These days, you don’t need to go to the museum to see a Picasso. Instead, you might just head to a nearby pawn shop.

Forget dusty shops crammed with wedding rings and stereos that offer $100 loans. Today, pawn shops everywhere are accepting pricey items, from sports cars to priceless art, in exchange for loans worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

High-end pawn shops make money just like regular pawn shops.  They offer a high-interest loan while holding onto one of your possessions. If you don’t repay the loan in the agreed time, the pawned item goes up for sale. The only difference is that instead of pawning a lower-ticket item, like an old TV, today’s customers are pawning Rolexes, Ferraris, and high-end Ducati motorcycles.

So, why’s there a boom in fancy pawn shops?

Experts say that wealthy people and business owners used to easily get large loans from banks. But in today’s busted economy, it’s harder to get a loan. So, if someone needs money ASAP - say to make payroll for your small business, or finance a renovation project - they turn to the pawn shop.

For example, one man we read about needed a $15,000 loan to pay his employees. He couldn’t get a line of credit from the bank, so he pawned an expensive motorcycle. 

Even though the shop charged him a sky-high 50 percent interest rate, he was grateful to get the money right away so he could pay his employees, and keep his business going.

But know this. If you desperately need a loan, your best bet is to find a bank that’ll give you one. That’s because pawn shops can charge up to 100 percent interest. So, it should be your last resort.