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Oliver Brown
Rob Greig

Quit your job, become a... pawnbroker

Written by
Time Out London contributor

Oliver Brown, 27, account manager, New Bond Street Pawnbrokers

When did you get into porn, sorry, pawn?

'It was around three years ago. I was working in finance and just wanted a change. A family friend introduced me to the pawnbroking business.'

You specialise in a particular form of pawnbroking, right?

'We deal with high-end items for wealthy clients. We also take interesting items and memorabilia. We have a phone that belonged to Elvis [pictured]. It's actually inscribed "E.P. Private". I specialise in cars. Most of our customers are asset-rich but cash-poor. They need funds for a short period - they have to pay staff fees, maybe - so they use their collateral. With regards to cars, we take anything over the value of £50,000. Our business works on interest.'

Do you occasionally feel a bit bad that someone has had to pawn their clobber?

'We try to keep it professional and don't tend to ask personal questions. We really only deal with individuals who have had the opportunity to purchase the sort of items we handle, so, really, our clients understand the terms and service we are providing.'

Let's talk numbers: impress us.

'We had a very rare Ferrari Lusso, which was worth about £650,000 in 2006. The largest individual loan since I've been working here was in excess of £2 million for a private art portfolio.'

What's the hardest bit of the job?

'I'd say the hardest thing is making a decision on the spot. You need to be on the ball with market values. People don't want you to call back in a day; they want an immediate answer. They've got their items and they're ready to go. They're coming to us as experts, so we've got to perform.'

Is there a life after pawn?

'I can't see myself doing anything else at present, no. I like the work because it's fast-flowing. It's different every day. I mean, I love cars - they're my passion - but you get to see art, jewellery and antiques that a lot of people would never get to see in their life.'

Hours: 40-50hrs p/w

Starting salary: around £25k

Qualifications: nothing but common sense

Interview by Sammy Robson

Or why not become a perfumer?

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