TLC’s My Collection Obsession Casting Call

The Associate Producer for the new TLC series My Collection Obsession (How did I miss this show?! Oh, it aired as a “special.”) contacted us about casting for the first season.

We are currently casting for our first season, and are on the hunt for serious and dedicated collectors that would like to showcase and their prized collections and share their passionate pursuits for the next great piece.

I am reaching out to see if you know of collectors that may be interested in participating in our show, and if there was anyway we could post a casting call through your site.

“Yup.” And, “yup.” *wink*

Below is the official casting call. If you do contact them with hopes of getting on the TV show, please do Inherited Values a favor, and let them know you spotted the call here, thanks!

TLC and the producers of “My Collection Obsession” are currently looking for serious and dedicated collectors of all kinds.

Marilyn With Doll Collection On TLC's My Collection Obsession

Is collecting a part of your daily life?

Are parts of your collection in every room of your house?

Do you have unique and special objects that you are extremely proud of?


* Collectors must reside within the united states & U.S. Territories/Canada.
* Your collection must either be truly grand in scale, extremely unique or rare, or have an amazing back story.
* Collecting must be part of your lifestyle, not just a small side hobby.

If interested, please send a description of what you collect, and why and how you do so to If available, please also include any photos, articles, or videos that will help us assess the extent of your collection. All submissions will be kept for internal use only.

Pickers Sisters

Picker Sisters On Lifetime

Last Tuesday, August 2, 2011, Picker Sisters aired on the Lifetime Television. (If you were confused by the ads showing American Pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz promoting the show on the History Channel, that’s because both Lifetime and History are part of A&E Television Networks — but that really didn’t help those who went to The History Channel on Tuesday night and, confused, wondered why the TV promos weren’t as clear as they could have been.)

The show’s premise is that best friends and interior designers, Tracy Hutson and Tanya McQueen (of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home EditionPicker Sisters has the same producer, RelativityREAL) are on the hunt for what Wolfe and Fritz would call “farm fresh rusty gold” to turn into “stunning pieces for their Los Angeles home decor pop-up shop.”

[I don’t want to start any rumors, but I can’t find a single reference to this shop… Or where it ever pops up. Establishing shots in show episodes feature the store front with a sign that indicates the shop is named I-10. But not only did searches find nothing, neither are there details or links at Hutson’s offical site, the official Facebook page, Tanya McQueen’s Twitter, the official Hutson-McQueen blog, etc.]

Alan Luxmore, Tracy Hutson, and Tanya McQueen

To assist the designers in the creative process, there’s a third cast member, contractor, Alan Luxmore, himself with connections to Extreme Makeover and previous host of A&E’s Fix This Yard.

Despite early complaints or fears (primarily based on the American Pickers‘ promos) that Picker Sisters was going to emphasize pretty women (including the use of short-shorts and other feminine charms in order to get deals), I was looking forward to the show. Like Cash & Cari, I was hoping this series would emphasize decorating both in terms of objects and projects; much like Cash & Cari, I was to be disappointed.  As with Cash & Cari, I was hoping we’d not only have the Picker Sisters show us what they transformed, but how it was done. But it misses that mark.

Since the success of these collecting shows is partially dependent on the personality of the cast, it bears mentioning that Hutson and McQueen come across as Valley Girls meet former professional NFL cheerleaders; perhaps a bit to bubbly and hair-twirly for most of us. (And those 80’s headbands only emphasis it.)

I don’t want to bash these beauties for how they look; that would be as wrong as saying someone isn’t good-looking enough to be on TV. But there are practical matters here…

Those of us willing to pick on farms, through old industrial items, etc., we don’t only have work gloves, we wear jeans or long pants to protect our legs — no matter how fab our legs look in short shorts.  I get that they are on camera, but aren’t they annoyed enough by their own Farrah Fawcett locks, blowing into their eyes, sticking to the sweat on their necks, to put it up in a ponytail or something? I’m less worried about two grown women — complete with camera crew — getting hurt heading off with strange men than I am about cuts, infections and diseases from stumbling about improperly dressed in places where tetanus and hantaviruses make excellent bedfellows.

As I mentioned, I feel that Luxmore‘s work is slighted… But perhaps that’s because he’s an actor playing a character role.  In the few scenes Luxmore is in, he plays the frustrated “daddy” to the two little girls on the road, ominous about projects, money spent, design ideas. Worse, he’s shown working while appearing straight out of some Gap ad or GQ photo-shoot, his black sleeveless muscle shirt taunt across his chest, tightly and neatly tucked into crisp belted green khakis. If he’s a master of the 100 hour build, why is he playing a stock masculine character, one part beefcake one part paternal male disapproving of his errant shopping sex kittens?

Like his female cast members, Luxmore ought to dress for the work at hand. We’ll notice he’s handsome, anyway, I promise.

Overall, the show feels far more Hollywood glossy than “unscripted” (the new word for reality shows). While this may appeal to a certain part of the television audience, I feel it’s a disservice to the cast — showing them more as pretty and, due to the lack of “reality,” more bumbling than the educated and experienced people they are. Coupled with the absence of any shop or announcements of where it will appear, the pretty posing makes me feel the shop is simply a premise. Television does blur with tinsel town, you know, so it all feels too glossy, too fake…

Tracy Hutson & Tanya McQueen On The Road

Perhaps we’re supposed to enjoy the fashionista-fish out of water thing… But McQueen, Hutson and Luxmore are build and design heavyweights, so maybe they should have left them a little more raw and saved all the polishing for the finished project pieces.

That said, there are good things in the show…

There’s less of a monetary focus on the show; though that could simply be due to the too-small price / sold graphics.

And it is fun to see the before and afters — even if it is at sacrificing how it’s done.  I consider myself a creative person, a visual person with an eye for seeing the potential in “junk” and I’m not bored with what I’ve seen so far — far from it, I’m inspired by all the repurposing of industrial items!

I won’t be glued to episodes, but I will watch more of Picker Sisters. Even if I am hoping the show format itself will undergo a transformation of it’s own.

PS Because Lifetime quickly signed on for a seven-part, one-hour series (originally entitled To Live and Buy), I’m not sure we’ll see any changes in Picker Sisters; the slick format’s likely set.

PPS Check out the comments below for more & updates!

Bewitching Memories Of Lingerie

No, this stunning vintage yellow nylon nightgown isn’t an actual prop, but it does have ties to more than pom-pons — it has ties to television.

Vintage Lucie Ann Pom-Pom Lingerie
Gold Label For Lucie Ann by Claire Sandra, Hollywood California

This vintage nightgown or peignoir wasn’t worn or, to my knowledge, used on the set of TV’s Bewitched, but one just like it was!

