March 2015

Diary Of A PawnbrokerFeatures

My family have been pawnbrokers for a very long time. In fact we have been in the trade for over 174 years.

I took my father out, Herbert Colin Brown a visit to my 6 shops the other day and we started talking about some of the unusual items he remembered his father lending on many years ago.

That got me thinking as I have been asked to lend on some unusual items recently also.

A good customer of our Toxteth store wanted to know if we could lend him £200 against his £1000 state of the art carbon bicycle and a harmonica!

Another man came in asking if we were interested in lending on his VW Beatle Camper Van and the day was complete when a third customer asked if we could lend on some antique works of art passed down to him.

Well?…… Why not?…… the end of the day a pawnbroking loan is just a secured loan and as long as the item we lend against is genuine, has provenance and is worth more than the value of the loan in-case we have to sell it to recoup the money that’s owed, we can consider a loan against it.

So, I was telling my father these stories and he said I should look in some of the old loan books passed on to me from my grandfather. They made interesting reading!

Monday 15th August 1938

Value lent 2 pounds 4 shillings and 3 pence (£3-4s-3d) Converted to today’s money and with inflation that’s £293.82.

Items Pawned throughout the day: 2 overalls, socks, some hosiery, stairs carpet, khaki shirt, 2 blankets a cap and some pit pants, knickers and a petticoat!

There was little to no gold involved – very few people owned any so the clothes they wore were their greatest possessions.

So are we going full circle on what we lend on?

Today we mainly lend on gold jewellery and luxury watches. But we also lend on electrical items such as smart phones and lap tops and will now consider most things of value I suppose.

I will have to draw the line on knickers and petticoats though but if the Campervan, bike and harmonica loan come off then that’s my summer holiday sorted for this year!

I will keep the old books on display in our 3 Yorkshire stores for this month at Batley, Seacroft and Shipley so you are welcome to come and have a browse through them.

If you are an old customer of the earlier generations, pop in and make yourself know – I would love to hear your story and see if we can share it in next months diaries.

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