Of all the TV shows about antiques and collectibles, we’re still huge fans of History’s show Pawn Stars. So we were thrilled to receive a casting call announcement from the show — and turn it into an exclusive interview with the show’s Casting Director, Martin Hardy!
How does the casting process work?
We are always looking for real sellers of unique, new items and encourage anyone who is interested in selling or pawning an item to contacts us through our casting email: email@example.com. We get hundreds of submissions daily from potential sellers who are looking to sell their items on the show. Our casting department works very hard identifying rare and unique items that we have not shot with before but that also tell an interesting historical story.
Once we receive a great item that we feel is right for the show, we generally notify the seller to grab some more key information about it. Then we present it to the guys at the Gold &Silver Pawn shop to see if it is something that they would be interested in purchasing. Once we get the go ahead from Gold and Silver, we tell the seller their item has been approved and we schedule a date for them to come in.
Is there any compensation for being on the show? Do you pay for transportation, lodging?
Because we use real sellers of real items, we don’t provide any compensation for being on the show. Each seller has the opportunity of making a deal and being compensated for the purchase of their item.
We know that not everyone on the show sells their item; but does a person have to at least be willing to sell? Or can they just want to show off their item, get an appraisal, find out more information, (just meet the Pawn Stars!) etc.
At this time we are only able to cast sellers who are serious about selling their item. Of course they need to be comfortable with terms of the deal they reach with the shop, but we always hope they make a sale. We do not offer any appraisals for anyone who does not appear on the show with that item.
Are there any categories that you are more interested in than others?
At the moment we are really interested in anything that is rare and unique (books, autographed originals, artwork, historical documents and coins etc.)
Should a person get on the show, how much of a time commitment does it require?
Depending on the item, the filming of scenes generally last anywhere from 3-4 hours.
If you have something you think is rather rare and special — or wonder if it is, why not contact Martin and casting team? They’ll tell you if it makes the Pawn Stars grade. And we’ll all learn a little something along the way. More information is in the casting flyer below (click to see a larger version). You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org (and you can mention Inherited Values sent ya!)
I don’t write about dolls here much because I write about them for Diane’s Doll Hospital. In January, I wrote this piece for their newsletter; but since it was such a personal story, they graciously gave me permission to publish it here.
In 1972, the Ms. Foundation for Women produced Free to Be… You and Me, an illustrated book and record album set. Initiated by Marlo Thomas, the mission of the Free to Be… You and Me project was to provide healthy messages refuting and rejecting gender stereotypes while encouraging the positive and empowering post-1960s ideas of gender equality, individuality, comfort with one’s identity, and tolerance. Using her celebrity clout, Marlo Thomas got a number of her celebrity friends to create, write, and perform the modern day lessons to children in song and story form. No doubt the hope was that the parents and other adults in children’s lives were listening — and learning — too.
Just two years later, in March of 1974, ABC aired the Free to Be… You and Me television special. The TV special also had the celebrity cast of singers, performers, and narrators, known as Marlo Thomas and Friends. For the special, the LP tracks were often produced with animated cartoon visuals, designed to capture the attention of children who were used to being fed a steady diet of Saturday morning cartoons. (By this time, Schoolhouse Rock! was already seeing great success with its educational animation work.) A number of the segments from this TV special were also reformatted for educational use in schools, including audio-visual materials such as filmstrips. As a result of this heavy media saturation, many adults today readily remember Free to Be… You and Me. In fact, the principles behind Free to Be… You and Me combined with the nostalgia continue to drive the foundation and push sales; the record has remained in print all this time (as well as put onto CD) and a newly remastered version of the television special was released on DVD in 2010.
Among the most memorable and iconic Free to Be… You and Me stories was William Wants A Doll, based upon Charlotte Zolotow’s children’s picture book William’s Doll (1972). The animated TV version of William Wants A Doll, performed by Alan Alda and Marlo Thomas, was about a little boy who really, really wanted a doll. But William’s desire for a baby doll wasn’t encouraged.
His friends told him not to be a “sissy”. His brother said not to be a “jerk”. His father tried to distract William with more manly toys, giving his son a basketball, a baseball glove, and other sports items as gifts. But none of this deterred William. In spite of all the mocking and manipulation, he still wanted a doll.
Eventually, William’s understanding grandmother gets William a doll! The boy is elated!
But William’s father is concerned by the gift, and it’s up to the grandmother to explain that it’s OK. After all, William just wants to love and care for a doll — and that’s how he will learn care for his own baby “as every good father should do”.
William’s lesson of boys and dolls was given over three decades ago. Since then, many studies have been done and many articles have been written. Over and over again they indicate that dolls are perfectly fine toys for boys. But still, the social pressure of “the boy code” persists so strongly that many people today remain shocked that little boys would like to play with dolls. Or that grown men would collect dolls. Thanks heavens for all the boys and men who ignored those people and just continued to love dolls!
