Pawned Overcoats – 1896
This is the first in a series of Odd & Interesting stories from the 19th-century newspapers.
The Daily Telegram
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
October 3, 1896
Topcoats Pawned in Summer
“Twenty thousand overcoats have been taken out of pawn during the past week,” said a pawnbroker to a Chicago Times–Herald reporter. “The cooler weather has forced us to unlock our cedar chests and undo the bundles which have been packed away in camphor. During the next month, unless the weather becomes warmer, as many more overcoats will be taken from the pawnshops.
“No, it is not because they are poverty-stricken that so many men have overcoats in pawn during the summer.There is nothing he should be more likely to ‘soak’ during the summer months than his unnecessary overcoat. At the same time, many of the overcoats are left with us merely that they may be protected against the moths who thrive during the summer and to protect the coats from accumulating dust as they would while lying in closets. A man can pawn his overcoat for $2 and leave it with us until he needs it in the fall and it costs him but 40 cents. Of course, it is a good deal of trouble for us but we are able to make it pay us as well. A great many dress suits are also pawned each summer to preserve them until needed in October since they are worn very little in summer.”