A pawnshop is a business that is licensed to give you cash using your merchandise as collateral to secure the loan.
Pawnbroking is the oldest method of collateral lending. It dates back over 3,000 years ago in China. However, pawnbroking was made more distinguishable in the Middle Ages by the Medici family in Italy and the Lombards in England. They were money lenders and bankers in Europe.
The universal symbol of pawnbroking is the three gold balls that was part of the Medici family crest. Legend has it that one of the Medicis, working for Emperor Charles the Great, fought a giant and slew him with three sacks of rocks. The three balls of gold later became part of their crest and since they were money lenders, it became the symbol of pawnbroking.