I was just 10 years old when William Wants A Doll hit television and I still remember it vividly. Not just for the whiny and grating (yet somehow infections) chorus of “A doll, a doll, William wants a doll”. (It is quite catchy!) Nor for the hoards of kids who sang it, matching the whiny and grating sound with mocking and contemptuous sneers. What made William Wants A Doll so memorable then was the shock I received seeing and hearing it — I was flabbergasted that it even existed.
How could the idea of a boy loving a doll even be “a thing” — let alone a thing so big that there had to be a counter-movement against it?
Now, you might say that I was a wise and accepting kid. Or that all kids are wise and accepting, at least until someone teaches them not to be. Or maybe you think I was just naive. …It is true that I didn’t have any brothers, so what did I know of male gender roles and doll troubles? But the truth is, I knew a little boy who had a doll — or, I should say, I knew of a little boy who’d had a doll growing up. That boy was now a man. And that man was my father.
This is my father, Dean, with his doll, Polly. Actually, to the family she is known as Polly Dolly.
Though Polly Dolly bears no marks for maker or origin, she is likely a German-made, soft-bodied, composition doll.
We aren’t sure exactly when Polly Dolly was made; but we do know that she was really born the day she was given to my dad and he christened her “Polly Dolly”. Not that my dad remembers that day. As far back as his memory goes, there’s always been a Polly Dolly. The best he can guess is that he was given the doll when he was about three years old. Since my father was born in 1942, that would be about 1945.
It was during those years that America, like most of the world, was involved in WWII. Even if you had a lot of money (and his family didn’t), toys were quite rare due to wartime rations. Now, as an adult, my father believes that Polly Dolly was a secondhand doll, likely given to his mother by a neighbor or family friend. Not that it mattered to the three year old boy. It was a toy — and it was his, all his!
At least for the next few years.
You see, my dad has a younger sister. Being three years his junior, her arrival was around the same time as Polly Dolly’s. That’s probably not a coincidence. More than likely, news that a baby was on the way was what motivated someone to give the doll away. Here was a little boy who needed to learn how to be gentle with a real baby coming into the house; some wise and generous person know a doll was in order!
Baby sister grew. And young Dean learned to share. First, he had to learn to share the bedroom he already shared with his grandmother. And then, he had to learn to share Polly Dolly too.
One day, when my dad was about seven or eight, his mother took his little sister on a walk down the block to the park — and his sister insisted upon taking Polly Dolly along. But when mother and daughter came back from the park, little Dean discovered that his sister had left Polly Dolly there!
Being that she was so little, it was up to Dean to go back to the park and get the doll. He was furious! This was more than just some annoying thing a big brother had to do to help his little sister; this was her mistake, and she should fix it. This was inexcusable! It was one thing to walk down the block to the park and let his pals see him running errands for his sister — but it was something else to be seen carrying a doll! Remember, this was 1949-1950, or so. Boys didn’t play with dolls. Teddy bears? Sure. But a doll for a guy was different. Heck, G.I. Joe hadn’t even been invented yet! (Not to mention, as my husband and all the other men in my life remind me all the time, G.I. Joe is an “action figure”, not a “doll”). Little seven or eight year old Dean did not want to be seen carrying a doll!
But — it was his beloved Polly Dolly; he had to go get her!
No one else was going to do it; it was up to him.
So young Dean waited as long as he possibly could before he went to rescue Polly Dolly. He figured the later it was, the less of his friends there would be at the park to see him fetch the doll. I obviously wasn’t there that night, but, as a parent myself now, I know the boyhood version of my father had to have a knot in his stomach waiting as he did, worrying with every passing minute whether Polly Dolly would be there… The longer he waited, the greater the risk that someone else could take her or break her… Was the potential embarrassment worth such a risk? What a gamble it all was!
I envision my father as a boy venturing out on Operation Rescue Polly Dolly… I picture him sticking to the lengthening shadows as much as possible to hide his face — his flushing, sweating, anxious face. I imagine his joy when he spots his doll, safe and sound, at the park… Perhaps some tears spring to his eyes; one part relief, another part shame at having risked, for the sake of his boyish pride, never seeing his friend again. I see him scooping Polly Dolly up and turning quickly to make that uncomfortable run home, still trying not to be spotted by any of his friends, as his emotions twist and turn into anger at his sister once again. And how he ends up at home, winded and spent, just glad to be able to return Polly Dolly to her proper place in his bedroom.
So you see, even at 10 years old, I didn’t need William Wants A Doll to tell me that boys can love dolls. Nor today do I need a bunch of studies or articles to tell me how boys who play with dolls grow-up to become nurturing parents and caregivers. I’ve always had my dad to show me those things.