Lucie Ann Lingerie Worn In Bewitched TV Series

In fact, Lucie Ann lingerie designs weren’t only used on Bewitched (or, for that matter, Green Acres among others), but one episode of Bewitched not only this pretty pom-pon lingerie style but the Lucie Ann Salon was actually shown too!

Lingerie Designer Lucie Ann's Shop In Bewitched

I remember being so smitten with the lingerie shown on these classic television shows, that I couldn’t wait to grow up and wear such things… It seemed the ultimate mark of being a grown-up woman. Little did I know, that by the time I would be mature enough for such floaty pieces, they would be out of fashion. *sigh* Thankfully, we can hunt for, collect, and wear vintage lingerie.

Images via DixieDallas.

Haunted Collector Has Me Screaming Into The Night

SyFy added another collectibles show to it’s lineup. Sorta.

The Haunted Collector Team

Haunted Collector is a marriage of sorts between SyFy’s Ghost Hunter franchise and the ever-increasing television line-up of shows for collectors.  It sounded like a marriage made in heaven, but I think Ghost Hunters, the folks at TAPS, all collectibles programming, and all television viewers should ask for a divorce.

Haunted Collector follows the renown John Zaffis, “Godfather of the Paranormal” and “eminent paranormal researcher and world-renowned demonologist” and his “family” (son Chris, daughter Aimee, psychic investigator Beth Ezzo, and tech specialist Brian Cano) of investigators as they try to help people by identifying and then ridding them of their haunted objects. But…

The very things that make Ghost Hunters cool and worth watching is their diligence to detail in their ethical investigations. The very things that make the best collectibles shows (Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Oddities) cool and worth watching is the discovery of and information about collectibles. And all these shows offer a nice heaping of interesting personalities too; that’s the “reality” part of the appeal, we have to admit it.  But Haunted Collector misses each and every one of these points.  …Save for, perhaps, a bit of “personality” in team members; it’s hard to say with all the annoying stuff going on.

Errors in paranormal investigations:

A blue “cold spot” on the thermal camera appeared — quite obviously, below a vent in the kitchen’s ceiling. Instead of investigating to rule out such things as TAPS would have done, the crew heads outside to investigate under the house. Sure, they found an old gun, but fans of Ghost Hunters, like hubby and I, were perturbed.

Haunted Collector: Searching Under A House

After finding the gun under the house, it would have seemed like another “go” at an EVP would have been worthwhile, with a few questions targeting any connections to the item. And because guns like that could have been used in crimes, the team believes it’s haunted and caused the blue spot on the floor — something we never see the team go back to after the gun is removed, to see if the thermal readers resolved themselves. But instead, Zaffis keeps the gun accused of being used in a crime, placing it in “haunted museum” rather than turning it in to the police.

In the libary —  err, sorry, Zaffis’ mispronunciation drives me nuts — in the library, the antique typewriter gave high EMF readings. That could be kind of cool in terms of unexplained phenomenon, but true investigators would have moved the typewriter to another place and gave it another check — as well as the place where it once sat — to see if anything changed or could be explained.

Perhaps they did such further investigations, but they were edited out in the final cut of the show that aired?

Either way, it’s sloppy.

Zaffis also has odd rules about hauntings… He drops the idea that a house is itself haunted when it turns out it was not made from wood once belonging to a church; only church wood can be haunted?  He removes three shark jaws from a house, despite a single shred of “evidence” that they are haunted by ghost sharks — simply because they were carnivores.  Hey, Zaffis, humans are carnivores. The stuff we own is made by carnivores.

When the team got a recording on the EVP, the Godfather of the Paranormal hears the muffled noise(s) as a voice saying, “purple flowers.”  I didn’t get that. Hubby didn’t get that. I don’t think the rest of the Haunted Collector team even heard that. But sure enough, that’s what Zaffis shares with the bereaved daughter who believes the voice belongs to her mother.  Such clearly shoddy leading was emotionally abusive in its manipulation and extremely uncomfortable to watch.

Not even fans of the paranormal can really enjoy this show.

How will collectors and collectibles fare?

In terms of the collectibles themselves, they get some camera time, but even this is as oddly skewed as the paranormal investigations.

When researching an antique cane gun, said to have been purchased in an antique shop in New York I think it was, Aimee turns up some expert who says there were only a “handful of cane guns in the area” in 1870 — and there was one unsolved cane gun murder from that time, so naturally we can conclude it’s haunted. Ummm, isn’t one gun a “handful”? Anyway… Listen, 1870 was the year the gun was likely made, there’s no proof the cane gun was ever in New York at that time — and so how do you get there?  I guess it’s enough of a reason to take the rare valuable antique to your personal museum.  …And why is it, again, you don’t really tell us the value of the cane gun you took?

(And, while on the subject of your personal “museum of haunted collectibles”… I wonder, how does that work? Do the haunted objects wrestle one another? Is it a loud place? Moving on…)

When researching the music box,which looks no more than 10 years old, no one even points its age out. I suppose that doesn’t matter in terms of an object’s supposed haunting; but to collectors it matters.  Having the local antique shop owner say she has no doubts the music box could have sentimental value to someone was a silly statement. Name one object that couldn’t have sentimental value?

Photos of my children, you are all haunted!

Oh, and then there’s scary just to be scary. Not just how it’s filmed (think Ghost Hunters meets Blair Witch), but what is filmed.

The vintage cold paint figural clown face McCoy pottery cookie jar (I had just sold one!) got a lot more camera time than it deserved. I don’t just say that as one who is uncomfortable around clowns. Clearly the clown is suspicious — the team thought so too. But merely suspicious, creepy in a way that loves the camera, or out-and-out accused of haunting places, the object is given minimal attention. Not only in terms of “proof” of being haunted, but in terms of history, price or any “value” at all.

In short, the marriage between collectibles TV and ghost hunting shows could have been great — maybe it could still be. But I have little hope.

Yeah, Haunted Collector sends me screaming into the night.  Or mocking into the night; because we watched the second show rather like an episode of MST3K. It became the only way I could sit through it. My apologies to the people on the show who sought help.  And, here’s some free advice: Next time, call TAPS.

PS Even more annoying than the fact that the Haunted Collector‘s official website has incessant audio from the commercial for the show in each and every page I loaded, there’s no real photos of (or information about) the items found on the episodes which have aired — making the efforts of searching fruitless as well as infuriating. I warned you.

Pawn Queens Becomes A Series

Via Entertainment Weekly, news that TLC has picked-up episodes of Pawn Queens.

