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Pawn Stars' Chumlee Talks New Season, Answers Fan Questions, And More - Exclusive Interview

Without question, one of the most popular series on History since its debut in 2012 has been Pawn Stars, the highly entertaining and informative reality show that highlights the most interesting historical items that come through the door of Rick Harrison's Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas.

Of course, more interesting than the items of value — or not, as viewers have often discovered — are Rick's employees featured on Pawn Stars, including his son Corey (a.k.a. "Big Hoss") and Austin Lee Russell, affectionally known to everybody as "Chumlee" or simply "Chum." Sadly missed but prominently featured in the series until his passing in 2018 is Rick's father and Corey's grandfather Richard Harrison, lovingly known to viewers and everybody around the shop as "The Old Man."

Thanks to his playful exploits, charming demeanor, and penchant for mischief, Chumlee has emerged as a fan favorite on Pawn Stars, which is currently in its 18th season. Fans of Chum will be delighted to know that the pawn broker, video game, pinball, Pokémon and shoe fan, as well as lover of all things pop culture, is every bit as magnetic and affable in conversation as he is on the show. Looper discussed a wide range of topics in an exclusive interview with Chumlee as he talked series highlights past and present, discussed his personal favorite moments, answered fan questions, and revealed some of what's going on in season 18 — airing now on History.

That surreal moment when Chumlee met a music icon

I'm in Minnesota, the land of Prince and Bob Dylan. And I know that you have a personal history with Mr. Bob Dylan. One of my favorite all-time moments featuring you on the show is when you get him to sign his Self Portrait album. Would you count that as the most surreal encounter you've had on the show?

I mean, yeah, it's definitely, it has to be number one, for sure. I mean, it was Bob Dylan and what you saw is what you got there, literally, we saw him right there walking in the trailer and didn't have a microphone on him or anything, so it was pretty cool the way it all happened and how organic it really was right there, when we actually found Bob Dylan. I didn't know, obviously, [that he would agree and] would come up and do something, but the autograph signing was just on a whim. I was just like, "Hey, can I get this signed?" When he asked me, I think he said, "Anything else?" and I think I was like, "I'll just see what Rick has to say later, sign it to Chumlee." And the funny thing is he spelled Chumlee wrong, but you don't tell Bob that. [Laughs] We actually got to be in one of his music videos, which is really cool, after that. We did the "Like a Rolling Stone" video where you flip through the TV channels and you watch all the different people singing it.

Who else would be up there, as far as surreal encounters that you've had on the show?

Well, this year, we had Mick Foley on.


And you know who that is?

Yeah. Well, I previewed the upcoming episode. So that was really cool.

And he's an icon, especially from when I was growing up, he had the three wrestling characters that everyone loved, I loved him. So to have him come in and meet him in person and what kind of guy he is, it was really, really cool. It brought me back, 18 seasons into the series.

Remembering the Old Man

Part of the thing that I love about your encounter with Dylan is obviously the encounter itself, but what happened afterward, and of course, the Old Man's reaction was priceless — makes me smile thinking of it. And it seems hard to believe that it's been almost three years now since the old man passed away. So sorry for your loss, and sorry for Rick and Corey, for everybody at the shop. Do you still feel his presence there?

Oh, I mean, we wouldn't have what we have without him. I mean, right from the pawn shop to the television show. So his presence has always felt, we actually have his office decorated, still how he left it and we've got lots of pictures of him with the staff on bulletin boards hanging around and he's still very, very well there. We feel him every day there and he's going to be a part of this forever.

I think the reason I loved him so much, and I think so many fans loved him, is that he either reminds you of your dad or your grandfather or somebody else, that cranky old guy that we love so much. He just says anything he wants — he just doesn't care.

Well, yeah. And that's the beauty of it, we love the Old Man, he just said whatever you want. And it was just great to watch him work with the producers, too, because he just would just take everything exactly how you wanted to do it, and sometimes last year, "Hey, Richard, can you tell me where you got this from?" Or something like that, and if he doesn't feel like saying that, he would just go, skip where you got it from and talk about how much it cost, or whatever.

