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Reality Check

Las Vegas is home to plenty of iconic attractions, but its latest must-see destination has come as a bit of a surprise even to its owners. 

Made famous by the hit cable series “Pawn Stars,” the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop at 713 Las Vegas Blvd. South (www.gspawn.com) has become one the city’s most popular tourist destinations, thanks in no small measure to three generations of the Harrison family, who together run the store. Every day, fans of the show (and even the occasional celebrity) visit the shop in hopes of getting a glimpse of the four Pawn Stars at work: the Old Man, his son Rick, his grandson Corey, and Corey’s childhood friend, Chumlee. The store is even available for private events, which include a meet and greet with one or all of the Pawn Stars.

“I never thought things would get this big,” said Rick, who had pitched the idea for the reality show for four years before it was finally sold to the History channel. “I thought we’d just do a season or two and it would be good for business. Now we’re filming episode 236. Things just keep on rolling. We’re on in like 150 countries in 32 languages.”

The success of the show has not only increased the number of shoppers who visit the store, but also the number of unique items people bring in to sell.  

“One time, someone came in with four human skulls in a duffel bag,” Rick recalled. “That’s not as weird as it first sounds, though — a dental school had auctioned them off.” 

While T-shirts may be Gold & Silver Pawn’s best-selling item (“Everyone wants a Chumlee shirt,” Rick said), at press time shoppers could find everything from a letter written by Mark Twain to JFK’s old cigar box for sale. Prices run the gamut from $2 to $150,000. 

“Moms always tell me they love the show because it’s the only show the whole family can watch together,” Rick said. “Kids learn a bit about history and dads love the negotiations. Plus, there’s our whole family dynamic — nothing is fake.”

  —Heather Turk, Brand Publishing Writer

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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