As you can see, Polly Dolly has seen better days. Or, as we learned in The Velveteen Rabbit, Polly Dolly has been made Real by someone who REALLY loves her. Like the Skin Horse in the book explained, “These things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” And we all understand.
Along with the damages to her pretty face and head, Polly Dolly also has some issues with her fingers and is completely missing her toes.
And there’s a hole punched through the fabric on her soft body, exposing that she once was a mama crier doll (though my father never recalls her having made any noise; the crier was likely damaged before he ever got her).
…OK, Polly Dolly may be a bit too Real. While I completely believe in what the Skin Horse says, that “Once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always,” dear old Polly Dolly is in need of some serious repairs — if only to make sure she will be able to survive to supervise the stories about her as they are told to future generations.
I’d like to thank Diane’s Doll Hospital, again, for allowing me to post this article here. February is the month of sweethearts for me; not only for Valentine’s Day, but my daddy was born in February. So I am happy to celebrate him — and Polly Dolly — this month!
As a collector of vintage retail store items, I was thrilled to spot Gimbels in episodes of The Goldbergs on ABC. The show is set in the 1980s in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, which is about 10 miles north of downtown Philadelphia. Which means the Gimbels store is the Pittsburgh location, not Milwaukee. But it was still such a thrill that I had to take a screenshot when the store was shown in the second episode, when mom Beverly takes Adam to get back-to-school clothes.
I screamed aloud when I saw the name on the fitting room wall!
Then Gimbels was featured again in episode 10, entitled Shopping. So I had to take a few more…
Along with a new cast member (Lincoln Smith replaces Korrie Sabatini), the Oddities spin-off (which has fared better than the other spin-off, Odd Folks Home), has been tweaked for season two. Among the tweaks: lots of smirks, fake looks of horror and shock, and, I kid you not, actual “boing” and “doing” noises to emphasize them.
These “shock-pas”, as I like to call them (fake shock that reads like a faux pas), are utterly unnecessary, irritating, and quite rude. Are we to believe for even one second, that the proprietress and “staff” of the store — the females, of which, dress like today’s version of goth witches or vampires, are going to arch their eyebrows and grunt in fear or smirk in the faces of their clientele? No. Are we, the viewers, to be treated as if we are dumb enough to believe it? And the boings-and-doings — why use such corny sound effects to highlight the awful stuff?! We all know reality shows are not real; that the stuff is planned and filmed and edited and whatnot. But why would anyone expect that a woman dressed like a modern-day Morticia Addams, self-dubbed Wednesday Mourning, would actually raise her eyebrows and have a “boing!” reaction to someone looking for a fetish item or a skull?
It may or may not amaze you, given how savvy you are about TV show deals, etc., but I personally find the American Pickers branding that down-plays Fritz and his store to be, well, a bit of a downer. However unintentional the confusion is regarding the business relationship between Mike & Frank, it certainly is debatable; especially as Danielle constantly refers to Wolf & Fritz as her bosses.
Perhaps the show should make a stop at Frank Fritz’s shop now and then. Even just to drop something off. Even if they do, I might just have to make a road trip there myself. *wink*
Once upon a time, brightly-colored graphics on pressed layers of cardboard in the shape of characters from nursery rhymes, Mother Goose stories, and other childhood tales covered the walls in baby nurseries and children’s bedrooms.
Once the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States joined World War II, Japanese imports disappeared from store shelves and American companies began to take over the toy and other markets once previously held by importers. At the end of the war, Phil Riley of the Dolly Toy Company in Tipp City, Ohio, designed this new kind of wall decoration. They were dubbed “Pin-Ups” and promptly patented.
The Pin-Ups hit stores in 1948, marking the entrance of Dolly Toy Co. into the “Baby Business”, and quickly spawning knock-offs. Dolly Toy would defend their patent in court — and win, thus cornering the paper Pin-Ups market. With such success behind them, Dolly Toy sought to increase their line. By the the 1950s, the company had created other matching décor items for baby’s room. Along with Tidee-Ups (a decorative wall hangers with pegs for clothing), there were lamps and even the company’s first Disney designs. By the early 1960s, crib mobiles would be sold too.
I personally adore the vintage Western cowboy designs. I soooo wanted to do my son’s room in a vintage cowboy theme, but I didn’t have these then. I mentioned that to my son when he was about six years-old and he put his hand on my arm and said, “You can still do that it you want, Mom.” It just about broke my heart it was so sweet! Of course, now that he’s 11, all I get is an eyeball-roll. *sigh*
If some of these seem vaguely familiar or faintly nostalgic, even if you never had them in your family’s home, you may recall seeing them on reruns of at least one classic TV show.
