The History Channel’s long running series Pawn Stars is one of those rare reality television shows that appeals to almost everyone. For those looking to learn something it has lessons about history from all parts of the world. For those looking for a fun and engaging cast of characters, the show’s main stars as well as its large variety of experts are always a delight. And for those looking for the inevitable train wrecks and drama always offered by reality television well… It takes place in a pawn shop. Enough said.
Since her first appearance on Pawn Stars‘ fourth season in 2011, the rare book expert Rebecca has become a mainstay and one of the most popular experts to date. Though she is now a undeniably a History Channel celebrity, very little else is actually known about the spunky scholar, aside from the fact that she loves rare books and is extremely well versed in the study of them.
We took the time to find as much information as possible about the life and projects of this extremely passionate woman in order to better get to know the real her.
Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Pawn Stars’ Rebecca Romney.
15. She openly deletes rude comments on her Facebook
It’s no secret that Rebecca Romney is good looking. Unfortunately, there are those who only see her as such, and choose to ignore all the other facets of her personality and character. Some of these folk have taken to trolling her on her social media platforms, but Romney isn’t having any of it.
As part of her objective of keeping her Facebook page a community based platform for all to have discussions about rare books, she is very open about deleting comments from people seeking to disrupt that harmony. She’s left a disclaimer detailing the type of environment she’d like to maintain, and even had to post a couple more times since some people just won’t listen. The bottom line is that if you’re seeking to troll some history lovers, you’d better look elsewhere.
14. She did a Reddit AMA by request
Reddit and its community have been known to do some pretty impressive things when they come together. Usually, what Redditors want, Redditors get to a certain degree. On December 29th 2013, Redditor Jeb1332 requested that the “book lady” from Pawn Stars do an AMA, which stands for “ask me anything.”
On January 5th 2014, a mere seven days later, Rebecca Romney delivered and had a long chat with the denizens of the internet’s most famous online community. She thanked everyone and exclaimed what a fun time she had but she didn’t stop there. She also shared a story from another Reddit post involving a customer who had happened upon Bauman’s Rare Books. The customer had made a physics joke and the woman at the store had gotten it and they’d both laughed. Turns out the woman was Rebecca Romney!
13. She’s Related to Mitt Romney Through Marriage
They say that opposites attract. That may be true sometimes, but in Rebecca’s case the opposite is also true. She is currently married to J.P. Romney and the two couldn’t be more perfectly in sync. J.P. is a history buff in his own right and makes his living researching the topic. He is also a successful author, having written the well received young adult novel The Monster on the Road is Me.
Another claim to fame that the couple both now share is their actual relation to 2012 presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, which Rebecca has briefly spoke about in interviews. Romney was the candidate for the Republican Party. Many will fondly remember the very civil campaign Romney and his opponent both ran, versus the more “anything goes election” run that we witnessed recently.
12. She’s a Sherlockian
Long before Batman held it, another fictional sleuth held the title of World’s Greatest Detective: Sherlock Holmes. To this day, his following is so fierce that there even exists an entire sub-culture of people dedicated to studying his life and work. They are called Sherlockians.
It’s no surprise that Romney would be a fan, but she is a die-hard scholar for everything Sherlock Holmes. She even appeared on an episode of the Sherlock Holmes based podcast I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, where it’s always 1895.
Rebecca has said that from the moment she read the line “I confess that I covet your skull,” a quote directed at the detective in perhaps his most famous adventure The Hound of the Baskervilles, she knew that this was going to be a series she would love.
11. She’s made one mistake on a Pawn Stars episode
We’ve all been in situations where we’ve had to think on our feet, and we’ve all had those moments where we later realized we may have made a mistake. For Rebecca, a moment like this came in the Pawn Stars episode “Cool as Ike”, when she misidentified a printing of Crusade in Europe by Dwight D. Eisenhower as a first edition/first printing when it was not.
She made the mistake because she had been researching a separate book just prior to filming and had briefly mixed the two up. The mistake may have gone unnoticed had an eagle-eyed fan not watched the episode and promptly sent Rebecca an e-mail. Being the honorable woman that she is, Rebecca took to her blog straight away to rectify the small mistake.
10. She’s actually friends with the other people on the show
Sometimes with reality television, it can be hard to tell which relationships are scripted and which of the cast genuinely get along in real life. For Rebecca, it seems that she has been lucky enough to forge some real friendships during her time on Pawn Stars.
According to her, she and her husband often join up with Craig the gun expert as well as Mark from the Clark County Museum and his wife and they go out for dinner together and have a nerd fest. She also goes on double dates with Rick. She has stated in interviews that there have been times when Rick has made a decision about a rare book without calling her. We can only imagine what kind of dinner conversation is involved when he makes a very wrong, very costly decision.
9. She’s had to stop filming to ask people to handle books properly
The rare book trade seems like something that would attract a more elegant class of person, but a pawn shop in Vegas is a pawn shop in Vegas. Though they may be dealing with priceless artifacts and objects of tremendous beauty, the folks who come to acquire these objects often have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to keeping them intact.
