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The Real Reason You Don't See Many Pawn Deals On Pawn Stars

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People walk into the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, Nevada with dollar signs in their eyes. They hope their family heirlooms and valuable collectibles are worth a fortune or at least enough to fund a nice vacation. Sometimes, Rick Harrison and the rest of his gang have good news for a seller as they confirm the item in question is worth the value they wish. Other times, they have to be the bearers of bad news to reveal that the thing they cherished for so long is actually junk. It's a modern-day "Antique Roadshow" in both good and bad ways. 

Harrison has the answers to a lot of questions sellers have about their valuables, but fans may wonder if he's smart enough to answer one more inquiry. Namely, why do more sales happen on "Pawn Stars" than actual pawns? The show is called "Pawn Stars" after all, and it takes place in a pawn shop. But when Harrison asks if someone's looking to pawn or sell, they almost always respond with the latter.

Most people who'd want to pawn don't want to be seen on TV

All people should be familiar with the concept of selling. A customer comes into the pawn shop with an item. They haggle back and forth with the workers for a bit, and hopefully, they reach a fair price. And at the end of it all, they sell the item for cash. 

Pawning works a bit differently. A customer comes into the store with an item. They don't want to part with the object permanently, so instead, they pawn it. That means Harrison gives them money, and the customer then has a set period of time to pay that money back with interest. It's a worthwhile venture if you need cash right now but won't get any money for a little while longer. 

While pawning has its uses, there's a good reason you don't see it too often on the show. Harrison discusses this detail in his autobiography, "License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver" (via 80s Kids). He explains that people who need to pawn something generally don't want to be seen on the show. Anyone from any socioeconomic background could sell. But only people who are short on cash would usually want to pawn. It makes sense people wouldn't want to broadcast being in dire financial straits. They can always pawn at the shop when the cameras aren't rolling anyhow.