Columbus Did you know that a pawnshop nearly financed the discovery of America? In 1492 a desperate Christopher Columbus made a final appeal to Queen Isabella of Portugal, beseeching her to finance his voyage across the Atlantic to find the West Indies. She answered saying: "I will assume the undertaking for the crown of Castille, and am ready to pawn my jewels to defray the expense of it, if the funds in the treasure prove insufficient." King Ferdinand stepped in and funded the venture from the treasury and Queen Isabella kept her jewels handy for the next emergency. As Queen Isabella knew, property with value is like cash in hand.
The Least Known Legend One of the least known origins that has been researched is the coin known as the "Silver Shekel" or "Shekel of Israel" which was issued in A.D. 68 after a Jewish revolt against the Romans. One side of the coin depicted three pomegranates, with a common stalk.