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

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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.
'Pawn Stars' Rick Harrison on how to spot a fake
In this Wednesday, April 3, 2013, photo, cameraman Mark Matusiak shoots a scene between Chumlee, second from left, Corey Harrison, and customer Gene McCauliff of Las Vegas, for the reality tv series Pawn Stars, Wednesday, April 3, 2013, in Las Vegas. Pawn sales at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop bring in about $20 million a year, up from the $4 million a year it made before the show aired.Turning small business owners into stars has become a winning formula for television producers, but the businesses featured in the shows are cashing in, too. Sales explode after just a few episodes have aired, transforming nearly unknown small businesses into household names. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
In this Wednesday, April 3, 2013, photo, customers wait in a line that stretches down the block to enter the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, in Las Vegas. Pawn sales at the shop, which is featured in the television reality show Pawn Stars, bring in about $20 million a year, up from the $4 million a year it made before the show aired. Turning small business owners into stars has become a winning formula for television producers, but the businesses featured in the shows are cashing in, too. Sales explode after just a few episodes have aired, transforming nearly unknown small businesses into household names. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 16: History's Pawn Stars Chumlee and Richard Harris drive down the Las Vegas strip with the cast of PAWN SHOP LIVE! to the Riviera Hotel & Casino on April 16, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 20: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) TV personality Rick Harrison visits the SiriusXM Studios on March 20, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 30: (L-R) Corey 'Big Hoss' Harrison, Austin 'Chumlee' Russell, Richard 'The Old Man' Harrison and Rick Harrison arrive at the opening of 'Pawn Shop Live!,' a parody of History's 'Pawn Stars' television series, at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino on January 30, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bryan Steffy/WireImage)
KATIE - 5/3/13- 'Katie's Vegas Adventure: Katie gets a personal item appraised by the cast of 'Pawn Stars,' airing Friday, May 3, and distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Ronda Churchill/Disney-ABC via Getty Images) KATIE COURIC, CHUMLEE RUSSELL, COREY HARRISON, RICK HARRISON, RICHARD 'OLD MAN' HARRISON
KATIE - 5/3/13- 'Katie's Vegas Adventure: Katie gets a personal item appraised by the cast of 'Pawn Stars,' airing Friday, May 3, and distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Ronda Churchill/Disney-ABC via Getty Images) KATIE COURIC, COREY HARRISON, RICK HARRISON
In this Wednesday, April 3, 2013, photo, cameraman Joe Murgia, right, shoots a close-up of Michael Jordan memorabilia which was brought in to the Gold & Silver Pawn shop for an episode of the reality tv series Pawn Stars, in Las Vegas. Pawn sales at the shop, which is featured in the television reality show Pawn Stars, bring in about $20 million a year, up from the $4 million a year it made before the show aired. Turning small business owners into stars has become a winning formula for television producers, but the businesses featured in the shows are cashing in, too. Sales explode after just a few episodes have aired, transforming nearly unknown small businesses into household names. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
In this Wednesday, April 3, 2013, photo, visitors to the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop take a closer look at various college and professional sports championship rings on display, in Las Vegas. Pawn sales at the shop, which is featured in the television reality show Pawn Stars, bring in about $20 million a year, up from the $4 million a year it made before the show aired.Turning small business owners into stars has become a winning formula for television producers, but the businesses featured in the shows are cashing in, too. Sales explode after just a few episodes have aired, transforming nearly unknown small businesses into household names. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Customers wait in a line that stretches down the block to enter the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, Wednesday, April 3, 2013, in Las Vegas. Pawn sales at the shop, which is featured in the television reality show Pawn Stars, bring in about $20 million a year, up from the $4 million a year it made before the show aired. Turning small business owners into stars has become a winning formula for television producers, but the businesses featured in the shows are cashing in, too. Sales explode after just a few episodes have aired, transforming nearly unknown small businesses into household names. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Rick Harrison from "Pawn Stars" attends the A+E Networks 2013 Upfront on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
In this Wednesday, April 3, 2013, photo, visitors to the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop take a closer look at various college and professional sports championship rings on display, in Las Vegas. Pawn sales at the shop, which is featured in the television reality show Pawn Stars, bring in about $20 million a year, up from the $4 million a year it made before the show aired.Turning small business owners into stars has become a winning formula for television producers, but the businesses featured in the shows are cashing in, too. Sales explode after just a few episodes have aired, transforming nearly unknown small businesses into household names. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 16: The cast of PAWN SHOP LIVE! Kady Heard, Garret Grant, Chumlee, Troy Tinker, Sidney Kounkle, Gus Langley, Sean Critchfield, Anita Bean, History's Pawn Stars Richard Harris, Rob Kunkel and Derek Stonebarger arrive at the Riviera Hotel & Casino on April 16, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
These drawings ended up being worth nearly $50,000 --- each.
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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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