UPCOMING EVENTS

  • 02/01/15 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   01/31-02/01/15 - Morphy Auctions...   02/01/15 - Barry S. Slosberg, Inc....   02/02/15 - C & M Auctioneers...   02/03/15 - Uniques & Antiques Auction Sales, Inc....   02/04/15 - Wilson's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   02/05/15 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   02/4-6/15 - James D. Julia, Inc....   02/06/15 - Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   02/07/15 - Rentzels Auction Service, Inc....   02/07/15 - Blums...   02/07/15 - Maurer's Auctions...   02/07/15 - Robert H. Cllinton & Co., Inc. & Hahn Auction Co....   02/07/15 - Dean R. Arner...   02/07/15 - Probst Family Auctions...   02/07/15 - Nevin B. Rentzel...   02/07/15 - John M. Hess Auction Service...   02/07/15 - Witman Auctioneers, Inc....   02/07/15 - John F. Kohler, Jr., & Heather Kohler Fowler...   02/07/15 - Cabin Fever Auctions...   02/07/15 - Dotta Auction Co., Inc....   02/07/15 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   02/08/15 - Traver's Auctions...   02/08/15 - Dean R. Arner...   02/08/15 - Lawrence Antique Gallery...   02/09/15 - Boltz Auction Company...   02/11/15 - Diefenderfer Auction Co., LLC...   02/11/15 - Cabin Fever Auctions...   02/11/15 - Sellersville Auction LLC...   02/12/15 - Christiana Auction Gallery...   02/10 & 2/12/15 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   02/06-13/15 - Boltz Auction Company...   02/14/15 - Stermer's Auction Service...   02/14/15 - Wiederseim Associates, Inc....   02/14/15 - Glen Miller Auction Company...   02/14/15 - Pa. OnSite Auction Co....   02/13-14/15 - Horst Auctioneers...   02/14/15 - Jim Wroda Auctions...   02/14-15/15 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   02/14-15/15 - Morphy Auctions...   02/21/15 - Conestoga Auction Company...   03/04/15 - Embassy Auctions International...   
  • 02/01/15 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   01/31-02/01/15 - Morphy Auctions...   02/01/15 - Barry S. Slosberg, Inc....   02/02/15 - C & M Auctioneers...   02/03/15 - Uniques & Antiques Auction Sales, Inc....   02/04/15 - Wilson's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   02/05/15 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   02/4-6/15 - James D. Julia, Inc....   02/06/15 - Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   02/07/15 - Rentzels Auction Service, Inc....   02/07/15 - Blums...   02/07/15 - Maurer's Auctions...   02/07/15 - Robert H. Cllinton & Co., Inc. & Hahn Auction Co....   02/07/15 - Dean R. Arner...   02/07/15 - Probst Family Auctions...   02/07/15 - Nevin B. Rentzel...   02/07/15 - John M. Hess Auction Service...   02/07/15 - Witman Auctioneers, Inc....   02/07/15 - John F. Kohler, Jr., & Heather Kohler Fowler...   02/07/15 - Cabin Fever Auctions...   02/07/15 - Dotta Auction Co., Inc....   02/07/15 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   02/08/15 - Traver's Auctions...   02/08/15 - Dean R. Arner...   02/08/15 - Lawrence Antique Gallery...   02/09/15 - Boltz Auction Company...   02/11/15 - Diefenderfer Auction Co., LLC...   02/11/15 - Cabin Fever Auctions...   02/11/15 - Sellersville Auction LLC...   02/12/15 - Christiana Auction Gallery...   02/10 & 2/12/15 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   02/06-13/15 - Boltz Auction Company...   02/14/15 - Stermer's Auction Service...   02/14/15 - Wiederseim Associates, Inc....   02/14/15 - Glen Miller Auction Company...   02/14/15 - Pa. OnSite Auction Co....   02/13-14/15 - Horst Auctioneers...   02/14/15 - Jim Wroda Auctions...   02/14-15/15 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   02/14-15/15 - Morphy Auctions...   02/21/15 - Conestoga Auction Company...   03/04/15 - Embassy Auctions International...   
  • 02/01/15 - Costea's Auction Gallery...   01/31-02/01/15 - Morphy Auctions...   02/01/15 - Barry S. Slosberg, Inc....   02/02/15 - C & M Auctioneers...   02/03/15 - Uniques & Antiques Auction Sales, Inc....   02/04/15 - Wilson's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   02/05/15 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   02/4-6/15 - James D. Julia, Inc....   02/06/15 - Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers...   02/07/15 - Rentzels Auction Service, Inc....   02/07/15 - Blums...   02/07/15 - Maurer's Auctions...   02/07/15 - Robert H. Cllinton & Co., Inc. & Hahn Auction Co....   02/07/15 - Dean R. Arner...   02/07/15 - Probst Family Auctions...   02/07/15 - Nevin B. Rentzel...   02/07/15 - John M. Hess Auction Service...   02/07/15 - Witman Auctioneers, Inc....   02/07/15 - John F. Kohler, Jr., & Heather Kohler Fowler...   02/07/15 - Cabin Fever Auctions...   02/07/15 - Dotta Auction Co., Inc....   02/07/15 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   02/08/15 - Traver's Auctions...   02/08/15 - Dean R. Arner...   02/08/15 - Lawrence Antique Gallery...   02/09/15 - Boltz Auction Company...   02/11/15 - Diefenderfer Auction Co., LLC...   02/11/15 - Cabin Fever Auctions...   02/11/15 - Sellersville Auction LLC...   02/12/15 - Christiana Auction Gallery...   02/10 & 2/12/15 - Alderfer Auction & Appraisal...   02/06-13/15 - Boltz Auction Company...   02/14/15 - Stermer's Auction Service...   02/14/15 - Wiederseim Associates, Inc....   02/14/15 - Glen Miller Auction Company...   02/14/15 - Pa. OnSite Auction Co....   02/13-14/15 - Horst Auctioneers...   02/14/15 - Jim Wroda Auctions...   02/14-15/15 - Cordier Auctions & Appraisals...   02/14-15/15 - Morphy Auctions...   02/21/15 - Conestoga Auction Company...   03/04/15 - Embassy Auctions International...   
Reality Television And The Antiques And Collectibles Trade Part II: The Impact

