Les Gold Net Worth

Written by Ivana Business Leaders

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Net Worth $ 6,000,000
Real name Leslie “Les” Gold
Source of Wealth Pawnbroker career, book authorship, speaking events
Profession Pawnbroker, entrepreneur, author, reality TV star, and media personality
Spouse/Partner Married to Lili Gold
Date of Birth Jun 20, 1950
Zodiac Gemini
Age 72
Gender Male
Height 189 cm / 6 ft 2 inch
Nationality American


Leslie “Les” Gold is a pawnbroker, entrepreneur, best-selling author, and reality TV star. He is a third-generation pawnbroker and owner of the pawnshop American Jewelry and Loan.[1]

Les is also an executive producer of the reality show “Hardcore Pawn,” which showcases the daily operations of his pawnshop. He is the author of the book “For What It's Worth: Business Wisdom from a Pawnbroker,” in which he shares his experience as a self-proclaimed street-level economist on buying, selling, negotiating, and creating a successful business. [2]

Les Gold’s net worth is estimated at $6 million.

Early life and first salesman experience

Les comes from a pawnbroker family. His grandfather was the owner of the business Sam's Loans in Detroit, Michigan (the pawn shop is now turned into a restaurant, "Gold Cash Gold" with a pawn shop concept).

Les’s entrepreneurial spirit showed at a very young age. He made his first sale in his grandfather’s shop at age 7, selling a hydraulic jack. Later, he opened his first business at 12, where he bought pizzas and resold slices to his schoolmates at the Hebrew School.

Fascinated by the thrill and achievement of his early sales, Les continued developing his salesman and negotiation skills and became a pawnbroker.

In 1967, at 17 years old, he started making chain bracelets and necklaces and sold them to the J. L. Hudson Company, a retail department store.


Pawnbroker career

Les opened his own pawn shop, American Jewelry and Loan, in 1979 on 8 Mile Road in Oak Park. He moved the business to its current flagship location at Greenfield Road in Detroit in 1993, in a spacious 50,000 square feet facility.

Today, Les’s pawnbroking business has 5 locations in Michigan - Detroit, Hazel Park, Pontiac, Southgate, and Lincoln Park. It has grown into one of the biggest pawn shops in the US and the world, employing more than 200 people and serving more than 1000 customers daily.

American Jewelry and Loan remains a family business. Les’s son Seth is the general manager and is in charge of marketing, and his daughter Ashley works as an assistant manager.

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Hardcore Pawn and TV reality show appearances

The Detroit business location was used as a backdrop for the truTV reality series based on Les’s family and pawnbroking business - “Hardcore Pawn.”

The reality TV show was created when producer Richard Dominick saw an ad about the pawnshop on The Jerry Springer Show, where he worked. He immediately noticed the potential for a reality show in the business, which he presented to Les’s family.

At first, his son Seth resisted the idea, but thanks to Les’s persistence, they agreed to go on with the reality show.

The pilot aired in 2009; it continued for 9 seasons and lasted 7 years until 2015. The show’s 2010 premiere was viewed by 2 million people, becoming truTV’s most-watched premiere.

The TV show is among the top-two television shows on all cable television shows in its time slot, raking up 3 million views each week.[3]

Gold also appeared on other chat and contestants shows, including “Varney & Company,” “Playboy Morning Show” and “Chopped.”[4]


Gold published his autobiography, “For What It's Worth: Business Wisdom from a Pawnbroker,” in 2013, where he shares his experience building a successful pawnbroking business and business advice.

His book ranked in 4th place on The New York Times Best Seller list in the How-to, Advice, and Miscellaneous category, and in the 8th place in the Hardcover Business Books category in 2013.


Personal life and philanthropy

Les married Lilli Gold in 1975. The couple has two children, Seth and Ashley.

Besides his pawnbroker business, Gold is also an avid philanthropist. He is also part of the Heat And Warmth Fund ("THAW Fund”). The organization helps destitute families cover their electricity and heating bills.

In 2013, Les organized a fundraiser in his store, raising more than $40,000.

As one of the pioneers in the industry, Les frequently appears at speaking events and holds sales training seminars. Les and his family also constantly help Detroit entrepreneurs by providing affordable training and mentorship programs.[5]


Les has also appeared as a guest on numerous media outlets such as The Detroit News, USA Today, Fox Business, and Forbes Magazine. He has spoken on the business and negotiations in several TV shows, including The Today Show, Yahoo! Financial Fit, Good Morning America, and CNN Your Money. [2]

Despite being a world-recognizable pawnbroker, Les stated that family is the most important for him. In his 2013 TED Talk “How bad do you want it?,” he explained how he quit his job at his grandfather’s company, Sam’s Loans, in 1981. His father refused to close the store for the birth of his son, saying that he only closed it for funerals, which greatly upset Les.

However, that event inspired him to open his own pawn shop, American Jewelry and Loan, and grow it into the international brand that it is today.

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Les Gold is a pawnbroker, reality TV star, author, and media personality. He owns the pawn shop American Jewelry and Loan.

He got the international fame thanks to his TV series “Hardcore Pawn,” which features his family and the daily operations of his business. Gold is also a best-selling author of his book “For What It's Worth: Business Wisdom from a Pawnbroker.”

Les’s net worth is estimated at $6 million.


  1. Les Gold (2022) Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Gold (Accessed: December 23, 2022). 

  2. Les Gold (2021) American Jewelry and Loan. Available at: https://pawndetroit.com/les/ (Accessed: December 23, 2022). 

  3. Les Gold - Founder and President - American Jewelry and Loan. Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/leshcp (Accessed: December 23, 2022). 

  4. IMDb (no date) Les Gold, IMDb. IMDb.com. Available at: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3960771/ (Accessed: December 23, 2022). 

  5. Who is Les Gold? Everything You Need to Know (no date) The Famous People. Available at: https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/les-gold-47883.php (Accessed: December 23, 2022).