1940s custom made engagement ring. Check.
Lady Liberty coins. Check.
Precious Moments figurines. Check.
Prosthetic leg. Check.
Whether you’re in need of fast cash or looking for that something special, Killeen pawn shops accept and offer a variety of items.
Although pawn shops are stores that offer loans in exchange for personal property as equivalent collateral, they can also serve as a means for individuals searching for treasures.
For Brad McDonald, an avid coin collector, pawn shops help feed his U.S. Mint addiction.
“I remember trying to wait for certain quarters to come out in circulation, but I was never that patient,” McDonald said. “I would go to pawn shops and look for the quarters I did not have.”
McDonald started collecting coins at a young age after his uncle gave him a coin collector’s book that was part of the U.S. Mint’s 50 State Quarters Program.
According to the United States Mint website, the program was a 10-year initiative that honored each of the nation’s states in the order they ratified the Constitution or were admitted into the Union.
Each quarter was produced for about 10 weeks, and then never produced again. State designs are displayed on the reverse of the quarters, while the obverse design displays the familiar image of George Washington.
But, to accommodate state designs on the reverse, the words “United States of America,” “Quarter Dollar,” “Liberty,” and “In God We Trust” all appear on the obverse.
Today, McDonald has collected quarters from all 50 states. However, he is still on the hunt for other types of coins.
“I always look for misprinted coins,” McDonald said. “Once, I found one in a pawn shop, but I did not have the cash to get it. Another time I saw someone buy a Blackbeard pirate coin from a pawn shop. That is the first and last time I have seen that.”
Pawn shop salesman are no stranger to the coin collection industry.
“I have seen a lot of Lady Liberty coins — they are one of the major coins people often look for,” said Brandon Paulus, a salesman at Action Pawn on South Fort Hood Street in Killeen. “People typically look for the early 2000s Lady Liberty coins because they have more pure silver in them. Once, we also had a Star Wars minted coin.”
While on the hunt for his desired coin, McDonald found a 1 ounce silver cube believed to have coins melted in it.
The cube was a surprise for both McDonald and Paulus.
“I have never came across anything like this before,” said Paulus, who has been with Action Pawn for four years.
Although pawn shops offer a variety of items, the interaction between the lenders and borrowers can be equally important.
Zinnia Vargas, a pawn broker at First Cash Pawn Shop on South Fort Hood Street in Killeen, said she enjoys getting to know the customers.
“I like talking to everyone,” Vargas said. “I don’t get bored. I kind of want to know the backstory of the items that are being brought in. We get repeat customers. The main thing that brings them back is our customer service.”
Pawn shops may also remind people of items they used to collect, but no longer collect.
“When I went to the pawn shop I saw a glass case with Precious Moments figurines in it and it brought back memories,” said Taylor Stryker. “When I was younger, my grandmother always bought them for me. I had a shelf in my room full of them.”
Stryker said the memories from seeing the figurines sparked an interest in her to start her collection again.
“I honestly forgot about them until I saw them today,” Stryker said. “I am going to see if my mom can get the figurines out of her attic and I am considering starting a collection for my daughter.”
Whether its a coin, figurine, piece of jewelry, action figure or game, local pawn shops may be just the right place to find that something special.
“You never know what is going to come in through the door,” said Greg Herrod, the manager of 19th Hole Pawn & Billiards in Harker Heights. “There are some things that you never thought you would see.”