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NEW YORK — Walk into the Suttons & Robertsons showroom on the East Side of Manhattan and it looks like any other high-end retailer or auction house: necklaces glitter with diamonds, sapphires and emeralds fill display cases, and sterling silver knives, forks, and spoons sit on a wooden table fit for a monarch. In the private room in back are bigger, shinier versions of the jewels out front.
High on the wall is a coat of arms bearing the likenesses of two lions, with the date of the company’s founding underneath: 1770. Only on closer inspection does it become clear that between the lions are three balls dangling from a hook — the international symbol for a pawnbroker.