When compared with a couple pawnshops in Italy and Japan, Pawnworld in Kingman, Arizona is the new kid on the block. Even if we had opened when Kingman was established 1882 we would be the new kid on the block if compared to some of those venerable instutions.
Pawn shops have existed since ancient times, and some of them are still in operation today. So, where you can find the oldest continuously operating pawn shops in the world?
In The Beginning
– Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Italy: This is not only the oldest pawn shop in the world, but is also one of the oldest banks in continuous operation. It was established in 1472 by the Republic of Siena as a public institution to provide low-interest loans to the poor. It still operates as a bank today, and has branches all over Italy, the European Union, and throughout the world. At the banks headquarters in Siena, Italy there are displays with of the company’s historical archives and artworks from various centuries.
– Lombard Bank, Malta: This is another venerable old bank that began as a pawn shop. It was founded in 1598 by the Knights of St. John, who ruled Malta at the time. The Knights established a pawn shop called Monte di Pietà to help the local population during times of famine and war. The pawn shop evolved into a bank, and it still operates under the name Lombard Bank today. The original building in Valletta an architectural masterpiece. It is also a fascinating museum.
– Nihombashi Takashimaya, Japan: This is one of the oldest department stores in Japan. But is also the country’s oldest pawn shop. Shinshichi Iida, a wealthy merchant that established an international trade network, founded the store in 1831. He opened his small shop, and initially offered kimonos and other clothing as well as dry goods. But he also offered pawn services to his customers, who could exchange their items for cash or store credit. The shop soon grew into a large department store, and it still operates today under the name Nihombashi Takashimaya. You can visit its flagship store in Tokyo. On display are an array of historical exhibits and displays that chronicle the stores history.
The New Kid On The Block
Pawnshops have a long and fascinating history that dates back to ancient times. There is historical evidence that pawnshops were operating in China around 2000 BC. Pawnshops were a common and well respected businesa in ancient Greece and Rome cities. Then, as now, the pawnshop served as a source of credit.
And in medieval Europe, pawnshops were often run by the Catholic Church or by Jewish lenders, who faced restrictions on other forms of lending. Pawnshops became especially popular during times of war or economic crisis, when people needed money to survive or to fund their ventures.
Pawnworld stores in Kingman are still a souce of credit. But we are also a retail store where you can save money on the purcahse of handguns and rifles, tools and electronics, jewelery and coins.