Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Are They Right?

First, NO! I am not recanting. A few weeks ago I wrote about the spate of new television shows, American Pickers, Pawn Stars and the host of new auction shows. I was overall on the negative side in my review of the shows. What I said in the review was true. But what has the net effect really been?

Amazing! The number of people attending auctions and storage locker sales has increased ten fold. For years I have been attending storage locker sales and typically the crowd of attendees rarely went over 10 bidders. Today I attended a storage locker sale, that had a total of 4 units, and over 200 bidders showed up. Unbelievable! Over 200!

Initially my reaction was "My God you have to be kidding. This many bidders is going to make it impossible for me to buy anything." Well that didn't happen. The units brought the same amount that they always do.

Second reaction, curiosity. That's right, I figured that they had all seen the shows and just plain wanted to see what it was all about. Today, they got a good dose. Four units that were filled with what could best be described as a bunch of crap. I do not deny that you can make money on these storage sales, if you couldn't I would not be going. But like I said before you need to go through a bunch of them before you get one good one.

Third reaction, the new bidders were hoping to get rich quick. Watching these shows leads one to believe that these storage units are just teeming with tons of great stuff that is worth massive amounts of money. Today, they were disappointed.

Fourth reaction, FANTASTIC! Fantastic? I just spent two full blogs knocking these stupid shows. FANTASTIC. Around here business has been particularly poor. For the first time in over 3 years people were excited about something in Youngstown, Ohio. It didn't involve a murder scene or a burning building, it was a simple storage locker sale. Two hundred people attended a piece of crap storage auction sale, fantastic!

What it really means is there is hope for this business. These shows for all of the nonsense and impossible expectations that they raise have generated genuine interest in the business again. I really hope that the interest continues and that better prices for everything are just around the corner. The depression / recession / or whatever we are calling nowadays has really hurt the antiques and collectibles market. Is this sudden boon in attendees going to bring about an end to slumping sales? Probably not, at least not by itself, but it certainly helps in creating interest in the business again.

Sorry, about the photo quality. It was 5:10 in the evening and it was taken on a cell phone.


  1. That's so wild. Ironically after I talked to you last night, I got back to my apartment to find that there was a Storage Wars marathon going on. I wasn't impressed. The bidders seemed like big weenies to me, and apart from one guy finding some baseball cards (big whoop), it seemed like a whole lotta junk.

    I DO think that current design trends along with these television shows are making antiques more in vogue to people in my age bracket, which can only be a good thing (right?).

    No matter how you swing it though, 200 people in the freezing cold for a storage unit sale? Unbelievable!

  2. I went to an auction today that had well over 50 people. The number of people trying to cram in to an indoor hallway is crazy.

    I've always wanted to go to these auctions, but I have to admit it was these shows that got me off the couch and in the way of the veterans.

  3. Thanks for the response. My advice to anyone who is interested in this type of auction is be patient. The lookers will eventually disappear and with a little practical experience you will soon be one of the veterans.