Rick Harrison once again joins his son Corey Harrison and Austin “Chumlee” Russell on the road for the October 25 return of A&E‘s Pawn Stars Do America. Together they venture outside Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas to cities across the country in search of the historical, unique, and everything in between. This Pawn Stars spinoff is entering its second season, based off the success of the original History series, which has been going strong since 2009 across 600 episodes and counting.
The guys kick off their tour in Texas where the trio will test drive a 1968 Buick Rivera. Rick Harrison’s eye catches an anvil collection. Plus, NFL legend Emmitt Smith helps authenticate his autograph on a stadium seat and photo.
Here Harrison checks in from a break from shooting in Michigan to tell us about his travels.
What has been the turnout like from the stops you’ve had so far?
Rick Harrison: Tons of tons of people. It’s all been a blur. I’ve had about 150 nights in a hotel this year. We’ve had a lot of cool stuff come in, a lot of weird stuff. That’s the great thing about my show. It’s always different. You never know.
What were some places you were most excited to visit?
Detroit was fun because I figured I’d see a lot of cars there, and a lot of people showed up with cars there. Texas was great. Everywhere has been fun and a little bit different. In some of the places we were at we were working so much, I didn’t really get to see much of the town. In general, I’ve had a pretty good time.
How has life been on the road? It’s one thing to be in your store in Las Vegas but another to have a schedule like a traveling musician.
Sometimes it is hard, especially when you have equipment problems and are on set for 14 hours. There are nights when you’ll get to the hotel late and you’re thinking, “Oh well, I guess it’s hotel bar food for the night.” In general, I like it. I’m a workaholic anyway. My kids are always asking, “Dad, when are you going to retire?” You know how nuts I would be if I ever retired.
Is there any point where you and the rest of the guys get sick of each other?
We’ve always been close. We actually don’t get tired of each other. We rib each other a lot and tell jokes, but at the end of the day, we have a good time doing it.
I really am that nerd you see on television. Like if Kim Kardashian sat next to me at a bar, I’d have no idea who it was. I just read books every night and work on my old cars. Emmitt Smith I know because I’ve always been a football fan, but everyone else I rarely know who they are. The guys have to tell me. There are a few others we’ll see this season. [Las Vegas Aces owner] Mark Davis is going to be on the show, too, which is fun. People like that.
How would you describe the state of the pawning and collecting industry in today’s landscape?
It can be a tough time. Just business expenses are through the roof. Just cleaning supplies for example for the pawn shop are up 25 percent in the past two years. I’ve got a bar and a restaurant has gone up. I’ve had to raise my prices as a result. You have some collectibles that are on fire and other ones that aren’t doing as well. It’s not like it was where everyone was getting those checks during COVID because everything was going up in value. Now it’s up and down. I’d say Pokemon is still hot. All the card collecting. Sports cards are still big. The super high-end are getting the prices. The middle stuff is not.
Video games were super hot for a while, but have gone way down. Everyone seems to think collectibles go up forever, but they don’t. A lot of guitars are not bringing what they used to. Fender Nocaster was going for 40 or 50 grand. Now you’re lucky to get 20. The artwork is doing great. It’s just a weird market out there. Also, there is a lot of markets that younger people aren’t getting into, and older people are just collecting. Those are getting a little tough. It’s like everything in the world. It’s whatever is cool at the moment. It’s an up-and-down weird market.
Do you find you have been more selective in recent years?
If the market is going down, I’m going to adjust what I pay for it. For most of these collectibles, there is still a market, but the prices have come down. Then there are pieces shooting up.
What are some of the items you were excited to pick up so far on your trip this season?
I love the extra weird stuff. That 1971 Super Bee was amazing because when I was a kid that was the coolest thing you can have. I bought a harpoon gun from the 1800s. When I was in Salem, I bought a manual from the Inquisition. It was super weird. It’s in Latin. I read a little bit of Latin. There are instructions for exorcism in it. How to identify a witch. Things like that. It was I got a vintage helicopter training game. I bought a portrait of Colonel Sanders. I bought a big chunk of the M off the field at the University of Michigan. With that I figured I could cut into little pieces and sell it because college football fans are kind of crazy.
What can you say about the people you’ve met?
I’ve always been a talkative guy. I talk to everyone. In general, across this country, people are generally great. They are big fans. I’m not the celebrity that will walk away if you want a picture. I take one with everyone because I know it’s a big deal for them. I rarely meet a person I don’t like.
Ever thought of taking the show international?
People have talked about it, but I think logistics would be a nightmare. Plus, I just signed with History to do more episodes of regular Pawn Stars in Vegas. We start that in February.
Doing this for so long, what do you say to people bringing you items? Is there a Holy Grail you’re looking for?
I don’t know what the Holy Grail is. I know it’s a cup. I just try to find something I’m fascinated with. Something cool and rare and has a lot of history to it. Something you think I’ll fall in love with.
I know you’ve been big about using your platform to do some good. Tell me about the great work you do for those who battle epilepsy.
I do a lot of charity work with that. We do an annual Pawn Stars Poker Run in Vegas where we raise $100,000 for the cause every year. When I was a kid I grew up with epilepsy. Even today, it’s sort of taboo. You’re told not to tell anyone. It’s this one disease nobody talks about. When I got a little famous and made a little money, I wanted to do something to help. I just want to help these kids out. One of these days they are going to find a cure, and I want to help do it.
Pawn Stars Do America season 2 premiere, October 25, 8/7c, A&E
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