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by | Tue, Feb 20, 2024

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.


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