All too often we’ve seen people come in with objects that may have been sold for a high price, only to have their hopes dashed because of the condition they’ve been kept in. Sometimes Rebecca even has to stop the cameras from rolling long enough to quickly educate people, lest they allow the books to deteriorate to the point of being no longer salvageable.
8. She’s published a book of her own
Since Rebecca married another history buff, and since that other history buff turned out to be an author, it only made sense for the two to collaborate on a project involving their shared love of historically significant books. To that end, they recently published a book titled Printer’s Error: Irreverent Stories From Book History. The book has done well with critics and most of them recommend it to anyone interested in history with a sense of humor.
The Romneys have not only published this book together, but have also collaborated on a number of blog and magazine entries. Fun fact that we learned from one of them: in the original printing of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, an erect member was added onto a drawing of Uncle Silas as a joke. Twain immediately asked for all copies of the book to be recalled and corrected.
7. Her history with Bauman Rare Books
After she returned from a year in Japan where she had been teaching English Rebecca needed a place to work while she finished her way through school. Her family lived in Las Vegas and so she decided to settle there and try to find something in order to be closer to them.
Though Vegas is not necessarily known for its high culture, Bauman Rare Books is a diamond in the rough. It’s a store that specializes in rare and expensive books and other print memorabilia. Though she found the place by accident (more on that later) she quickly fell in love with the study of rare books and eventually worked her way up to store manager before recently leaving to pursue other projects.
6. She lived in Japan
Rebecca Romney has loved languages and books for almost as long as she’s been alive. To that end, she pursued a degree in Classics and Linguistics in college. Ever the adventurer, she then left the United States and went to live in Japan for a year to teach English.
She had planned on pursuing a master’s degree in Japanese Literature when she returned, but could not get back into the United States in time for the beginning of that semester. She settled for a simple double major in Classical Studies with a minor in Philosophy, which for many of us sounds like too much time and homework, and too many headaches to even begin to consider.
5. She can read in 5 1/2 languages
In order to become an expert in the rare book trade, one has to be able to identify different editions of books from all over the world and from many varying time periods. That’s not even mentioning being able to identify authentic signatures by people from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds. Obviously, only speaking one or two language would be a handicap for someone trying to identify the authenticity of an old world book.
Rebecca Romney has overcome this by learning to speak and read in an impressive 5 and a half languages. She fluently speaks English, French and Japanese and can read in Ancient Greek, Latin and Old Englis (the latter is the half(. As we previously stated, she’s even spent a year in Japan teaching English.
4. She runs a newsletter for rare book enthusiasts
Since she first appeared on the fourth season of Pawn Stars in 2011, Rebecca Romney has become possibly the world’s most famous rare book expert. Whenever talk of a first edition Huckleberry Finn comes up, her name is bound to be included in the conversation.
Since then, she has dedicated her life to helping those seeking more information on rare books and other collectible print materials. To that end, she recently launched a newsletter through her own website, exclusively dealing with the topic of rare books. She only launched it six days ago at the time of this writing, so if you were unable to find such a newsletter in the past, today is your lucky day.
3. She’s 33 years old
Though she’s become one of the most popular experts on Pawn Stars since her introduction, she’s divulged surprisingly little about her personal life. Her website and blog are dedicated exclusively to rare book talk, as is her public Facebook profile. Neither platform gives any information about her birth date or her home town.
Out of respect, we won’t divulge her specific birth date here, but it is available on line for those looking to do a little sleuthing. Her public record lists her at 33 years of age, which is extremely impressive when you take into consideration the fact that she has already managed a high end book store, become a prominent expert on a popular reality television show, and published a book. Her parents must be very proud. Which actually brings us to our next tidbit…
2. She comes from a family of scientists
Though her in-laws may have a more political bent, Rebecca has stated in interviews that she comes from a birth family of scientists. On I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, her introduction says that as a brazen youth she rebelled against her family of scientists by pursuing her degree in linguistics and classics.
The rebellion can’t have been too intense though since she’s also stated elsewhere that she comes from a family of readers. Her dad was heavily into science fiction, and she used to steal her brother’s books to read them. Since she was five years younger than him, she often ended up throwing them at things instead. Little did anyone know that one day she would grow up to be one of the biggest book experts around!
1. She got into the rare book trade by accident
Sometimes even the best laid plans take an odd turn, and sometimes people wander through life just waiting for some kind of sign as to what they are supposed to do next. For Rebecca, though she knew she loved art and history and was not as interested as the rest of her family in science, she had no idea what specific career path she wanted to follow.
No idea, that is, until she found Bauman Rare Books. As it turns out, she found her career the way many others do: she needed a job and Bauman happened to be hiring. She describes the interview process as a gauntlet, and had to go through extensive training on identifying rare books after she was hired. Now she’s on TV! Not a bad ending for a job that was initially only meant to pay the bills.
Can you think of any other interesting bits of information about Pawn Stars‘ Rebecca Romney that we may have missed? Let us know in the comments!
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