Stating that the two episodes I reviewed, which aired back-to-back, was a “special,” TLC has committed to an eight-episode series order.

I’m excited to see Pawn Queens return to the air (but remain appalled by the sexist comments that continue to poor in about the show).

No word, yet, on TLC’s other antiques and collectibles special/show, What The Sell?!

American Pickers’ DVD Giveaway!

In celebration of Season Two, and all things American Pickers, we’ve been given two copies of American Pickers: The Complete Season 1 to giveaway!

American Pickers is the antiques and collectibles show on the History Channel, featuring childhood buddies turned business partners Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz who travel the country “picking,” hoping to find treasures among the trash.

And they don’t mind having a little fun — even at their own expense — as they do it.

Frank & Mike As Laurel & Hardy

But you fans already know this and just want to hear how you can win the DVD. Even those who haven’t yet seen the show want me to get on to the contest details. *wink*

How can you be one of the lucky winners?

It’s easy! Leave a comment here, telling us your favorite American Pickers moment, find or favorite thing about the show in general. Or, if you’ve not yet been able to see the show, tell us one of your favorite things about Inherited Values.

You can also get extra credit by entering in these additional ways — use them all, or take your “pick.”

* Blog about this giveaway, giving your answer (favorite thing about American Pickers &/or Inherited Values) and linking to this giveaway post. Then come back and leave the URL of your post as a comment.

* Follow Inherited Values on Twitter, @InheritedValues, and let us know by leaving a comment here, including your @twitter handle.

* Tweet about the contest simply by tweeting this:

Win @americanpicker DVDs from @InheritedValues Enter #giveaway here:

You can Tweet twice a day.

* Follow or “like” Inherited Values at FaceBook.

* Follow or “like” American Pickers at FaceBook. (Be sure to leave a comment with your FaceBook ID so we can confirm your entry!)

Fine Print Rules:

This contest giveaway is open to those who reside in the US &/or Canada.

Since there are two DVDs, there will be two winners; one copy per winner.

Entries must be received/posted on or before February 2, 2011 (that would be midnight, central time, on February 1, 2011). Only entries as described above, will be included in the random draw.

Scene From Season Two Of American Pickers

HGTV’s Cash & Cari

When I first heard about HGTV’s Cash and Cari, I got a little excited thinking this show might focus more on decorative collectibles, plus offer a splash of do-it-yourself (DIY) home decor creativity. While the show has all that potential, I really was disappointed.

Cash and Cari (Cari is not pronounced like “carry,” but like “car” with an “e” on the end, so it’s not quite the pun your eyes expect) follows the work of “estate sale guru” Cari Cucksey of Michigan’s RePurpose Estate Services.

If you like watching how to set up an estate or rummage sale, then maybe you’ll like this. However, for me, the show lost points when it dropped a standard part of the collectible shows format: the visit with the expert or in depth look at a few items. I realize this part of the show’s time was given to the DIY component — and that was something I was looking forward to; but in this particular episode this segment infuriated me.

In this debut episode, Cari purchases an older used bench for $40 and has a staff member give it “an impressive makeover.” The makeover consisted of repainting the bench, removing the older upholstered seat, and replacing it with new fabric — sewing a decorative throw pillow to match. However, the new “upholstery” job was terrible.

The fabric was staple-gunned in place and the staples hidden from view by hot-glue-gunning some sort of open-weave rick-rack lace over it. Use of a glue gun on the seat of a bench in place is anything but quality. (The dried glue will be lumpy, visible, and likely to peel away if the object has any use whatsoever ; it’s not appropriate for furniture or seating or anything besides the purely decorative.) Anything but quality and certainly not worth, in my opinion, the $300 they proposed to sell it for. Normally I don’t like to argue the price someone gets for something; different location alone can create marked price differentials. But this bench was really a shoddy DIY job and not fit for an audience of antiques and vintage collectibles fans.

Collectors of antiques are looking for quality.

Plus, the item was to be sold at “the shop,” and it kind of makes you wonder how the bench will be presented there… As an antique or vintage piece, or as a quickly made home decor piece? It’s the sort of thing an experienced collector wouldn’t be fooled by, but it’s also the sort of thing, like reproductions offered for sale, that most collectors want to know are properly represented so that no one feels tricked. No mention of this — after such a cheap makeover, weakens Cari’s credibility.

Yes, I watch a lott of the collectibles shows, and I did consider how potential “burn out” might be coloring my thoughts about Cash and Cari; but I don’t think that’s it (see my post about Oddities).

Where Cash and Cari suffers is a lack of focus on what makes the other shows great (personalities and drama of “cast,” information segments, &/or presentation of values of items) and a complete fumbling of the potentially fabulous DIY segment.

In trying to be kind, I wished HGTV had, as many of the other networks have, given us more than one episode to watch so that I could see if another episode could make me a fan… But then I realized HGTV thought this episode was strong enough to be the series lean-in and if that was their best foot forward, I don’t think I’ll watch another episode.

Discover(y) The Oddities

You might just think I’d be tired of watching and reviewing all these antique and collectible TV shows — so tired of them, in fact, that I’d be dreading yet one more. But if that’s what you were thinking, you’d be wrong; Discovery Channel’s Oddities has become a favorite “can’t miss” in terms of my television viewing.

On Oddities, we watch the on-goings of the owners (Evan Michelson and Mike Zohn) and staff (Ryan Matthew and Ersan, intern aka The Cerd) of Obscura Antiques and Oddities, a shop located on New York City’s East Village, dedicated to “the weird world of strange and extraordinary science artifacts.” Here you’ll find the more eclectic and shall we say less mainstream antiques and collectibles, such as antique medical devices, anatomical art, sideshow relic taxidermy.

Some of my personal highlights:

An ancient Egyptian mummy hand — which is notable alone for the one time in one of these shows I’ve seen the expert put on gloves. Plus, we hear from that museum professional that his coworker actually has a taste test for authenticating mummies; too bad she wasn’t around that day. But even if it is authentic, is it legal to sell? …Oh, now that’s another interesting turn.

Rachel Betty Case brought her “human ivory” artwork — made from human fingernails (well, and toenails, and pet nail clippings); which I found fascinatingly beautiful.

A guy who wants a bug to scare his wife with; another man who wants the perfect creepy dental gift for his retiring dentist friend.

I’m not sure I even want a two-headed cow or four-footed chicken taxidermy piece… But if I did, I now know better how to tell if such a thing is due to an animal with an authentic genetic defect and not some fake.

