I would have to think owning a pawnshop in Beverly Hills would be exciting. At the same time I wonder who in Beverly Hills would need to pawn their items? Apparently quite a few, and the things they bring into Yossi Dina's store are nothing short of amazing!
Dina is the main character in Reelz hit series, Beverly Hills Pawn. The show debuted in 2013 and has been gaining a loyal fan base ever since. Dina and his staff valuate fine jewelry and other Hollywood memorabilia brought in by an array of customers experiencing divorce and failed businesses. Let's just say, it's not your typical pawn store.
I caught up with Dina between customers and learned what one would collect when you constantly have your hands on the best of the best...
I've been a dealer since 1991. I specialize in 20th Century design, Fine Art, Wristwatches and Cars. I started out as a collector. I became a dealer when selling some of the earlier things I collected to upgrade the collection. Some dealers think you can't be a collector, and a dealer too. I feel you can't sell things you don't have a passion for. Tell me your position.
I am a dealer and collector of art and watches. I believe collecting led me to being a better dealer and vice versa. At some point, a collection becomes saturated and you need to branch out to another area. You tend to upgrade to go to the next genre and when you reach the top of the ladder, you ultimately become a dealer to liquidate and pursue other avenues.
In the 30 years you've been in the business, what was the best thing someone ever brought into the pawn shop?
There have been too many thrilling things that have come in the store to isolate just one. But if I must, a Lana Turner ruby and diamond Art Deco bracelet that I purchased and kept for a long time. When you can't have the woman, you fall in love with the piece.
Your passion was for fine art and jewelry was ignited when you were in the Israeli Army and on a secret mission. Tell me more!
I got my love of art when working for the government in Paris. Paris is a walking city and I was exposed to art, architecture and museums such as the Louvre and Jeu de Paume.
If your home caught fire and you had time to save just one thing from your collection, what would it be?
A Basquiat that I love. Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat's talent of expressing the dichotomy of the wealthy vs. the poor, segregation and inner and outer turmoil speaks to my business sense. All of my watches I keep in the bank.
Do you remember the first item you bought for your collection, and do you still have it today?
I still have a very rare Patek Philippe watch. I don't want to elaborate because collectors will want to purchase it from me and I don't want to be tempted!
Tune in to Reelz on Sunday's for the next episode of Beverly Hills Pawn