There are many pawn shops in Melbourne if you’re looking for a quick loan or if you want to sell some unwanted items or gold jewellery. These pawn shops can range from being quite ordinary stores to being supremely upmarket establishments.
The Symbol of a Pawnbroker
If you have visited a pawn shop Melbourne or any other pawn shops in cities across Australia, you may have noticed the same symbol appearing in most of these shops; three balls suspended from a curved t-shaped bar. The three balls are usually orange in colour while the bar is black.
This is the symbol of pawnbrokers but the history behind this symbol is somewhat unclear. Some believe that the symbol belongs to the Medici family of Florence in Italy. They were well-known traders in the financial and lending industry and the symbol was used as a mark of their success.
Others theorize that the symbol came from the Lombard merchants who used to identify themselves by hanging three golden balls up in front of their homes. Many European towns also referred to pawn shops as the “Lombard”, so it seems likely that this may be the true origin of the symbol.
During recent years though some pawnbrokers have decided to remove the symbol to keep up with the modernization of the industry and so it’s becoming less commonplace.
Other Pawn Shop Trivia
Did you know there’s even a children’s song that references pawn shops? It’s true; the song “Pop Goes the Weasel” is a song that describes pawning through these words:
“Half a pound of tuppenny rice,
Half a pound of treacle,
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop goes the weasel!”
When this song was made, around 1850 “popping” was another term used for pawning, and “weasel” referred to a coat. In those days many people suffered from extreme poverty and there were a great many pawn shops that helped people avoid the workhouses.
The word pawn itself is derived from the Latin word “pignus” which means pledge, a term that is still commonly used today to refer to the item being pawned.
Modern Pawn Shops
The old stereotype of a typical pawn shop Melbourne is a dark, cluttered, and slightly dodgy place still exists in many people’s minds, but while some of those places may still exist, tucked away in forgotten corners, the reality is that modern pawn shops can be vastly different from one place to the next.
For instance; the large franchise chains maintain the same look and feel for every store in their chain using more of a generalized store model. But privately owned pawn shops can have either a vibrant modern layout, or exclusive upmarket atmosphere, or be rustic and full of character, similar to a library or old English pub.
Take a look at the pawn shops in Melbourne and you’ll find that the pawn shop has certainly changed quite a lot and the different business and operating models, as well as specializations, reflect this quite accurately.