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Why Pawn Stars Passed On These Pieces Of Netflix History

Remember Joe Exotic, the eccentric felon who was the primary subject of Tiger King, the Netflix true crime documentary series we all watched last year? He's still in the public consciousness to some degree, but we don't think about him as much as we did last spring. Which is why Austin "Chumlee" Russell passed on buying some of his old clothing on a recent episode of Pawn Stars.

Before Tiger King, Joe Exotic (government name Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage) was notorious within the wild world of private zoo operators for his outrageous personality and seemingly lax attitude toward health and safety. After Tiger King, he became one of America's most famous federal prisoners. Prior to that, however, he ran a zoo in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, and beefed with his nemesis, Florida big cat sanctuary owner Carole Baskin. Their conflict culminated in Joe Exotic allegedly plotting to have Baskin killed, and in 2019 he was convicted of 17 charges of animal abuse and two charges of attempted murder-for-hire. He's currently serving 22 years in prison and going through a divorce. Out of all of it, Joe Exotic became something of a folk antihero for his over-the-top antics and charisma, in spite of all the bad things he's done.

Joe Exotic still has plenty of fans and supporters, among them the 20,000 signatories on a Change.org petition calling for his release. And a seller on Pawn Stars was banking on those fans and supporters wanting to own a piece of Joe Exotic, coming into the shop with dollar signs in her eyes. Unfortunately for her, she overestimated how much people would be willing to pay.

Steal Joe Exotic's look

In Pawn Stars season 18, episode 11, "Rick's Big Shot," a seller named Hollie comes into Gold and Silver Pawn looking to unload some jackets and hats that used to belong to Joe Exotic, as well as and his former business partner Jeff Lowe, who also appears in Tiger King. She got them from a friend of Lowe's, has photos that prove the items' authenticity, and says one of Lowe's jackets even has a rip from a tiger claw. She wants $7,000 for them, which is almost as much as it costs to buy a tiger cub, according to Big Cat Rescue. Chumlee just doesn't see the long-term value in the merchandise, though. He tells her that the stuff is cool, but he isn't sure that Tiger King will have the kind of cultural staying power that will help these items increase in value over time. And there isn't a market for Joe Exotic memorabilia he can refer to figure out how to accurately price it. The best he can do is $3,200.

This is not enough cash for Hollie, but Chumlee can't go any higher. So it's a pass from him. He wonders if he'll be kicking himself in a year, but he probably made the right call. The window of time where someone would pay $4,200 for Joe Exotic's sequined shirt on eBay seems to have closed. And no one would ever pay that much for something of Jeff Lowe's. The only really high-value wardrobe item from Tiger King at this point would be Joe Exotic's E.M.S. bomber jacket. That would definitely sell high. 

You can watch the full Pawn Stars episode on History.com.