Top 10 Times the Pawn Stars Were Screwed Over



Top 10 Times the Pawn Stars Were Screwed Over

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
All the times the Pawn Stars were screwed over demonstrate why trading is gambling. For this list, we'll be looking at transactions or categories of products where the Pawn Stars got a raw deal. Our countdown includes fake Rolexes, Shoeless Joe Jackson fake, Willie Mays uniform, and more!
When you trade in antiques and collectibles, every purchase is a gamble. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Times the Pawn Stars Were Screwed Over.

For this list, we’ll be looking at transactions or categories of products where the Pawn Stars got a raw deal. Whether overpaying for an item, getting duped by a fake, or simply paying out a huge profit to the seller, these are the deals that left the Pawn Stars shaking their heads with regret.

#10: Cubic Zirconia
“Pawn Stars: Biggest Bust”

Everyone calls him “The Old Man”, but Richard Harrison’s age and experience also make him a wealth of knowledge when it comes to buying and selling valuable goods. Unfortunately for him, acquiring that knowledge sometimes cost him big bucks along the way. You learn from your mistakes as they say, and as Richard explains, he got an expensive lesson when cubic zirconia first hit the market in the 1970s. People had hardly heard about these flashy, inexpensive synthetic rocks at the time, let alone learned how to distinguish them from actual diamonds. Harrison claims he lost nearly $30,000 in mistaken purchases, which was even more money at the time. Thankfully, the Pawn Stars now know how to spot a cubic zirconia.

#9: Fake Rolexes
“Pawn Stars: Biggest Bust”

Like his grandfather before him, Corey Harrison had to learn some tough lessons of his own when he joined the family business. As he explains in the same segment as the previous entry, he started working the nightshift when he was just 18 years old. Armed with his youthful self-confidence, Corey managed to buy up not one, not two, but six fake Rolexes in a week. He suspects that after he bought the first fake, word got around that he was easy to dupe. In total, he spent about $4,000 on the watches which, in reality, were essentially worth nothing. As his father Rick explains it, there are actually a number of ways to spot a fake Rolex, you just need to know what you’re looking for.

#8: Vic Flick's Guitar
“No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service”

In this season 8 episode, Rick is approached by studio musician, Vic Flick. The English guitarist certainly has an impressive resume, having worked with everyone from Engelbert Humperdinck and Tom Jones to Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. He even played guitar on numerous soundtracks for various James Bond films. Rick ultimately drops $55,000 on the storied instrument on offer. Unfortunately, while the songs that this guitar appeared on are certainly impressive, this fact doesn’t necessarily add that much value to the guitar itself. When the guitar went to auction in 2014, it only sold for $25,000. Ouch! Vic Flick might be a legend amongst rock aficionados, but his name seemingly doesn’t carry the same weight as that of his rock star collaborators.

#7: 1964 Austin-Healey Sprite BRG
“Helmet Head”

Looks can be deceiving! While this 1964 automobile undeniably has curb appeal, this episode serves as a reminder that you should never buy a car without test driving it first. In his defense, Rick does attempt to start the car. But when the engine fails to turn over, the owner dismisses it as a minor mechanical issue (a dead battery), and Rick takes him at his word. BIG mistake. We get that Rick saw it as an opportunity to get the Sprite at a better price; the right collector is likely willing to pay top dollar for it. Unfortunately, the gamble doesn’t pay off. In the end, Rick’s mechanic quotes him thousands in repairs to get the car roadworthy.

#6: Grandpa Cyclops Art Print
“Pawn or Bust”

Just look at this thing. We can totally understand why Rick wanted it. Mirror image symmetrical portraits such as this might be as simple as clicking a button on your phone today, but the vintage style and manner of production of this print adds a certain novelty factor. More importantly, it was made by an artist with name recognition, Devo founder and singer Mark Mothersbaugh. After calling in an art expert, Rick goes ahead and drops $625 on the framed print. According to his consultant, that should leave him room to make anywhere between $175 to $375 in profit. Little does he know, the seller is the one walked away with the real victory. As she later reveals, the artwork only cost her 15 bucks!

#5: Shoeless Joe Jackson Fake
“Say It Ain't So”

Joseph Jefferson Jackson is one of the most iconic baseball players to ever set foot on the field. Not only was his performance in the outfield the stuff of legend, but, due to his involvement with the Black Sox Scandal of 1919, his name also has an element of infamy to it as well. And as Rick tells the seller, because Shoeless Joe was illiterate, his signature is arguably the singlest rarest in not just baseball, but all of sports. Unfortunately, Rick doesn’t bother to bring in an expert to verify the signature, instead trusting the certificate of authenticity provided by the seller. He pays a whopping $13,000 for the signed book, only to later learn it’s almost certainly a fake.

#4: Wells Fargo Strongbox
“Corey's Big Play”

You’d think that Rick would have known better than to buy that Joe Jackson book without getting it authenticated. Just one season earlier, he had made a very similar mistake. In the season 5 episode “Corey’s Big Play”, a seller comes in with a Wells Fargo strongbox and some old prison chains. Rick starts off strong by identifying that both the Yuma ball and chain and Folsom prison handcuffs are fake. Apart from being guilty by association with its fake contents, however, the lockbox doesn’t raise any immediate red flags. So Rick goes ahead and pays the guy $450 for it. He should’ve trusted his first instinct. When Rick has an expert in to appraise it, he’s told that it’s a “complete fantasy piece”.

#3: Underground Railroad Sketches
“Underground Pawn”

Talk about a fascinating and important piece of history. In “Underground Pawn”, a seller comes in with a collection of true stories about the Underground Railroad, that was made in the late 19th century. Not only is it authentic, but it’s even signed by the editor of the newspaper who commissioned the book to be written. This is all music to the ears of the seller and Rick alike. This is a documentary record of the Underground Railroad, printed in a relatively small batch and, all things considered, isn’t in bad shape! The two men settle on a price of $700 and both walk away happy - but the seller especially so. Turns out… he only spent $2 on the book! Nice payout.

#2: Willie Mays Uniform
“Free Willie”

Right off the bat, you can see Corey is hungry to make this purchase. Unfortunately, his enthusiasm for this San Francisco Giants uniform, supposedly worn by Willie Mays, blinds him to some fairly obvious red flags. The uniform has no signs of wear and tear, nor has it been authenticated. Thankfully, Corey has the sense to call in an expert who, surprisingly, deems it authentic - just not game-worn. They settle on $31,000 and the seller leaves happy, only for Corey to lose over a third of his investment at auction. But Corey should still consider himself lucky. It was later revealed that Mays never even owned the jersey - it was just a sample, lowering its real value to only a few thousand bucks.

#1: Various Auction Losses
“Rick’s Roulette”

When the Pawn Stars can’t flip an item in a reasonable amount of time, it gets sent to auction. This is what happened with Vic Flick’s aforementioned guitar, but it wasn’t the only item that failed to turn a profit. As seen in the special two-part episode “Rick’s Roulette,” Rick loses a small fortune when he takes an assortment of big ticket items to the auction house, including a first edition of "A Christmas Carol" and a 1960s Spacelander bicycle. There’s even a loss of approximately $29,000 on a single motorcycle! Even after subtracting the guitar and motorcycle, other assorted items collectively lost him LOTS of money. Well, can’t win ‘em all.