- The first pawn shops emerged in ancient China more than 3,000 years ago.
- Today, there are more than 12,000 pawn shops operating in the United States alone.
- It is estimated that approximately 25 million Americans do not have a bank checking account. Pawn shops serve this population by offering a source of short- term loans.
- Pawn shops are often referred to as the “Lombard” in Europe, in reference to the House of Lombard, a prominent lending family in medieval London.
- More than 90 percent of all items pawned at Western today are reclaimed or redeemed.
- The average loan granted for a pawned item is $75. The average pawn loan at Western is $125.
- Most states have laws limiting the amount of interest charged on pawn loans.
- State laws mandate that customers pawning items provide detailed information including name, address, and date of birth, and show government issued ID.
- The symbol of the pawnbroker is three spheres suspended from a bar. Some connect this symbol to the Medici Family–legend has it that one of the Medicis working for Emperor Charles the Great killed a giant with three sacks of rocks. The three balls or globes later became part of their family crest, and ultimately, the sign of pawnbroking.
- Saint Nicolas is the patron saint of pawnbrokers; the symbolism of the three balls or spheres associated with pawnbrokers has also been connected with his gift of three bags of coins to the three daughters of a poor man so that they could marry.