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Full of Surprises

by | Fri, Dec 15, 2023

Pawn shops are full of surprises. Historically a pawn shop or pawnbroker is a business that loans money to people who bring in valuable items, collateral, which they leave with the pawnbroker until redeemed or sold. So, it is not surprising to find guns, coins, electronics, art work or cameras at pawnshops such as Pawn World in Kingman, Arizona.

But more often than not, pawned items can be unsual or even rare. Historically significant items, famous relics that vanished years ago, items with a celebrity association, and even military items often are pawned. And ensures that the shopper is assured a surprise or two.

These are just a fewof the surprising and interesting relics with links to WWI and WWII that have had a pawnshop connection in recent years.

– **John F. Kennedy’s Oval Office Humidor**. This wooden box was used by the former president to store his cigars. It was sold by his secretary to a collector, who later pawned it.
– **A stolen WWI gas mask**. This rare artifact belonged to the Canadian War Museum, but it went missing in 1970. It resurfaced in 2014, when a man tried to sell it at a pawn shop in Ontario for $50.
– **A Nazi Enigma machine**. This device was used by the Germans to encrypt and decrypt messages during WWII. It was considered one of the most advanced machines of its time. A woman found one in her attic and brought it to a pawn shop in Romania.
– **A gold bar from Yamashita’s treasure**. This is part of a legendary stash of gold and other valuables that was allegedly hidden by the Japanese army in the Philippines during WWII. A man claimed he inherited a gold bar from his father, who was a guerrilla fighter, and tried to pawn in 2008.
– A **WWII-era Japanese flag** signed by hundreds of American soldiers who fought in the Pacific theater.
– A **WWI-era French bayonet** that was used as a curtain rod for decades. A woman inherited it from her grandmother and sold it at a pawn shop in 2013.
– A **WWII-era German officer’s sword** that was hidden inside a walking cane.
– A **WWII-era Japanese katana** that belonged to a high-ranking officer who committed suicide after Japan’s surrender.
– A **WWII-era Nazi gold bar** that may have been part of the legendary Rommel treasure, a stash of gold and jewels that was hidden by the German army in Tunisia.
– A **WWII-era Soviet Order of Lenin medal** that was awarded to a hero of the Battle of Stalingrad.
– A **WWI-era British Victoria Cross medal** that was awarded to a soldier who saved his comrades from a German machine gun nest.
– A **section of the Amber Room panel** that was part of the famous Amber Room, a chamber decorated with amber and gold that was looted by the Nazis from Russia.
– A **WWI-era French Croix de Guerre medal** that was awarded to a soldier that in the trenches at Ypres.

You may not be looking for, or even find, a WWI or WWII releic at a Pawn World store in KIngman. You will, however, find bargains in a store that is full of surprises.

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim HInckley’s America.



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