For their latest History Channel series, Pawn Stars Do America, Rick Harrison and his assessment team left the comforts of their home base in Las Vegas for a seven-day road trip in Seattle in late July and early August.
This two-hour Seattle episode premieres November 30 at 8 p.m. and features a plethora of local items, including a Kingdome liquor decanter, screen-printed rock posters, locally made Lego creations, a Seattle SuperSonics magazine, a Starbucks period logo from 1987 and Harrison’s favorite find, a Dale Chihuly vase.
“I just love Chihuly. He’s famous in Vegas. Just go to the Bellagio’s lobby,” Harrison said, where Chihuly’s glass sculpture Fiori di Como hangs from the ceiling. “He really took it to another level as far as glass art goes. … As far as artists who blow glass go, he’s the guy.”
Chihuly’s work doesn’t stay in Harrison’s pawn shop for long.
“It’s selling really fast and for a ridiculous amount of money,” Harrison said. “The art collectibles market has been on fire for the past few years because of all this free money in the economy, and Chihuly is one of those things that people definitely want to acquire, and that stuff is hard to come by now.”
The road trip and extended running time give this iteration of Pawn Stars more of an antiques roadshow vibe. But the Pawn Stars team doesn’t just rate local items, they take it a step further than Antiques Roadshow by buying some of them. Harrison said he spent about $100,000 in Seattle but managed to pack it all into a truck to ship back to his world-famous gold and silver pawn shop in Las Vegas.
“We have real money changing hands,” Harrison said, but he didn’t pay “ridiculous prices.” “I’ve seen many times at the Antiques Roadshow that the prices could be a bit inflated.”
According to Harrison, the idea of a road trip series came after filming season 19 of Pawn Stars, which debuted on History Channel this year.
“We wanted to do something epic,” Harrison said. “We came up with the idea of just making a completely different series.”
Pawn Stars Do America was located at the Canvas Event Space, 3412 Fourth Ave. S. A, where Rick Harrison, Corey Harrison and Austin “Chumlee” Russell greeted members of the public who came with heirlooms they hoped to sell.
The show also drew on some local experts, including Mike Ball of Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar, Lego expert Brandon Griffith and Billy O’Neill of Glass Eye Studio.
“Billy and I had spoken to him on the phone a couple of times and I got to know him a bit before we came to Seattle,” said Rick Harrison. “His studio is amazing.”
Other highlights of the Seattle episode include a trip to Pike Place Market to catch fish and an attempt at glassblowing at Glass Eye in Fremont.
“I did a terrible job blowing a masterpiece of modern art,” Harrison said. “I actually kept it. It’s a stain. It was supposed to be a vase, but mine was starting to fall apart. I didn’t spin it fast enough. There is definitely a learning curve and anyone who thinks they can just blow glass has a different story ahead of them. A lot of skill is required there.”