Silver Dollar Jewelry & Pawn :: Tulsa, OK :: A Brief History of Pawnbroking
A brief history of pawnbroking
Pawnbroking is often considered the world's oldest financial institution, with its origins traced back to ancient China 3,000 years ago. Since then, pawning has been a source of capital for people of all types in times of need, including royalty. During the Middle Ages and since, royalty such as King Edward III of England and Queen Isabella of Spain have used pawnbrokers to help finance their countries ventures. The Bible even refers to pawnbroking in Deuteronomy 24:6, saying "No one shall take a mill or an upper millstone in pledge, for that would be taking a life in pledge" (ESV). Later in Deuteronomy, it continues with rules for collecting the pledge and charging interest.
Many people recognize the three gold balls as the symbol of a pawnbroker. There are several stories about its origins. One of the most popular states that one of the Medici family members, who were moneylenders in Europe, slew a giant with three sacks of rocks, and the three balls later was incorporated into their family crest. As time progressed, the symbol became associated with pawnbroking itself.
(Paraphrased from National Pawnbrokers Association)