So after the success of Pawn Stars and American Pickers on History Channel, the trend among cable channels seems to be cashing in (zing!) on shows about found items of value. I’d say it’s working, as personally I enjoy watching these little half-hour snippets of treasure hunting. They appeal to the Ebay addict in me, and make me long for the ability to devote time and money to running my own business buying and selling other people’s crap.
Spike TV has Allen Haff and Ton Jones finding high dollar items at storage locker auctions in Auction Hunters. Ton Jones appears to be simply a part-time actor and animal rescue activist who knows a lot about guns, while Allen Haff actually does have some credibility as an antique dealer for over 20 years who owns a business buying and selling antiques and collectibles. Even with that pedigree though, it’s pretty obvious that Auction Hunters is less than honest. There is a brief disclaimer at the start of every show that says they are “recreations” of the pairs greatest finds. I’m skeptical, as I seriously doubt they find as much stuff in one unit as they usually seem to, and I doubt it’s worth as much as they say. I also have my doubts that the two work as a pair that often, I suspect most of what they’re recreating is Allen Haff’s finds over 20-years as a dealer, and just sticking them into storage lockers for effect. Still, it’s fun in the same way as Pawn Stars, lots of varied items and a little history lesson to go with most of them.
Over on A&E, Storage Wars is a whole different animal. The guys on this show don’t work together, they are at odds (usually). With the exception of Barry (the eccentric collector) they have all also been in bunsiness as storage unit auction buyer for many years. They own and operate thrift stores and consignment stores (one of them very large and profitable), and they seem far more “real” then the Auction Hunters guys. They also aren’t afraid to show losers on this show, with every episode usually highlighting a unit that didn’t work out so well for one of the players. Personally I find this show to be more true to the general nature of such a business (it’s always a gamble), though they still glorify it over much. None of these shows will ever show someone buying a string of losing units or hauling hundreds of pounds of someone else’s useless old crap to the dump. They also gloss over the rats, bugs, rotten food and other nasty surprises that await storage unit buyers.
Despite this, I find both shows fairly entertaining if taken with a grain of salt. Sometimes I have to choke down a derisive laugh, such as when the Auction Hunters gleefully proclaimed an old, unboxed Atari 2600 (with no games) to be worth a cool $250. Uh, you guys been on Ebay lately? :-)
Anybody else watching these or similar shows? Anyone share my vicarious treasure hunting jones while watching these, Pawn Stars and American Pickers?