And Laura Flook, embalmer turned model come fashion designer. Yup, you read that right. Flook is at Obscura looking for a mortuary table for her fashion shoots. As Ryan says, “One interesting thing about Laura is her devotion to art whether it’s a mortician, model or a clothing designer.” So devoted, yet this designer of clothing inspired by Victorian-era mourning wear is dreamily flabbergasted when she returns to Obscura in another episode to discover corsets. Admittedly, one of the medical corsets is not the normal corsetry that springs to mind; but she buys one that I’ve got in my own collection. This Flook is fascinating to me… The way she talks, everything. I hope she returns in future episodes.

Along the way there are also various circus performers (sword swallower, escape artist, etc.), theatre folk (an unusual playwright, a performer who uses blood to increase the drama), and some more mainstream celebrities (not unusual given the name dropping at the Discovery Channel’s site).

Oh, and yeah, there are the collectibles too. From horrifying medical implements to medical quackery devices, from odd little vintage toys and masks to coffins (cradle to grave, I tell you!), and other assorted (or is that a-sordid?) pieces of history.

Another great feature of this show is it’s ability to leave the shop.  It’s because of that we not only see the great lengths the staff goes to in order to procure an object for a collector, but we see the fabulously odd collections of others.  That’s something missing from most of these shows.

But with this Oddities, you definitely come for the surprises. Even if you come for the antiques and collectibles, you’ll find your intrigued by a lot more; and that’s a surprise too, right?

Because the items themselves are more dramatic, the majority of clientele themselves more interesting, there’s no need for the cast to be fraught with personality dramas, or for the show to bilk the monetary value. (Honestly, this is one area where the prices seem too low to me; the items are that, well, obscure!) So while this is part of the same genre of collectibles programming, it’s not quite the same trite formula. And it’s done absolutely right.

Oddities can be seen on Thursdays at 10:30 p.m. E/P on the Discovery Channel and also on its sister channel, the Science Channel, Wednesdays at 9 & 9:30 PM E/P. Join me in watching it — at least once!

Antiques & Collectibles Shows On TLC, Maybe

The Learning Channel (TLC) dips its programming toes in the antiques and collectibles TV show waters — very tentatively.

The first try was Pawn Queens, a show not listed anywhere on the TLC website.

Pawn Queens follows the activities of Tom Brunzelle, Greg Holloway, Nikki Ruehl, and Minda Grabiec as they run the Naperville, Illinois, Jewelry & Loan. Since the pawn and resale shop tries to attract mainly female customers, the focus of the show is Nikki Ruehl and Minda Grabiec.

The first two trial episodes focused on the blunders of their business — a misplaced $9,000 diamond ring, not enough cash on hand to purchase a vintage Barbie, and, my favorite, when two of the partners clash over the purchase of an antique stove which needs a lot of restoration. (What made it my favorite was that Tom and Minda bicker like an old married couple; Tom’s purchase and beautiful professional restoration “wins” in terms of eventually satisfying Minda, but we never do see the stove sell so…)

At TV By The Numbers, where the press release for the show was published, there are many negative comments. Most of the comments are, in my opinion, extremely sexist. Not just the obvious comments on breasts, but the comparisons to Pawn Stars (of which I am a fan) are clearly filled with heated testosterone.

Even the more serious complaints at other sites of improper use of diamond testers and jewelers loupes are rather ridiculous — this is television! When have you ever seen any cast member or expert on any of the plethora of antiques and collectibles shows even put on a pair of archival gloves when handling fragile old documents? Grrr!

And, yeah, I think they (eventually) did over-pay for the Barbie; but then I don’t sell in the Illinois market.  I’m always rather struck by prices on these shows from California and Las Vegas which suggest prices we dealers can’t fathom here in Fargo — but that, long with the mistakes made and rare finds, are rather part of why I’m entertained and, somewhat, educated by these collectibles shows.

I saw the first two episodes of Pawn Queens and rather liked them; but after frantically searching for more, I couldn’t find any… The show isn’t listed at the production company’ website either, so I suspect it has been canceled.

However, in searching the channel guide so often, I found TLC’s second try, What The Sell?!

What The Sell?! isn’t only TLC’s return to antiques and collectibles television — it’s another return to Illinois and, for the jaded, a return to the reality show Pawn Stars format of three generations running a business.

In this show, the action is focused on Kate Martin (the daughter), Judy Martin (Kate’s mother), and Gloria Moroni (Kate’s grandmother), the owners and appraisers of The Perfect Thing, an upscale consignment boutique in Wheaton, IL. That means more antiques, art, and decorative pieces than in many of the other shows which seem so male focused.

As you might guess, there are the usual family frictions, such as when Daughter doesn’t listen to Mom when having a chair reupholstered, and the usual dickering — including among the ladies for who has the right to purchase and take home a favored item. And lots of giggling when Grandma is the only one mature enough to discuss the 1920s tin of condoms found inside a Flapper’s purse.

I’ve only seen one and a half episodes of this new(ish) show, but it holds some interest.

What The Sell?! barely has a mark on the TLC website; just a few episodes listed on the schedule — which is more than Pawn Queens has, but still, that’s not too promising…

My only real comment is that TLC ought to commit to antiques and collectibles programming, give us a chance to find new shows — especially in a busy holiday season.

Auction Hunters On Spike

Spike TV enters the antiques and collectibles television programing fray with Auction Hunters.

Similar to Storage Wars, this show’s action is focused on the bidding, buying and selling of the content of storage units; unlike Storage Wars, the show has a much stronger focus on antiques and collectibles, and only follows two men.

The two men are Clinton “Ton” Jones and Allen Haff, partners in their quest to win auctions.

The fact that these men are partners gives the show a camaraderie — more like the ribbing on American Pickers than the very macho male competition on Storage Wars.

Auction Hunters is also much more frank about educating you, the viewer, on how to evaluate storage units. There are tips on what to bring, how to spot a “good locker,” and they even show you more of the work and expense involved in restoring things before they’re flipped for profit.

The first season’s nearly over for this TV series; the season finale is scheduled for Tuesday, December 21, at 10/9 PM.  Initially, I had a very difficult time finding the show on at a time I was able to watch; but when one episode is on, there’s usually a block or marathon of them, so you can likely find some time to watch a few episodes back to back.  And I highly recommend that you do.

Storage Wars

A&E enters, sort of, the growing number of collecting shows with Storage Wars.

Billed as “the new original real-life series” (apparently so as not to be confused with “reality shows”), the show follows four professionals who attend auctions to bid on and buy the contents of repossessed storage units auctioned off by Dan and Laura Dotson.