Do you have any good Old Man stories that didn't make it into the show that you can share?

I mean, my favorite one was in the show, and it's when I had him in the low rider, and I hit him on three motions because he didn't know I was going to do that. So that's like my favorite memory of all time, but honestly, just coming into work. And I'm sure many people have this memory, he treats everyone who works there like a son, and you just get this real family feeling from the Old Man that you don't really get every time you get a job. And that was probably one of the greatest things about him, is just every day knowing you're going to go in and you're going to get the same grumpy old guy, and the reason he's grumpy is because he's happy.

Chumlee is cautious about purchasing the big-ticket items

What I thought was cool about the March 22 episode — because I'm a boxing fan — was the seller who brought in the mint condition encased Nintendo Mike Tyson Punch Out!! video game. You offered him a bottom line $60,000. He declined the offer, he wanted $70,000 — that's a lot of money to part with — so I can see why you held firm. But then suddenly last week, the news came out that Tyson is flirting with a rematch with Evander Holyfield. Knowing now what you didn't know then, does that news possibly increase the value of the game and make that $70,000 purchase price seem more reasonable to you?

Well, when we're talking that kind of money, it's got to make sense to Rick, and video games, they just don't make sense to Rick that much. I do think if I followed correctly, that game actually did sell for over $70,000, I was looking online trying to follow it recently. Does Rick wish he would have bought it? Maybe he does. But it goes back to the big Charizard Pokémon collection that we had several seasons ago. And now some of those cards are selling, from that same collection that guy had, some of those cards are going for, oh, a couple hundred thousand apiece. And does Rick wish to go back in time and buy it? Sure he does. But he always says, "I can't speculate on futures and then the pawn business, I can only pay what it's worth now at this time," and that's how he looks at things. I'm a little more lenient, I kind of try to watch trends and say, "Well, this is going to go up. I can't pay too much for it, but I could pay a little more than I normally would." And I do that. Rick's not so guilty of that, though.

Sure. Well, again, you're in Vegas, but you're not gamblers. I mean, you're running a business, and running a business is a gamble, so I can understand why. But obviously when they come in with that $100,000 price tag, it's going to make your heart skip a beat, doesn't it?

Oh, yeah. Sometimes I don't know if Rick's going to buy it or not, because sometimes he'll really want something and he'll set a price in his mind, and then when that negotiation starts going on, he ends up paying a little bit more for it. A lot of times if he has a seller lined up already or knows he can get rid of something fairly quick, then he'll pay more for it, and just make that quick buck real fast.

More about those Charizard cards...

The thing with the Pokémon cards — actually that's a fan question that I had, about the Charizard cards. Boy, I mean, you just don't know. There are so many different factors that can come into play with something increasing and decreasing in value. And it's almost interesting to know whether — I don't know how recently some of them sold? You say $200,000 per card right now? 

I know some are selling for close to $200,000, and I think one of them sold in the high $200,000 range. But basically, four or five of those cards would have easily paid for the whole entire lot. And I think there's, I forget, 40 cards or something like that.

Well, I'm thinking because of the pandemic, you would almost think that, especially last year, when this thing first started locking everybody down, that people would be more conservative, and you wouldn't see those high sorts of sales coming out of it. And that's one of those unforeseen things, that when somebody comes in and say, "Hey, a half-million dollars for this," you just can't see the future.

And I'm one of those guys who sold some of my Pokémon cards too early, because I do collect Pokémon cards as well. But I thought the same thing you thought, I said, "Hey, I do this for living, we're in a recession right now, they're kind of pricey right now, so I'll sell them off and maybe try to buy him back next year once people need money," but it doesn't seem to be that way.

Right now, if you go to the store and try to buy the new Pokémon cards that came out, you can't even get them, they're sold out everywhere. It's just crazy. And same with the baseball and the basketball cards that they're releasing now, the good sets. People are just back into collecting, it's a really good hobby. And these card companies are starting to do it right, they're starting to make lower runs and make the expensive cards more rare. So people are getting back into it. And the price is going to keep going up.

