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A Treasure Trove

A Treasure Trove

A treasure trove of bizarre, macabre, intriguing and fascinating stories await discovery in the pawn shop. These bastions of quick cash and unexpected finds, are no strangers to the weird and the wacky. From the mundane to the downright bizarre, these shops see a parade of items that tell a thousand tales. Some are funny, some odd, and some macabre.

A Treasure Trove of Smiles

Let’s start with the lighter side of things. Imagine walking into your local pawn shop and seeing someone trying to pawn… dentures! Yes, you read that right. It seems one person’s desperation for cash led them to offer up their chompers. The pawnbroker lent a modest sum. It was just enough to ensure the owner would return.

Then there’s the case of the cat. It looked as though it had been preserved by a blind taxidermist. It was a three-legged bobcat named Lucky. No mere stuffed animal; this was a beloved treasure that the owners would repeatedly pawn and reclaim. Purportedly the pawn shop staff even had a bit of fun with the deceased animal. They would move him around the store to startle the owner’s cat-averse wife.

And Now For Something Completely Different

But not all pawn shop stories are for the faint of heart. And some just may be urban legends and tall tales.

As an example, there is a persistent story about a man who tried to pawn something he had stolen from that very pawn shop. In one version of the story he returned with a lawnmower that still had the shop’s price tag on it! Needless to say, this reolved the mystery of the pawn shop burglary.

There are ample stories about attempts to pawn truly macabre items. One of these tales is about a gold tooth plucked from someone’s deceased grandmother’s ashes. It’s a stark reminder that for some, sentimentality has a price, and it can be found in the most unexpected of places.

Pawn shops such as Pawn World in Kingman, Arizona are a microcosm of human life. They mirror our needs, our desires, and sometimes, our desperation. They are a place where the value of items is not just monetary but also historical and even emotional. Each item that passes through the doors of the pawn shop carries a story. Some are humorous, some peculiar, and some downright eerie.

So the next time you pass by a pawn shop, take a moment to ponder the stories hidden within its walls. Who knows what treasures—or oddities—you might find? Who knows what story is behind each item?

Pawn Shop

The pawn shop is a venerable institution rooted in history. For centuries these lending institutions have provided a valuable service to individuals and to communities. They are linked to major historical events. And they are a source for endless stories that reflect our predisposition to eccentricity as well as what we encounter during the ups and downs of life.

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America 


The Wild West

The Wild West

The wild west romanticized in countless movies and books lives on in Kingman, Arizona. Did you know that the Pawn World stores in this historic and dusty desert crossroads are a direct link to the western frontier? Just as with their historic predecessors, Pawn World provides customers with tools, firearms, and other items at discounted prices. They also provide a service to the community.

The Wild West

Did you know that a pawn shop figures prominently in a story about one of the most famous gunslingers in the Wild West: Wild Bill Hickock?. You may have heard of his exploits as a lawman, a gambler, and a showman, but did you know that he once pawned his watch to pay for a poker game and then got into a shootout in Springfield, Missouri?

According to witness accounts, in July 1865, Hickock arrived in Springfield, a bustling town on the edge of the frontier. He was looking for some gambling action and some cash, so he headed to the Lyon House Hotel. It was there that he joined a poker game with some local gamblers. Hickock was a skilled card player, but, according to legend, he was also a notorious cheat.

He would often use his keen eyesight and quick reflexes to spot the cards of his opponents and act accordingly. He also had a habit of carrying a pair of Colt Navy revolvers under his coat.

One of the players at the table was Davis Tutt, a former Confederate soldier who had a grudge against Hickock. Tutt claimed that Hickock owed him money from a previous game, and he wanted to settle the score. He also had his eye on Hickock’s gold watch, which he knew was worth a lot of money.

Tutt decided to make a bold move: he asked Hickock to put up his watch as collateral for the game. Hickock agreed, thinking that he could easily win it back. But luck was not on his side that day. Hickock lost hand after hand, and soon he was out of money. He asked Tutt to lend him some cash so he could keep playing, but Tutt refused. He said that he would only give him money if Hickock gave him his watch as well. Hickock reluctantly agreed, hoping to win it back in the next round.

But Tutt had other plans. He took the watch and left the table, saying that he was going to get some fresh air. He walked out of the hotel and across the street to the town square, where he hung the watch on a chain from his vest. He then strutted around the square, showing off his prize to everyone who passed by. He knew that Hickock would see him and get angry, and he hoped to provoke him into a fight.

