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6 Best And 6 Worst Pawn Stars Moments

History Channel's hit reality television show Pawn Stars has been on the air for years, and it's certainly been an eventful (and often profitable) period. Shortly after the show began in 2009, it garnered massive amounts of success, quickly becoming the channel's highest-rated program in 2011. During this time, Pawn Stars was averaging around five million viewers a week. Even after all these seasons, it shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. 

Over the years, the show has had its fair share of heartfelt, humorous, and even intimate moments. However, it has also had its share of tense situations and even a few mishaps. From counterfeit products to outright theft and irate customers, the people working at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop have had no shortage of less than pleasant experiences. Here's a rundown of some of the very best and worst moments from the show's long run. 

Best: The gang fix up the old man's car

In one of the most iconic moments from the first season, Rick, Big Hoss, and Chumlee all work together to pull a fast one on the Old Man. They arrange to have his beloved 1966 Chrysler Imperial towed from the Gold & Silver's back lot to be given a full restoration. There's a twist: they do so in secret, so when the Old Man comes into the store asking where his car is, Rick tells his father that they finally sold the thing. Corey chimes in with some supporting details, saying they sold it for $1,000. After the Old Man threatens to unleash "the wrath of God," Chumlee goes even further, informing the Old Man that this fictional buyer was planning on turning the rare classic into a lowrider with hydraulics and a cheetah-skin interior. The Old Man storms off after cursing at his son and grandson.

A few weeks later, the car is finished, and Rick brings the Old Man to the back lot to reveal the gift for his 50th wedding anniversary. The Old Man loves his newly-restored car and even calls it a work of art. Watching the Old Man go from furious to ecstatic makes this one of the best moments of the show's entire run. It's a scene that reminds audiences that the Gold & Silver is run by a family, and includes them in this momentous milestone.

Worst: Shoeless Joe signature turns out to be a fake

Certain pieces of vintage sports memorabilia are extremely rare and highly collectible. This fact was certainly on Rick's mind in the sixth season episode "Say It Ain't So," when a customer came into his store with a book signed by baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson. Not only was Jackson a legendary baseball player, he was illiterate, so his signature is incredibly rare. Being wary of this rarity, Rick asks for any documentation that may support the customer's story. To his surprise, the customer produces a letter of authentication, and Rick decides to buy the book on the spot for $13,000 before the customer can change his mind and sell it somewhere else.

Afterwards, Rick brings in an authenticator to see if the signature is legitimate, since he hadn't heard of the authenticator who signed the customer's letter. Unfortunately, the expert reports that the signature is likely fake. Undaunted, Rick decides to send the book off to yet another authenticator. What he gets back is a laundry list of reasons to be confident that the signature is a fake. Upon hearing the news, Rick is roundly criticized by the Old Man, Corey, and even Chumlee for hastily spending over $10,000 on the worthless book.

Best: The parking lot obstacle course

In the season 2 episode "Hell Week," Corey and Chumlee struggle to move a heavy statue across the store. As the two huff and puff, the Old Man and Rick take notice and give them grief. When their physical abilities are called into question, Corey asserts that he could beat Chumlee in any sort of competition. By the end of the day, Corey would get to test that claim.

Rick challenges Corey and Chumlee to compete in an obstacle course with the stipulation that the loser will have to buy lunch for a week. The obstacle course consists of a tire-stepping station, a jumping jack station, and a jump rope station. Rick jokes that while he's excited to see the two compete, he hopes that neither one keels over from the exertion. The Old Man chimes in saying that watching the two complete the obstacle course would be like watching a grizzly bear trying to ice skate. In the end, Corey ends up winning, but after the duo's clumsy performance, neither managed to impress Rick or the Old Man.

The humor on display showcases everyone's personality perfectly with jokes flowing naturally from Rick and the Old Man. Not to be left out, Chumlee and Corey are able to keep up and fire back with a few jabs of their own. Watching Corey and Chumlee get competitive with each other is a rare sight that makes this episode one of the most enjoyable.

Worst: Customer reacts, "My wife is gonna kill me."

In the first season episode "Time Machines," a man brings in a flintlock pistol he had bought at a gun show. Seeing the potential for an interesting piece of history in his store, Corey calls in an expert in vintage firearms to appraise the value of the gun. The expert relays that if the gun is authentic, it could fetch a price upwards of $2,500.

