What is “Old Pawn” and “Dead Pawn”?

Route 66 Indian Arrow BraceletMost relevant, old pawn is the term for goods that Native American Indians, especially the Navajo, bank with a trader at his/her trading post. As a result, they use the value of the jewelry as collateral for necessary purchases.  Consequently, the person who leaves the pawn, redeems their pawn items when they are in need. Ethical traders do not sell the pawn if it is in active use. To prove that a piece of jewelry is truly “old pawn” by definition, one would have to have an accompanying pawn ticket. This ticket would have a description of the jewelry and dates relating to the agreement.

Subsequently, “dead pawn” is the name for jewelry when the pawn’s owner passes away or they do not redeem their jewelry. The pawn shop owner is able to sell this jewelry.

Route 66 Indian Jewelry Lightening BraceletOld Pawn” is a catch phrase in use to sell historic jewelry. The term “old pawn” over time, has become an ambiguous phrase for jewelry collectors who want to buy older jewelry. “Old pawn” is something made for, and worn by, a Native American Indian. Unfortunately, old jewelry materials and designs available on the market today greatly resemble items that are from later decades. As a result, many jewelry collectors have confusion over how old a piece of Native American Indian jewelry actually is.

Unfortunately, a number of today’s dealers mark their jewelry as “old pawn” often along with new printed pawn tickets. This implies that the jewelry on display is genuinely historic. To see what this jewelry looks like, please visit our catalog page.

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