Hickock soon realized what Tutt had done, and he was furious. He stormed out of the hotel and confronted Tutt in the square. He demanded that Tutt return his watch, but Tutt refused. He taunted Hickock, saying that he would only give it back if Hickock paid him $35, which was more than the watch was worth. Hickock said that he would not pay a cent more than $25, which was what he had pawned it for.

The two men argued for a while, drawing a crowd of curious spectators. They both reached for their guns, but neither one wanted to be the first to shoot. They agreed to settle their dispute with a duel: they would walk away from each other until they reached opposite sides of the square, then turn around and fire at each other.

The duel was set for 6 p.m., when the town clock would strike. Hickock and Tutt walked away from each other until they were about 75 yards apart. They both turned around and faced each other, waiting for the signal. The clock struck six times, and then there was silence.

Hickock drew his revolver and fired first, aiming for Tutt’s heart. Tutt drew his revolver and fired second, aiming for Hickock’s head. Both shots rang out almost simultaneously, but only one hit its mark. Hickock’s bullet pierced Tutt’s chest, killing him instantly. Tutt’s bullet missed Hickock by inches, grazing his earlobe. Hickock had won the duel, but at what cost?

He had killed a man over a watch that wasn’t even his. He had broken the law and endangered his reputation. He had made enemies and lost friends. He retrieved his watch from Tutt’s body and returned it to the pawnbroker.

There is a Route 66 conenction to this story, and to Pawn World. In Kingman, Pawn World is located one block off Route 66. In Springfield, a mounument on Route 66, and self guided audio tour, mark the site of the famous shootout.



Timeless. The bascic concept of the pawnshop is so ancient that these stores and the services provided are almost timeless.

A simplistic description of the primary service provided by a pawnbroker is the lending of money on portable security.  In other words, you can get a loan by giving something valuable as collateral. And if not reclaimed the collateral is sold, which provides the consumer an opportunity to purchase needed items at a discount.

The word pawn comes from the Latin word pignus or ‘pledge‘. The items being pawned to the broker are called pledges or pawns. Pawning was common in ancient Greece and Rome. Pawnshops in the classic world provided many of the services offered by modern counterparts such as Pawn World in Kingman, Arizona.


Pawnbroking has a long and fascinating history that spans across different cultures and continents. Here are some of the highlights:

– Pawnbroking is one of the oldest forms of lending money. The practice was not only common in ancient Greece and Rome, it was also a respected business in China, and India..
– In medieval Europe, pawnbroking was often associated with Jews and Christians who were forbidden by their religions to charge interest to their fellow believers. They could, however, lend money to non-believers for a profit. This made them unpopular among the masses who owed them money. As a result, pawnbrokers often faced persecution and violence.
– The symbol of three golden balls that we see outside many pawnshops today comes from the legend of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of pawnbrokers. According to the story, he secretly gave three bags of gold to a poor man who had no dowry for his three daughters. This saved them from a life of prostitution. Dependent on who is telling the story, the three balls represent the three bags of gold or the three daughters.
– The first public and charitable pawnshops were established in Italy in the 15th century by Franciscan monks. It was a means of assisting the poor, and preventing them from falling into the hands of unscrupulous lenders. These pawnshops were called montes pietatis (mounts of piety) and charged low or no interest on their loans. With support from the Catholic Church, and a few benevolent rulers, they spread across Europe.
– In England, pawnbroking became very popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries, especially among the working class who had little access to other forms of credit. They would pawn their clothes, shoes, tools, and even wedding rings to get some money for food, rent, or emergencies. Pawnshops were often located near pubs and were open late at night to cater to their customers.
– Pawnbroking was also regulated by various laws and acts that aimed to protect both the lenders and the borrowers from fraud, theft, and exploitation. For example, the Pawnbrokers Act of 1872 in England established rules for the amount of interest charged. The act also set limitations on the duration of the loan, the redemption of the pledge, and the sale of unredeemed items. It also protected pawnbrokers who unknowingly sold stolen goods.
– Today, pawnbroking is still a thriving industry that offers an alternative source of finance for millions of people around the world. Pawnshops are regulated by different laws and codes of conduct depending on the country and state they operate in. They also offer a variety of services besides lending money, such as buying and selling jewelry, electronics, musical instruments, antiques, and other items of value.


Pawn World in KIngman proudly carries on the tradition of providing a valued service to the community. But we are also a store staffed by professionals that understand the need of the modern community.