History Channel’s Pawn Stars is currently in its 15th season. Becoming the channel’s highest rated show and generating two spin-offs, Pawn Stars‘ success is undeniable. While we love to watch the hijinks of Rick, Old Man, Big Hoss and Chumlee, the real draw for viewers is the revolving door of unexpectedly fascinating items being pawned.
In a way, it’s like Antiques Roadshow, albeit more rough around the edges. Often the guys will go out of their way to track down a high-prized item (usually a classic car or a vintage piece of weaponry), but most of the time items of all value–big and small–come strolling through their doors, looking to earn their owners a pretty penny.
The people pawning usually have an interesting story to go along with what they’ve brought in, and on-screen info will tell the viewer even more fun trivia about all kinds of things: from vintage baseball cards to sunken treasure. You never know what’s going to be pawned.
The guys aren’t afraid to tell it to a seller’s face if what they’re bringing in is pure junk or a total fake (especially Rick and Old Man), and when that happens – it’s television gold. The items on this list are either too niche, too wacky, or just flat out bad.Here is our list of the 15 Worst Things That Have Ever Been Pawned on Pawn Stars.
15. 50 Year-Old Waffle Iron
Just the idea of this item itself will cause somebody to go “hmm?” Why would anybody want a countertop appliance that’s half a century old!? For decoration sure, but when the seller asks for $100, it’s clear that she feels that this old piece of machinery will help an interested buyer make a delicious breakfast. A simple search online will turn up modern, brand new waffle irons that are half that price, even less.
The thing is fully functional, so we’ll give her that. However Chumlee notices that it’ll have to be cleaned up quite a bit, and even then it could be a hard sell, and only to a specifically interested buyer. She walks way with a final deal of $50, which is still more than a new waffle maker. Waffles made from a decades-old piece of rusted machinery? Yum.
14. 19th Century Tonsillotome
If you thought the blood transfusion kit from the 1950’s was creepy, wait until you get a load of this 19th century tool for removing tonsils. Called a “tonsillotome,” this terrifying set of scrapers, scissors and slicers will leave you squirming.
While we get some interesting background on this tool’s function, the demonstration of how this tool works is nothing short of petrifying. A set of scissors grabs the tonsils, a sharpened ring slices them off, and then a curved shaving mechanism finishes the job.
After this gruesome tutorial comes the suggestion that you could show off the removed tonsils while keeping them clamped down in these nifty tools. What a treat! The seller gets $800 for one of the most fear-inducing artifacts in Pawn Stars history.
13. Jolly Chimp
You’ve probably seen these chimps (called Jolly Chimps) before, one even made a villainous appearance in Pixar’s Toy Story 3. That’s a perfect role for these terrifying simians too. In fact, part of the reason the seller is letting go of her Jolly Chimp is that it scares her grandkids. One look at it, with its blood-red gums, maniacal grimace and bulging crimson eyes, and it’s no wonder why.
She manages to walk into the shop at the right time, however, because Old Man has a soft spot for vintage toys. He never turns down an opportunity to wax nostalgic for his younger days playing with wind-up gizmos.
In a shocking turn of events, Old Man actually goes above her asking price ($100) and offers $150. She managed to pass off a nightmarish primate and make a clean profit in the process.
12. Antique Duck Press
Now this thing is just flat out strange. The first question from Chumlee is “what’s a duck press?” A natural inquiry no doubt. So what is a duck press? It’s essentially a juicer for duck carcasses. Yep, you put in a dead duck, this device mashes it down into a pulp and out comes all of the blood and guts.
The idea alone is not exactly appetizing, but the device itself is incredibly ornate and there’s an even stranger reason why: this process was meant to be performed at a restaurant table side, in front of guests! Who would want to see this right before their meal?
Chumlee offers $1,500 for the thing, and the seller actually passes. Where in the world is this man going to get more than $1,500 for what’s basically a poultry juicer from a bygone era? He should’ve taken the money and ran.