Man, it's got to be a tough business that you're in, being a collector, because I personally I collect, if you can see in the back here, I got Han Solo, Star Wars stuff. I love collecting stuff, but I also take it out of the package, so boom, there goes the value right away anyway. But when it comes down to something like a Punch Out!! game, would you have liked to have added that to your personal collection?

Not at all, not at all. I would have for the right price a long time ago. But I mean, I don't want to buy vintage things that cost that much to add to my collection. I'm a pawnbroker at heart, so I'd rather buy the things right now that I believe that the youth is going to be looking for in 15 to 20 years when they're out buying stuff. So, right now, if I wanted to buy Pokémon cards, I would buy the new hot stuff right now, whichever Pokémon says that people are going crazy over, and the same with the baseball cards and the basketball cards, whichever ones that they're going crazy over.

And you have a choice to open everything up and grade it, or keep it sealed and hopefully make a profit in the future. That's more what I would do. I don't want to buy a video game for $70,000 and hope that it goes up. The video game might go for $100,000 or a million dollars one day, we never know. But the collector's market, it's just so weird to me. I'm a part of it, but it's still so crazy at times, you know how it can be.

Everybody makes a mistake from time to time

In the new March 29th episode, Rick buys some dolls for $300. It's interesting to watch this stuff, and you tell him, "No, no, no, no — that was a bad buy." They're only worth $250, and it's only a small amount of money, but just for the satisfaction of seeing Rick react — he's never happy with losing any money. So that must be fun for you anyway, when somebody else makes that purchase that kind of go south on him.

I like working with the guys, and we've been together a long time. So we've seen a lot of blunders. We all feel differently about different things. And I guess that time I was just right. And it's very, very rare, but Rick wasn't right that time. So, it did feel good. It did feel good.

You've got to enjoy those moments. What would you think is the worst purchase that Rick's made? Obviously, he didn't make the purchase of the Pokémon cards, or the Charizard cards, but what about the worst purchase that he made that really stung?

He's bought some fake items before, didn't have them checked out, thought they looked really, really good... some old documents and stuff like that. It turned out to not be real. So that's why he has everything checked out now and it goes through the wringer and has people come in looking at it, because he just wants to make sure that he's not wasting money like that. So when the dolls came along for $300, he took a gamble, but he's definitely paid $10,000 for things and turned out not to be a good buy. But it's the nature of the business. It's going to happen. Sometimes you have to make a decision that people don't have time to wait around. You either make them an offer or they take it somewhere else, and you take the chance of losing out.

Chumlee's Pawn Stars purchases good... and not so good

It's got to be tough to admit, but what would you consider your worst purchase?

Well, I've had so many. I always go back to something because it wasn't on the show. It wasn't really a bad purchase, it was a bad pawn, it was a stand-up bass guitar. And I pawned it for a bunch of money, and it ended up being a fake and not worth it, and they never came back and picked it up, and we lost out on $15,000. So that was a pretty bad one. That was before the show started, though — that was right before the show started. That was pretty bad one, but they were able to forgive me. And I've redeemed myself, but I've made plenty of boo-boos since then.

Well, I think you redeemed yourself with this great chair that the artist — I don't really know how to pronounce his name — Evgeni?


It's coming up in the April 12th episode. "A functional piece of art," as you describe it — very clever, by the way.

Yes, it is a functional piece of art. And I love art, I think it's a great chair and you don't even have to use it as a chair, you can use it as a decoration. So that's why it's really cool.

Sure. From a personal standpoint, what is the one rare item that you'd like to see walk through that door the most?

We've got a few, but I always like samurai swords that come in, I'd like to have one that's really old, early 1500s or something like that. Those are pretty much my favorite thing, just because they have so much history. And they've been around for hundreds and hundreds of years. So anytime something like that comes in, I'm just like, "Wow." And then someone like [UFC President] Dana White comes in and buys them all.

What's the closest thing you've had come so far, then, I mean, as far as a dream item?

