Pawn 101: We buy (almost) anything

So when a customer walked in with a box of old cannon balls and shells, Kamaaina Loan shelled out, so to speak.

Old ordnance has collectible value, but it takes an expert to identify the many varieties.

The collection we have is from the Civil War period and includes a Parrott shell (which was used in a cheap cannon that had a tendency to explode), some round shot and a mortar bomb filled with Minie balls (which are not balls but cylinders) rather than the usual round grapeshot.

As collectibles, cannon balls have the advantage of not needing gentle handling, unlike, say, Meissen china. On the other hand, shells, if filled with powder, can be dangerous. All ours are either solid cast iron or disarmed, so no worries.

In a pawn shop, you never know what will come through the door next.