Reality Pawn Shop Shows are a Hit with Viewers

Pawn shop reality TV shows continue to grow in popularity with viewers and there are good reasons for this trend.  Shows like Pawn Stars and Cajun Pawn Stars on the History channel paved the way for others like TLC’s Pawn Queens, and truTV’s Hardcore Pawn.  These shows are just plain fun with interesting characters on both sides of the pawn shop counter.  They are also educational when you see the wide variety of interesting items presented for sale in each episode because they go beyond the monetary value and explore the history and human interest of the items they feature.  Finally, they are family friendly entertainment that has interesting characters, drama, comedy and the potential to see if you just might recognize something of great value laying around in your own attic or basement.

The premise of these shows is we see all sorts of people come in to sell, and sometimes pawn, old and interesting items. Usually, the items we see on the show are presumed to be very valuable, or at least unique, though we’re sure they see their share of mundane items in the shop, as well. At times, the guys can make a deal right away. Other times, they must call in a host of experts to appraise and authenticate items. Sometimes pieces need to be restored to their original glory before they can be resold, and the audience witnesses some of these restorations first-hand. The audience sees all of these scenarios in the course of the show, and hears the guys talk about how they decide to buy and sell different items.

Why would anyone want to watch a bunch of guys buy and sell items? To start, it is fascinating to see the different pieces that come into the store. The array of items that come through the doors is extensive. People bring in everything from priceless Civil War artifacts to old bicycles to autographed posters. Just when you think the guys have seen it all, someone comes in with something they have to call an expert about just to identify it. Seeing the experts come in is also really interesting. Often, they share lots of information about the history of the item and, sometimes, when the item is a fake, they share all the different ways they were able to identify it as such. Finally, when the shop decides to buy an item, there is always a scene in which the seller and the guys haggle over the price. Each seller haggles differently, and its fun to watch if they will get even close to the price they wanted.

Tim Lanham, CEO and operator of the Mister Money, Inc. pawnbroker chain, says these shows are fun to watch, but he says they’ve added a little more “glitz and glamor” than he’s experienced during his 35 years in the business.  “We don’t see the quantity of unique artifacts that are featured in their episodes coming into our stores.  Most of those things should be in a museum and not a pawn shop.”  Mr. Lanham says the things that typically come into their stores daily are musical instruments, tools, consumer electronics, guns and jewelry.  “Our stores are filled with the common items that people use every day of their lives.  People come in who need to exchange their stuff for the money they need to get by.  Sometimes its things they don’t use anymore or extra stuff they’ve accumulated over the years that they don’t need.  A lot of times, they just want a loan and bring in their personal valuables as collateral.  Most of them come back to claim their items.”  When they come in to sell or they don’t come back to claim their items on loan, it turns into store inventory that Mister Money offers to their customers for purchase.  Tim says, “We’ve seen it all over the years, from the common to the extraordinary.  You can find items in our stores from Timex to Rolex, Target to Tiffany, posters to Picassos.  We never know what might come through the door of our stores and that keeps it fun and interesting for us and our customers.”

Mister Money, Inc. is always looking for ways to promote their business and sell the products they have in inventory at their stores located in Colorado, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.  Recently they turned to as a place to promote and sell to the public.  Tim said, “While it would be great to have our own reality TV show and certainly exciting items show up and interesting events happen every day at our businesses, what we really want to do is offer quality products and services to our local and national customers.’s ‘Pawn Shopping Adventure’ seemed like a perfect fit for us and we’re excited about using it to share what we do with our customers every day.”  Tim enjoys watching shows like Pawn Stars when he gets the chance; “These new reality pawn shop shows have shined a much better light on our business and are breaking down the old stereotypes.  People are always looking for a good deal and a way to make their money go further.  I like that we can do that on a site like and in every one of our stores.”

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