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DIRIGO STORIES: Portland shop pawns its way onto national television

Joe Stinson, owner of Stinson & Company in Portland, will appear on three episodes of "Pawn Stars" on The History Channel starting January 22 (WGME).

PORTLAND (WGME) – A pawn shop in Portland has wheeled and dealed its way onto national television.

Joe Stinson, owner of Stinson & Company on Forest Avenue, will appear on three episodes of the reality series “Pawn Stars” starting on January 22.

“It was great. The producers were great,” said Stinson.

Stinson caught the producer’s eye over the summer with a 1920’s salesman sample of an Old Town Canoe. Stinson says he can sell the 4-foot canoe for $25,000.

“You can’t even go down the river in it!” he joked.

Stinson didn’t end up pawning the canoe because once they got to talking, he says the show’s producers were more interested in some of his other items.

On the episode airing January 22 -- the show’s 500th -- Stinson will try to sell them a 2013 Red Sox World Series championship ring he bought directly from the team’s athletic trainer.

During two subsequent episodes, Stinson is selling an 1856 chronometer that sailed on ships during the Civil War and a Frank Sinatra bronze medallion ticket. Stinson says only 500 were made for one of Sinatra’s shows in Las Vegas.

“Every day is a treasure hunt,” said Stinson.

Stinson worked for years at Twin City Gold in Biddeford before opening his own pawn shop with his wife, Julie, four years ago.

“You could pick up anything off the shelf and he could tell you where he got it from, who he got it from, how much he paid for it, what it's worth, and the history behind it,” said Julie Stinson.

A love of history inspired Joe Stinson to get into the pawn shop business.

“I could care less about school, but in history class? I loved history.”

Stinson is a high school drop out who hustled through different jobs, driving cabs and playing bass in a rock band. He found his gift of gab was a perfect fit for a pawn shop.

“There's a lot of money in this business, and that's why it took me 17 years to save enough money to open a shop,” he said.

Stinson has an eclectic collection. His shop features antique items from sculptures to silver to a’ 61 Fender guitar. At an auction he recently bought a dress worn by Penny Marshall on the 1970’s sitcom “Laverne and Shirley.”

“I never thought I’d be buying dresses at an auction!” Stinson joked.

While he’s proud of his “stuff,” as his wife Julie calls it, Stinson says everything’s for sale.

“I'll sell the watch off my wrist and go put another one on,” he said. “It's just things!”

Stinson’s episode of “Pawn Stars” airs January 22 at 10 p.m. on The History Channel.

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