Category - Storage Auction Reality

Texas Car Wars

Texas Car Wars

Texas Car Wars premiered on September 6th on Discovery Channel. Following the successful formula of similar shows before it, this program delves into the car flipping industry. Four body shops compete in car auctions in Austin, Texas to find junkers that can be rebuilt and resold at a profit. In this way, the show is equal parts Storage Wars and American Choppers, showing the purchase, renovation and resale of cars bought at auction.

Texas is one of the best states for car flipping. There are more unregistered and salvaged cars in the state than anywhere else in the country, and public auctions happen frequently in Austin salvage yards. While many cars can be bought at a low price through one of these auctions, true auction hunters – and the cast of Texas Car Wars – are usually looking for old classics that can be restored to sell at top dollar.

Auto auctions generally sell vehicles that have been damaged in accidents or salvaged. The auctions also include cars that have been impounded or abandoned and unclaimed. This makes auto auctions a veritable grab-bag of junkers and working vehicles. Finding the gem in the rough takes a person with a keen eye and lots of experience in the industry; it also takes someone with access to a body shop that can quickly and skillfully restore classic autos. This makes for exciting television, but it does make things harder for amateurs looking to get into the business.

If you're thinking of getting involved in the car flipping business, it's a good idea to start slow and work your way up. As with any type of auction, you should set a spending limit, research your purchases and don't buy anything you don't have the time and money to restore.

So, what do you think of Texas Car Wars? Leave your interesting and creative responses in the comments section below.

Barter Kings – How This Show Can Help Storage Auction Buyers

barter kings

Treasure-hunting programs are popular on television right now, and A&E's new series Barter Kings combines that successful formula with the popular interest in frugality for a new twist. Antonio Palazzola and Steve McHugh are two California residents who “trade up” – bartering items for those worth slightly more without exchanging any currency.

Palazzola and McHugh have been business partners for 25 years, and they have plenty of experience in the art of trading. According to the show, bartering is a $12 billion dollar business in the U.S., although that figure is hard to confirm since no money exchanges hands. Nevertheless, with enough time and eager traders, bartering can lead from small, insignificant items giving way to larger and more impressive finds.

Barter Kings is already under scrutiny from some critics, both inside and outside of the bartering industry. The traders on the show find their bartering partners through Craigslist, a network that often yields people who don't know what they're doing or how much their items are worth. Combined with the theme of “trading up,” many critics believe that the show presents an ideal of unfairness.

Some critics have also expressed doubts as to the realism of the show, not quite believing that people would be willing to make the trades on the show. Doubts about the realism of a reality TV show are nothing new, and it's probably safe to assume that the program is carefully edited to make it look good; nonetheless, Palazzola and McHugh are professional barterers and have managed to do this for a long time, so you can be assured that they're still mostly successful off-camera.

The notion of bartering isn't new, of course, and it's grown in public awareness since the publication of One Red Paperclip, a book about a man who started with a paperclip and traded his way up to a house. The author, Kyle McDonald, is a Canadian who started trading online. It took him about a year to trade up to his house, and he was fortunate enough to secure both some very valuable trades and some rare celebrity opportunities, making his path more difficult for others to follow.

It is possible for regular people to barter successfully. Bartering is also a valuable strategy for people in the resale business. When done correctly, trading can benefit both parties involved. If you're already a frequent visitor of storage auctions, you've probably begun to develop a network of bidders and collectors. These same people may be very interested in trading with you if you get something they want. Here are a few ways auction hunters can benefit from trading:

Trade whole storage units after they've been won.

If you have an item you're not sure of how to sell, check on Craigslist or other bartering sites to see if anyone is looking for it. You might be surprised at what you can find.

Trade with people who have things that you want but didn't get from the auction.

Trade items that you're having a hard time selling. You might have an easier time finding someone to trade with than someone willing to pay in cash.

These are just a few strategies you can employ. You can start small by trading with fellow auction- hunters and expand to sites like Craigslist or specialized trading sites. As you get more familiar with your fellow traders, you can begin making more adventurous trades. You never know what you might end up with!

Dr. Morris “Moe” Prigoff Bio

Dr Morris Moe Prigoff

As a practicing podiatrist and owner of two businesses, Dr. Morris Prigoff certainly stays busy. Morris, or as he's more commonly called, “Moe,” has been a member of the Storage Wars Texas team since the first episode in December of 2011. Since then, he's made quite an impression thanks to his naturally charming and flamboyant personality; he's the fan favorite of many and helps bring a new personality to the team.

Dr. Morris graduated from Syracuse University and left to study medicine in Cleveland. He's been a practicing podiatrist, or foot doctor, for the past 40 years. Among his many patients have been professional athletes from the Dallas hockey and basketball teams. Somehow, amid the time he spends performing surgeries, running his antiques business and hunting storage auctions, he still has enough time to be an active lecturer and publish several podiatric papers.

The doctor has an eye for fashion and collects antiques and art to stock both a gallery and his boutique shop, “River Regency Modern.” He's been collecting antiques for more than 30 years and has developed an impeccable eye for good taste and valuables. He's been in the resale business for about 10 years. His non-valuable finds get piled in his backyard, much to the annoyance of his wife.