11. Exploding Dye-Pack of $10 Bills
It’s always been a strange concept to pay money for…money. Especially old money. Especially old money with a hole cut right into the middle. Especially old money with a hole cut right into the middle and filled with exploding dye. Not to mention, they’re $10’s. Huh?
Dye-packs are still used today to help prevent bank robberies or at least make it easier to identify the thief – it’s pretty hard to make a clean getaway when you’re covered in blue or pink ink. Rick asks a pretty funny question: If you robbed a bank, why would you take 10’s? Indeed.
They call in an expert to validate the legality of this purchase, and after getting the go-ahead the seller manages to talk Rick into giving him $175 for it. Rick feels that it’s a buzz-worthy curiosity that will get people into his shop. Hey, if you say so.
10. Vintage Electroshock Machine
From the season four episode “Weird Science” comes…yet another shock therapy device. I won’t begin to wonder why so many of these are scattered across the Las Vegas metropolitan area or why so many of them wind up at the pawn shop. Given the odd (and painful) nature of these machines, it’s strange that so many people own them, and so many people feel that other people are willing to buy them.
But then again, the guys feel that there’s someone out there that collects vintage electroshock therapy devices, and with several of them popping up on Pawn Stars, maybe they have a point. This one actually works, and yes – they test it on each other.
The seller makes out like a bandit with $75 in her pocket. A shocking purchase, if you ask me.
9. Sterling Silver Tiffany Walkman
Rick states right off the bat that old electronics are essentially useless, and that remains true, even if they’re unnecessarily covered with luxurious silver by famous jewelry maker Tiffany & Co. Even if they’re gifted by famous member of The Who, John Entwistle. While the pedigree on this device may be impressive, the thing plays cassettes. Good luck finding one of those in 2018.
The seller, a woman with wild nails and glasses, was once married to Entwistle, which is how she acquired this illustrious walkman. Sony collaborated with Tiffany & Co. to create these twinkling relics to mark the anniversary of what was basically the original iPod. A cool story for a storied item that went through even cooler hands, but again – cassettes!?
After some impressive haggling (gotta give it to her) she talks Rick up from $700 to $1,250. Why Rick, why?
8. 1950’s Transfusion Kit
There’s something eery about this from the get-go. The seller, a woman with a slightly macabre disposition, states that it’s for the “lazy vampire” and remarks that she “doesn’t need it any longer.” Hmm. Also strange is her oddly exact asking price of $211.
The device itself would make even those with strong constitutions queasy. It’s easily portable in a squared 0ff traveling case, and when it opens up it reveals a sprawling array of jars and tubes. Simple enough, remove the blood from one person, transfer it to a jar, move it to another jar, and move that blood into the recipient.
Old, spooky medical devices give most people the heebie jeebies and one as truly bloody as this is sure to do the trick. An even spookier exchange happens after Chumlee offers $100. The seller gives him “the stare” and scares him up to a smooth $125.
7. Novelty Can of Elephant Waste
From the appropriately titled season five episode “Zoodoo” comes one of the more ridiculous items to ever be seen on Pawn Stars; a can of elephant manure. From the second this guy opens his specialized carrying case (why is he traveling with this thing!?) the look of befuddlement is evident on Old Man and Chumlee’s faces.
The seller, in a clear attempt at pawn trolling, sets his asking price at an incredulous $10,000. Nice try, buddy. Old Man’s not having it, but Chumlee is certainly amused. The seller thinks that this is a valuable one-off that could fetch quite a bit of cash with the right buyer.
Chumlee, still interested, is told that if he buys this can of manure, it’s coming out of his own paycheck. So how much did he cough up? Twenty bucks.
6. One-Man Submarine
Rolling up into the parking lot for this one is a truly bizarre machine. It’s a one-man submarine, called a “midget” and this one’s from the 80’s. Rick informs us that a fully restored midget submarine can fetch upwards of $10,000, which is hard to believe considering the idea of submarines in general make most people uneasy, let alone ones that fit one person only.
