Monthly Archives

January 2012

Former Red Wing Darren McCarty makes his debut tonight on Hardcore Pawn!

By | In the News

By Seth Gold

For any of you that haven’t heard yet, former Red Wing Darren McCarty has joined the American Jewelry and Loan team! And tonight, you get to see him in action on Hardcore Pawn.

I’ve gotta tell you, the first day he walked in, was one of the coolest days we’ve had since the show began. I’m a BIG sports fan — and a huge Red Wings fan.  But I had to play it cool when I saw him walk in, because just in case all the other huge sports fans in the store didn’t notice him, I wanted to protect his privacy.

But he was cool with everyone knowing he was there. His buddy came in to pawn something — you’ll have to watch tonight to see what it was — but let me just tell you, it’s pretty awesome and you’re gonna want to buy it! (It’ll be in The Vault, right here on

And I’ll admit it right now. I paid a little more than I might have in another situation……cause he was with DARREN McCARTY!!!!

We hung out for awhile and we gave them a tour. This place isn’t that easy to understand, but Darren seemed to catch on to it really quick. He asked all the right questions and seemed intrigued by the answers — which I thought was pretty cool. Cause really, we run a pawn shop. Darren played in the NHL!

Later that night, he sent me a tweet, asking if he could shadow me for the day. Hell yes, Darren McCarty can shadow me for the day! But it ended up being even better than that. Darren wanted to learn the business. So we decided to give him a chance.

Listen, we’re not stupid, we know that Darren has had some issues in the past. We weren’t expecting this to be perfect. But Darren is a big fan of Detroit and we’re big fans of his, so we brought him on board.

So far, there’s only been one problem – he’s WAY too generous with our money!  As you’ll see on tonight’s episode, he’s got a few things to learn!  All we can tell you, is if you want to really cash in, try to pawn something to Darren when Les and I aren’t around!

He’s still got a few things to learn, but so far, it looks like we picked a winner!

If you could work with any celebrity, who would it be?  Post a comment below and tell us who you’d like to see on your team!


Darren makes his debut on Hardcore Pawn!

Need a loan? What you need to know before you hand over your valuables.

By | In the News

By Seth Gold

Last week, here in Michigan, customers of Global Pawn in Monroe showed up to pay off their loans and collect the merchandise they’d pawned, just to find out the store had closed. The owners were long gone and so was everyone’s stuff.

There are a few bad apples in every profession – but in an industry that most people don’t understand – when something like this happens, it makes all of us look bad.  So for those of you that may need a loan some day, we think it’s important that you understand what to look for when picking your pawn shop.

First of all, pawn shops – just like every other business – are regulated. The laws vary by state, but a quick google search will tell you exactly what you can expect in your area.  Here in Michigan, Les worked with state legislators, back in 1998, to set one of the lowest interest rates in the country. Michigan law states pawn shops can charge no more than 3% interest a month, loans must be for valid for 90 days and shops are allowed to charge a $1.00 storage fee per month.

Yet, we see many “pawn brokers” in our area breaking that law.  Not just small shops – but shops that have several locations.

At American Jewelry and Loan, we offer a “Max Cash Guarantee”. We offer our customers 20% more cash than anyone else in the area. In order to get that extra money, they need to show us their pawn tickets. So we see what’s going on and we have the evidence.

Pawn shops are doing what we call “buy backs”. They buy your merchandise for a set price and then you’re able to buy it back in 14 days (or whatever time frame they randomly set) for a much higher price. Much higher than the 3%, 90 day loan that the state requires.

Teresa Coulter is the perfect example of a customer that was taken.  She brought her engagement and wedding rings into Global Pawn. She needed the money to help out a family member. So she pawned her $3000 ring for $200 and a band for $40. She was given 30 days to “buy back” her rings for $264. That’s a 10% interest rate. And with only 30 days to pay back the loan – not a lot of time to find the cash she needed to keep her jewelry from being sold to someone else.

While there aren’t a lot of shops that simply close their doors and run off with their customer’s valuables – there are a lot of shops that use the word “pawn” in their name, but don’t follow the rules that regulate the pawn industry.

So again, the laws in Michigan are hard and fast. A pawn shop cannot charge you more than 3% and a $1.00 storage fee per month. The loan must be for a 90 day period.

