Old Pawn Research & Discovery Paper

from the 1st lines of the abstract:

Navajo pawn originated in the 1870s as a bartering and banking system altogether
different from straight trading. Pawn gradually developed over decades to become an
important, fully-integrated part of Navajo culture.

A 64 page PDF research study by Billy Kiser
November 1, 2010
National Park Service
Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site



Thank you for sharing. Should be very interesting.


Thanks for sharing. I’m looking forward to reading this.

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Thank you, Steve! I skimmed part of it, but I think I need to read the rest on my laptop, not this little phone screen.

What I read was very interesting. I’ve learned a lot about pawn during my travels in the southwest, and in reading. But this has a lot more detail. It’s also interesting, because I have shopped at Shush Yaz ( in one of the first pics - got a rug, basket and a fav cuff), and at Blair’s Dinnebito Trading Post (Elijah Blair was quoted early on) several times. One of the first places I did a lot of shopping was in Flagg, and it carried a lot of pawn. The owner was amazing, and we practically never saw anyone else in there besides local Navajos when we visited. Along with jewelry, he carried CD’s, books, saddles, and a few guns (along with other stuff). That was where I first encountered pawn jewelry. I have posted on this forum a number of the items I purchased in those shops. My trading post guidebook has been my trustworthy guide on where to shop in the 4 Corners area; the book also has quite a bit of info on the practice of pawn.

Thanks again for posting. Articles like this are what reinforce my frustration with people inaccurately using the word old pawn or even pawn, to sell stuff.


On another interesting note, the Eiteljorg Western Art Museum in Indianapolis, back in the 90’s during their Indian Art Market, used to have shops come in from Gallup, and bring small crates of pawn jewelry. I have numerous tickets from the items I bought. Two of them were from Toby Turpens, which is now Perry Null. I also have the tickets from the items I bought at Shush Yaz.


Looking forward to reading this. Thanks!