It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone that a show like the History Channel’s Pawn Stars has a lot going on behind the scenes. If you think that everything going on during the show isn’t staged, scripted, or set-up in some way, you don’t really know what reality TV is.
The reality is that there are so many people behind the camera to create a successful show like Pawn Stars, some facts about the series get swept under the rug. A lot of detail goes into every episode and we, as the viewers, only see what the producers want us to see. We aren’t just talking about the hours of footage that end up on the cutting room floor; we are talking about every dark and dirty secret that goes on behind the scenes.
Granted, there is no way everything remains a secret and while you may have heard some of the items on this list before, you probably hadn’t heard them all. Rick, Corey, The Old Man, and Chumlee have been dealing, trading, and wheeling for so long, that we inevitably found 15 Dark Secrets About Pawn Stars You Had No Idea About.
15. THEY HAVE LOST A LOT OF MONEY ON SOME BAD DEALS
You can’t run a pawn shop and not lose money every once in a while. Some deals are bound to turn out bad for the shop and the folks at Gold & Silver Pawn in Las Vegas are no exception. When you are watching the show and you see experts come on to offer appraisals, you get the idea they are pretty smart about procurement, but they don’t always call an expert, since they aren’t always available.
Over the course of the series, Rick and the gang have lost hundreds of thousands on bad deals over the years. When things don’t sell, they go to auction and in one such deal, Rick lost more than $100,000 in one day. They usually lose money on deals related to forgeries or stolen items (more on that later), but they wouldn’t still be in business if they couldn’t stay in the black.
14. CHUMLEE HAS GOTTEN INTO SOME SERIOUS LEGAL TROUBLE
If you’ve seen the show, you know that Chumlee is something of a character. He is a bit of a punching bag to the other main cast-members, but he does good work for the most part. He recently got into some serious trouble when his home was raided as Las Vegas Police Officers served a warrant in relation to a sexual assault case.
While searching his home, they found methamphetamine, marijuana (then illegal in Nevada), and an unlicensed firearm. He was charged with at least one misdemeanor and a felony but pled down the charges to attempted possession of a controlled substance. He was able to avoid jail time in lieu of probation and counseling.
13. PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING ON THE SHOW WAS STAGED
You think someone is just going to wander into a place like Gold & Silver and attempt to pawn/sell a historic item? Well, maybe, but if they do, they will usually be invited back when the cameras are rolling. In some cases, people have been brought on the show to recreate the entire process for the benefit of cameras, which makes the series a less-than-genuine reality show.
In a way, we get it. You aren’t going to have the cameras rolling 24/7 as that would cost way too much money for the production of the show, but it does reduce the realism when it becomes apparent that a producer went out, found a person with a cool object, and orchestrated the entire deal for the purpose of the show. That isn’t to say G&S doesn’t get some amazing pop-ins, but not as often as you might think.
12. RICK MARRIED INTO A NASTY SITUATION
If you follow the show, you probably know that Rick Harrison got married to Deanna Burditt in 2013. For all intents and purposes, the couple appears to be doing well and they couldn’t be happier. Peel back a layer or two, though, and you will find Burditt’s ex, Richard Burditt was recently convicted of forcible sexual abuse and dealing in materials harmful to a minor.
Burditt was arrested and pled guilty in 2013, but he remains free. Rick has commented on the situation, saying that he hasn’t served his time “because of all the bureaucracy” and his protective nature over Deanna makes the whole situation very distressing for everyone involved.
11. THEY KNOW IN ADVANCE WHAT’S COMING THROUGH THE DOOR
As we have previously mentioned, the producers of the show make great efforts to engineer what happens in front of the camera. Unlike most pawn shops, the producers go out of their way to locate people who might be interested in selling objects of historic and intrinsic value, i.e., of interest to the show. When the producers find something, they set everything up.
This is how they are almost always able to have an expert ready at their beck and call. If you set up a sale days or weeks in advance, it’s not too difficult to get the right people to come on by whenever you need them. While this isn’t the most surprising secret of the production, it does chip away at the “You never know WHAT is gonna come through that door” line.
10. THE SHOW’S PRODUCTION HINDERS SHOP BUSINESS
The next time you are walking about Las Vegas, take a trip on over to Gold & Silver. If you are lucky, you might get inside. There is almost always a line stretching out the door. When you have a show as popular as Pawn Stars related to a real-world location, people are going to want to check it out.
Gold & Silver’s got a lot going on inside and people want to see it. Since Vegas is already a tourist destination, a lot of people are going to be cramming themselves into the store to try and get a glimpse at the show’s stars (That’s not too likely either, which we will discuss shortly).
9. THEY WERE SUED FOR MELTING DOWN GOLD COINS
The Harrisons didn’t name their store Gold & Silver because they hoped that one day they would get their hands on some; the trade of jewelry and coins makes up the bulk of theirs and pretty much all pawn shops’ business. There are laws about what can be sold, melted down, and messed with when it comes to pawned/sold property, but the laws are different when it comes to gold coins and that caused a serious problem for Rick and the gang.
In 2014, the shop took in a small pile of gold coins valued at $12,375. Because the laws in Nevada don’t require them to wait the normal 30-90 days before they can do anything with the coins, they melted them down. Unfortunately, the proper owner found out and sued the shop for the act. Regrettably for the owner of the coins, the law was not on his side.