In some ways, it’s not fair to call it a television show for collectors. The four main cast members lead their teams to buy, and then later sell, the contents of storage units; the buyers are simply there for the profits, whether the storage unit contains antiques and collectibles or not. But, like many of the other shows I’ve been reviewing here at Inherited Values, there’s something for many collectors to identify with.  …And that thing is the addictive gambling part of it all.

Darrell Sheets, “The Gambler,” talks about this, naturally enough. He talks about the The Wow Factor. The big scores. Like the four Picassos and the world’s most lucrative comic book collection that he’s scored through storage auctions. And how those finds keep him coming back for more.

Even if you’re a collector who’s not planning on selling, you have to admit you know the thrills of finding something in a stack of what others might call nothing. And how you’re rather addicted to it too.

Only on Storage Wars, it’s not only finding an antique needle in a haystack of used stuff — it’s far more of an intense rush.

In these storage units here are some collectibles (modern space-age furniture, baseball cards, German Micro-cars), but really, no body knows what they will find… Used clothes (awesome when they were the personal property of Suge Knight; not so much when it’s the average non-storage-unit-rent-paying Joe), restaurant equipment, knock-off jewelry — endless, really. And, again, no one knows what they’ll all get.

Because there’s something unique to this sort of auction: there’s no preview time.

Buyers are limited to only looking through the doorway of the storage locker to spot and guess at the contents. They may not open any boxes until/unless they have won the auction. But once the auction ends, another is about to start, so the winner doesn’t waste time looking at what he’s won; he puts his own lock on the unit and moves onto the next storage unit up for auction. He takes another gamble.

This limited ability to see inside, amazingly, prompts Barry Weiss, “The Collector,” to show up at the next auction with stilts (to see what may be hiding in the back of the storage locker), night-vision goggles (to see in the darkness), and his “secret weapon,” a little person named Jay, to assist with spotting.

I don’t know whether to applaud or cringe at the levels lengths Weiss will go to.

This not-knowing alone amps up the auction adrenaline of the show. And then Storage Wars builds on it. Unlike other shows which start with the objects and reveal the price, on Storage Wars the action starts with the nearly blind auction action, moves towards the reveal of the items themselves, then their values — including the obligatory meetings with experts to help appraise (and I think we can assume those experts might handle some of the resale transactions too).

Somewhat misleading is the evaluation of the episode’s Winner. The price of the unit is compared to the resale value of the items inside (or at least the biggest ticket items). However, some of the teams clearly have a much higher over-head; more trucks, more employees, etc. So without an accounting of actual profits, I don’t know how far that final evaluation is.

Dave Hester, “The Mogul,” has the largest overhead. He also has the deepest pockets — but that doesn’t make him magic. He, like everyone else, is still at the mercy of what he sees, what he knows, and what he can sell for profit. We witness him get burned on an organ; but he redeems himself with profits on the rest of the unit’s contents.

The guys may not always seem so likable; they are profiting off of the repossessed belongings of others and they are often impatient, if not rude, even when they are dealing with experts who are not their competition.  But this isn’t a Miss Congeniality competition; this is business. Something that’s made quite explicit when we meet Jarrod Schulz, “The Young Gun.”

Schulz isn’t only the buyer with the least experience; he’s the more intuitive and/or impulsive buyer.  He says he needs to find a storage unit “that feels good to me.” So far, he hasn’t won a lot “storage wars,” something that worries Brandi, his wife and co-owner of his shop, the Now & Then Second Hand Store.  Even if he doesn’t win the “wars,” he’s supposed to be out finding inventory to turn for a profit at the shop; but, well, sometimes what he buys are flops.

This prompts Brandi to join her husband at an auction where she sees first-hand his spontaneous and even sentimental bidding.  Most of the other buyers eschew this particular unit because it’s just a bunch of boxes, but “The Young Gun” has to bid. “I see mystyery in there; I’ve got to see what’s in the rest of the unit.” He places the winning bid, much to the chagrin of Brandi. Did I say chagrin? She’s actually furious.

And she’s right; the highlight of this storage unit is a fake designer watch.

I don’t mention this to pick on Jarrod — or even to defend Brandi from those, like A&E, who call her “hard-nosed, sharp-tongued.” (Why is the wife always to blame?)  I mention this  because he, Brandi, and the rest of the cast are characters. Not only characters on Storage Wars, but the kind of folks you’ll find at any auction or flea market. Or family dinner, for that matter. *wink*

Storage Wars can be seen Wednesdays, 10/9C, on A&E.

The Discovery Channel’s Collecting Show Auction Kings

Another entry in the slew of antiques and collectibles television programming is the Discovery Channel’s Auction Kings, airing Tuesday nights.

This collecting reality show focuses on the world of auctions via the activities of Gallery 63, a consignment auction house in Atlanta, Georgia, owned by Paul Brown.

As far as the personality aspect of the show, the cast of Auction Kings, aka the crew of Gallery 63, is amiable enough. Unlike some shows where part of the appeal is the characters and how they interact, the folks on Auction Kings may be a bit too affable… They do joke around and challenge one another, so it seems like a nice place to work; but they lack the edge of say Pawn Stars or the chemistry of the American Pickers. (Cindy Shook, the manager, is probably my favorite because she’s a racy lady!)

A show strength lies in the usual collecting show format: the brief educational segments on history and identification, often comprising of those appearances by experts in specific areas of collectibles.

Additionally, segments on Auction Kings often show some of the necessary behind the scenes work that many collectors and bidders forget about when they include Delfino Ramos, the handyman, tackling repairs — including on items he’s never seen before. While this isn’t a detailed “how to” segment, viewers get an idea of how easy or complicated repairs are, and therefore can consider that effort (or the charge by a professional) when evaluating antiques and collectibles. This is helpful for collectors at every level.

However, the best part of Auction Kings is the fact that this show is focused on auctions themselves. Because auctions are spontaneous, surprising things!

While Hollywood Treasure is also focused on auctions, movie memorabilia and collectibles is a very specific niche — and those auctions are for icons of film, which means higher prices. Auction Kings, on the other hand, shows general auctions. There are rare gems, but there’s also a lot of “everything else.”

From a rather unremarkable pair of cheetah print chairs (which may or may not have once been in a brothel) to a book authenticated as previously owned — and signed — by John Hancock; from a case of Billy Beer to an antique Venetian mirror; from retro arcade games to an ancient hand canon; Gallery 63 gets it all.

And viewers can learn about it.

As every fan of auctions knows and the show says, over and over again, “you never know what will show up at an auction,” or what it will go for at an auction. This is shown via the end of the show recaps, in which you are shown the item, its appraised value or auction estimate, what the owner/seller hopes to get for the item, and the final value at the end of the auction.

