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'Pawn Stars' Rick Harrison on how to spot a fake

Rick Harrison of 'Pawn Stars' on How to Spot a Fake

Rick Harrison of "Pawn Stars" joined Sara Murray on WSJ's Lunch Break to talk about how to spot a true original from a fake.

He explained that he got started in reality TV because he's a "publicity whore," and he thought that a show would be good for business. He pitched the idea for four years, saying that someone finally "wanted to see four fat guys in a pawn shop."

When asked about how long it takes to put a value on what might be a hidden gem, Harrison said that it could take anywhere from five seconds to 45 minutes to make sure it's real. When he's not quite sure what something is worth, that's when he'll tell the cameras to stop rolling so he can figure it out.

Harrison also said he hopes the reality series is changing the reputation of pawn stars for the better. "Most people don't realize that until the 1950s, pawn shops were the number one form of consumer credit in the United States. ... If you were short on cash, that was the only place to go. In the 1960s, Hollywood vilified pawn shops, and hopefully, because of me, they're making a resurgence."

Harrison said that even after 28 years in the business, it's still " a little shocking" when people try to pass off fake items as the real deal. He said that jewelry continues to be the best seller, along with good art, 1960s Gibson and Fender guitars. "A Picasso's always worth something."

What items shock Harrison when they're brought into his shop? "I've seen everything from shrunken heads to human skulls. Turns out [the seller] bought them at a dental school." He said the shrunken heads were fake, and the human skull was "just creepy to me."

As the show continues to bring in great ratings, Harrison wants to keep having fun with the program. Eventually, he wants to just "get a ranch and some horses, and some cows."

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octopuzzy March 23 2014 at 11:08 AM

Some of the staging on the show is getting to be too much. Like when Cory was trying to get a piece of the shop by saying he was offered another job. What a joke. If he went to work anywhere else, he would have to work. He's a :know-it all: little brat with **** for brains. They should get rid of him. I hope the old man has retired cause I don't believe he is living on the same planet anymore!

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Craig March 23 2014 at 8:09 AM

Liked the show when it started, but when it focused on the characters (Chumly, Old Man...) more than the objects brought in, I lost interest. When in Las Vegas I don't bother going there, heard more people who went and were disappointed.

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drepke March 23 2014 at 8:09 AM

Hard Core Pawn is probably truer to actual Pawnshops when they try to get the most for items and buy them for the least they can. It is a low-class antiques roadshow.

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1 reply
shadowfall6 drepke March 23 2014 at 8:31 AM

Hey, in a world where we now have a show all about Cajun rednecks hunting alligators, "Pawn Stars" is relatively classy by comparison.

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Jean March 23 2014 at 1:28 PM

I enjoy this show, however Corey is a rude brat, and treats his Dad and Grandpa disrespectfully. He needs to grow up. If we stop watchig it will be due to him.

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Alan March 23 2014 at 1:29 PM

Am addicted to the show. Very informative the way they give a history of an item. Love the interaction of the family.

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Bugsy March 23 2014 at 8:10 AM

Love the Show.

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Gary March 23 2014 at 11:17 AM

Love the show, sure most moments are scripted, that doesn't mean it can't be fun. Very funny cast, interesting things come in the door and I learn something at the same time. For those people who complain about lowball prices, first have you every taken anything to a pawn shop? You will get the very least in this venue. Also if you don't like the price don't sell, period.

So much better than garbage like the Bachelor, or Jersey housewives and that genre of reality crap.

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2 replies
ihurl Gary March 23 2014 at 11:27 AM

or watching the Yankees

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hclapp1164 Gary March 23 2014 at 11:30 AM

I agree totally. If I'm going to watch "reality" tv I'm going to watch something with a little resemblance of real life. The batchler and real housewives is just a bunch of nobodys trying to get attention. I'm not sure who started that stuff but it's definitely not "REAL". At least this is a real pawn shop. All tv is scripted.

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Ray March 23 2014 at 10:00 AM

I was in Las Vegas a few weeks ago I really didn't have the time to visit the SHOP next time I'm there I will watch the show all the time!

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bleemans March 23 2014 at 9:57 AM

The show is educating some on how a business runs. People think they're getting screwed if he doesn't pay full price, but the show explains the overhead costs. Stuff they use to teach in grade school years ago( wholesale, retail, making change, ) The ones I don't see on the show is the guys who come in with an item they think is worth $10, then when they are offered a couple hundred bucks they don't sell because they think they are getting screwed.....

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sarah March 23 2014 at 8:13 AM

I recently got a puppy and I named him CHUMLEE. He's all black with tan markings. He's a Chorkie, which is a Chihuahua and Yorkie mix. The name seemed to fit him and his personality. He's so cute.

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