Rick Harrison is a Las Vegas businessman and reality television personality, best known as the co-owner of the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, as featured on the History series Pawn Stars. Harrison is co-owner of the pawn shop with his father Richard Benjamin Harrison, which they opened in 1989. Harrison dropped out of high school in order to “pursue his career selling $2000 fake Gucci bags”.
Rick Harrison and his father opened the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop less than two miles from the Las Vegas Strip in 1989. By 2005, Harrison and his father were loaning out about $3 million annually, which brought them about $700,000 in interest income. A year later, in 2006, Harrison was known in Las Vegas as a pawn broker having special sports items that came complete with a story, including a 2001 New England Patriots Super Bowl ring that belonged to American football cornerback Brock Williams. His business also served gamblers who, according to his son, often came in to “pawn something so they have gas to get back home.”
According to Rick Harrison in 2010, the items most often brought into the store are jewelry. Since the inception of Pawn Stars, Harrison’s inventory now has a ratio of 5,000 items pawned per 12,000 overall. In 2010, the National Pawnbrokers Association awarded the Pawnbroker of the Year Award to Harrison for his contributions in enlightening the public about the pawn industry.
Rick Harrison spent four years pitching the idea of making a show about a pawn shop after his shop was featured in the show Insomniac with Dave Attell in 2003, but his efforts did not yield success. In 2008, Brent Montgomery and Colby Gaines of Leftfield Pictures came up with an idea about a reality show based in a Las Vegas pawn shop and approached Harrison. The series was originally pitched to HBO, though the network preferred the series to have been a Taxicab Confessions-style series taking place at the Gold & Silver’s night window. In a February 2009 YouTube video titled “Pawn star$”, Corey Harrison promised to gun down an intruder with a handgun he displayed, and a woman screamed as she was removed from the store after demanding that the wedding ring her husband sold to the shop be returned.
Nancy Dubuc of the History Channel changed the format, which included on-camera experts appraising the items brought into the Gold & Silver as well as personality dynamics of the store’s staff and patrons. Initially to have been titled Pawning History, the program was renamed Pawn Stars at the suggestion of a Leftfield staffer, playing off the term “porn stars” for more marketing appeal. The show features Rick and his father, Richard Harrison (generally referred to on the show as “The Old Man”) along with his son Corey (“Big Hoss”) and Corey’s childhood friend and employee Austin “Chumlee” Russell. In January 2011, Pawn Stars was the highest rated program on the History Channel, and the second-highest rated reality show behind Jersey Shore.
Rick Harrison appeared as himself, alongside his son Corey and Austin “Chumlee” Russel, in “iLost My Head in Vegas”, the November 3, 2012 episode of the American TV series iCarly. Four days later, he appeared as an antique store owner in “The Safe”, the November 7, 2012 episode of the TV series The Middle.
In 2011, Rick Harrison published a biography called License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver. His book reached #22 on The New York Times Best Seller list on June 26, 2011.
How Rick Harrison Made His Money – Businessman and TV Personality
Estimated Net Worth: $6 Million
Birthday: June 26, 1965