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by | Sat, Jul 15, 2023

The avid pawn shop browser knows that surprise discoveries are part of the adventure. These surprise discoveries are often even more dramatic for the firearm enthusiast. Just consider some of the rare and historically significant guns from WWII that have turned up in recent years.

One of the most famous examples is the Walther PPK pistol that belonged to Hermann Göring, a decorated WWI ace and head of the Luftwaffe, the German air force, during WWII. This custom pistol was engraved with his initials on the gold grips. It was seized as a souvenir by an American soldier at the end of the war. According to urban legend he later sold it to a pawn shop in Texas for $400!. In 2011, after it was recognized by a WWII historian, it was auctioned off for a whopping $230,000.

Another incredible find was the M1 Garand rifle that was used by John F. Kennedy during his training as a naval officer in 1944. After he became president, he donated his rifle identified by the serial number to the NRA museum. In 1963 it was stolen. Then in 2018 a pawn shop owner in Arizona bought the rifle from a private seller for $500. After determining its historic significance and origins the FBI was contacted. It was then returned to the museum.

Guns With A Pedigree

Some of the firearms found at pawn shops have prestigious pedigrees. Others are linked to historic events.

In 2014 a man walked into a pawn shop in Las Vegas, Nevada with a Colt .45 revolver that he claimed had once belonged to a famous frontier era personality. Historians and firearm experts, and a letter, authenticated the story. The gun was once owned by none other than Wyatt Earp, the legendary lawman and gunfighter made famous by the shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. Purportedly the pawn shop owner paid $25,000 for the revolver.

Another remarkable find was made in 2012, when a woman brought in a rifle that she had inherited from her grandfather. The rifle turned out to be a rare Winchester Model 1873, one of the most iconic weapons of the American frontier. The rifle was in excellent condition and had a serial number that matched the records of the Winchester factory. The pawn shop owner offered $15,000 for the rifle, but the woman decided to keep it as a family heirloom.

A Real Surprise

But, perhaps, one of the most amazing stories dates to 2010. A man that had purchased a pair of old pistols at a yard sale for $50 hoped to turn a quick profit by selling them to a pawn shop. The pistols were original Colt Single Action Army revolvers, also known as Peacemakers, one of the most popular handguns of the late 19th century.

That alone would have ensured a tidy return on the man’s investment. But what made them truly valuable was that they were engraved with the initials “J.H.”. It was later determined that these pistols had been a gift from Wyat Earp to his good friend John Henry Holliday, known to history as Doc Holliday!

You probably won’t find a firearm as valuable or as historically significant as these examples at either Pawnworld Store in Kingman, Arizona. But you will find a knowledgable staff and one of the largest selections of new and used guns in northwest Arizona.

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