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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pawn my word!!!

“Pawn my word!!”



No I haven’t lost my mind or my ability to spell. I decided to explore the history of pawn shops and the mysterious three golden balls. How did it all happen? I read a small article some place and decided I wanted to know more, so here’s the gist of what I uncovered. A curious mind can be a real bother.
One theory is that the three golden balls go back to the medieval days of the Medicis. Lenders and financiers, and extremely wealthy, the three balls were on their crest. Others borrowed the symbol in an effort to look stable, and the three balls soon came to identify the financial elite. An alternate theory is the three ball symbol is like that which Lombard bankers hung in front of their houses. In any case, when Italian pawnbrokers opened offices abroad, the three golden balls went with them. Pawn broking itself dates even further back, as Queen Isabel is supposed to have pawned her jewels to finance Columbus and his journeys.
But it was in practice long before that, Mosaic law forbade any lender from making profit from a poor borrower. In China the pawnshop dates back approximately three thousand years. Borrowers could not be charged more than 3% interest, and could take three years to redeem their property. It was common in Greece and Rome. Pawn shops really took off in medieval Europe, with Italy having a history of decrees for and against the pawnshop, regulating the booming trade. Charging interest became legal in the sixteenth century. Rates favored the pawnbroker in too many cases and the pawnbroker’s license law was passed in 1785. Efforts were made to protect the pawnee, and are still being updated throughout the world. The three golden balls are the universal symbol of a pawnshop.
Pawnbroking has gone through many phases, but in our country it is thoroughly regulated and a fun place to shop. If you like jewelry it’s a great place to check out for bargains. But be sure to examine carefully any piece that interests you. No returns allowed is the general rule.
But as I say, it can be fun. 
And now a small excerpt from Stormy Pursuit, the second in my Passionate Pursuit series from Ellora’s Cave. More soon, as the third is on its way and the fourth and fifth are written.

Quinn walked slowly to the parlor, not ready to face Max and his accusing eyes. As she walked down the hall, her heart beating faster, she tried to regain the calm that had fled at just the mention of his name. She suddenly decided to give him one fact.

She might as well tell him of her Elfin heritage. And perhaps discussing that would divert some of his anger. And delay his finding out what she couldn’t bear his knowing, that she wrote the articles he thought seditious.

He was standing in the middle of the room, facing the door. He refused to sit down. Not a good sign.

Quinn walked in, her hand outstretched. He touched her fingers but didn’t shake them. Her treacherous heart bounced in her chest at the slight touch, and she lowered her eyes. In no way did she want him to see the effect he had on her.

“I’m happy to see you, Chief Inspector,” she murmured. “How nice of you to call.”

He shot her a disgusted look. “Don’t be coy, Lady Quinby. You know very well this is not a nice call.”

11 comments:

Tina Donahue said...

Fascinating blog, Jean. Love the cover of your book. :)

Nicole Morgan said...

I love this blog! I have to admit I don't visit pawn shops often, but I am intrigued with them. They're kind of like antique shops in a way. Even second hand stores, and there's no telling what gems you can find hidden in those! :)

jean hart stewart said...

Thanks Tina and Nicole. I was afraid my rat trap of a mind had turned out something that wouldn't appeal. Love to learn anything new.

jean hart stewart said...

Nicole, I have a second hand store near me where I get jig-saw puzzles for 2 dollars or less. I'm a jig-saw puzzle hippee.

Katalina Leon said...

Fascinating post Jean!

jean hart stewart said...

Thanks Kat. I was nervous about trying something so different.

lotusblossom@gmail.com said...

Fun facts. Glad to see something new.

jean hart stewart said...

Thanks to everyone... g'night. Jean

Ann Herrick said...

Interesting article! Pawn shops can be really fascinating places.

jean hart stewart said...

It's Sunday morning and I just caught up with your comment, Ann. Yes, a good responsible pawnshop is fun. Haven't been to one for a while so I"m due to go soon....

Sandy said...

Interesting history about pawn shops, Jean. I love your cover and excerpt.

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