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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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Rob March 23 2014 at 7:53 AM

"Harrison also said he hopes the reality series is changing the reputation of pawn stars for the better."

Nope. Most pawn shops still will try to rip you off if your not a savvy seller. If you can't get a 65/35 deal at best, walk away.

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mdubrier March 23 2014 at 12:45 PM

love the Old Man, would love to meet him someday.

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Jay Herrod March 23 2014 at 8:30 AM

I love that show and one thing I have learned from watching it is that apparently you're likely to get half or less of what something is worth if you go to pawn something at a pawn shop but on the other hand you can deal with them to get a price lower than what they are actually asking for something something. Well, they do have to make a profit like any other business.

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mjoutfit March 23 2014 at 12:44 PM

Speaking of spotting frauds, how do you spot the fraud of 'reality TV'. 90 some percent BS, completely staged.

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aluca94877 March 23 2014 at 12:29 PM

Been here in Las Vegas 56 years and I can remember pawning items to pay my rent while working 3 jobs. One 8 hr cooking at the Trop and 4 hrs each at service station. (when service stations attendants check on oil and air in tires.) Ciao

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1 reply
area51gl aluca94877 March 23 2014 at 12:53 PM

Lived there 20 years and I can remember being able to win, before they started rigging machines. Every building there was built with money cheated from players.

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rmikey1such March 23 2014 at 12:28 PM

What gets me about this show is if you bring in something original and unadulterated, Rick cuts the offer saying he has to spend money to make it saleable. If you bring in something all fixed up, Rick cuts the offer saying buyers want it in originall shape. What an Ass.

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xpphil12 March 23 2014 at 8:42 AM

All those guys are great.The old man is great and a man of few words..He proves you don't have to be an outgoing constant talker to be successful.We get a show called "Cajun Pawn" which is really good in my opinion.I like the people on Hardcore Pawn but they don't get the quality items it seems apparent,and its more comedy when they physically thrown the bums out of their store..

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pjlcinti March 23 2014 at 8:45 AM

Is that it? Am I missing something??? What a horribly short and poorly written article. Who proofs these things

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1 reply
THE GREAT ONE pjlcinti March 23 2014 at 8:54 AM

Kids in the 4th grade

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Jeff March 23 2014 at 8:48 AM

No sex, no violence, no foul language. Thank you!

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Hello Jean March 23 2014 at 8:48 AM

Great show

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