Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The 1905 Sideshow Poster That Sold For Hundreds On Pawn Stars

When it comes to entertainment memorabilia, the guys at "Pawn Stars" aren't just looking for the main event. Just like anything else, even items pertaining to sideshows can be worth buying if there's enough history behind them and the interest grows the further back in history you go. That's why, when a customer brings in an old poster advertising a sideshow in one Season 5 episode, shop owner Rick Harrison can't help but raise an eyebrow.

The poster dates back to the early 1900s, and advertises a sword swallowing show for the Great Kar-Mi and his associated troupe. Right off the bat, it catches Rick's attention due to several details. Firstly, it's actually a poster for a vaudeville act — a kind of variety show featuring multiple performers that traveled from theater to theater throughout the early 20th century. Secondly, the poster was created through lithography, meaning it is probably not a digital reproduction. Something like this could sell for hundreds. With that in mind, Rick and the seller commence negotiations.

How Rick nabbed a vaudeville poster at a villainous price

Despite the poster's authentic appearance, the seller doesn't have any actual documentation proving that it is original. Without this, Rick is taking a gamble that the poster is the real deal. On top of that, the poster has a fair bit of water damage around its upper edge. If it were real, then such an item could sell for over $1,000. However, Rick is hesitant to throw down such a large amount on something that might not be worth it.

Rick offers the seller $500 for the poster, but he is still convinced that the poster is worth more. Even without documentation, almost everything about it points to the poster being authentic. The seller asks for $1,000, but quickly marks the price down to $600 when Rick explains that he can't possibly risk that much. Rick agrees to the price, and is happy to have such an interesting poster at the "Pawn Stars" shop, the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop. Even so, he calls on a true-blue expert to come and appraise the item so that Rick can sell it for what it's really worth.

Rick's expert reveals he acquired the poster for a steal

To verify whether the poster is the real deal, and (more importantly) what it's worth, Rick calls in Chuck. Chuck is an avid show business collector with, at least at the time, the largest theatrical collection in the world. If anyone can verify the poster's authenticity, it's him.

Much to Rick's pleasure, his expert can immediately tell that the poster is real. He also manages to further enlighten Rick on the troupe's history. Once upon a time, Kar-Mi was not the headlining act. The troupe was originally named for Miss Victorina, but when Kar-Mi's performance became more popular, the troupe began pasting his name over Victorina's in existing posters. In the end, Chuck is able to properly appraise the poster. According to him, such a specimen would sell for at least $1,000, and as high as $2,000. Once again, Rick comes away from the deal as delighted as can be.