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What A Rare Key Gun Was Actually Worth On Pawn Stars

Over the years, the pawnbrokers from History's "Pawn Stars" have bought countless rifles, cannons, and samurai swords, but sellers continue to bring in unique antique weapons that excite Rick and Corey Harrison and Chumlee — and demand airtime. In Season 17, seller Paul comes into the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop with a 17th-century padlock key gun that Chum doesn't quite know what to make of.

Paul's gun looks totally different from today's firearms. Commonly (but not exclusively) made for prison guards, these guns fire out of a large key that also can be used to unlock jail cells or bank vaults. Although it's been a long time since key guns were used, they do employ some modern weapon technology. This one, in particular, has a flintlock, which uses a piece of flint to ignite the powder and fire a ball when the firearm is loaded, and it even has a safety, albeit a more primitive dog lock. Paul wants $5,000 for his rare gun, explaining that he wants to use the money to invest in his businesses. Will he get it?

This rare gun doesn't disappoint

Chumlee notes the gun's good condition — its discoloration is a patina, not rust — but tells Paul that he wants an expert to come into the shop to verify its authenticity. So Chum calls in Alex Cranmer, the CEO of International Military Antiques, who is immediately ecstatic upon seeing the key gun. Cranmer tells Chum that it is very rare to find these guns with their padlocks. He confirms Paul's estimation of the weapon's manufacture date, saying that it was likely made between 1680 and 1720, and announces that it is of German origin, as it is engraved with an eagle and an "N" to signify the Nuremberg coat of arms. It's clear that the item is authentic — and in great condition — so the men decide to meet at a gun range later to see if the thing fires, which will determine its value.

At the gun range, Rick joins Chumlee, Paul, and Alex to witness the rare key gun in action — hopefully. Alex loads the firearm up with a ball and some powder, and hands it to Chum, tempering the audience's expectations with a reminder that these types of guns usually don't work. Chum points the gun at a dinner plate propped up some yards away and pulls the trigger. The gun fires and the plate smashes. Sounds like this deal just got more expensive!

Rick and Chum buy the padlock key gun for thousands of dollars

After the antique key gun successfully fires, Alex Cranmer revisits the topic of valuation, telling Rick and Chum that with the firearm's high-quality construction, accompanying padlock, and Nuremberg coat of arms, it should sell at the top of the price range, at $10,000. Alex leaves, expressing his interest in the gun if the shop manages to buy it, and the camera cuts to Paul, who can't contain his excitement — maybe he'll get more than the $5,000 he initially came into the shop asking for. You can't blame a guy for trying. Paul starts the negotiation at $7,500 this round, and Chum blows up (only half-jokingly), yelling, "But you said 5 before we came out here!" Instead of getting upset, Rick plays to Paul's intelligence, explaining that even though his gun may be valued at $10,000, that doesn't mean he would get that much for it in an auction, especially after fees are taken out — and that's not to mention the time it could take to sell the thing.

Paul is receptive to Rick's logic and takes his initial price down to $5,500, but Rick is adamant about $5,000. In a moment of uncharacteristic enthusiasm, Chum jumps in to close the deal at $5,200 before the seller can walk away. Rick seems a little peeved at having to spend this extra $200, but the episode closes with optimism for a future sale. And sell it they did: The rare padlock key gun is now in the possession of Alex Cranmer's business, International Military Antiques, and for sale at the price of ... $9,995. Being that this is about what Rick and Chum sought to sell the gun for, we wonder how much profit they actually made from the deal.