Archive | 12:07 am

Pawn Queens Got Pwned.

26 May

May 26, 2011

Ever see Pawn Queens? It is yet another variation on Pawn Stars. Technically it is a third-gen rip-off. The first rip-off was Hardcore Pawn, about a lowlife Detroit pawn shop. Next was Old Pawn, whose real name is, I think, What the Sell?, (but it doesn’t really matter since it looks like it was cancelled) which starred some grandmothers running a pawn shop. Now there is Pawn Queens, about a female-focused pawn shop. Yes, they cater to women, and in the episode I saw they proved it by buying a hairdryer.

Blond, cute and busty they may be but smart they are not. (But hey, if they have the first three the fourth isn’t so important if you are a TV executive. Or a regular guy either, right?)

A woman came in with a copy of Spider-Woman #1 she found in her attic. Asking price: $200.

One of the women said she had to buy it because “there aren’t a lot of female superheroes.”

The list of female superheroes on wikipedia runs twelve pages.

It includes some even the Pawn Queens may have heard of: Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, She-Hulk, Invisible Woman, Storm of the X-Men, Black Canary, etc etc etc.

So I was curious how much they would pay. Comic books have an industry standard grading system and a universally accepted price guide. This should be a piece of cake. A couple of clicks on the computer should end this easily.

I did just that. There are hundreds of sites I could have used, from the Overstreet Price Guide site to eBay to see what similar copies sell for. I went to for no other reason than I have used them before. In less than 30 seconds this is what I found:

This is no $200 comic. Now remember, those are the prices it sells for, so to make a profit the pawn shop has to pay less than these amounts.

In near-mint 9.4 condition it sells for $22. The comic they were buying was good but not near-mint. In Very-fine 9.0 it drops to less than $10, and in the condition I think the issue was in, a very generous very-fine 8.0 it sells for $4.40. So in order to make money they have to buy it for about a buck and hope to make $3. Not a way to make it in the pawn business.

The pawn woman was impressed because the comic was a “first edition.” Comic books come into pawn shops constantly. Someone in the business should know the terminology. Yes, technically, that is a first edition, but no one would ever call it anything but a first issue. (An exception would be a prized Action Comics #1, for example.)

The guy who worked for her saw the 35 cent price tag and said (with some imagined authority) “that makes this from the 1980’s.” No. As you can see from the chart, it is from 1978. And an even easier way of knowing would have been to open to the front page and see the date printed on the bottom. Every comic has an indicia that includes the date of publication. Modern comics may have it on the last page but for decades it was on the first page and anyone in the pawn shop business should know where to find the date.

They offered the woman $5, already too much, she countered with $40, and they settled for $15. The comic is worth less than $5 so they just lost $10 on that transaction.

Any pawn shop that doesn’t know anything as simple as how to price a comic book deserves to go out of business.

But don’t feel bad, the pawn queen is sure she can sell it because “maybe we can put it in a frame.”


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