'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' 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."