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The WWII Bomb Fins That Sold For Hundreds On Pawn Stars

Have you ever wondered, "What the heck is a bomb fin?" Yeah, neither have we, but if you can get your hands on one, it's worth a pretty penny, as evidenced on a recent episode of "Pawn Stars." Seller Jason came in with not one, but two such items dating back to World War II. Like many ordinary citizens, he didn't seem to know much about them.

As Jason told it (in a story littered with holes), the bomb fins first belonged to his father and later "somehow" wound up in his own backyard. Like many male sellers who've visited the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop before him, he blamed his wife for the decision to get rid of them. As for how much money he hoped to gain in return, he was open to any offer. That definitely put him at a disadvantage, with Corey in the driver's seat — provided the two had any chance of making a deal.

Corey seemed clueless, too

Starting off with a question about the weight of the bomb fins, Corey appeared to display a lack of knowledge equal to Jason's. He did know that the Allies dropped millions of tons of bombs during the war, and bomb fins helped guide bombs to their targets. On the other hand, he had to dig deep for ideas about how these items might be useful to a buyer. As a table base, perhaps?

"To be honest with you, I've never had these come in before, and I have no idea what they're worth," he said. There was only one next logical step to take. Corey called in an expert — and his father, Rick, too. Even before they arrived, Jason's hopes began to soar.

"I don't know much about what these fins are," he said. "I'd really like to hear from an expert because maybe they're worth more than what I'm expecting."

They brought in the big guns

TOPGUN graduate and former US Navy Blue Angel Pilot Matthew was more than happy to fill in the many missing details about the bomb fins. He explained to the "Pawn Stars" crew that they were conical fins used on low-drag general purpose bombs. They offered a low-tech way to improve accuracy. He said they were even being used today.

Considering all the higher-tech options available, Corey had to ask why anyone would still use bomb fins. The answer was startling, but in retrospect, not so surprising. "It's just so much cheaper," Matthew said, adding that since laser guided bombs can't be dropped through clouds, bomb fins are also sometimes the easier solution.

As he explained that the larger of the two bomb fins would be attached to a bomb that could create a 50-foot crater and bust through 11 feet of concrete, Rick joined the group. "That's a pretty big bomb," he marveled.

Rick also had some big questions before he'd be making any deals with Jason.

You know what they say: Happy wife, happy life

Rick's first concern was the legality of a private citizen owning World War II bomb fins. There has to be a law against it, right? Well, according to Matthew, it happens and it's all above board.

The next question, naturally, concerned the bomb fins' worth. Matthew explained the smaller of the two actually had the higher value, because (just as Corey guessed) it had more practical uses — as a table base, for instance. He valued it at $500 to $600.

For a seller who came into the "Pawn Stars" shop with zero ideas of his own, Jason looked disappointed. That's when he revealed his secret hope he'd be taking home around $1,200. "I figured they'd be worth a little bit more, but it is what it is," he lamented.

With his dream dashed, Jason turned to dealing with Rick and Corey, quickly settling for $400 for the pair. It was better than nothing, far better than having those bomb fins hanging around the house, and enough for a nice dinner out — with his wife.