Unlike other auction hunters, Moe isn't interested in quantity so much as he is quality. The items he sells in his boutique shop are extremely valuable, and he doesn't bother with smaller items. The strategy has paid off. His participation on Storage Wars Texas combined with the profits of his businesses has made him worth an impressive $4 million, a figure bound to rise.

Moe is also responsible for bringing new cast member Mary Padian on board the show. Moe is a regular shopper at her store, Mary's Finds, and encouraged her to come out auction hunting in season one; she's now a full-time member of the auction team and part of the duo that replaced Jerry Simpson and Lesa Lewis this season.

Are The Storage Auction Reality Shows Staged?

Although entertaining, the storage auctions reality shows do not depict storage auctions accurately. Auction Hunters is a little far-fetched, showing some incredible finds in almost every episode. Not that you couldn't find items similar to what they have found, it just doesn't happen quite that often. I believe that the producers recognized the things being said about the program and decided to respond to the comments directly through the content in the first episode of the second season, in which, they were very direct when informing the audience that most storage units contain common items. Storage Hunters is a joke, with all of it's fights and expletives. Storage Wars is a little more believable, although the drama lately is getting a little thick. Keep in mind that these shows must be entertaining otherwise they wouldn't be on the air for long. They are showing their best finds, and who knows how many storage units they had to purchase before they found one worthy to be put on television. If you are new to the storage auction scene, take these shows with a grain of salt.

Allen Haff Bio

Allen Haff stars opposite Ton Jones in Spike TV's hit show Auction Hunters. When compared to his burly, tattooed partner, Allen seems conspicuously clean-cut, and this is part of the success of the duo's on-screen appeal. As a celebrity, Allen Haff is estimated to be worth about $1 million, and with Auction Hunters renewed for a fourth season, he's bound to gain in popularity.

Allen was born in Michigan, where he grew up and went to college before moving to California in the early 2000s. A second-generation antiques dealer, Allen has been in the business for more than 20 years. He paid his way through college by buying and trading antiques, and he built his antiques business at the age of 24. He was also an early eBay pioneer, buying and selling rare items before the site grew to the prominence it holds today.

Given his long history in the antiques business, it's little surprise that Allen found a niche in auction hunting. He opened Hollywood & Vintage, a shop specializing in Hollywood collectibles and memorabilia, in 2008, and stocks the shop with items from storage auctions, estate sales, yard sales and more.

Prior to his work on Auction Hunters, Allen appeared on several reality TV shows including My House is Worth What?? And Clean House. He's also hosted several awards shows and served as an extra for television and film spots.

When not searching for hidden treasures at auctions and estate sales, Allen Haff is a devoted animal lover. Indeed, he shares this passion with his co-star Ton Jones. Allen is a regular donor to several major animal charities, and he rescues and fosters strays out of his own home as well.

Ton Jones Bio

Ton Jones

Clinton Jones, more commonly known as “Ton” by fans, is part of a duo of storage unit buyers appearing on the show Auction Hunters. The show airs on Spike TV and is has been renewed for its fourth season. Ton's participation on Auction Hunters has helped launch him into celebrity status and helped earn his celebrity net worth of over $1 million. Before becoming a celebrity auction hunter, however, Ton Jones already had an interesting and diverse life.

Ton grew up in Antelope Valley, California, where he began fostering an early interest in collectors items. Specifically, his interests are in guns, knives, swords and other weaponry. He's also knowledgeable about rare jewelry and coins. In 2005, he discovered the world of auction hunting and realized that his background as a collector and hobbyist made him uniquely qualified to turn a profit on valuables found in storage auctions.

When not auction hunting, Ton is an outdoors man and animal wrangler. He's passionate about wildlife, and he volunteers in his free time at Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Phelan, California. The sanctuary is a private charity organization that rescues and rehabilitates captive-bred wild animals like big cats and exotic birds. Ton's particularly passionate about reptiles, and he helps handle the rehabilitated cobras, rattlesnakes and other venomous snakes that come through the gates of the sanctuary.

As an animal wrangler, Ton has appeared on multiple different TV programs including Pitbulls and Parolees and several episodes of I Was Bitten. He's also an avid UFC fan, and always tries to find time in his day to watch a fight no matter how busy his schedule may be.

Baggage Battles – Unclaimed Baggage Auctions

Baggage Battles

Baggage Battles is a new new reality television show about the relatively unknown business of unclaimed baggage auctions. Have you or has someone you know ever lost a bag at the airport? Do you want to know what eventually happened to it? Millions of bags are lost every year at airports around the world. Typically, if a bag is not claimed within 6 months, it is moved to another location and sold at public auction.

Baggage Battles premiers on the Travel Chanel on April 11th, 2012 at 10:00 PM ET/PT with back to back episodes taped in Miami and London. You might even recognize a couple of the cast members on this new show. Laurence and Sally Martin, the antique store owners seen helping Barry & Darrell on Storage Wars, will be two of the 4 main participants on the show. They have owned Studio Antiques in El Segundo, California for over 20 years. Other cast members include Billy Leroy, who owns Billy's Antiques and Props,  in New York City and Mark Meyer, who is a young entrepreneur and owner of  the Nifty Thrifty store in Long Island.

