17 Feb Inside Beverly Hills Pawn | Yossi Dina
Three signatures and a thumbprint.
That’s all it takes to get a loan from Beverly Hills Pawn. Of course, most of the items pawned are worth thousands, (if not millions), of dollars and most of the clientele are celebrities.
The Dina Collection is famous for lending fabulously large sums of money in exchange for pricey collateral to wealthy patrons in need of quick cash, but it’s also one of the best places in Los Angeles to get a great bargain on Estate jewelry, watches and fine, original art. In addition to the extraordinarily elegant Estate jewelry including signed pieces by Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels and Tiffany, The Dina Collection offers a dazzling assortment of diamonds and engagement rings, from fancy yellow and cushion cut diamonds to every size and shape.
Dina offers one of the largest collections of watches by Patek Philipe, Rolex , Audemars Piquet and Cartier. And, says Dina, “If you don’t see it, I’ll get it for you, at the best price available.” The Dina Collection also offers an incomparable selection of original art by such renowned artists as Picasso, Chagall, Dali, Kandinksy, Warhol and works by 19th century old masters. Dina is one of only a few pawnbrokers in the country who gives loans on art…up to a million dollars.
The Dina Collection has also been giving collateral loans for over 25 years. Loans are made against jewelry including gold, diamonds, watches as well as fine art and automobiles. No loan is too large or too small. Terms are four month cycles which are fully renewable.
Tritia Le interviews Yossi Dina and Dominique from The Dina Collection
Yossi: This pawnshop is different from any place else. Does it look to you like a pawnshop? It’s a gallery, jewelry store. It’s like Rodeo Drive in one place. We have Cartier, Hermes, Van Cleef, Harry Winston…
I’ve been in the business for 35 years and built a clientele based on trust. We trade a lot – we buy, we sell – and we give loans. So if you need to make a movie and you need half a million dollars, you give us your Picasso and you have half a million dollars immediately.
Dominique: It wasn’t always like that. Yossi is the people’s pawnbroker. He used to go door to door, selling jewelry. He grew with his clients over the years.
He bases his business on a family style, so we really know our clients intimately – from birth to death for many of them – and they feel very comfortable when they are here.
Tritia: Tell us about your clients
Yossi: I have all sorts of clients. Some are worth billions of dollars, and some are like me, they survive by working for a living.
I will buy anything I can, and I sell anything. I don’t fall in love with the pieces.
Tritia: Are they some things that came with a great story and you decided to hold on to them?
Yossi: I have a lot of stuff I try to keep but I always have a customer who convinces me that I have to sell it.
Dominique: There’s a necklace we’ve had here for so long I swear he’s going to marry it. He’s so in love with it! He won’t take any amount of money for it.
Yossi: I think it’s an amazing piece, not just the value of the diamond. I see it as a piece of art. I need someone to really appreciate this piece.
Dominique: He’s like a matchmaker of jewelry. He’s really expert in placing items with people. We’re in the nexus of Beverly Hills and we have a lot of wealthy clients. They buy from Tiffany and Cartier and when they tire of it, they can’t go back there, and they don’t want to make it public – so they have a confidential place where they come and make their deals with him, not necessarily on the showroom floor. They are escorted into his backroom office..
Dominique: And they pay to make a statement. Next to real estate in this area, watches and art are really top investments. We just had (boxer) Floyd Mayweather in today looking for watches.
Dominique: We sell a lot of Hermés Birkin handbags. What I really want to tell women is that you get a better deal here. It’s a great investment. And it’s ‘divorce proof’. Men will take back jewelry but they will not go into your closet to get your shoes and your bags. Invest in Birkin bags. They fetch $25,000 to $30,000 per bag.
Yossi: People who come to us – they can be very wealthy but they need money NOW. They want $500,000. You go to the bank, it takes 2-3 weeks.
Dominique: …and this much paperwork. Ours is one sheet. It’s 3 signatures and a thumbprint, and you’re done!
Yossi: What’s special about our business – we don’t try to take advantage of people because we get people at their worst time, and we work with that. I will not foreclose on a piece. I will work with the guy.
If you love what you do, you always do well. love what I do. It’s a passion.
Tritia: How much of the show is real?
Yossi: It’s not scripted. It’s the most real reality show. Sometimes we add a story. If you put a camera in my office, it would be the best show America could have. But I can’t do that because people want privacy. They don’t want to be seen. There are a lot of stories you will never hear about.
Yossi: You go to any store in Beverly Hills to buy jewelry and you’re paying crazy money. You know how people know they are paying crazy money? When I buy it from them.
Dominique: You know when you buy a car and the second you drive off the lot it depreciates in value? It’s the same with retail jewelry. Once they walk out of the shop the price has already devalued. You’re better off to buy Estate.
Tritia: What’s the best story about one of your items?
Yossi: The book of Lawrence of Arabia that I sold for a couple of million dollars. A guy came to me with the book and wanted to borrow $150,000 to invest in the stock market. It was from the grandson from the person that owned the Huntington Museum. There was eventually a dispute about the ownership of the book between the museum and Pepperdine University, who thought they owned the book as well.
He never paid the loan so I sold the book at auction and split the money 3 ways, the museum, the university and me.
Tritia: What is the most historic piece you ever received?
Yossi: The flag from the raid on Entebbe. They tore a sheet and colored it on the fly, to represent the Ugandan flag so they could drive through the airport to make the rescue.
The most expensive piece was a $14 million painting to a customer in South Korea, and I also sold a watch for $1.8 million.
Beverly Hills Pawn can be seen on the Reelz Channel
The Dina Collection
249-251 S. Beverly Dr. Beverly Hills, CA 90212.