The Pawnbroker Symbol: Origins

The symbol of the Pawnbroker is three spheres suspended from a bar. The three sphere symbol origination is attributed to the Medici family of Florence, Italy, owing to its symbolic meaning of Lombard (Lombard refers to the Italian province of Lombardy, where pawn shop banking originated under the name of Lombard banking). The three golden spheres were originally the symbol that medieval Lombard merchants would hang from the front of their houses, rather than the arms of the Medici family. It has been believed that the spheres originally were three flat yellow statues of gold coins, laid upon a field, but was later converted into the spheres known today to attract attention better.

The Pawnbroker Symbol: Why It's Used

Most European towns called the pawn shop the "Lombard" (after the banking style's original name"). The House of Lombard was a banking family in medieval London, England. According to legend, a Medici employed byCharlemagne (also known as Charles the Great), slew a giant by using three bags of rocks, and resulted in the creation of the family crest. Because the Medicis were such a powerful and successful family in financial, banking, and moneylending industries, other families soon adopted the symbol. Throughout the Middle Ages, coats of arms bore the three balls, orbs, plates, discs, coins and more as symbols of monetary success, where it has slowly made its way to be rooted with good finances, and secured as the symbol of the pawnbroker. Pawnbrokers tend to joke that the three balls mean "Two to one, you won't get your stuff back".
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