Reality Tv And The Auction/Antique Business…

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May 28, 2013
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I watch and learn! (most times)

These last few years have seen a number of antique related reality shows hit the air waves, and for the most part, I think they have been beneficial to the auction/antique business. Here are some of my thoughts on the shows that I am sure you have seen as well. Antiques Roadshow: This show hit the airwaves long before the other shows I am going to comment on.  I am not a hard core devotee of the show, but I do watch it when I can and I do like it. It may lead you to believe that $50,000 Tiffany lamps and $100,000 paintings pop up all over the place, and that really is not the case.  In my 30 years in the business I have never even seen a true Tiffany lamp, and if I did see a $100,000 painting I may have walked right by it! Keep in mind that 99% of the stuff people bring in to the show has very little value and of course doesn’t make it to air except at the end of the show in the feedback section.  However they do always uncover some true gems and the appraisals can be jaw dropping, but it does make for interesting television. American Pickers: This is a must see show for me. It is realistic and you can learn by watching the show. Mike and Frank for the most part pick the kind of items you might actually see and have a chance to buy sometime. The old signs, the rusty cast iron pieces, the industrial stuff. It shows the ups and downs of picking, and every time I see the show, I want to hop into my Sprinter van(similar to the one they drive, but I had to pay for mine), and hit the open road and start knocking on doors. However, I could not take the rejection they go through, so I am content to let people come to me with the items they want to sell! Canadian Pickers: The same can be said for the Canadian version, although it did take me a little while to warm up to Scott and Sheldon.  At first I found Scott a little whiney and obnoxious, and it used to annoy me when they would go to a dealer or antique show and complain about not being able to buy.  What kind of picker goes to dealers to buy?  Why would they think dealers are obligated to supply them with merchandise at a price they can turn around and make money on? However, they seemed to get past that,, and now I do enjoy the show. Sheldon can seem a little “wooden” and forced with his on-camera delivery, but overall the show is another good learning experience. Auction Kings: This show is based out of Atlanta Georgia, and I think it is the most realistic auction show I have seen.  It really gives you a good idea of how an auction hall is run, and they do show the ups and downs of the auction business.  Some sellers win big, and unfortunately others lose, and that of course is very true of the auction business.  They don’t seem to shoot a lot of episodes, and it doesn’t seem to have a regular night on the TV schedule.  I catch it now and again, and more often than not, it is a re-run, so I am hoping they have a batch of new shows coming down the pipe soon.  I noticed in the second season they have a new opening and they actually feature the two auctioneers in the opening sequence…about time! Wish they would do a Canadian version of the show. Hmmm…I know an auctioneer who would be interested! Pawn Stars: I really don’t know much about the pawn business,, but I do like this show. Interesting personalities, and very informative. The shop is in Las Vegas, and it has become one of the major tourist attractions in the area!  They now have 1000’s a people a day coming through the store, and they say it is now more of a gift shop than an actual pawn shop.  I know several people who have been to the store, and they say it looks much better and bigger on TV! Storage Wars: Probably the biggest hit show of the buy and sell reality shows, and I do watch it occasionally, but I am not a huge fan. It seems far too staged, and too much emphasis on the personalities involved, but that also is what makes it such a big hit!  They do show them scoring big and of course taking a beating as well, and that again is true to the reality of buying lockers.  I haven’t really been involved in locker auctions, but I do know a few people who are, and they say the show is making it tough for them to buy now.  Locker auctions used to only attract a handful of hard core buyers, but now some of them are packed with “wannabe” storage warriors, and that makes it tough for the people who buy them for a living.  There is a Canadian version of Storage Wars now being shot, and I do know one of the regular participants in the show, and I did have a chance to talk to him about it.  Sounds like it would be great fun being a regular on the show and I look forward to watching it when it hits the Canadian airwaves.
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