Say you’re in a bind financially, but you happen to have an Aston Martin parked outside your house. There’s no time to unload it without selling at a low price, and you need a loan fast. The best option might be to think like a guy in a small town hawking his grandmother’s jewelry — you bring your Aston Martin to a pawn shop. Englishman Paul Aitken came up with the idea for a super high-end pawn shop to take advantage of a topsy turvy economy, and so far it’s been a big success. He called his company borro (say “borrow” with a British accent) and it’s currently keeping under lock-and-key vintage convertibles, wine collections, luxury watches, gold bars, diamond rings, fine art and motorcycles. They chill in a storage facility on Long Island as collateral for loans, accruing interest and — if the owner doesn’t pay up — waiting for the auction block.
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Aitken, who started the luxury pawn shop business in London, says he’ll lend out $30 million by the end of the year, helping dads with college tuition problems pay off debts without parting from their Patek Phillipe watches for good.
The average loan is $14,000. But if you happen to have a Picasso, hoist it off the wall, haul it over to borro, and walk away with a nifty hundred grand. Not too shabby.