Nevertheless he’s intrigued and granted it’s not often you’re going to see a one-man submarine at all, let alone one smack dab in the middle of the Las Vegas desert. This one, however needs, some tender love and care.
The seller gets nowhere near her asking price, but manages to walk away with a hefty $3,000. Wondering where and how they’re gonna use this one-person submarine? “There’s lakes,” the seller says.
5. Little Orphan Annie Decoder Pin
This item is objectively not so bad, as with its gold embellishments and retro charm it could be a neat trinket for the right buyer. Therein lies the tricky caveat, though. The right buyer would have to be interested in such a specific item, or as the guys remark “a specific collector of Annie memorabilia.” Maybe there’s more of those out there than it seems.
The pin itself was created sometime around the 30’s or 40’s, when Annie was running as a popular radio program. They would announce over the radio a coded message and you would use your decoder pin at home to decode said message – hopefully revealing a deep truth about life itself, or at least a fun message pertaining to Annie.
The message on this decoder pin? “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.”
4. Slash’s Drivers License
Lest you forget, World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop is open 24 hours, and in the middle of the night strolls in a man full of confidence, stating boldly “I have Slash from Guns n’ Roses’ Drivers License.” This should be interesting.
Chumlee, left to his own devices, is uneasy about negotiating from the wild asking price of $50,000. He calls in Rick, a big fan of rock n’ roll, to come down and take a look for himself. Rick is none too pleased to be coming in at such a late hour, but he’s nevertheless amused by this wacky find.
Rick asks the question on everybody’s mind: “Why would anyone pay fifty grand for Slash’s drivers license?” The seller assures him that there is a market out there for this. Rick offers $1,000, but the man walks. No deal and back to bed.
3. Ivory Tusk
Pawn shops are known for wading into some ethical ambiguity, but this ivory tusk is pushing the envelope. The seller purchased it on a trip to Taiwan and this had to have been before the ivory trade was as controversial (and quite frankly, deplorable) as it is today.
Rick can tell right away that it’s not even real ivory, it’s bone. Not only that, but he wouldn’t be too interested in buying real ivory anyway. He doesn’t want to get involved in something so political, and can you blame him?
The seller is bummed to learn that she was hoodwinked on her original purchase, but still tries to attempt a sell on aesthetic value. Rick rejects this and sends her packing, forged tusk in hand.
2. A Marilyn Manson’s figurine
Celebrity Death Match was a cult hit for MTV at the turn of the new millennium and goth rocker Marilyn Manson was a frequent appearance on the excessively violent animated satire. He even earned a Grammy nomination for penning a song on the soundtrack.
When a seller walks in with an original claymation figure that he purchased from someone involved in the production, the guys at World Famous Gold & Silver are definitely amused. To check its value, they have it appraised by one of their experts. The original seller bought it for an astonishing $8,000. Its appraisal value? $1,500.
While he’s bummed to hear this, he tries to haggle his way somewhere near his original purchase price. Big Hoss stands firm at $500, and the seller walks. Not only did he potentially over pay, he also implied that the Marilyn Manson figure was actively haunting his house.
1. Odd Fingerprints
This one takes the cake. Saddam Hussein was a corrupt and brutal dictator that led one of the most repressive regimes in modern political history. These fingerprints taken at the time of his capture (and shortly before his death) are macabre, unsettling and a little shocking.
The seller was involved in Hussein’s capture and was given one of a few certified copies of the prints as a gift. Rick remarks that “normally I don’t buy memorabilia that has something to do with really bad people” but he has an inkling that someone out there would be interested. Aside from the sentimental value this holds for the seller himself, why would somebody want this hanging on their wall?
Rick is then faced with a conundrum: “putting a price on something so creepy won’t be easy.” He doesn’t offer anywhere near the asking price of $10,000, and the man walks.
Know of any items on Pawn Starsworse than this? Let us know in the comments!