However, much to the chagrin of Corey and the customer alike, the gun is not authentic and is a modern recast of an old design that is worth about $75. The customer, obviously upset, says that the person he bought the gun from told him that it had been a family heirloom for generations. In fact, that story is what made him comfortable paying $800. Outside the store, the customer says, "My wife was pissed when I bought this gun. Now she's really gonna kill me."

Being tricked into buying something fake for a grossly inflated price is a horrible situation to find oneself in. Finding out on national television isn't likely to make the situation any better.

Best: A costume contest ends in a surprise winner

In celebration of Halloween during the season four episode "Rick or Treat", the employees at the Gold & Silver decide to up the ante with their festivities and compete in a costume contest with a $100 prize for the employee with the best costume. The only problem for the participants is that none of their costumes seem to impress anyone else.

Corey does the bare minimum, putting on a novelty headband that makes it look like someone stabbed through his skull with a knife. No one can guess that Rick has dressed up as Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers films. Chumlee is dressed up as the then-teen heartthrob Justin Bieber, but he has a bit of trouble trying to correct the Old Man who mistakenly hears that Chumlee has dressed up as a beaver. All the while, the Old Man is dressed up as Rooster Cogburn from True Grit

The four then engage in a discussion of whose lackluster costume should win the prize money, but that all ends when Antwaun the security guard walks up the counter dressed as a giant baby, binky and all. This immediately nets him the $100, with the snickering approval of the Harrisons and Chumlee. While Rick may repeat the mantra, "You never know what's gonna come through those doors..." during the opening sequence of each episode, this segment proves that the saying doesn't just apply to the items being pawned or sold.

Worst: Rick gets tied down to a bad deal

The season five episode "Corey's Big Play" features a customer with a set of artifacts from an Arizona prison intending to free himself of his wares. Carrying a couple of balls and chains from Yuma Prison in an antique Wells Fargo strong box, the customer hopes to leave the store with $2,000. Upon closer inspection, the balls have the prison name embossed on them, and the chains appear to have been electrically welded, making both sets of items inauthentic recreations.

Despite having some fake prison keepsakes, the strongbox passes Rick's inspection, so he begins negotiations at $400. Eventually settling at $450, Rick secures the Wells Fargo box. To determine the box's value, Rick brings in a museum administrator to appraise the box, but when it is revealed that the box is a fake, the Old Man chides Rick, saying he suspected the box was fake the entire time. When asked why he didn't speak up and keep Rick from wasting all that money, the Old Man replied, "Now I can holler at you."

Best: A Secret Santa shows the Christmas spirit

During the season one episode "Secret Santa," Chumlee enters into the pawn shop resolutely in the holiday spirit and in a jolly mood with a Santa outfit to match. Complementing his outfit is a bushy white beard and a sack full of presents. Corey quickly tells Chumlee that the role of Santa has already been taken for the day, and the camera pans to reveal the Old Man dressed in a red suit of his own, although decidedly less jolly-looking and with a coffee stain on his beard. Chumlee comes back to work later dressed as an elf, eliciting laughs from the elder Harrisons.

At the end of the day, the cast of Pawn Stars all exchange gifts as part of a secret Santa arrangement. Everyone's gifts are small, except for Rick's present to Chumlee. When he first lays eyes on the watch Rick got him, Chumlee's eyes open wide as his mouth drops open in surprise. The gesture from Rick demonstrates how close the group is and how, even though they can joke and act aloof, they really do care for each other.

Worst: A customer's reaction alerts security

Hoping to make some money by parting with some art, a customer visits the Gold & Silver with a statue of Perseus and Pegasus made by Émile Louis Picault in the second season episode "Flight of the Chum." Being familiar with Picault's work, Rick knows that his statues are highly collectible and worth thousands of dollars, so he gives the customer's item a thorough look. Rick immediately becomes suspicious when he finds markings on the statue that do not match the period it was produced in. He then finds markings engraved on the statue showing that it was made in the United States. Since the artist is French, this confirms that the statue is a reproduction.

