The Peter Tosh Grammy Story Is Nuttier Than Ever

A Davis Square pawn shop and the family disagree about where the Grammy is.
grammy scout 1

The Grammy and guitar were on display at the LBC Boutique & Loan Pawn Shop this summer. PHOTOS COURTESY OF REENA KARASIN / SCOUT SOMERVILLE

The latest on the Peter Tosh Grammy that materialized inside an unassuming Somerville pawn shop is that it’s… somewhere.

Depending on who you ask, the award for the reggae legend and onetime member of the Wailers is either destined for a new museum in Jamaica, or is currently a conversation piece for a Silicon Valley billionaire.

We wrote about the bizarre saga in August, back when news about the Grammy’s appearance in Davis Square’s LBC Boutique & Loan first surfaced in TMZ and Scout Somerville. The shop’s management said the award and one of Tosh’s guitars had been pawned there by a family member. When the family member failed to pay back a loan, the pawnbroker said, the statue and guitar became LBC’s property, which it proudly showcased inside a glass display case. LBC assistant manager Merion Yohannes, at the time, told Boston the shop’s owner planned to keep it as a showpiece, and would not sell it (it doesn’t help matters that the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences forbids doing so.)

A lot has changed since then.

The Globe took a deep dive into this mysterious episode, and, wow. Here is the latest.

The pawn shop sold the Grammy

Yep, if you ask pawnbroker Michael Bayles, the shop sold the award for a hefty $38,000 to “[o]ne of those bigwigs from Google.” Bayles also apparently has an alias that he sometimes uses, Dylan McDermitt, which has nothing to do with the Grammy, but we felt was an important detail to include.

Or maybe it didn’t

Niambe McIntosh, Tosh’s daughter, tells the Globe that it’s “in possession of the family.” That’s also what one of the overseers of Tosh’s museum say.

Or maybe it sold it to the family

Which is what the police officer in charge of pawn shops in Somerville, Detective Ernest Nadile, says the store’s management told him.

Or maybe it didn’t

“I don’t recall saying that,” Bayles said.

There is no proof of any of this

Neither the Tosh family nor the pawnbroker can prove that they are, in fact, in possession of the Grammy. Bayles, the pawnbroker, said showing proof of the sale to the supposed Google executive would be “corny.” Niambe McIntosh, Tosh’s daughter, invited the Globe reporter to “come down to see the Grammy for yourself at the museum.” The museum that is in Kingston, Jamaica, that is.

The pawn shop is savoring every minute of the debacle

Here is Bayles again, on why he doesn’t need to show proof that he sold the Grammy, via the Globe.

“Boss players don’t need to brag,” said Bayles.

“Our business is exploding because of the worldwide recognition,” Bayles said. “People understand that we got money to spend, and we’re big ballers in the neighborhood.”

“Just like Pawn Stars,” Bayles says in another exchange. “Now our store is famous.”

Is this some kind of ingeniously choreographed stunt, that both boosts the profile of a run-of-the-mill pawn shop and spreads the word about an up-and-coming tourist attraction (the Peter Tosh museum happens to open later this month in Kingston)?

The world may never know.


Spencer Buell Staff Writer at Boston Magazine sbuell@bostonmagazine.com