Since the economic collapse of 2008, pawnshops have been doing a roaring trade. We saw people from all works of life using pawnbrokers to raise cash. With the debut and subsequent success of TV shows like Pawn Star, Hockers, Hard pawnshop, posh pawn, and other reality-style pawnshop TV shows, it became obvious that a lot of people are fascinated by pawnshops. Still, the industry is one of the most misunderstood businesses on earth. However, there have been some fascinating stories about pawnshops and pawnbrokers through history:
Helped in the discovery of the new world
The history books are full of the conquests made by the likes of Christopher Columbus. In fact, this explorer is lauded for having discoveries “the new world”, and inspiring more people to venture out and make their own discoveries. Columbus enjoyed the patronage of Queen Isabella of Spain who pawned a lot of her family jeweler to fund Columbus’ voyages.
The queen’s endorsement of Columbus encouraged other wealthy people to give money to Columbus’s quest. It made it possible for him to sail with more than just one ship, which was quite a feat for any sailor at the time.
Pawnshops may have had seedy reputations that attract greedy people; however, the origins of this industry are not rooted in greed. How can pawnbrokers be greedy with Saint Nicklaus (Santa Claus) or Santa Claus who is all about giving and rewarding niceness? Santa Claus is benevolent. The story goes that one night; he gave three poor sisters a bag of gold each so they wouldn’t turn to prostitution. This is where the three gold balls found above a lot of pawnshops and in their emblems have three gold balls. There are different versions of the story but they all point to his benevolence.
Another story about the origin of the pawnbroker’s symbol is that it had to do with the medieval Medici family who spawned a number of monarchs, popes, and bankers. The story is that one of the Medici family members slew a giant with thee bags filled with round rocks. Through the years merchants who associated the three golden ball pictures as a symbol of prosperity adopted them into their own emblems. The three balls have come to be known as the calling card of pawnbrokers. You see a sign with three golden balls hanging over the entrance of a store, you know it is a place where you can pawn valuable or cash.
Pop, Goes the Weasel!
The song Pop! Goes the Easelis known as the pawn industry “soundtrack”. The original of this song goes back to the mid-19th century. It is popular in Britain and has more than one version. The version that ties the song with Pawnbroking has the lines:
“Up& down the City Road,
In &out of the Eagle
And that is the way money goes
Pop! Goes the Weasel”
The “Eagle” mentioned is believed to be a reference for the Eagle Pub in London and the weasel might be slang for jackets. This song, therefore, could be about someone who has spent all his money at the Eagle Club and now is forced to pawn his coat. Read more for the best singing gadgets to record your song.