Monday, February 25, 2013

Pawnbrokers And The Three Balls

At work we had a discussion about Pawnbrokers.  I said that they are represented by three balls, nobody over here had heard of this, but this is common knowledge in Europe.

Most European towns called the pawn shop the "Lombard". The House of Lombard was a banking family in medieval London, England. According to legend, a Medici employed by Charlemagne slew a giant using three bags of rocks. The three ball symbol became the family crest. Since the Medicis were so successful in the financial, banking, and money lending industries, other families also adopted the symbol. Throughout the Middle Ages, coats of arms bore three balls, orbs, plates, discs, coins and more as symbols of monetary success. Pawnbrokers (and their detractors) joke that the three balls mean "Two to one, you won't get your stuff back"



  1. That's so fascinating! I always wondered what the symbolism of the three balls was. There's a pawnbroker in Glasgow that has about a hundred sets of them, both dangling and also painted on the side of the shop.

  2. That's interesting. Still have pawnbrokers but not many have the 3 balls outside or call themselves pawnbrokers.


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