History Of Pawn
In the west, pawnbroking existed in the Ancient Greek and Roman Empires. Most contemporary Western law on the subject is derived from the Roman jurisprudence. As the empire spread its culture, pawnbroking went with it. Likewise, in the East, the business model existed in China 3000 years ago no different than today, through the ages strictly regulated by Imperial or other authorities.
Modern pawnbroker storefront. In spite of early Roman Catholic Church prohibitions against charging interest on loans, there is some evidence that the Franciscans were permitted to begin the practice as an aid to the poor. Pawnbrokerage arrived in England with William the Conqueror, but known by the Italian name, Lombard. In 1338, Edward III pawned his jewels to raise money for his war with France. King Henry V did much the same in 1415. The Lombards were not a popular class, and Henry VII harried them a good deal. In the very first year of James I Stuart an Act against Brokers was passed and remained on the statute-book until Queen Victoria had been on the throne thirty-five years. It was aimed at the many counterfeit brokers in London. This type of broker was evidently regarded as a fence. It is also known that Queen Isabella of Spain pawned her jewelry in order to send Christopher Columbus out to what he believed was the Indies.
Provident Loan Society of New York, a charitable pawnbroker A similar system was used during the Crusades. Crusaders, predominantly in France, brokered their land holdings to monasteries and diocese for funds to provide supply, transit and outfitting for the Holy Land. Instead of outright repayment the Church reaped a certain amount of crop returns for a certain amount of seasons, which could additionally be re-exchanged in a type of equity.