TRES HUEVOS, 8th Avenue

My title refers to a nickname radio legend Don Imus gave himself awhile back because he was born with three testicles instead of the usual complement. I may be a little unobservant, but I seem to be seeing fewer and fewer pawnshops around New York City these days, so this one on 8th avenue and West 34th in the shadow of Penn Station stands out for me. Perhaps some readers might not be familiar with the symbol at all.

There are two traditional pawnbroker signs, one shown here suspended from a shaft over the sidewalk, and another one on the vertical neon “LOANS” sign on the marquee.

This traditional symbol originated in the Middle Ages in the Italian province of Italy, where pawnshop banking originated and practitioners suspended three gold spheres, supposedly imitative of gold coins, above their shops. The symbol came to be associated with the Medici family, which adopted it as their family crest.

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5 Responses to TRES HUEVOS, 8th Avenue

  1. chris says:

    It seemed to there were a lot of pawnshops on lower 3rd ave. when I was
    a kid but I could be wrong

  2. Amy Wise says:

    The three gold spheres is half of the original Medici family crest of six. The family split after a dispute, divided their wealth, and their crest, in half. One half, in a scheme to raise money, began offering small loans for collateral, and used what was left of their good name as their operation’s symbol.

  3. gary says:

    I remember going to this pawnshop with my mother when she purchased a used portable Smith-Corona typewriter (remember those), and then riding the 8th Avenue bus uptown to 153rd Street.

  4. gary says:

    Oh, I forgot to include the year I remember my visit to this pawnshop. It was 1963.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Does anybody remember the words to the song he sung when he did the tress huevos skit?

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