Sometimes the seller is happily shocked, sometimes the bidder gets a steal, sometimes both the buyer and the seller are thrilled — it all comes down to their expectations. And the climate on the auction floor, of course.

In a recent episode, a man brought in a case of Billy Beer. The breweriana expert said it had no value because a lot was sold and everyone saved it thinking it would be valuable one day. But they were going to auctioned it off anyway because the beer is no longer tasty (If it ever was?) and the owner didn’t care what it sold for. This prompted a bet between Shook, the manager, and new employee Jon Hammond, “The Picker.”

Hammond thought the case of Billy Beer would sell for $100 or more, even after Shook told him what the expert had said. They wagered a six-pack of fresh beer on the auction results — and Shook lost when it sold for $100. So you could say that the newbie knew more than the more experienced folks. Or he just got lucky. In any case, he got the free six-pack of beer. *wink*

Just another case of “You never know what will happen at an auction.” And why I like to watch Auction Kings.

News For Silent Film Fans & Collectors

Silent film collector Mary Ann Cade has been contacted by a researcher who is working on a BBC documentary for UK television about Hollywood Photography:

As part of the programme, we are recreating 7 important images that tell the history of Movie star photography in Hollywood.

Our first image is the above still of Theda Bara.

After googling around on line, I came across some information that said you have some of the items Theda wore in the photo. Is that so? I’d love to hear more about it. We’re right at the start so I am trying to gather as much information about each of the images. I’d love to hear about your research.

The program is tentatively titled Shooting the Stars: Hollywood Photography; I’m very eager to see what the other six images will be selected and to see the documentary!

Also, because of my 2008 interview with Cade about Annette Kellermann, Cade was contacted by glass lantern slide collector Rob, who shared not only this glass lantern slide promoting Queen of the Sea

But this bit of news too:

I am currently researching a book on the subject of lantern slides and their use as an advertising medium for motion pictures, and in conjunction with that I am developing a web site (

So there’s a new site to keep an eye on — and, hopefully, a new book!

American Restoration

The collectibles spin-off show I’ve been waiting for is here: American Restoration.

You may have heard about it, sometimes promoted or promised under other names such as Rick’s Restorations and Rusty Nuts (I prefer the title Rusty Nuts, but with the success of American Pickers, I guess the corporate guys figured American Restoration was more bankable).  This latest show to join the History Channel’s Monday night lineup for collectors follows the work of Rick’s Restorations, the Las Vegas business owned by Rick Dale.

You’ll remember Dale’s appearances on Pawn Stars; he’s the guy who’s restored such things as old gas pumps and soda machines.

Dale and his staff focus mainly on the classic restoration of vintage and antique mechanical Americana. I think I may have just made that category of collectibles up, so if you don’t know what I mean, it’s vintage appliances, motorcycles, radios, pedal cars, railroad memorabilia, candy dispensers, pinball machines, jukeboxes, barber chairs, bicycles, and all sorts of things made in the American Rust Belt — you know, back when we made stuff in the USA.

(Not that their work is limited to made in the USA only; but you will see a lot of what America once manufactured, both for retail as well as to sell items at retail, i.e. advertising, service tools, and salesmen’s stuff.)

Rick and his staff are a colorful bunch of personalities (something I’ve admitted I love about Pawn Stars), however it’s clear that they not only know what they are doing, technically speaking, but they know the importance of what they do: they are reclaiming the history of objects, both in terms of an owner’s personal nostalgia and the workmanship of yesteryear.

While it is made quite clear that what Dale and his team mainly do is classic restorations, restoring antique and vintage items to their former glory keeping the item’s integrity by keeping the item as original as possible using parts specific to the object, viewers of Pawn Stars will recall that Dale himself has pointed out that some items can and should be modified or customized to make them more usable.

The example that leaps most vividly to my mind was a Coke machine which Dale made more useful by modifying the old machine to dispense modern bottles. I recall being surprised because I’m so used to being told not to ruin a patina, let alone update such vintage things, especially if you want to resell the item. But when Dale explained, I totally understood it. This is exactly the sort of thing I want to learn more about, and why I’ve been looking forward to the show!

Along with seeing so many old things once made by hand &/or manufactured with pride, Dale does a nice job of informing us about the item, its purpose, and who made it. (You know I’m a sucker for such context!)

Dale also tells you the cost of what he and his team have done, as well as the retail value it now has; especially useful if you are considering or justifying the restoration of something you own.

But perhaps the biggest thrills (and bulk of the show) revolve around the actual restoration process of antiques and vintage collectibles.

If you aren’t the handy DIY restorative type, you’ll gain a better understanding of just how much work and man hours go into classic restoration.  Because the majority of the items are metal, there’s the removal of rust and old paint (do you use  sand blasting, walnut blasting or sodium pressure washing?), general body work, painting, recreating or replacing graphics and logos — and that’s not even getting to the mechanical parts!

This is what Rick Dale calls the “grunt work.” But there’s still the time and money spent searching for authentic missing parts. (And what can’t be found might have to be recreated too.)  Whew!

The amount of work shown in American Restoration may not inspire you to restore your own antiques and collectibles, but it will help you as a collector of mechanical Americana.  You’ll learn more about the collectibles you covet and how to appraise their condition; you learn to understand the price tags on restored collectibles and antiques as well as appreciate the fees charged by professional restoration companies.

If nothing else, collectors will enjoy seeing such classic and iconic Americana.

New Collecting Show: Hollywood Treasure

In what may seem like an unlikely match, the SyFy channel enters into collectibles infotainment with Hollywood Treasure; yet given the nature of the show, it may not seem such a strange match…

Hollywood Treasure follows the activities of Joe Maddalena, the owner of Profiles in History, the world’s largest auctioneer of movie and television props and memorabilia. Since science fiction has given us some of the most iconic films, TV shows, and pop culture reference points, a show about such significant relics is rather suited to the channel.  And we certainly can’t ignore that sci-fi has some of the most devoted fans and obsessive collectors!

Hollywood Treasure sure does show incredible pieces of film history — the sort of things that most of us are even afraid to dream about having. For example, on the premiere episodes last night, we saw the Wicked Witch of the West’s hat from The Wizard of Oz. It sold for $200,000 —  if I’m recalling correctly; it rather blew my mind!

In this way, Hollywood Treasure is rather like the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous of the collecting shows; it showcases some of the most rare keepsakes of our culture, with auction prices to match, that end up in private collections. It’s eye candy most of us will never have. Maybe never even see (outside of the show).

