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Duluthian noticed for faith-filled collection, to be featured on ‘Pawn Stars’

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DULUTH, MN -- Father Richard Kunst, otherwise known as "Father Rich" of St. James Church in Duluth, always had a knack for collecting.

"When I was a kid I collected celebrity autographs," said Father Rich.

His faith and desire later grew into papal artifacts, which are important items connected to former Popes and the Catholic faith.

"It's always been a fascination of mine," Father Rich added.

After collecting for the past 25 years, Father Rich now has thousands of items tucked away all around the Duluth area.

"I've got every pope since 1886, one of their skullcaps, I've got vestments of popes, documents that they've signed. I got a document from every pope since 1623," said Father Rich.

The papal artifacts bring out the human side of the popes, connecting them with people, said Father Rich.

"For people that are Catholic that really take the faith seriously. They see these things and are kind of blown away," Father Rich added.

His collection is unofficially the largest papal artifact collection in the world, outside of the Vatican. Being so, it received attention from the hit TV show "Pawn Stars."

"I've never been to Vegas so I said, I only want to go to Vegas for one reason: to see the 'Pawn Stars' show," said Father Rich.

Father Rich worked with the show for the past 11 years as an adviser to their main expert.

"They refer to him as the beard of knowledge, so when anything something Catholic or Papal comes into the show, he'll give me a call or sends photos and I give him my two cents. He either uses it or doesn't use it," said Father Rich.

On Monday, Father Rich will be featured as a hopeful seller.

"I also offered them a ring, a papal ring from the 15th century, a papal zucchetto Pope Pius the 12th [wore]," said Father Rich.

As for how much money he got, if any at all, and what he sold? Father Rich didn't want to spoil it for the viewers.

"I'll let the people watch and see but I was fine with what they paid," he added.

You can catch Father Rich's episode of Pawn Stars at 10 p.m. Monday on the History Channel.

Lyanne Valdez

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