Top 10 Pawn Stars Items That Turned Out To Be Fake

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Top 10 Pawn Stars Items That Turned Out To Be Fake

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
We wish these fake items on "Pawn Stars" were real. Our countdown includes John Lennon artwork, Titanic newspaper, Pete Rose baseball cards, and more!
Transcript

Top 10 Fake Items on Pawn Stars


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Fake Items on “Pawn Stars.”

For this list, we’ll be looking at interesting items that were brought in on the show but turned out to be fakes, whether or not the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop ended up buying them.

Do you have any fake items you’ve collected? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: John Lennon Artwork


Aside from being one of the greatest songwriters in music history, John Lennon was also an accomplished artist. His artwork is universally recognized - especially the self-portrait doodles. A man came into the shop bearing some supposedly original John Lennon doodles, which the owner claims to have picked up at a thrift store of all places. There’s a reason it was sitting in a thrift store and not in someone’s personal collection. The owner believed it was worth $20,000, but when Rick flipped the paper over, he saw a “Kodak Paper” watermark. As Lennon passed away in 1980 - long before this computer paper was readily available - he easily declared it a fake and the owner walked away with nothing.

#9: Shoeless Joe Jackson Book


One of the most divisive and controversial baseball players of all time, Shoeless Joe was an exceptional player. However, his legacy was tainted after the 1919 World Series, which saw players of the Chicago White Sox intentionally throwing the games for money. A customer on “Pawn Stars” arrived with an old book titled “Say It Ain’t So, Joe” that was allegedly signed by Jackson. According to Rick, Jackson’s signature is the rarest in sports, and the owner even had it certified. Rick ended up paying $13,000...for nothing. He had it looked at by various experts, all of whom deduced that the signature was fake. The title of that book has a certain irony to it.

#8: Napoleon Letter


That wouldn’t be the last time that the Pawn Stars were fooled. In season eight, a man walked in with a letter that was allegedly written by Napoleon Bonaparte. The item contained many authentic aspects, including the period-specific wax seal and a certificate of authenticity. Corey ended up paying a surprisingly small $2,000 for the letter, but even that was too much. Rick had Corey go to an expert, who was quick to judge the letter a replica. His primary concern was the ink, which was neither smudged nor faded. Corey tried selling it in the shop for $20, but even that proved a failure as Rick prevented him from selling a fake item.

#7: Prison Memorabilia


A tough-looking man with a handlebar mustache showed up with a suitably tough item - a Wells Fargo strongbox, an antique ball and chain, and some handcuffs. The ball and chain allegedly came from Yuma Territorial Prison, which opened in 1876, and the handcuffs from California’s Folsom State. However, Rick was very quick to point out some historical discrepancies. The old handcuffs from Folsom had electrically-welded chains, which proved anachronistic. And despite Rick claiming that prisons never put their name on the ball and chains, the Yuma ball and chain had a clear “Yuma” stamped into the iron. Even the strongbox was fake - a fact that Rick regrettably learned after shelling out $450.

#6: Pete Rose Baseball Cards


Pete Rose is widely regarded as one of the best baseball players of all time. He is a seventeen-time All Star, won three World Series, and currently still holds the MLB record with 4,256 hits. As one can imagine, his baseball cards are worth some good money. In season two, a man tried selling five 1967 Rose cards. The fact that he had five proved a major red flag, and Rick instantly identified them as fakes. Various aspects of the cards’ physical design were totally off, including the faded colors and overexposed picture. It’s amazing how quickly dreams of cash can be dashed.

#5: Babe Ruth Signed Bat & Glove


Speaking of baseball, in the fifth season premiere, a man walked into the shop with a particularly special baseball bat and glove. The glove was signed by none other than Babe Ruth, and the bat co-signed by Ruth and Christy Mathewson, a dominant pitcher who played for the New York Giants. The owner was hoping to get $120,000 for the two items - an exorbitant cost that had Rick rightfully consulting expert advice. The expert deduced that the authentication papers were fraudulently signed by a criminal who was caught in an FBI sting known as Operation Bullpen. Fourteen individuals from five states were convicted in the scam. The signature isn’t considered legitimate, and Rick walked away from the deal.

#4: Titanic Newspaper


Pardon the pun, but an authentic newspaper reporting on the Titanic disaster would be a titanic find. The Pawn Stars were certainly excited when a man tried selling a copy of The Boston Daily Globe with the tragic headline “Titanic Sinks, 1500 Die.” However, Rick instantly took note of the impeccably white paper and pristine ink - major red flags, considering the paper had ostensibly been around for a century. He also noticed that the picture accompanying the story was from a copy machine. Needless to say, the newspaper itself was fake. But fake or not, it’s still a really interesting thing to have around the house!

#3: Monet Painting


A founder of the French Impressionist movement, Oscar-Claude Monet is one of the most famed artists of all time. His paintings, of course, go for big money, with his work Le Bassin Aux Nymphéas selling for $80 million in 2008. The owner of this particular supposed Monet painting was asking $1 million - nothing compared to his greatest works, but a sizable chunk of change nonetheless. The painting was supposedly on exhibit at the Los Vegas Art Museum in 1997, and the art came with numerous pieces of documentation. An expert was brought in and he noticed that the paint wasn’t “sweating” through the canvas. Regardless of its beauty, the painting was not a Monet original.

#2: Lincoln Family Photo


As Rick says, you never know what’s going to come through those doors. In season sixteen, a man came through with what seemed like a huge catch - a photograph of Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln, dated from 1863. If correct, the photo would have been taken during the Civil War while Lincoln was serving as the 16th President of the United States. The owner asked $1 million for the photo, and while the expert called it a “gorgeous” picture, it was nevertheless a fake one. But that wasn’t enough for the owner, who rudely claimed that the expert was “discrediting” herself by calling it a fake. We think someone was just a little upset...

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

1967 Chicago Bears Autographed Football
Signatures Were Fakes

Jimi Hendrix Poetry
The Pen, Lettering, & Signature Were All Wrong

Colt Army Model 1860
Number Stamping Was Off

1777 French Musket
The Grime & Rust Were Completely Artificial

#1: Baltic Amber


Now, we’re not gem experts or anything, but something that’s 40 to 50 million years old is bound to be worth a good chunk of change. That is, if the item in question is actually millions of years old. A man arrived at the pawn shop believing that he was in possession of some Baltic amber with an entombed tarantula. The owner had some sketchy paperwork supposedly proving that it was real amber, but the gemstone expert had it sent to the Gemological Institute of America - at the personal cost of the owner, who paid $200 to have it sent out and appraised. Unfortunately, the “amber” was actually just plastic, and the owner was out $200. Now that’s what we call getting ripped off at a pawn shop!
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