Interview with ‘Posh Pawns’ James Constantinou
James Constantinou is managing director of Prestige Pawnbroker and is the kingpin of ‘Posh Pawn’ on Channel 4.
What is the most expensive item you have pawned?
We have appraised works by the artist Turner valued at 20M along with Jets, a Helicopter (featured on the pilot show) yachts and some amazing pieces of jewellery.
How important is money to you?
Money is important I can’t deny that, it keeps the cogs turning, but it definitely doesn’t rule me. I enjoy business and the dealing far more than the making of money.
Do you think people in general have too many unnecessary items? Are people that have to pawn greedy in the first place?
People who have material possessions have had pleasure from the purchase and may still be getting pleasure from owning them…Who am I to judge. I love fast cars but they are not a necessity, I purchased because they put a smile on my face, I guess it’s the same sort of smile you get when you purchase a designer handbag or a piece of art. Passion can’t be measured in financial terms.
How has becoming a famous face on television changed you?
I would like to think I’m unchanged…In fact I would be upset if I was told being on television had changed me.
Has your model of pawning expensive goods been copied anywhere else in the world?
I think the whole pawn broking industry has woken up, thanks to what we have achieved through the TV show the industry has realised that their business models needed changing and enhancing in respect of the service they provided to their customers. The industry was run by families that had gone through very little change since the Victorian times but if they wanted to compete they have realised they need to modernise. They can compete with the banking sector by looking at other assets as a form of borrowing thus giving their clients more options when it comes to raising capital. Without a doubt our competitors are following our business model and are trying to compete in our sector.
What are your restaurants of choice in Surrey?
When it comes to food I like good honest home cooking…Nothing too fancy, Piccolinos in Virginia water is a favourite, it has a great ambiance and the food is great. I also have a weak spot for a good curry house.
How much travel do you have to do with your work? How do you keep fit and healthy?
Work is manic so we often see clients all over Europe but we have stores in Richmond, Weybridge, Hatton Garden and recently Manchester so I’ve had to become very mobile with work and it is 100 mph at the moment but I enjoy the buzz from being so hectic.
I play football and squash, both are a great cardio workout as well as being a release from the stresses of work.
If you want to have a great day then what 5 things do you like to do?
Go to a great restaurant
Watch a good movie
A long drive in the sunshine with the roof down
A cuddle on the sofa
A really interesting email enquiry
What advice would you give to a school pupil that wants to be rich and famous? How important is it to do well at school?
I would advocate doing well at school and learning as much as possible…Kids are like sponges and soak it all up. Unfortunately I was the opposite, I rebelled against anything that tried to get me to conform and as a result my education process ended prematurely. I often wonder what may have been if I had been more attentive during my schooling. I can’t complain how it turned out but having an education can only improve the likelihood of you doing well in business. Definitely follow your dreams and always be involved in something you enjoy…Life is too short.