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Update, 16nov2006—

Penny writes:

I live in AZ and was going to go check out the Museum of Pawn. So, I went to get the address off the web. I first used your link, it was not working any more.
Hrmm. They require what I consider the superfluous "www". They do seem to still be offering some unusual items.
So I then Googled the the shop. This came up. (Roadside America). The site tells the story.
Well, that is disheartening news, indeed, Penny.

Then again, as it is written in the book of Genesis, "Pawn thou art, and unto Pawn shalt thou return," and again in thee book of Job, "Pawn gave and Pawn hath taken away; blessed be the name of Pawn" (paraphrases courtesy of the (Makin' a) Living Bible)


The last time I'd been inside Western Jewelry and Loan, a Scottsdale, Arizona pawn shop, it was ... a pawn shop. At some point, the owners painted MUSEUM OF PAWN on their window. Seemed like a novel marketing ploy (and a step up from their previous slogan: "We pawn memories"). For a long time I meant to stop in for a laugh, but always seemed to be on the way somewhere else. When I finally went inside the MUSEUM OF PAWN, however, I was stunned.

Because it now truly. Is. A MUSEUM. OF PAWN. The place is now full of museum-quality items and oddities. It's like being at a museum. OF PAWN. It's a museum, see, but -- you can buy the stuff on display. There were Egyptian sarcophagi / sarcophaguses / whatever, Picasso paintings, human skulls, Dali lithographs, a giant Buddha statue, pre-Columbian tribal artifacts, the works. What I drooled over was a push-button banjo ukulele. It might have been an Arthur Godfrey model; I don't know. Each chord button had its corresponding chord diagram on it, so instead of fretting the chords, you push buttons, which operate this gizmo that frets for you. Sort of a cross between a banjo, a ukulele, and a zither. I didn't buy it, because it was missing a bunch of the buttons, but damn, that's cooler than push-button transmission, if you ask me.

If you're bored in Scottsdale (a not uncommon condition), it's worth the stop. Look for the tree trunks outside the museum that have been carved into figures. Park in the rear, next to the giant dinosaur. Don't hesitate to allow the tree carvings to cast doubt upon the ancientness of some of the exhibits inside. It will augment your experience, trust me.

Update: And I see that they have a small portion of their holdings listed online, at


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