But that’s not the only reason the show is worth watching.

As an obsessive collector who dreams of the ability (and staff!) to find and research objects until the answers are found — or at least all options are exhausted, I enjoy watching the means and methods Maddalena and his staff use to authenticate items.

In fact, I wish a bit more time was spent showing the details of such pursuits.

The brief consolidated findings of motion picture and television historian Marc Wanamaker, who stated the suit was indeed worn by Bela Lugosi in White Zombie is authentic even though the jacket had been modified by the studio (he even got a certificate of authenticity from Warner Brothers to prove it!) left me wanting to know more.

And the steps in identifying the old carpet bag found in a Chicago basement as the one used by Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins were so fascinating that the frames seemed to fly by too quickly.

But maybe that’s the sort of hunger that’s never really satiated for the obsessive. *wink* (And I can get that sort of info from History Detectives too.)

Then too there are the moments we collectors can bond over, no matter how deep our pockets, or how rare our collectibles.

The ambiguous anxiety of Sue Palmer, the owner of the Wicked Witch’s hat, as she pondered whether or not to sell was something most of us know (even if our decision to sell doesn’t bring such big bucks).  It’s that personal connection to the tangible object versus money; it’s where “Mine!” meets “Maybe it belongs somewhere else — to someone else…”  We’ve all been there and wrestled with those decisions.

And my heart broke when horror collector Ron Magid had to stop the bidding on Lugosi’s suit at $95,000 and lose what he coveted… Haven’t we all had to bail on bidding or just walk away and leave what we love behind? Oh, the agony of wallet’s defeat!

But I was nodding and grinning again when Magid explained his reason for putting down his paddle: “I’d spend the rest of the life on the front porch if my wife knew I’d spent $100,000 on a suit.”

So while the collectibles shown in SyFy’s Hollywood Treasure are completely out of my reach, the fundamental aspects of collecting are here: the passion for hunting, preserving, owning, research, buying and selling exist in all levels of collecting.

However, part of the charm of shows like Pawn Stars and American Pickers is the chemistry between the cast (or, if you prefer, the professionals). Since only two episodes of Hollywood Treasure have aired, it’s difficult to say if this sort of fun will emerge on thhe show. Right now, the tone is far more “business professional” which, while perhaps more appropriate for the caliber of collectibles, rather removes that sense of personality. But as I said, time will tell.

Personally, I’m looking forward to more episodes of Hollywood Treasure.

And if the beyond-my-grasp level of grand collectibles makes this show more of a guilty pleasure than an actual informative show, I can live with that.

Recycling Props? “Parrish” The Thought!

Whether you like to collect television and movie props or just like to spot and collect them in your mind, it’s fun to notice when props are reused in other productions. Today’s example comes from television: The harem dress worn by Leslie Parrish in the Star Trek episode Who Mourns For Anonais?

It appears the same ensemble was again worn by Parrish in The Girl In The Frame, the last episode in the the first season of Mannix which aired roughly six months later.

TV or not TV-That is the Question

Pick-Let’s talk some more about the antique recycling in our home.

Grin-Does that mean you are finally going to clean out your clothes closet?

P-No, silly. I mean our “decorating recycling”, things we have saved from a dumpster or land fill by fixing it up and putting it to a good use. How about discussing our latest find-our Big Screen TV?

G-Well, that was your idea and it’s no wonder you want to tell everyone about it.

P-Well, as far as that goes, you have some bragging rights too. You negotiated the price and got us a super-deal. And you made the improvements! It sure is fun to tell our friends and family about our new TV set.  They know we’ve just recently replaced our black and white set with a color TV. So, they are astounded when we make the announcement.  Remember when our son-in-law asked if it was a “flat screen” and we responded with “it’s actually convex.” The look on his face.

G-So why don’t we tell the readers the whole story. It was your off-the-cuff comment while exploring an antique mall that prompted our purchase.

P-Oh, I remember walking into the booth and seeing the old Crosley cabinet – it was in great shape except no knobs or “guts” and I said you know what would look great in that 10” opening, a digital picture frame. You just left and went to the counter to have them contact the dealer, hopefully for a better price. I was not even aware that you were doing that, thinking you were not too thrilled with the concept.

G-The dealer accepted the offer and when we got it home, the work began.

P-Getting the right digital frame was the easy part, but I was a bit concerned about the hardware, especially the little light I recalled from TV’s of my youth.

G-I knew I had knobs for a TV or radio cabinet downstairs. I do keep all of that stuff.

P-And you think I never throw anything out, right!

G-Even with all the junk I have, I could not locate a rotary on/off switch with a long enough neck to fit through the wood of this cabinet.

P-Now, come on. What about your box in the electrical section that reads “rotary switches-long necked.”

G-Very funny, that box was empty. Finally, at the third store I found a switch. It was the type of store that has even more useless things than I have.  I also found a lens that fit into the hole for the indicator light.  You should remember that it took such a long time for the tubes to warm up and the indicator light let you know it was turned on.

P-That’s WAAAAY before my time, but I do know that you have a built-in indicator that tells me when you are warmed up.  I do remember mom sending me in to start it up before the Friday Night Fights came on.

G-Was that any time when your rowdy family got together?

P-You are such a hoot!

G-Our last step was downloading pictures of family and friends and then we were set to turn it on.

P-It worked great but something was missing. To make it look authentic, we needed a 1950s TV lamp.

G-And no TV from that time frame would work without an antenna. We city dwellers would use rabbit ears that could be adjusted to pick up BOTH TV stations.

P-Will we also need aluminum foil for the top of the ears? I think you still have a ball of foil from the “war drive.”

G-What war was that, One or Two? Back to our project. We easily found several TV lamps from that time period and the antenna was spotted at an estate sale.

P-It’s now complete, even have a doily that your mom made to finish it off. And when our son-in-law, the one with the mega-screen saw it, he laughed out loud, but I think I saw a bit of “screen-is-envy” there.

G-You have always been so classy. You are a work in progress too, but good fun. It’s always great to work on projects with you.

P-Back Atcha!

Tip for IV’s Collectors: Unlike regular retail establishments, most antique stores and malls have a level for discounting the price. Be sure to ask at the counter when shopping what is the stores discount policy.  If an item is very expensive, you just might be able to negotiate by asking the mall personnel to contact the dealer. They often comply if you have an offer you’re willing to pay.

Who Do You Think You Are? Televised Celebrity Genealogy Hopes To Illuminate History

Lisa Kudrow was on ABC’s The View Wednesday, promoting her new show, Who Do You Think You Are?, an adaptation of the award-winning hit BBC television documentary series of the same name. Kudrow is executive producer of the show which leads celebrities on genealogical journeys to discover the genetic answer to “who they are” — at least as best genealogy can.