Dream items probably for me would have been the big Nike shoe collection that came in, which Rick passed on years and years ago, and then also the Charizard card lot. They're probably my biggest dream items that came in because those are things that I actually collect. What can be bigger dream items than things you collect that you don't have? When we went to the ShoeZeum and the owner wanted a million dollars for that, and it was too much. It turns out some of those shoes in there sold for $100,000 apiece and was worth well over a million dollars, but that would have cost a lot to get rid of it and taken Rick too much time to resell them, so he passed on it.

That has to be the toughest part, again, just seeing all this cool stuff that you just want for yourself. It takes a lot of discipline, doesn't it?

Well, I try not to buy anything from the pawn shop anymore, putting stuff on hold all day, but yeah. It's really hard not to leave with something every day.

The pandemic and pawning before Pawn Stars

Thinking about the new season and pawning now with the pandemic, how has the atmosphere changed? Are you seeing fewer people come in? And I'm not talking about the restrictions, but maybe because they're thinking, "Maybe I should hold on to this for another rainy day"? Has the pandemic affected pawning at all, do you think?

I don't think it has. I'm not exactly sure on the numbers there, because I don't get behind that. I think the pawning aspect of it is still doing really, really good because people need money right now, and the thing about the pawn is, on the show you guys see people come in and sell stuff all day, but that's really not the bread and butter of a pawn shop. That's the exciting part of pawn shops, the bread and butter is the person who has to pawn something for a few weeks till they can get their paycheck and pick it back up and a lot of people will use us and pawn the same thing a few times a year or every once in a while, whenever they need some cash, and they fall just behind a little bit and that's the main use of your typical pawn shop. So I think right now, everyone is bringing stuff in all pawn shops. I know ours is doing well, but also tourism affects ours as well, because a lot of people bring stuff in when they get on the plane and come out here to see us.

Which cast member has been duped the most by fakes? And I'm sorry that you have to call somebody out, maybe it's yourself. But who's gotten duped by fakes the most over the years?

I mean, definitely me for sure, especially before Pawn Stars, I worked at the night window and I bought quite a few Rolexes. It actually came to the point where if the Rolex hasn't been pawned at least three times, or unless the customers are really good customers that we do business with, I either had to call Corey or Rick for permission at 1 or 2 in the morning or just pass on it. A few of those and you learn quick, but it's definitely me. Corey grew up doing it, so by the time I got there, he already had a lot of experience in it.

In a newer episode, Corey's younger brother and Rick's son, Jake, is introduced to the show, and Rick used you as an example for buying fake Rolexes. But he wasn't doing it to be mean, he was just doing it from a business "live and learn" standpoint.

Well, it was a "Let's learn from Chum, so you don't have to make the mistake yourself" moment.

Chumlee is thrilled over his video game character, and making Cameo videos for fans

Congratulations on starring in your own video game, Chumlee's Adventure: The Quest for Pinky.

The Quest for Pinky, and I got the hat on right here. [Points to his and Pinky's video game renderings on the hat]

What are your thoughts? I mean, you have to be thrilled to have your own game like that.

Yeah, it was fun. I don't play games as much as I used to, very rarely these days, I just still play a little, but growing up on Nintendo was really cool. And it kind of has an old Kung Fu Nintendo-kind of vibe to the game, and I loved that game growing up. I just thought it would be a cool idea to make a home brew video game because they're kind of popular. Actually, there are people who love collecting these home brew games, so partnered up with a few people and made a pretty awesome game. If you love home brew games, it's a fun one to grab. And there's actually some cool hidden stuff in there. If you can beat the game without getting hit, you'll find out.

What's the best game that you've played that you think more people should know about? Apart from yours, of course.

Well, it's going to be a sad one because I haven't been playing a lot of video games lately... More people should play, I've been playing Pokémon Go. You know the game on your phone where you go out in the real world and play it. I've been playing that for quite a few years. And I've got a pretty high level on there.

