HEADLINE: Our Own Pawn Star
SUBHEAD: High End Collectibles and Museum Quality Wares Worth a Visit
By Lee McCain
Be on the lookout for a bright red 2010 Grand Sport Corvette when you're driving the streets of Lake Ozark, Missouri, and when you spot it screaming down the road make sure to tip your hat to Richard Brown and his canine friends, a Red Pomeranian named Elizabeth and a gorgeous pure white German Shepherd called Crystal. Sure as anything they'll be coming or going from Richard's Relic Shack, a museum quality high-end collectibles establishment that has been in business for over a quarter of a century.
"Every day my customers tell me I should charge admission to see all of the fine merchandise we carry," the affable septuagenarian said during our interview. "We carry an extremely diversified inventory ranging from swords, knives, fighting weapons, Native American tribal relics, and of course guns and other valuables of interest to the collector."
Brown also deals in precious metals, high quality coins and currencies, "and finer things like antique glassware; basically, we have something for everybody here."
A REMARKABLE HISTORY
Richard Brown enjoyed a career as a civil service employee working in defense, and in 1960 he began attending gun and collectible shows where he dealt and traded on weekends and other down time he had away from his day job. Brown and his wife, Marilyn (who passed away a few years ago) parlayed that success into the retail store he has operated out of for the past twenty-five years. In addition to the collectibles side of the business, the Brown's embarked on one of the oldest and most respected businesses in the world: Pawn brokering.
"We've been pawnbrokers for many years," Brown related, "and while it's always been a good and steady business, I've never seen it quite like it has been during the recent economic times we've seen."
Pawn brokering at its core is a very straightforward exchange. A person in need of some immediate cash can bring something of value to the broker, who will offer up a loan based upon the value of the object. The broker holds the item in pawn until the owner pays off the loan plus interest, and then the owner reclaims the possession that was held in pawn.
"Pawn brokering provides an honest, reliable service and helps people who would otherwise have no means to secure a short term loan," Brown says. He is also quick to add that the interest rates are much lower than what a bank would charge on a typical credit card. "Way lower!" Brown also notes that since the debut of the A&E network's Pawn Stars television series, the public's perception of what pawn brokers do has gained favor. "We provide our customers with fairness, honesty, and integrity at the highest level," Brown says, "and that's what our customers tell us every day."
Brown is especially proud of the coins, currencies, and precious metals part of the business. "Again, we carry museum quality coins which are a sight to behold, and we also deal in scrap precious metals as well."
Richard's Relic Shack is offering something that Brown and Tammy Greer, his store manager for the past decade, believes the public is going to be very excited about. In fact, it's worth a phone call to Brown or Greer so they can explain all of the details, but in a nutshell customers can bring their precious metals or coins to the store and obtain a determined value for the item against the market price for the precious metal. "Then," according to Brown, "we'll hold the coin or the metal for 90 days. The customer can retrieve the item if they like with adjustments for the value of the piece, plus a small fee. We think, with the holidays approaching, this will really be something our customers will appreciate."
Brown says that he can even negotiate extensions past the 90 days should the customer need the extra time. "We like to do everything we can to let our customers know that we're on their side and that we value them above all else."
To visit Richard's Relic Shack you'll need to get yourself down to 1192 Bagnell Dam Boulevard in Lake Ozark. There's no Web site, e-mail, Facebook page, or cell phone. "I don't even have a computer," Brown chuckles. "I've managed for 75 years without one, and I figure I can go a little longer without all those gadgets."
Oh, he does answer the telephone at (573) 365-6062. And when you talk to him you'll quickly realize that the truest value at this unique and amazing store is Richard Brown himself.
Visit the Bagnell Dam Strip today and say hello to Richard