his family, and I gave them a tour around the shop. This was six months into it, but we get all kinds of celebrities come in. Logan Paul came in about six months to a year ago, which was cool because we were able to talk it up, chop it up, and talk about Pokémon cards, which we both really liked. That was a fun visit. [We've had] so many celebrities. 

Brock Lesnar came in right before he won the title the second time in the UFC. Everybody comes in. It's so crazy to see all the different players that come in. I've had starting basketball players come in when they're on vacation. It's one of those shows that a lot of people watch in their hotel, and a lot of sports athletes and celebrities do spend a lot of time in the hotel when they're on the road.

A lot of them end up catching "Pawn Stars" marathons while they're in there and becoming fans of the show.

Some memorable items

What's one find you always wanted to take home with you but never did?

It was a samurai sword. I've always wanted one over 400 or 500 years old, and I finally pulled the trigger and bought one. Working at the pawn shop, it doesn't really matter if you take it home or not, because it's always there to look at it, appreciate it. It's working inside of a curated collection of cool stuff.

Is there a moment in your "Pawn Stars" history that you'd want to change or do differently?

Yes, 100%. I wish Rick would've bought the Pokémon cards from Gary — "King Pokémon," they call him — the Charizard cards where Gary wanted a little bit more for them than they were worth at the time, and we couldn't do it. If everyone would've known what was going to happen to Pokémon cards, Rick would've bought them up right away.

Are there any items the store has taken in that you just did not agree with regarding either the price it sold for or the likelihood that it would sell?

From time to time, things happen, but for the most part, we're usually pretty careful on prices, and what we have and the way we determine buying something or not. Say something's worth $1,000. It might be worth $1,000, but how fast am I going to be able to move it? If I know something's worth $1,000, I could buy it and sell it fairly quickly within that month, then I might pay $700 for it, because I can move it quick. 

If something's worth $1,000 and I don't know if I'm going to be able to sell it, and it might take a year, I'm probably going to offer you $300 or $400 for it because I got to have that wiggle room to take $600 for it if those are the offers I keep getting.

I can't think of one off the top of my head, because we are very careful on what we pay for things and how we pay it. Being in Las Vegas, being a huge tourist destination, we have the ability to go with a wide range of stuff because we have so many people from not just the country but all over the world that want to come in and take something home from the pawn shops. With all these different people and all these wide range of collectible items, we can pretty much buy anything and know that it's going to sell. It's a matter of how fast we're going to sell.

Chumlee's other ventures

You're now in a video game. Can you talk about how that came about?

That was quite a few years ago, and it was before the big video game boom, right around the beginning of it. I'm 40 years old, so I grew up right in that beginning of the Nintendo era. I remember playing Nintendo before video games are what they are today. You really had to merge yourself into it, not like today where you turn it on, and you literally could put a headset on and talk to people. 

I wanted to bring back that nostalgia to the video games. People had been making homebrew video games for a long time. Someone had brought some homebrew video games into the shop, and it gave me this idea like, "I should make my own freaking video game."

I put in the legwork to find someone who develops and writes the code, and from there, it was super fun. We were able to fund it all through Kickstarter in [less than] 24 hours. It was nice. It was successful, people took to it well, and it included my favorite dog in the world, Pinky.

We're getting "Pawn Stars Do America." Is there any chance we might see "Pawn Stars Go International" special series at some point?

I hope so. It all depends on what we can line up internationally, but there's no talk of it right now, and there's nothing set up saying that we would do that. It would be really cool. Hopefully, if people enjoy this new series of us traveling around the country, maybe that could lead up to us going outside of the country and finding some really cool stuff because we truly would be seeing a lot of stuff that you wouldn't typically find in this country in the numbers that we would see it out there.

We'd all love to do that, but there's no talk about it right now. We just wrapped up this show on the road, and we put all of our energy into it. It's quite a lot of moving parts to be on the road for that long, set up all these venues, and have people come out. It was a lot of fun, and I hope we could do it out of the country soon. That is my dream. I was talking about it many times while we were on the road — how fun it would be to go travel around Europe or Asia and see what kind of stuff they had out there for us.

What country would you most want to visit?

We'd have to do something like Europe, where you can go to a bunch of little different countries over there, where they're all close.

We did Belgium in our last season of "Pawn Stars" or maybe the season before that ... Rick's done London. We've done a few places. I really want to go to Prague, which would be really cool for the show because it's got the medieval vibe, and all the architecture's amazing out there, and I imagine the antiques you fun and Prague would be so visually cool.

What to know before visiting the pawn shop

What's one piece of advice you would want to give fans who are thinking about visiting the store?

Come on down. If it's the summertime, don't dress warm. Wear some shorts and a shirt. The lines aren't that bad anymore. If you see a line, don't get scared. It's maybe a five or 10-minute line, but they move pretty fast now. We've got that system down, so if you're hearing on the internet that the lines are crazy, they move really fast these days. We've got it all down, so don't worry about that. Come down, check out the pawn shop, and my main piece of advice would be to make sure you don't forget Chumlee's candy shop right next door.

How's the candy shop going?

Candy shop's good. It suffered a little bit over the last couple of years like a lot of small businesses did, but now that international travel is back up and open, it's really picking back up. International travel is, at the lowest, one third of our business over there at the pawn shop. We're really big in other countries, especially South America, and get a lot of people from Paris coming into the candy shop. Now that the borders are back open and people are starting to travel again, we're starting to get a lot more people in there. 

People love the candy shop. Now that I'm off the road, I will be back in the candy shop two or three days a week, doing meet and greets with everyone. I wasn't able to do that over the road because I'm so tired when I come home, and I also want to make sure that I kept everyone safe with everything that's going on right now. I didn't want to get sick and potentially pass it on to someone else. I hadn't been able to go in the candy shop for the past few months, but I'm really excited to get back out there. I'm going to be back down there this weekend.

"Pawn Stars Do America" premieres November 9 at 8:00 p.m. ET on HISTORY and is available for streaming the next day. New episodes air every Wednesday.

This interview has been edited for clarity.