Pawn Stars is an American reality television series shown on HISTORY. The series is situated in Las Vegas, Nevada, where it highlights the daily activities at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, a 24-hour family business opened in 1989 and operated by The Harrison family. The show stars Richard “Old Man” Harrison, his son Rick Harrison, Rick’s son Corey “Big Hoss” Harrison, and Corey’s childhood friend, Austin “Chumlee” Russell. The series, which became the network’s highest rated show, debuted on July 26, 2009.
The series depicts the staff’s interactions with customers, who bring in a variety of artifacts to sell or pawn, and who are shown haggling over the price and discussing its historical background while either the Harrisons or Chumlee narrate.
Last August 10, HISTORYCon 2017 kicked of its first day of events. WhenInManila got a chance to have a chat with HISTORY’s Pawn Star’s very own Big Hoss, Corey Harrison.
We first asked him if there are finds at the convention that piqued his interest.
Corey: Yeah. We went and checked the Pawn Star booth a little bit earlier and I saw really cool old toys and cameras, things like that. And, a lot of cool motorcycles and cars.
WhenInManila: Do you think you’ll be buying some items here?
Corey: No. I don’t think I’ll be buying. You know I have a shop where things come to me. Haha.
We then asked him about what’s it like to work with his family in the shop and the show.
WhenInManila: In the opening credits, there’s a line that says “Family comes first, money comes second… depending on who you ask”. So how about you, Corey? Which comes first?
Corey: Family, of course.
WhenInManila: We asked this because Pawn Stars is already coming in on its 15th season already, which is a really big accomplishment. What is it like to run a shop with your family and also starring in a show that still runs after 14 seasons? How’s your dad as a boss? How does he treat you outside of the shop?
Corey: I’m lucky enough to work with my father and grandfather everyday so we get to be like best friends but if I made a mistake, compare it to a random employee making a mistake at work, he wouldn’t be getting a phone call at home.
We then asked him some of his memorable buys, both profitable and where he got burned.
WhenInManila: What’s your most memorable successful buys? How much did you profit from them?
Corey: We had some really neat photo prints and they came in a shoebox full of them. When we are going through them, there happens to be some Early Native Americans ones. The photos [by Edward Curtis] ended up worth to be about $10,000 a piece.
WhenInManila: Wow. That’s a really huge profit.
Corey: It was a huge profit and we had no idea about it. Another one is we had a piece of wood come in with a blue dog painted on it. I thought that I’d buy it for my big brother at the time and it was by an artist named Blue Dog from Manhattan and I ended up having a thousand dollars.
WhenInManila: How about some buys that you consider busts and what have you learned from them? I remember seeing a clip of Pawn Stars where in you bought fake Rolex.
Corey: You know, you just live and learn. That’s kinda how it works. You don’t have a pawn broker school where they teach you that. It’s all trial and error. As many as big scores that I’ve gotten, I’ve been burned a lot, too.
We also asked if he could give us tips on how to make deals and what’s a good margin for profit when buying items.
Corey: There’s no possible way to answer that question. If I’m buying a gold coin, I don’t mind making 5%. If I’m buying a piece art, I’d like to make at least 40%-30%. Everything’s a little bit different. Antiques, I’d like to make 30% because it tends to sit around a long time in the shop.
We asked Corey if they had items in their shop that originated from the Philippines. We also learned something amazing about their shop.
Corey: You know, I couldn’t tell you. We get several stuff going in and out of our shop. We sometime get around 7,000 customers a day.
WhenInManila: Wow! How much people do you have around your shop?
Corey: I have about 80 employees.
WhenInManila: I don’t see them much on TV. Haha.
Corey: So the inventory is so quick, it’s hard to contract them.
If you also watch the show, you could see that in every episode they call out some experts to help them to appraise some items. We asked which guy is Corey’s favorite.
Corey: Jessie is one of my best friends so it’s fun having him down in the shop and hanging out with him. But if I actually didn’t know anything about something, it’s gotta be the Beard of Knowledge. He kinda knows everything.
It was great chatting with Corey. We learned a lot about how to give value to items and also how their shop operates.
Catch the newest season of Pawn Stars on History every Monday at 10 PM.