We saw that you're on Cameo, which is really cool. And I checked out your Cameo page and lots of great ratings, people are so appreciative about what you do to motivate folks with your messages. But with the requests, I would imagine, there are some bizarre requests.

I mean, I don't accept too bizarre ones. A lot of the ones, I pretty much do everything. Most people just want me to have fun and say hi to someone or happy Birthday and make them feel special. So that's fairly easy to do. They give me a little bit of information, and I read it beforehand, I try to personalize it a little bit. But the thing for me is, I always try to continue to set my prices, sometimes I'll do a dollar price like, "Hey, Cameos for a dollar," and I'll run it for a day or two. That way people will get them.

There's weird stuff, though, it's just business requests. You know what I mean? People will want me to do weird businesses request, businesses that I can't put my name behind and stuff like that, or people will be like, "Hey, can you shout-out my album and go tell people to buy it?" And honestly, I would love to shout-out your album and tell people to buy it, but without listening to the content behind it, something that I just wouldn't be comfortable doing, so I do a lot of stuff for people and shout them out and all kinds of stuff. But there's some weird lines where I wish I could do it, but without putting my full ear into your album, I would have to listen to it before I could tell other people to go buy it, right?

I can totally understand why you wouldn't want to endorse something when you have no idea what you're endorsing.

Yeah, so I try to keep Cameo fun, and I'm willing to do all kinds of stuff, sing "Happy Birthday," tell bad jokes, whatever, just keep it PC is my main thing.

Well, and it's also cool that you give it, it's such an affordable price to it, I mean, that awesome thing, man. That's awesome.

If I'm busy, I raise it up, or a lot of times if I'm just hanging out at home for a couple of days, I lower it down and give everyone a chance to get one that couldn't afford one. So it's great. I love it, it's a great way to give back.

Chum's favorite types of movies, his superhero wish, and pinball favorites

Do you watch a lot of movies? What movies have you been watching lately?

I don't watch too many movies, but I do watch some. I've just been watching a lot of the Netflix stuff right now. But I'm actually just in preparing today, probably in the next hour or so, to watch the four-hour Snyder Cut of Justice League. I'm looking forward to that. But I like a lot of movies, dialogue movies are great. I really love dialogue movies and comedies, all the [Quentin] Tarantino stuff, and even horror movies. If I get into a movie phase, it's kind of like, "Oh, I'm going to just chill out a few days and watch movies," but I try to keep myself pretty busy. So most of the time if the TV's on in its background, and it's probably old poker matches.

Funny enough, I was going to ask you if you saw the Snyder Cut, because it is awesome. And then the thing is, it's broken up into six parts and an epilogue. So if you don't watch it all today, you can get through part three and you can say, "You know what? I'll pick it up tonight or tomorrow." But I got through it in one setting. It's that terrific.

Yeah, no, I plan on it. I actually started to watch it yesterday. And I realized that I didn't have the time to commit four hours, and I want to, so I just stopped, and I was like, "I'm just going to do it tomorrow." Because after this interview, I have the four hours.

Now that's DC, of course. What about the MCU? If you could be cast and an MCU movie, which character would you pitch yourself to play the role of?

I probably would have to be Iron Man. He's the one who's making Spider-Man who he is, you know what I mean? He has all the cool toys, he can fly, bulletproof. I would just change my attitude.

Now, shifting gears a little bit to a different form of entertainment, because obviously you love all sorts of games, including pinball machines. What are your three favorite pinball machines of all time?

I don't even know. I know we had this really cool Evel Knievel one in the shop that we would play for a while. There was a Jurassic Park, when I was a kid, I used to love that one. And I'm trying to think of the name of this other one we had the pawn shop, I forget what it was, it was an old one, it was so much fun, because you really have to be good with your body english. Rick was the best at it. I wish I could remember what the third one, might have been the Evel Knievel one that I'm thinking of. But it was really fun because you actually had to have a little body english, but if you had too much, it would tilt the machine real easy. We had a lot of fun with that in the shop. We actually had to get rid of it, because it would be slowing down the production of the show. No more pinball machines in the back of the room of the shop.