8. THEIR FRIENDS ARE BROUGHT ONTO THE SHOW BY PRODUCERS
You ever notice how whenever something really strange comes into the shop, they always have an expert they can call? As we mentioned, they are on hand due to the producers who engineer everything, but what you may not know is that they are all hired onto the show by those producers. Essentially, a friend of the shop is someone the production company found and brought in to help out whenever needed.
Granted, the guys have become friends with most of these people, so calling them a buddy isn’t necessarily wrong, but their appearance on the show isn’t due to a long-standing friendship. Also, they aren’t paid for their services. Everyone who comes onto the show to offer their expertise does so to help promote their own businesses. While that sounds cheap of the producers, each one of them has benefited greatly from their exposure on the show.
7. THE PAWN STARS DON’T ACTUALLY WORK IN THE SHOP ANYMORE
If you thought the guys were actually working in the shop on a daily basis like it’s presented on the show, you would be very mistaken. Chumlee, Rick, Corey, and the Old Man are all wealthy celebrities whose presence in the shop is only necessary for the purpose of filming the show, which is not done on a daily basis.
Because of their celebrity, just being in the store has become a problem for Rick and the gang. People are always walking up to them hoping to get selfies snapped or autographs signed, which, for the most part, they are happy to do, but it deters regular business as well as the filming of the show. If you want to drop by the shop and meet any of the stars, you will need to check in advance what days they may be “working” there.
6. THEY WERE SUED BY A VIETNAM VETERAN FOR ASSAULT
Daniel Callahan filed a lawsuit against Rick and the Old Man for physically assaulting him inside the shop in October 2011. Callahan, who walks with a cane, got into a dispute with the gentlemen of Gold & Silver who placed him “in a choke hold, dragged him through the store and threw him onto the sidewalk.”
Callahan sought $20,ooo in the suit alleging he was injured, his cane was damaged, and the rifle he brought to be appraised was also damaged in the incident. Corey came to the defense of his father and grandfather saying Callahan became “absolutely irate with a weapon in his hand.” You can’t blame the guys for tossing him out given his demeanor, but it makes sense that they would want to keep the whole situation quiet.
5. COREY AND CHUMLEE HAVE PERSONAL ASSISTANTS
This isn’t that far-fetched when you sit down and think about it. As we said, these guys don’t really work in the shop anymore, at least, not like a normal employee would. They have become celebrities who need to travel and make appearances as well as various other tasks the glitterati tend to do while we regular folk watch on in amazement.
With all they have going on, both Chumlee and Corey have personal assistants who do most of their grunt and gopher work. Whenever you see Chum doing something on the show, it’s probably not in his normal repertoire; he would normally just send his assistant to do it.
4. THE PAWN PLAZA IS NOT DOING WELL FINANCIALLY
As the series’ popularity continued to increase, Rick did what Rick does best: he expanded. If you have ever been to Gold & Pawn, you have likely seen Pawn Plaza, an attached mall of sorts that features everything from a donut shop, Rick’s Rollin’ Smoke, Inna Gadda di Pizza, and several other non-dining establishments. By August 2016, the smoke shop, pizza place, and donut shop have all shut their doors.
Some of the tenants have complained about the management of the property and Rick has taken a lot of heat over the tenants who have departed. Because of the loss of rental income from the shops that have left Pawn Plaza, Rick has initiated some “extreme vetting” in the hopes of ensuring his future tenants remain to make the place profitable.
3. CHUMLEE COST THE SHOP $20K ONCE BY BREAKING STUFF
Part of Chumlee’s charm revolves around his decidedly immature nature and overall inability to properly do work. He’s clumsy and tends to break things from time-to-time. Shortly before the first episode aired, Chumlee cost the shop $20,000 when he accidentally broke a bass someone had pawned to the shop for $700. By pawned, we mean that it was pawned, not sold, so the owner intended to return to retrieve his item.
After breaking the bass, Chumlee stored the pieces back in the box and left it there… hoping nobody would notice? When the owner came back to collect his item and pay back his cash, Rick had no choice but to return the full value of the item lost. Somehow Chumlee still has a job, which just goes to show that friendship with an owner and his son helps when you do something monumentally stupid.
2. OLIVIA BLACK WORKED ON THE SHOW UNTIL SOME PHOTOS SURFACED
Early in the show, Olivia Black was brought onto the night shift to work in the shop and Chumlee was immediately attracted to her. That’s not surprising, she’s an attractive woman, but that is also a bit of a problem for History. As they said on Seinfeld, “Not that there’s anything wrong with it“, but Black posed nude for a tantalizing set of shots for Suicide Girls.
When the photos came to light, History pulled the plug on her appearances on the show, which the shop and series took some flack over. What most people didn’t know was that Black wasn’t fired from her job at Gold & Silver, only from appearing on the show. It’s a family program, after all, and they couldn’t (and shouldn’t) have fired her from her job because of some photos. She didn’t do anything wrong, but History has an image to uphold.
1. THEY TRADE IN STOLEN GOODS
To be fair, that headline is a bit misleading. All pawn shops take in stolen property despite the incredible efforts they take under state and local laws and regulations to avoid doing so. As we mentioned above, they took in some stolen gold and melted it down before the owner could get a hand on it, but they have had that happen many times.
his kind of thing tends to happen behind the scenes more often than not, but in one episode, the guys bought a 2,000-year-old Tyrian Shekel (pictured), a coin most historians believe would have been traded to Judas in the infamous 30 pieces of silver. A detective arrived at the shop and informed them the coin was stolen, but they were able to keep it since the original owner had been compensated by his insurance policy.
Did we miss any dark secrets of Pawn Stars you have heard? Let us know in the comments!
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