Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pawnography! "License To Pawn" by Rick Harrison


Quite often my sweet husband takes a nosedive into the unknown and takes up with a new adventure/obsession with something "strange." I found this serendipitous oddity a very attractive characteristic when we first met (I know...red flag??), and frankly, it's had its ups and downs on my last nerve over the years. All in all; however, there's never a dull moment with Anthony if you just sit back and brace yourself.

The show is mind-boggling. As I sit in my little apple green recliner writing reviews while DH watches "his" shows, I'm wont to look up once in a while to see what's going on.

Against my better judgement, sometimes I'm captured by the absurdities of men: Men in the greater outdoors hunting with lots of equipment (guns, bows & steel tipped arrows, whistles, bright florescent suits, misshapen, weird hats & assorted other "gear"), excavating big mountains with equipment they don't know how to maneuver & in icy weather, clambering about and becoming lost without food in crumbling old caves with their teen aged daughters, panning for gold in muddy streams and gleefully coming up with minute particles which value is less than the cost of the pan, or pulling up by hand man-eating fish in mosquito infested jungles... Recently, I've been pulled in by pawn shops on the Tube! Ugh! This wars against every bone in my WASPish, DAR body, and would disgrace my family.  It's really tantamount to watching a strip show!

Primary among such shows is Rick Harrison's straight from Las Vegas "Pawn Stars." Pawn Stars is a fabulous program! I love it, and it's become my latest dirty little secret...now out in the open! We've agreed it's the only pawn show we'll watch.

Rick is an intelligent, witty and well-informed guy who actually makes wise choices about some seriously fabulous items brought to his shop. The experts Rick brings in to evaluate some of the items are so learned they add a dimension of knowledge and intelligence that rivals experts I've seen and heard from auction houses and museums in Boston. A couple of them are experienced in museum collections and authentic documents of early America and England...so interesting to hear and watch. I have learned a good deal from Rick, his dad and these experts.

One of the most fetching (did I use that word?) and hilarious things about the show is Chumly, Rick's doofus nephew. Chum is a complete novice at pawn, and life, it seems. He has no idea what's "good" and what's "fake," what are stolen goods, what's trash and what's treasure. He is a guy whose life is chockful of accidents and mishaps; i.e., nearly everything he touches falls apart, breaks down, or costs the shop money. In fact, Chum nearly costs his grandad more money than the shop brings in on some days! In the latest episode, Chumly test flies a valuable, antique kite and snags it on a highwire electrical tower...you flew it--you can't get it down--you bought it! And, poor Chum is always shocked by these manifistations of Murphy's Law in his life.

Chumly is the fall guy for the show, and makes it all worthwhile to watch...just for the hilarity of it. Rick's dad is also sooo funny as he glumly and stoically mumbles his way through all the trials and troubles of the shop and Chum. And, Big Hoss, Rick's son, who is assigned to watch over and teach Chum, as well as to be the Ass't Mgr., lumbers along making a couple of wise choices on the way, but mostly watching Chumly mess up and telling on him. Honestly, Chum is the best comedic character on tv.

All this to give you some kind of intro. into Rick Harrison's new book "License To Pawn" which I wholeheartedly recommend for your sweethearts and you when you want a different ride on the wild side.
 


Book Summary from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Press:


In Las Vegas, there’s a family-owned business called the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, run by three generations of the Harrison family: Rick; his son, Big Hoss; and Rick’s dad, the Old Man. Now License to Pawn takes readers behind the scenes of the hit History show Pawn Stars and shares the fascinating life story of its star, Rick Harrison, and the equally intriguing story behind the shop, the customers, and the items for sale.

Rick hasn’t had it easy. He was a math whiz at an early age, but developed a similarly uncanny ability to find ever-deepening trouble that nearly ruined his life. With the birth of his son, he sobered up, reconnected with his dad, and they started their booming business together.

License to Pawn also offers an entertaining walk through the pawn shop’s history. It’s a captivating look into how the Gold & Silver works, with incredible stories about the crazy customers and the one-of-a-kind items that the shop sells. Rick isn’t only a businessman; he’s also a historian and keen observer of human nature. For instance, did you know that pimps wear lots of jewelry for a reason? It’s because if they’re arrested, jewelry doesn’t get confiscated like cash does, and ready money will be available for bail. Or that WWII bomber jackets and Zippo lighters can sell for a freakishly high price in Japan? Have you ever heard that the makers of Ormolu clocks, which Rick sells for as much as $15,000 apiece, frequently died before forty thanks to the mercury in the paint?

Rick also reveals the items he loves so much he’ll never sell. The shop has three Olympic bronze medals, a Patriots Super Bowl ring, a Samurai sword from 1490, and an original Iwo Jima battle plan. Each object has an incredible story behind it, of course. Rick shares them all, and so much more—there’s an irresistible treasure trove of history behind both the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop and the life of Rick Harrison.


From the Bookish Dame's perspective this is a no-brainer book purchase. Everyone will love it...you, your husband/significant other, your teen aged kids, and the neighbors!


5 stars to the TV Show, and to this book





The Bookish Dame/Deborah

PS: Have you ever been into a pawn shop? Ever pawned anything?

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