It was great, and then we had Evel Knievel in the shop. And History actually did an Evel Knievel special, and we got to go down and watch his son do the jump and everything. So that was pretty cool too, down there at the Mandalay Bay, or was it Caesar's Palace? Caesar's Palace.

Chumlee answers questions from the fans

I have a bunch of fan questions, I hope you don't mind me asking. Any upcoming shoe releases that you're really looking forward to?

I haven't been buying a lot of Nikes lately — what I've been buying, actually, is Crocs. So, I just got the Justin Bieber Crocs that just came out. I really love those. I have enough Nikes, I got rid of a lot of Nikes. I had rooms full of them. And I wore them, but as I started... As some of them, they got old, I didn't want to wear them anymore, I just gave him away. Actually, I sold them at the beginning of COVID, and I just did a whole thing where I just I said, "Hey, I'm selling my shoes," people bought them. I said, "Hey, if you need a meal to eat, just send me a DM, no repost, no nothing. And just Venmo over enough money [for people] to get a meal and stuff."

So I sold a few hundred pairs of shoes like that. And it was a horrible time, but it was a good time for me to do it because I wanted to get rid of them. And I always thought to myself, I don't want to spend all the time selling these shoes for cheap because they're worn, but I was like, "Hey, here's a perfect time," so I got rid of a lot of shoes. Now I still have the Nikes I'm wearing, [and] I'm pretty much just buying Crocs right now.

What's the most expensive thing you broke in the shop?

Oh, wow. Probably just off the top of my head thinking about it would have probably been the bowling ball machine. Kind of a pinball machine, do you remember that? It was a pinball [bowling arcade game], a giant bowling machine. And you would bowl, and I threw the ball into the glass. [Rick paid $1,000 for the item.] And also, when we first started the season, I actually broke one of the glasses in the showroom. And it was a very expensive glass, they had to replace a piece of glass out there, I dropped something through it. I've done quite a bit of damage, actually, now that you're making me think about it.

Onto something lighter. Have there ever been discussions about a spinoff show featuring your candy shop? Is that something you're interested in doing?

I would do a spinoff show, but everyone says the grass is greener on the other side. But we love doing Pawn Stars, takes us about seven months to film it out of the year. I just don't know if there's enough in the candy shop, it's in the shipping container right there. What I think we should do is a spinoff of the whole pawn [area]. There's the barbecue next to me, I've got the candy shop, you know what I mean, Corey can have the pizza.

l like this question from the fans. Which celebrity would you choose to play you in a biopic?

Jonah Hill. He's funny.

What makes you want him to become you?

Well, I don't want him to become me, I just think my slapstick dumb comedy style that I take my approach on the show with, I just think he would be great at it. I mean, he's hilarious, he's a great actor. Look at all the different roles he's played, from funny to super serious. I just think he would make a great Chumlee.

Chumlee took major steps to lose weight and get into shape

You look great, man. What inspired you to get into good shape? What did you do to make it happen?

I had been up and down, back and forth through weight my whole life, and finally at this last stop, I went up a bunch of weight to 350. And I went in and tested for sleep apnea. I had to do something about it. I got the machine and it just wasn't that great, so I went to the doctor, just to get a consultation on getting a balloon, and by the time I left, he had me signed up to get all my procedures done to get a lap band. I'm sorry, not a lap band, a gastric sleeve. I mess it up. A gastric sleeve.

They actually cut my stomach out and sewed it back up into a six-inch pouch and it settles somewhere around eight or nine inches, they say. And that's been the tool I needed, because it's still a mental battle. I still have that mental battle. I always tell people I got that big because I enjoy eating food. Enjoyed the taste of it, it's comforting. So I got the surgery, it's helped me, it's been a mental battle. I stay in the gym, but I try to go not continuously in there. I try to go there three days a week, I miss weeks here and there, but I just try to stay focused and eat well and live healthy.

What is the weirdest ever interaction you've had with a customer at the pawn shop?

