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Home > Blog > 15 Little Known Facts About Pawnbroking

15 Little Known Facts About Pawnbroking

Posted by cuttingsjewellers on December 1, 2014

9551644_s.jpgPawnbroking’s rich history can be followed all the way back to 1000 BC, with roots all over the world. Discover more about this diverse industry with these little known facts!


- Pawnbroking is one of the oldest forms of money lending. Its roots can be traced back over 3,000 years to the Chinese, as a method of granting credit to less well-off members of the community.
- If it weren’t for pawnbroking, Christopher Columbus wouldn’t have discovered the Americas. His voyage was largely funded from the pawning of Queen Isabella of Spain’s jewels.
- Although the industry first began in China, today’s pawnbroking industry can be traced back to 15th Century Italy, to the financially powerful noble Medici family.
- The origins of banking and pawnbroking are closely intertwined – when the Medici family split in two, half the family became pawnbrokers, and the other half became bankers.
- The sign of the pawnbroker, with its three gold balls, can also be attributed to the famous Medici family split, when the pawnbroking side of the family took half of the family crest.
- Pawnbroking was extremely popular in Britain in the late 19th Century, when there were nearly as many pawnbrokers as public houses.
- There are 2,144 pawnbrokers operating in the UK today, proving that pawning continues to be a popular method of obtaining a loan.
- 85% of loans received from pawnbrokers are redeemed.
- 71% of pawnbroking customers are loyal to one pawnbroker, which is often in close proximity to their home.
- The majority of pawnbroking customers consider themselves good money managers.
- Although it is possible to pawn almost anything of high value, gold rings are the most popular items to pawn.
- The majority of pawnshop transactions are from repeat customers, often pawning and reclaiming the same item over and over again. Nearly 80% of pawn customers take out a pawn shop loan more than twice a year.
- Cash-for-gold transactions have increased by 35% since the recession started in 2008.
- The word “Pawn” comes from an Old French word meaning “cloth”, or “piece of cloth”, and can also be traced back to the Latin “Pignus”, meaning “to pledge”.
- In Europe, Pawn shops are frequently referred to as the “Lombard”, in reference to the House of Lombard, a prominent lending family in medieval London.

Here at Cuttings, we accept Luxury Watches, Fine Jewelry and Gold as collateral for a loan. We are always pleased to welcome new clients into our diverse client base, so if you are interested in finding out more about the pawning process then just get in touch.