Les Gold

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Les Gold
Leslie Gold

(1950-06-20) June 20, 1950 (age 71)
  • Pawnbroker
  • reality TV star
  • author
  • speaker
TelevisionHardcore Pawn
Spouse(s)Lili Gold[1]: iii  (1975–present)
ChildrenAshley Gold
Seth Gold
RelativesKaren Mitchell (niece)

Leslie Gold (born June 20, 1950) is an American pawnbroker, reality TV star, author, and media personality.[1][2][3] He is known for his role on cable and satellite television truTV's reality series, Hardcore Pawn.

Early life and career[edit]

Leslie "Les" Gold, is a third generation pawnbroker/salesman, the grandson of a Jewish pawnbroker who once owned company "Sam's Loans", a now-defunct pawnshop on Michigan Avenue in Detroit, Michigan.[4] Sam's Loans was where Gold made his first sale, at age 7.[5][6] (The Sam's Loans building is in the process of being remodeled into a pawn shop-themed restaurant, to be called "Gold Cash Gold".[7]) He has been married to Lilli Gold since 1975.

Gold began his first business at age 12, buying pizzas and reselling them by the slice to fellow students at Hebrew School.[2] Gold opened his own pawn shop, American Jewelry and Loan, in 1978, at the Green Eight Shopping Center on 8 Mile Road in Oak Park.[8] In 1993 he moved it to its present location on Greenfield Road in Detroit near 8 Mile - a 50,000 square foot building that was formerly a bowling alley. The business now has 3 locations,[9] employs up to 200 people[10] and serves about 1,000 customers a day.[6][11]

Hardcore Pawn[edit]

Gold, his family, and his pawn shops are central to the truTV series Hardcore Pawn.

In 1998, independent producer Richard Dominick saw Gold's TV ads which ran during the local commercial breaks of The Jerry Springer Show, which Dominick was working on at the time. He saw potential in Les and his business as a reality TV show and approached the Gold family with this idea. Les's son, Seth, was initially reluctant, but Les overruled him and agreed to let the cameras in. The pilot aired in late 2009. Dominick is now the series co-executive producer with Mike Gamson.[5] Les and Seth Gold were also credited as executive producers, beginning with the third season.[12]

The series premiere (August 16, 2010) attracted two million viewers, thus setting a record as truTV's most-watched premiere.[8][13] As of June 2013, the viewership exceeded 3 million.[2]


Gold's autobiography, For What It's Worth: Business Wisdom from a Pawnbroker, was published on June 1, 2013 by Penguin/Portfolio. The book deals with his personal experience in establishing a successful pawn shop, and gives details on how he did it, and how anyone in any field can "think like a pawnbroker".[1] Writing for Forbes, fellow entrepreneur Josh Linkner explains how he has learned from Gold's advice.[14]

The book ranked #4 on The New York Times Best Seller list in the Advice, How-to, and Miscellaneous category for the week of June 30, 2013,[15] and #8 in the Hardcover Business Books category for the month of July 2013.[16]

Gold, the book, and his "three simple steps to successful negotiation" were featured on ABC's Good Morning America on June 18, 2013.[17][18]


Gold supports The Heat And Warmth Fund ("THAW Fund"), which helps local families pay their heat and electricity bills. In February 2013, a fund-raising party dubbed "Hardcore THAW" was held after-hours in his store and raised more than $40,000 for the organization.[5][19]


  1. ^ a b c Gold, Les (2013). For What It's Worth: Business Wisdom from a Pawnbroker. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-101-62155-4. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "For What It's Worth: Business Wisdom from a Pawnbroker". Publishers' Weekly. June 6, 2013. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  3. ^ "Booking Inquiries". Pawn Detroit. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  4. ^ "Gold at Gunpoint". Hardcore Pawn. September 27, 2010. truTV.
  5. ^ a b c Marechal, AJ; Horst, Carole (April 10, 2013). "Family Drama and Thousands of Clients Draw Millions of Eyeballs and a Ratings Hit for Niche Net". Variety. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Lagorio, Christine (June 24, 2013). "What The Pawnbroker Knows". Inc. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  7. ^ Beshouri, Paul (April 17, 2014). "Gold Cash Gold Blows Out Facade, Remod Marches Forward". Curbed Detroit.
  8. ^ a b Hammerstein, B.J. (August 15, 2010). "Masters of pawn get a reality check". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on January 8, 2011. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  9. ^ https://pawndetroit.com/contact/
  10. ^ https://www.linkedin.com/company/american-jewelry-and-loan/about/
  11. ^ Gunelius, Susan (August 22, 2011). "Meet Hardcore Pawn's Leading Lady: Ashley Broad". Forbes. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  12. ^ Per the credits on IMDB's entry for Hardcore Pawn.
  13. ^ Cassell, Karen (August 17, 2010). "'Hardcore Pawn' Delivers 2 Million Viewers, Setting New Record as truTV's Most-Watched Series Premiere Ever" (Press release). Time Warner. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  14. ^ Linkner, Josh (June 18, 2013). "For What It's Worth: 6 Pieces Of Advice From A Hardcore Pawnbroker". Forbes. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  15. ^ "The New York Times Best Sellers: Advice, How-to, and Miscellaneous: June 30, 2013". The New York Times. June 30, 2013. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  16. ^ "The New York Times Best Sellers: Hardcover Business Books: July 7, 2013". The New York Times. July 7, 2013. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  17. ^ Les, Gold (July 3, 2013). "Les Gold: Three Simple Steps to Successful Negotiation". Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  18. ^ "'Hardcore Pawn's' Les Gold's Tips for Buyers, Sellers". Good Morning America. ABC. June 18, 2013. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  19. ^ Hammerstein, B.J. (February 7–13, 2013). "'Hardcore Pawn' bash to benefit THAW" (PDF). Detroit Free Press. Retrieved July 7, 2013.