It would be on the night window, this lady was just, I don't know, she was just like, I thought she needed help, and then she was trying to pawn something with me, and then all of a sudden, she wasn't feeling well. And I ended up having to call the ambulance for her. So I don't know what was going on back there. But it was pretty wild, let's just say the customers before the show, even though we have some very bright customers right now, before the show, we had a lot more of a wild crowd coming in. We've always had crazy customers, it honestly can be so hard to kick out like the craziest ones. We have all types, from the ones who truly are crazy to the ones who just believe what they have is what they have, and they're unwilling to believe it's anything else. Those are always the most fun ones to deal with though.

Rick was pleased with the chair that you bought recently on the show, but what item did you buy or deal did you make that made Rick the angriest with you?

I'm trying to think back. It's been so many I can't even think off the top of my head. Sometimes it's hard because we've been doing it for so long. And there's so many thousands and thousands of items, but and I've made so many bad mistakes I tried to forget about them. Off the top of my head, I honestly can't think about the maddest Rick's been, but I will say, even when Rick gets mad at me, he's very calm. Rick's one of those people who gets mad, and then 10 minutes goes by and he's not so mad at poor Chum anymore. But I've definitely deserved him being mad at me by buying some of that fake stuff.

Profits and losses

Just a couple more fan questions. What's the most profitable item that you've purchased in the pawn shop?

The most profitable item is going to be the set of gold coins I bought, but stuff that we could talk about, like, I don't always know the profit, I don't know what we're going to sell something for when I buy it. But I would say a good buy I made a few seasons back was that Beatles record collection. And I think I paid quite a bit for it, I can't remember, it was over $10,000, I know that, maybe even close to $20,000. But I paid a lot for it, and we were able to sell it very fast, the entire collection, and make a few thousand just like that.

A lot of people don't realize that when we buy something, we have to put it on hold for 30 to 90 days. And when we buy something, put it on the show, up until recently, we would hold it until it aired on TV. So sometimes we'd be holding things for a year back there, so it was impossible to track that stuff forever. It'd be back there for a year before it even got sold, but now we're selling stuff quicker. Now you can go into the shop and there'll be something on the wall [that's] going to appear in season 22 or whatever, because we're trying to move this stuff as it comes and not sit on it.

That's interesting, you're talking about holding onto stuff for that long — that's got to put on some extra pressure when you're making those buys.

Well, it does, but at the same time what you see on TV is less than 1% of the business we're doing, so it's not like it's affecting the business. Although we'd love to be able, it does get rough sometimes, stuff doesn't have gone down in price or doesn't hold or this that or the other and that's kind of why we started selling this stuff earlier now. It's just, we're in the market of buying what it's worth now and selling it for what it's worth now, so we had to make that adjustment.

What is the largest item someone has tried to sell you in the shop?

Me personally, don't you remember that choo-choo train I bought? Other than that, we tried to buy tanks but that wasn't at the shop, that was out on a road trip, but other than cars, I would say it would have been that fake train that I — actually, not fake, it was a real train that drove around the mall and someone actually bought it. I think we made $5,000 on it, or something like that. So that was a pretty good buy, and it took up a lot of space, Rick was not happy about that buy if you want to go back to the question when you asked me "Was he happy?" No, that buy he wasn't happy, even though it made money, just because it took up so much space.

Chum loves anime and being an anime character, to boot

Going back to Pokémon, what's the most valuable Pokémon card in your collection?

I don't have some super, super valuable cards, but I have some cards worth probably like $600 or something. I just would have to send them in to get graded. I actually got rid of a lot of my Pokémon cards a while ago because I played Pokémon, all my cards were played with and I was like, "Oh, I'm getting too many cards, I can't build my decks anymore." I had to think everything out. And of course, I did that about six months before all the cards skyrocketed up in price. But I think I have probably like a $600 Charizard Rainbow, which is a rare Charizard. So that's about it. I know you guys want me to have one of those $100,000 cards, but I just can't invest my money like that. I don't have that kind of money to be spending it on a $10,000 card or something like that.