If they charge you anything more than that, the law states they have to give you your merchandise back for free.  You don’t have to pay back the loan or the interest.

Check the laws in your state. If you think you’ve been taken, call your local police department.

Last Friday, we invited the Coulters into American Jewelry and Loan and we replaced Teresa’s rings free of charge.  We felt her pain and while we couldn’t replace the originals, we wanted to give her a new memory. We’re not always as “hardcore” as you think.  (You can see her husband Randy get down on one knee and propose all over again by clicking on the link below!)

After this story aired on Fox2 in Detroit, we were bombarded by calls in our area. Not just from Detroit, but the surrounding suburbs. One woman who saw the piece and realized she was being taken advantage of by a suburban pawn shop, called the local police and was told, “everyone needs to make money”.  That’s not the way it works.  There are laws in place to protect you.

Our family has been in business for more than 40 years and we work closely with the National Pawnbrokers Association to make sure customers are treated fairly. And while we don’t talk about this on TV, I am the president of the Michigan Pawnbrokers Association.  We’re working hard to make sure customers are treated fairly when their life circumstances change and they need a little help.

If you think you’re being taken advantage of, use our “Can I Pawn This” application on our home page and send us your pawn ticket.  Or leave a comment right here on our blog. We’ll do our best to point you in the right direction.

In the meantime, congratulations again – to the Coulters. Here’s the link to their “second engagement”!


Want a great deal? This is the week to check out your local pawn shop!

By | In the News

By Seth Gold

Happy New Year everyone!  First, we want to thank you for helping us end 2011 in Hardcore style!  Nearly 3 million viewers tuned in to see Hardcore Pawn last week. That’s not only our biggest number yet, but the biggest number TruTV has ever seen! Thank you, everyone. We couldn’t have done this without each and every one of you!

The holiday season was crazy here at American Jewelry and Loan. It’s always a busy time, but with 3 million new friends, we had a lot of out of town company!  Even Judge Mathis stopped by!  Did you know he’s from Detroit? Love it when he comes in, but we sure do feel like we’re in his courtroom when he’s here. Before he buys a piece of jewelry, he grills us like we’re on his show!  How many karats are there in that bracelet? How do you know? Will you guarantee it? LOL!  Judge, you have our guarantee! We’ve got our hands full with our own show – we don’t want to end up in front of the bench on yours!

Lots of people were buying holiday gifts and getting their bling out of pawn for New Years Eve. Seriously, you wouldn’t believe the lines just before closing on December 31st.  Our customers come in dressed to the nines, top hats and cocktail gowns – to get their rings, Rolexes and fur coats out for the night. The redemption line was out the door! Our pawn inventory decreased by 15% in three days.

But it was the pawn line that wrapped around the building Monday morning – with many of those same customers bringing everything back!

There were also a lot of people selling us gifts they received over the holidays – which brings me to important information for all of you. This is the BEST time for you to be checking out your local pawn shop for deals. (Or!)  Customers bring in brand new items that they can’t return because they don’t have gift receipts. We saw a steady stream of ipads and electronics – some great Rolexes.  This is the time to cash in big! Run, do not walk, to your local pawn shop!

We also bought a huge amount of gold. People have noticed that prices are dropping and they’re concerned that the value of gold is going down. We don’t have a crystal ball – so we’re not telling you that this is the time to sell – we’re just saying gold is still selling pretty high – so if you need fast cash – our customers would tell you, they’re taking advantage of it while the taking is good!

In the meantime, did you hear the Queen of Soul (and born and bred Detroiter!) Aretha Franklin is getting married? Her fiancé popped the question without our help. But Aretha, we’re here if you need wedding bands or something special for the big day!  Congratulations to Aretha and to the lucky couple who actually did get engaged at American Jewelry and Loan the day after Christmas!  Nothing says love like proposing on the set of Hardcore Pawn!

Make it a great year everyone! We’re looking forward to hearing about your plans to come visit!  In the meantime, if you got a gift over the holidays that you want to sell, go to our home page and send us a picture of it through “Can I Pawn This?”. We’ll tell you how much we think you can get for it at your local pawn shop!


Judge Mathis came by for the holidays!