Rumors about the debut of this show have been swirling for well over a year, and those of us who enjoy the personal side of history (if not the celebrity-side of the production), have been stymied as to why we’ve had to (impatiently) wait. But it’s finally here!

The show debuts this Friday, 3/10/10, with Sarah Jessica Parker. Other celebrities include Susan Sarandon, Emmitt Smith, Spike Lee, Brooke Shields, and Matthew Broderick.

Kudrow puts herself in front of the cameras for this series too, sharing a particularly poignant story discovered in her family tree. Her family’s personal tragedy not only chronicles WWII history, but pierces the intellectual shield most of us have in processing and recalling such horrors… Something that only increases as witnesses to those dark moments in history leave us.

If you’re tempted to dismiss this as more celebrity adoration, or pure dramatic sentimentality, Kudrow and I want to assure you that genealogy may be personal, but it’s also much larger than that — it’s about the historical context.

Personal stories always illuminate the dry facts and dates of history into reality, celebrity or not. Heck,  even the reasons why you hit a wall or can’t fill in the blank in your family’s story is illuminating.  For example, in this clip, in which Kudrow shares what she found out about the family history of the ladies on The View, the matter of why it’s so much harder to find out family tree information for African-Americans is discussed.

As for the series, well, I haven’t seen it yet; but April MacIntyre has, and she’s interviewed Kudrow too:

One of the things that I did like about your particular series was the interspersed history lessons. Will that continue throughout into the next season?

Lisa Kudrow: Oh boy. It will continue and hopefully there can be more of it because the BBC version has a lot of that. The thing is that it’s not just dry history, it’s back story that’s essential once you’re invested in these characters like Sarah Jessica, (John Hodge) or (Esther Elwell) and you need to know the back story which is history.

Dan Bucatinsky: It’s context.

Lisa Kudrow: And that’s what I mean by because there’s an intimacy to it now that it’s not just dry history that happened to strangers. It has more impact and that’s – we’re supposed to study history. We’re supposed to know what we’ve done before, how did we do things? How did it work? How didn’t it work to learn from it and hopefully this makes it worth knowing.

Most promising.

Who Do You Think You Are? airs Friday night on NBC at 7 PM, Central time (check local listings). I know what I’ll be watching!


I’m a Brand Ambassador for The View. As a participant in a Mom Central campaign for ABC Daytime, I will receive a tote bag or other The View branded item to facilitate my reviews; as you can tell from my long-winded posts about The View, the tote or whatever I may get is not my priority, but I mention it to be ethical.

(Cookie) Cuttin’ It Up With Tom & Jerry

Seventy years ago — long before Itchy & Scratchy appeared on the Krusty the Clown Show on The Simpsons — there was Tom & Jerry.

The series of animated theatrical shorts was created for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer by Hanna and Barbera. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera ultimately wrote and directed one hundred and fourteen Tom and Jerry cartoons (and earned seven Academy Awards for Best Short Subject, Cartoons) for the MGM cartoon studio in Hollywood between 1940 and 1959, when the animation unit was closed. Tom & Jerry would live on, however, with different animators and studios before returning home to Hanna & Barbera.

The incredible popularity of the never-ending cat and mouse games between Tom the cat and Jerry the mouse produced these red plastic cookie cutters by Lowe.

Along with the heads of Tom and Jerry, I also have Barney Bear, Droopy Dog, and a full body cookie cutter of Jerry.

These particular cookie cutters, , marked with a copyright date of 1956, are made of a sheer red hard plastic — but the series was also available in green.

Trash-It-To-Me? You Bet Your Sweet Bippy

I love this vintage metalware trash can because it combines two of my favorite things: practical vintage metal wastebaskets and memories of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.

Q: How much fun would it be to aim for the Sock-It-To-Me trash can?

A: It would be verrry interesting.

The seller of this specific trash can, Cashincollectibles, says the waste basket stands 14 inches tall (10 inches wide), dates from 1967, and was made by Chein Co. (J. Chein Co.).

You can look for more Laugh-In stuff on eBay too; I usually do. *wink*

American Pickers

Monday night was the premier of the History Channel’s American Pickers. This hour long show is the channel’s latest foray into the world of collectibles and antiques, following one of my other favorite shows Pawn Stars. So I was wicked excited to see it.

The show documents the actions of Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz (friends since the 8th grade and business partners in Iowa-based Antique Archaeology) and Danielle Colby Cushman (who holds down the fort back at the shop), folks who make a living off doing the work that some collectors and dealers won’t: not only crawling through farms, sheds, garages and junk yards to spot the gems, but willing to ask the dreaded question, “How much?” and then dicker over price.

For some of us, this isn’t so much something we wouldn’t do, but something we simply don’t have time for. (And this is how the pickers do more than survive but thrive.) For me, this is my dream job.

It’s not just that I’d like to turn my hobby of digging around for stuff into full-time travel adventures, but I really, really, have a fondness for what hubby and I call “old coots.” I love old people, especially old men, with stories to tell — and quirks, I love quirks. And American Pickers finds them and shows them to us.

Like Bear, the guy who was a second generation carny with 35 years worth of old carnival equipment and rides. I don’t recall the names of the other charming old men who we met in this first episode, but hubby can attest to my rapt attention and squealing during commercial breaks — both of which express my excitement and delight with the show.

So American Pickers satisfies not only my need to see more junk but to meet more old coots. But maybe you have different needs?

For those more seriously interested in antiques and collectibles than living vicariously through the day to day fun of what Frank, Mike, and Danielle do, there are more practical matters included in American Pickers.

There’s the obligatory math analysis of how much paid for the item, it’s value, and the resulting (at least potential) profits. There’s the history of the objects found (another obsession of mine). And there are tips and tricks too. Such as the best places to pick are at houses and properties without satellite dishes and new vehicles, that you always get the owner to name his or her price first, and that, no, you don’t always get what you want.

If you’re new to collecting, never been so knee-deep in dirty stuff as a collector, or just want to brush up on your antique hunting and negotiating skills, there’s plenty to learn (or reaffirm) from Mike & Frank.

Personally, I’ll continue to watch for the eye candy — the antiques and the old coots. And I’ll keep hoping for my future career as a traveling picker — who writes from the road.

Locally, original episodes of American Pickers are on Monday Nights, up against NBC’s Heroes. I used to watch Heroes religiously, but it’s no contest: The American pickers are my real heroes.