Friday, June 6, 2014

Diamonds in the Rough at Pawn Shops

To conclude my posting on Diamonds in the Rough, the subject is on the ancient practice of pawning. When I started to research this topic, I was overwhelmed with how much information there is on the Internet. I personally have not dealt with pawn shops, so I will let the experts guide you. As in the previous post, I listed some websites for your information. But fir intents and purposes of offering a post on the subject matter, I thought a little history would be interesting. Let’s start with Queen Isabella. If it wasn’t for her and her husband, Ferdinand, who supported and financed Christopher Columbus’ 1492 voyage, he would not have discovered the “New World.” In depth history can be found on Wikipedia.  
 The story about the pawnbroker’s symbol is just as interesting. The three sphere
symbol is attributed to the Medici family of Florence, Italy, owing to its symbolic meaning of Lombard. This refers to the Italian province of Lombardy, where pawn shop banking originated under the name of Lombard banking. The three golden spheres were originally a symbol medieval Lombard merchants hung in front of their houses, and not the arms of the Medici family. It has been conjectured that the golden spheres were originally three flat yellow effigies of byzants, or gold coins, laid heraldically upon a sable field, but that they were converted into spheres to better attract attention.
Most European towns called the pawn shop the "Lombard." The House of Lombard was a banking community in medieval London, England. According to legend, a Medici employed by Charlemagne slew a giant using three bags of rocks. The three-ball symbol became the family crest. Since the Medici’s were so successful in the financial, banking, and money lending industries, other families also adopted the symbol. Throughout the Middle Ages, coats of arms bore three balls, orbs, plates, discs, coins and more as symbols of monetary success. Pawnbrokers (and their detractors) joke that the three balls mean "Two to one, you won't get your stuff back."

Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of pawnbrokers. The symbol has also been attributed to the story of Nicholas giving a poor man's three daughters each a bag of gold so they could get married.

Don’t you just love history? The stories told about people, places and things is in fact, what you do as you create your family museum as you assemble your family heirlooms, display your collections, and preserve your antiques. And when you need to add to your museum, there is a plethora of resources to find what you are looking for, including pawn shops.  
One of the research sites I visited talks about how to use a pawnshop. Written by Lauren Kaminsku, Vice President, EZ Pawn Corp, I think you will find it interesting, too. The website is:

Also, I read that more Americans are going to Pawn Shops to get fast cash. This article was written by Bonnie Kavoussi at Huffington Post.

And according to a new report by  Marketdata Enterprises, more Americans are turning to pawn shops to get by, hawking jewelry, electronics, tools, and other personal items for quick cash. Twenty-five million Americans used pawn shops last year, according to data from the National Pawnbrokers Association cited by WSAV, the NBC affiliate in Savannah, Georgia. There now are 11,000 pawn shops in the U.S.: 59 percent more than in 1988. 

And then there is Pawn Stars. Need I say more. Wikipedia gives a wonderful account on the history of this very popular reality TV show.

I hope you all enjoyed the Blog posts this week and I look forward to getting your comments. Next week I will post about two traditional events: School Graduations and Father’s Day.  Have a great weekend.



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