Many types of services and shops use iconic symbols to identify their trade. Over time, the use of these symbols have been carried over year after year, and many are still in use today. When people see three gold balls suspended from a bar, they usually recognize the symbol and affiliate it with a pawn broker or pawn shop. While these elements have come to be a well-known symbol for pawn shops, the origins of the symbol are not completely clear.

However, there are a couple theories that explain how the symbol was appropriated:

The Lombard’s

It is said that the medieval Lombard merchants used the three golden spheres as a symbol and hung the spheres in front of their houses. The golden spheres are thought to have represented byzants, which were gold coins used at the time.  In London, England, a pawn shop was called a Lombard, and banks were known as The House of Lombard. By this time, royalty used the practice to raise money. In fact, England’s King Edward III famously pawned his jewels to the Lombard’s in 1388 to finance the war against France and Queen Isabella of Spain pawned her jewelry to help pay for the Columbus expeditions to the New World.

The Medici

The Medici family was an Italian banking family and political dynasty becoming one of the most powerful families in all of European history. Three gold circles make up their family circle. As the Medici family’s success grew, other families in the banking business assimilated the three circles into their coat of arms. Before long, the three circles came to represent money-lending and banking.

Pawn Shops Today

In the past 100 years, the number of pawn shops has drastically risen. During the Great Depression era, pawn shops were the only institutions offering cash loans as banks were desperately failing. Today, pawn shops are still the primary place people can trade in their valuables for fast cash. They also serve as an outlet for customers of all classes and backgrounds to buy and sell unique, rare or coveted items. Jewelry, gold, power tools, electronics, firearms, and musical instruments are the most commonly pawned valuables today.

Alamo Pawn Shop has been in business in the same location for over 20 years! Our professional and knowledgeable team is here to serve our customers by providing great deals, easy pawn loans, and layaway services. If you need cash, remember the Alamo!