"A financier is a pawnbroker with imagination” is credited to the playwright Arthur Wing Pinero (1855-1934). This is slightly incorrect. In Pinero’s play, Iris (1901), one character asks, “What is a financier, exactly?” Another character answers, “A financier? Oh, a pawnbroker with imagination.”
The word “financier” is sometimes replaced with “banker” ("a banker is a pawnbroker with imagination").
Wikipedia: Arthur Wing Pinero
Sir Arthur Wing Pinero (24 May 1855 - 23 November 1934) was an English actor and later an important dramatist and stage director.
28 September 1901, The Academy, pg. 251, col. 2:
Small witticisms, mild epigrams fall naturally, and it is not Mr. Pinero’s fault that the audience should laugh loudly at “England, land of lean women and snug men,” or “A financier is a pawnbroker with imagination.”
9 November 1901, Evening Post (Wellington, NZ), supplement, pg. 5:
MR. PINERO’S NEW PLAY.
Mr. A. W. Pinero’s new play, “Iris,” produced at the Garrick Theatre, London on 25th September, was eagerly looked for and heartily received.
This is the story, and it is told with all Mr. Pinero’s restraint, wit, and supreme stagecraft. The gloom of the play us relieved by lines of epigrammatic sparkle, such as the remark that “A financier is a pawnbroker with imagination,” “An ideal club secretary is a fellow who sees that the members have every opportunity for grumbling and no cause,” and so on.
Iris: a drama in five acts
By Arthur W. Pinero
London: W. Heinemann
What is a financier, exactly?
A financier? Oh, a pawnbroker with imagination.
The Collectivist State in the Making
By Albert Emil Davies
London: G. Bell & sons, ltd.
Banker and Pawnbroker.—These conveniences may rightly be classed together, for a banker has been well defined as a pawnbroker with imagination.
The 2500 greatest business quotes from Aristotle to DeLorean
By Robert Warren Kent
New York, NY: Pocket Books
A financier is a pawnbroker with imagination.
Arthur Wing Pinero (1855-1934)
The Second Mrs. Tanqueray, 1893 (This is incorrect—ed.)
New York City • Banking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Monday, February 06, 2012 • Permalink