How do you feel about being in an anime, Little Witch Academia, and what other animes would you like to have a character in?

It's funny people tell me that's based off me, I don't know if it really is or not. Have you seen what they're talking about?

No, no, I haven't.

So it's not really based on me, no one ever asked me to do it or anything. Go look it up — "Little Witch anime Chumlee" — and you'll see it's definitely me, so I think it's pretty cool, it's pretty funny, actually, it's great. I wish they would have hired me to do the voice, because I would have done it for really cheap. But it's pretty funny when you look at the character, you're like, "That's definitely him."

Now this is a question from me as a fan because I'm such an action figure geek: Where's the Chumlee action figure?

Oh, we have the bobble heads, we've never gotten the action figures. But that's not a bad idea, maybe we'll have to also talk to Rick and maybe we'll do a limited action figure run. I'll have to tell him we have to do all four of us, we got to bring the Old Man for this one.

Oh, absolutely. So what kind of accessories would a Chumlee action figure have?

Well, he would definitely have shoes, right? He would definitely have to have a pair of slides in case you had to take the shoes off to walk on the street and put the slides on, so you didn't get the bottom of the soles dirty. Maybe he would have to have a nice necklace with the pawn shop logo on it. And then baseball cap, how's that? And I just figured Pinky — she would get her own action figure, though. People love this little girl, they stop me walking her, and sometimes they're more excited to see her. That's really funny.

Chumlee says the shop takes every caution amid the pandemic

Well, I hope things are getting back into the swing as far as the pandemic is concerned. It's interesting when you watch the show how you do notice that there's some social distancing, and when you had your book expert come in during the upcoming episode featuring the magic book, she didn't actually thumb through the book herself. But otherwise, everything seems like it always has.

Yeah. Did you notice that piece of glass between us?

Yes, and that too.

It's a very nice piece of glass, you can barely almost see it most the time. But I would say everything's pretty much the same. We can have people in the store, obviously the experts, they're not touching stuff and stuff like that. We're wearing gloves if we touch things, but for the most part, the filming of it, it's changed because of the distancing, the social distancing, but we're still able to do it with a very small crew. We're able to do it without people watching, so it was easy for us to set up safety guidelines to film with and we took our test every week.

And we stayed inside of the little bubble of the shop, we didn't really go around the other parts of the shop, when we weren't filming we stayed kind of away from everything and in between this stuff and just kind of did it as safe as we could, and it worked out. I don't think it feels much different. I don't know — you as a fan, what did you think?

Well, no, I mean, again, I guess you may realize, "Wow, there's nobody around," and I think again about your book person, is it Rebecca?


And I did notice when she said, "Okay, well, thumb through that for me." Okay, and you can totally get why people want to keep their distance, it's protocol. But it's just as fascinating as it's always been.

Yeah, I thought we had a lot of fun this season, despite everything that was going on. And it was a hard time for everyone. But hopefully we made some good television out of it, and everyone should be able to get a laugh out of it this next season.

In the normal course of business, do you all wear masks?

Everyone wears a mask in the pawn shop. Everyone except me or whoever is doing my part, would it be me, Rick, or me and whoever's taking care of the seller, we take our mask off only for the portion in which we film, that's why we have the glass in between us. It's a big, huge piece of glass. Everyone in the whole shop is wearing a mask, everyone on the film crew, even the seller's wearing a mask up until the exact time when we start to turn the cameras on.

I'm just wondering because part of what you do depends on what kind of read you get from people. And it must be weird if they're wearing a mask because all of a sudden you're not getting that read anymore.

Yeah, a lot of what we do is body language reading how people react to things. It goes back to when I bought that train — I offered the guy a little more than I wanted to, and we usually will start lower, but I realized by his body language that if I offered him more, he was probably going to take my first offer, so I stuck with it, and I got the train for a great price. But if he'd reacted differently with his body language, I may have offered him a little bit more, you know what I mean? Still would have been a good price, but his body language allowed me to know that he was willing to sell right at the price I offered him first.

You can catch Pawn Stars season 18 airing now on History Channel.