Baggage Battles explores the lucrative business of bidding, buying and reselling unclaimed baggage. This special niche requires them to attend multiple auctions and buy hundreds of bags. When they're bidding on these bags, they have no idea what's inside. They have to rely on their instincts to determine which bags may be profitable and which bags most likely contain worthless clothing or junk. They don't know if they hit the jackpot until they win they win the bid and open the suitcase.

When Storage Wars and Auction Hunters first premiered, people who saw the shows flocked to storage auctions across the country. These shows created a modern day "gold rush". This increase in buyers caused the bids on storage units to reach record levels because people thought that every unit contained hidden treasures like the ones seen on the shows. I think it will be interesting to see if Baggage Battles will have the same effect on the baggage auction business as Storage Wars and Auction Hunters had on the storage auction business. Either way, this should a great niche for auction goers, entrepreneurs and web developers.

So, what do you think of Baggage Battles? Leave your interesting and creative responses below.

Storage Wars Texas: Unexpected Meet with Bubba


Let me start out by apologizing for the photo. I had to take it quickly while Bubba was sleeping. I'm just kidding. He was awake, but this is what you get when you try to take a photo in a hurry with your camera phone. I guess it's better than no picture at all, right?

All kidding aside, I was at a small auction in Killeen, TX on September 21, 2011 and there were only a handful of people there. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the city of Killeen; it is a medium sized town located next to Fort Hood, which is about 250 miles southwest of Dallas.

Right before the auction, I was in the managers office when I overheard someone claiming they were going to be on Storage Wars Texas. Even though he was wearing sunglasses and a ball cap, I realized that it was Bubba Smith, one of the guys on the show, Storage Wars Unlocked.

"If you can't beat them, you might as well join them."
I talked to him and he is a pretty nice guy. Bubba was very humble and down to earth. I sort of got the feeling that he was worried that others felt that he was selling out. He kept saying, "If you can't beat them, you might as well join them."

As though he was trying to justify his participation in the show.  I'm sure he has received some criticism from the regulars in the Dallas area. Bubba, if you're reading this, nobody blames you for what happened to the storage auction business. The damage was done way before you came along.

Bubba did mention that Storage Wars Texas will premiere in December. When I asked how much they were being compensated per episode, he had no comment.

There were only two units at the auction and the same lady paid retail for both of them. Bubba then left by himself in a 10-12 year old, burgundy Ford F-150. I'm sure he'll be driving a Corvette soon!

Please leave your insightful opinion about this accidental meet with Bubba in the comment box below.

American Restoration -Educational For Storage Unit Buyers

american restoration

One of my favorite new shows is History Channel's American Restoration featuring Rick Dale, who regularly appeared on Pawn Stars. Rick Dale takes rusty, beat-up items and restores them to their original glory. The show is quite entertaining and could be used as an educational tool for storage auction buyers.

Shows like American Pickers, Pawn Stars, Baggage Battles, Auction Hunters, Auction Kings, Storage Wars, American Restoration & Desert Car Kings, all have one common element. They offer a free education on the history and value of vintage and antique items. For those in the storage auction business, learning about vintage and antique items is a must.

Finding antique and vintage items in a storage unit is a fairly common occurrence. Being able to identify these items and knowing their value is essential. However, knowing the value isn't enough. A lot of the vintage and antique items that you will come across in storage auctions, need to be refurbished. You will need to know what these items could potentially sell for if they were in like new condition. I recommend weighing the cost to have the item restored and selling it for top dollar, against selling it as is for a quick profit. If you can make a substantially higher profit by reconditioning an item, it may be worth time & cost involved.

For those in the storage auction business, having contacts who can repair or refurbish your merchandise, is extremely important. Not only for antique and vintage items, but for common items as well. It is a good idea to get to know people who repair and refurbish appliances, electronics, furniture, computers, antiques & upholstery. These service providers can be excellent sources for determining an items value, reconditioning the item if necessary & possibly even be an outlet for selling some of your merchandise.

Allow me to give you an example. Some friends of mine own an upholstery business. They had mentioned to me that they were always looking for furniture that could be reupholstered. Over the years, any time that I had a sofa or chair that I couldn't sell, I would call them first. Some of these items, I had restored. Others, I sold to them directly.

I recall being at an auction where nobody would bid on this one particular unit. It contained a hand carved, antique sofa & loveseat; however, the fabric had several tears in it and the wood needed to be refinished. I knew that they were quality from the moment I saw them. I also knew that even if the cost to have them reupholstered wasn't economical, I had an outlet to sell them quickly.

I purchased the storage unit for $5. After considering the cost to have them covered in new fabric and the amount of time that would be involved, I decided to just sell them directly to my friends in the upholstery business, for a quick profit. I was happy & they were happy. They actually loved this sofa and loveseat so much that, after refurbishing  them, they decided to keep them for themselves.