I may be a little unobservant, but I seem to be seeing fewer and fewer pawnshops around New York City these days. I’m sure there are still some around, but most of what I see are vestigial remnants, like this painted sign at Jamaica and 93rd Avenues in Hollis.
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.
A spectacular example turned up in Harlem in 2014.