Turn on Cable TV and what will you find on a host of channels…so-called Reality TV shows dealing with Antiques & Collectibles.  The Antique Road Show, Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, Auction Hunters…to name just a few.  Each of these shows can make you an instant “expert” on the items you may own, or better yet, can make you wealthy beyond one’s imagination.  It’s just amazing to Judy and I, who have sold thousands of items privately and on the internet, that these shows actually have a following.  I understand that sometimes there are lines outside the pawn store in Vegas that is featured on the show “Pawn Stars”.

What is the “Reality” to these “Reality programs”?  I don’t have a definitive answer but our perception to most of these programs is that they do not even approach “Reality”.  Let’s look at one of the more popular and possibly more legitimate programs, the Antique Road Show.  The show is staged in different cities where individuals can bring valuables to be featured and have experts comment and determine a final appraised value.  The experts have top notch credentials, Christy’s, Sotheby’s etc. and we even saw one from our hometown of Tucson who actually had done an appraisal for one of our clients.  Her appraisal was expensive to our client and did not even include an item that my wife researched and found was made by Tiffany and later we sold for several thousand dollars (some expert).  We also find that the values that are assigned to items appear way too high.  Judy and I often look at each other, roll our eyes and say how about writing a check to me and the item is yours!!

It would appear that many of the shows have plants who do the bidding for the house, to get the prices up; the items are on loan rather than actually being sold/consigned as implied; customers too are plants who intentionally create some turmoil or violence (which may make for good TV, but we doubt is real).  To boot, these shows are also making our work harder.  People watch them and become believers that antiques they may own are worth tons of money.  Often, Judy will ask a potential client, “Do you have any price expectations”?  In many cases the answer is yes and Judy will decline to sell for them.  Also, the prices that are assigned to pieces for sale are exorbitant.  Whatever happened to bargains at garage sales?  Today, not only is the stuff being sole “junk”, but it is expensive “junk” thanks to many of these shows!!

Another thought related to these shows is, why would anyone take certain unique & rare  items to a pawn store where they will be offered the lowest possible price rather than contacting any well known (Sotheby’s) auction house whose costs would be substantially less or sell it on the internet themselves or through a seller like us.  Each to their own, but the people who watch these shows should just open a nice, cold beer and enjoy the entertainment with a skeptical eye.

Published in: on February 6, 2012 at 10:50 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. I wonder if these shows might help convince buyers to pay more for items? If they see something on a show being valued at 3 times what it really should be, perhaps buying for twice what it’s worth will make them feel like they’re getting a bargain. One can only hope, LOL!

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