January 26, 2015 Updated January 29, 2015

Reality Television And The Antiques And Collectibles Trade Part II: The Impact

By Shawn Surmick

In my last article, titled "Reality Television and the Antiques and Collectibles Trade Part I: The Boom Arrives," I gave an overview of various reality television shows that focus on the subject of the antiques and collectibles trade. In this article I plan to examine the direct impact these shows have had and their effect on the trade overall. I will look at several shows specifically that perfectly address what we are seeing in the overall market. We begin our adventure back in December of 2013.
On a cold and blistery morning I headed to my favorite auction gallery nestled in the heart of Adamstown, Pa. Morphy Auctions is well known in the antiques and collectibles trade as one of the best auction houses that caters to a growing roster of various antiques and collectibles. One of their most popular categories is that of vintage advertising, and they have numerous specialty auctions devoted to the subject throughout the year.
While on the surface this auction would appear to be no different than any other, by the end of this two-day event it would be clear that the vintage advertising category was one of the hottest areas of the greater antiques market. This would be one of the very few auctions where I actually came home with nothing to show for my attendance. By the end of the two-day sale a multitude of various price records would be broken across all areas of the vintage advertising category. There was the vintage tin Nugrape soda sign that tapped out at over $1,000, the cardboard Whistle Soda advertising display that went for over $30,000, and various other signs, posters, and tin trays that sold for well more than their pre-auction price estimates. By the time all was said and done some attendees were left wondering what they had just witnessed. I spoke to more than one auctiongoer who was in utter disbelief over some of the prices being achieved across all areas of vintage advertising. Still, in the back of my mind, I already knew that these price trends were here to stay and part of the reason was due to what was being shown on television screens all across living rooms each and every week.
As discussed in my last article, when "American Pickers" premiered in 2010 it became a certified smash hit and the second time lightning would strike for the History Channel after the success of "Pawn Stars." The show gave viewers a rare inside look at what goes on behind the scenes in the antiques and collectibles trade. Vintage advertising was almost as much a star of the show as the two pickers themselves. Even today with each new passing episode I am still constantly being engaged in heated discussions with friends and co-workers who are not even active within the overall antiques and collectibles trade. Statements like "'Did you see that cool Coke advertising sign on last night's episode?" or "I would love to have that incredible Moxie sign!" have become quite common. On Internet forums the buzz is clearly evident with comments like "Who knew that vintage advertising signs could be such a great investment!" This has all helped solidify the legitimacy of the vintage advertising market and breathe new life into the marketplace. At a time when the whole economy was on fragile ground collectors and speculators entered the trade in droves with reality television being one of the catalysts for this explosion. To this day vintage advertising prices across the board continue to climb upward with "American Pickers" being cited as one of the reasons for so many new collectors entering the market.
After the massive success of History Channel's "Pawn Stars," it was clear that there was a very large market for television shows dedicated solely to the antiques and collectibles trade. By 2010, numerous shows were continually appearing or already in the works. It was at this time that the A&E Network began to heavily promote a new reality show based on the business of buying delinquent storage unit lockers. The show was heavily promoted and premiered on Dec. 1, 2010. Up until that point the business of buying delinquent and abandoned storage units was a well-kept secret from most of the general public. With a remarkable and entertaining cast of characters "Storage Wars" found a way into the hearts and television sets of millions of viewers on a weekly basis. The first season came under heavy fire for continually showcasing finds that were deemed unrealistic by most in the business. While most of this criticism went unheard, the effect the show had on viewers everywhere permeated through the media and well into cyberspace. By 2012, the amount of Americans attending storage unit auctions increased exponentially, with some auctioneers reporting attendance at levels close to four to five times the average. Units that once sold for only a few hundred dollars were now selling well into the thousands of dollars and "how to get rich quick" gurus continued to exploit the gullible public into thinking that if they bought their book or video they too could learn all the secrets of making it in this business regardless of the increased competition at these kinds of auctions.
By 2014, "Storage Wars" would come under heavy suspicion that most of their so called great finds may have been planted thanks in part to a lawsuit from one of its disgruntled cast members. This had virtually no effect, however, on the countless millions who continue to think that buying delinquent storage units is a valid road to wealth. As someone who dabbled in bidding on various storage units in the early 2000s, I can assure you it is not. You are more likely to find common household products and worthless furniture in most units, with very few yielding higher end antiques and collectibles. Sad to say but most people who rent storage units are not secret collectors of valuable antiques, but rather average people just looking for extra storage space.
Ironically, another show on the A&E Network that was also airing during at this time would show just how attached to their possessions some people were. "Hoarders" was another popular reality television show that would air from 2009 to 2013. "Hoarders" allowed viewers a secret look into the world of hoarding and its devastating effects. While not really a reality show devoted to antiques and collectibles per se, "Hoarders" showed the dark side of human nature and what happens when materialism and obsession meet. “Hoarders,” too, was not without its fair share of critics. The show, however, ended its run in 2013 while "Storage Wars" is still going strong today.
In my next article I will look at several other reality television shows and their effect on the overall antiques and collectibles trade. I will also look at the future of this genre and what is still to come. Until then it is back to watching reruns of "Toy Hunter."


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