With the exception of live sports, most notably college football, I’m not much of a TV watcher. I just can’t sit still long enough for it. But I do go through bouts of guilty pleasures.

Hi, my name is Eddie. I like Pawn Stars.

To me, it’s a humorous and attention-holding mash-up: Call it the Antiques Roadshow meets grey market economy. I almost always learn something by watching each show, and even though I suspect the negotiations are largely scripted, it’s fun watching the time-tested pawn process assign market values to yesterday’s attic junk.

I’m particularly intrigued by some of the really old books that show up. If you’ve watched the show, you know that the pawn shop owners typically bring in experts to (roughly) appraise items of possible high worth. Rebecca Romney, their local rare books expert, has made several appearances on the show. I’ve seen her identify a first English edition of Walden and even debunk the claim of a Shoeless Joe Jackson signature in a copy of Say it Ain’t So, Joe! [1]

Speaking of Rebecca Romney, she writes a fascinating blog, Aldine, about classic books.

Reality TV isn’t so bad I guess.

  1. Because Jackson was illiterate, his signature is extremely rare and consequently one of the most valuable sports signatures of all time.  ↩