Pawnshops and moneylenders in fiction are delightfully seedy, and often provide a critical plot element (at least in the sorts of books I enjoy). Think of Beany Malone nervously pawning her engagement ring in Tarry Awhile (and Carlton gallantly retrieving it for her). Another favorite is Sophy Stanton-Lacy's decisive visit to the office of Mr. Goldhanger, the money lender in The Grand Sophy, when she retrieves her cousin's rash pledge. Sophy is the most outrageously assertive heroine of Heyer's and one of my favorites by far. Unlike Beany, she is a brilliant and creative problem solver. Beany is more like the rest of us - she always gets caught.
Edith Layton, an author I have enjoyed since my former boss Brian Heller first handed me one of her novels in 1990, has a short story, The Earl's Nightingale, in one of the Regency Christmas anthologies in which the heroine pawns a music box and it is sold before she can retrieve it (there is a happy ending involving a nobleman who joins with Eliza to recover her precious music box).
In real life, pawnshops are also the background for secrets and stressful situations, and surprisingly the pawnshop continues to be a neighborhood institution in certain areas and is thriving, with about 12,000 in the US currently and there are even tradeshows! As the New York Times states, the pawnshop is a place "[w]here people go to put their jewelry to work for them, sometimes pawning the same item over and over again." It sounded a lot more glamorous in Regency England, alas!