At the suggestion that the statue may not be entirely authentic, the customer gets angry with Rick. Agitated, the customer says, "I don't care what you say. I don't care what you tell me, but I know you're full of s***." As the tension mounts, the pawn shop's security guard, Antwaun, begins walking toward the customer in case an intervention is needed. However, he is waved off by Rick. In the end, the Old Man diffuses the situation by calmly yet firmly explaining that they are not interested in buying the statue.

Best: Tribute episode for the Old Man shows heart

After spending almost a decade on television, Richard "Old Man" Harrison passed away on June 25, 2018 at the age of 77. As a tribute to his memory, the final episode of season 15 was made into an hour-long special showcasing the best of the Old Man. In the special, Rick reminisces about his dad between clips, showing just how much the Old Man cared about his family, his business, and his passions.

The episode is nostalgic and intimate, allowing the audience to feel included in the lives of these people they have spent the last nine years watching. The highlighted clips of the Old Man show him at his best, sometimes when he was happiest, other times when he would get angry with the other employees at the Gold & Silver, but every scene showed off his no-nonsense approach to dealing with others. No matter who he was dealing with, the Old Man would never mince words and would always play fair, making him one of the most beloved cast members on the show.

Worst: Thievery nearly thwarts a sale

The seventh season episode "Shekel and Hyde" features one of the oldest items shown on the series, as a customer brings in a Shekel of Tyre. These coins were used in the Middle East during biblical times, and some even believe they may have been used to pay Judas for betraying Jesus.

Seeing the potential for a historically unique item, Rick inspects the coin. He can see by looking at it that the coin has been cleaned, thus tarnishing its value. After some discussion on the price point, Rick purchases the coin for $1,600. However, this win is short lived, as an employee informs Rick that the coin may have been stolen, meaning that the $1,600 may have been spent in vain, since the coin would then have to be returned. Even though no one at the Gold & Silver had done anything wrong, they may still have to forfeit the coin and absorb the loss.

After the police track down the coin's original owner, they discover that the owner's insurance had already compensated him for the loss of the coin. Luckily for the crew, this means the pawn shop's purchase was legal and they were able to keep the treasure.

Best: The '32 Roadster that's worth its weight in gold

It's evident that the Pawn Stars crew really love their classic cars, so when a seller named Phil visits the shop looking to sell his '32 Lincoln Roadster in the season four episode "Buy the Book," it isn't exactly hard to get Rick and the Old Man to jump out from behind the pawnshop counter. Bargaining and settling on an agreeable price is another story, however: Phil wants $100,000, a price Rick is skeptical about considering the vehicle isn't in prime condition. According to Rick, a '32 Lincoln Roadster can be sold for about $170,000 in mint condition, but Phil's car has some wear and tear that diminishes the value and keeps Rick from meeting Phil's asking price. 

At first, it seems like Phil will refuse to budge on anything lower than $100,000, but then he tells Rick he's willing to sell the car for $95,000 in gold. While legally Rick can't exchange the old car for gold, Rick can give Phil $95,000, and then he can then turn around and buy $95,000 worth of gold from the shop. Everyone ended up happy with this transaction: the Roadster found a new home, and Phil got to borrow a security guard to help him take the gold to his car. The '32 Lincoln Roadster isn't just one of Rick's most expensive purchases, it's one of the most unique ways anyone on the show has named their price. 

Worst: Chumlee faces the music after buying a fake Gibson

In the season four episode appropriately titled "Face the Music," Chumlee strikes a bargain for $1,500 with a customer over what appears to be an authentic Gibson mandolin. However, this bargain was struck before an expert could be brought in to assess the instrument, a mistake that would cost Chumlee dearly. 

Once the expert is brought in to assess the mandolin, it's not only revealed to be a fake but an obvious one at that. In the words of the expert himself, "This is fake as hell, man." So what exactly gave the imposter away? For starters, the decal was cut out with scissors, and the "G" in "Gibson" doesn't match the official branding. To make matters worse, the instrument's finish appears to be plastic, whereas a genuine Gibson would use lacquer. This long list of issues, along with a few other giveaways, makes it all the more of a gut punch for poor Chumlee when he has to tell Rick and the Old Man that he blew $1,500 on a bad knockoff.

So how exactly is Chumlee supposed to get back that money? In a somewhat fitting punishment, he's forced to play the fake mandolin outside the shop for tips to earn back the loss on his investment. Hopefully, Chumlee can play the mandolin as well as that seller played him.