According to the long-gone Dolly Toy website, Dolly Toy Co. products were featured on one of the most popular shows, I Love Lucy, thus making Pin-Ups part of The World’s Most Famous Nursery. While Dolly Toy Co. was not featured in the 1953 ad, you can spot the Pin-Ups in Desi Jr’s nursery — there’s Jack Jumping Over The Candlestick and what appears to be Mary & her Little Lamb.
A more complete Dolly Toy history (or corporate obituary, as the company ceased in 2008) can be found here.
Walking about Tom’s farm is phenomenal. There’s almost too much to take in!
Along with the incredible vintage and antique pieces, mostly organized by theme (sometimes obvious, sometimes personal — enough to inspire by itself!), there are many repurposed and recycled pieces and project ideas to be seen.
My favorite building was the church. The photo doesn’t do the scene justice… The church sits down in a little valley, like it opens up before you, yet somehow in the distance… Inside there was a mix of religious items and a few oddball works of art which showed a sense of humor.
Then again, Hippie Tom’s joie de vivre and humor are exposed everywhere!
Hippie Tom is clearly a fan of collecting shows; this vintage stroller had a paper label with “as seen on American Restoration” on it!
Among the items I purchased at Hippie Tom’s was this antique pelican weather vane. (Something I sniffled about selling last weekend!)
Hippie Tom’s place is called Serendipity Farm — and I also bought one of the old Serendipity Farm signs which Hippie Tom happily signed for me!
That autographed sign is not ever going to be up for sale! But if you want something from Hippie Tom and can’t get to his place or a sale he’s at, check out the merchandise at his website.
When I first heard about the National Geographic Channel’s new show, America’s Lost Treasures, I was excited. The premise is that folks parade in, Antiques Roadshow style, to have their objects evaluated — not simply for monetary value, but for their historical value — to answer the question, “Could you have a museum-worthy artifact hidden in your house?” The artifacts discovered or uncovered each week then “win” the opportunity to be included in a special exhibit at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C., stated to be sometime in 2013 (though the exhibit does not yet appear on the museum’s calender— which, at the time I write this is scheduled through the end of April, 2013).
While the series has a game show element of competition, the focus appeared to be on the history and museum-worthy value of objects. Sure, there’s a $10,000 prize to with such an honor; but I fell for the idea of the recognition. What collector doesn’t want some validation? And, let’s be honest, a $10,000 cash prize for loaning an object to a museum seems a low price for objects deemed of such great historical value.
But then I watched the show.
Problems erupted everywhere.
Show hosts Curt Doussett and Kinga Philipps are literally talking heads with little, if any, experience in history, antiques, or collectibles. Sure, their enthusiasm is high; but their knowledge is obviously low.
When Phillips meets a couple with antique shaving mugs, she literally gushes and coos her ignorance. Who hasn’t heard of shaving mugs?! I think Old Spice still puts them out at holiday time. OK, maybe not everyone has heard of shaving mugs; but then not everyone hosts an antiques & collectibles history show either. And that’s my point.
And Doussette, who studied music composition and theory at Brigham Young University with the stated intention of becoming a master conductor, may have become overwhelmed with emotion at having the opportunity to fulfill his lifelong dream to conduct at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (it was a cool, moving moment), but he continually over-estimates the importance, value, and condition of musical instruments. It’s all rather mind-boggling, really.
And it might be OK, these talking heads who are nearly empty-headed on the subject they are hosting, because there will be experts, right? Well…
Enter curator emeritus Chris Baruth from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, who is the expert visited to authenticate and evaluate a walking stick from the 1893 World’s Fair held in Chicago which contains a map of the fairgrounds. Despite the cautionary comments of the woman who owns the antique walking stick, Baruth rips the fragile old map! And do make matters worse, you can hear Baruth (or perhaps it’s Doussett?) say, “Now what do we do?” While I tried not to cry (or was it faint), Baruth offers to tape it. Really?! Oh. My. Gawd. Thank heavens Doussett promises complete restoration to the owner. You can watch the catastrophe here:
How’s that for damaging your credibility as an expert?
But wait; like a set of Ginsu knives, America’s Lost Treasures has more!
The piece of metal from the WWII Japanese Zero plane was identified behind its frame and glass via webcam connection — something ludicrous, given the images we are shown of the webcam connection. There is no investigation of the owner’s story; his father’s story is taken virtually at face value. Meanwhile, the descendants of Roger Sherman don’t have it so easy; they don’t have the properly documented provenance of the item passing down the generations in wills and so are removed from the running. I guess one father’s story isn’t as good as another’s.
And at the end, perhaps the greatest injustice of all.
When the piece of WWII Japanese place goes up against the Venetian glass mosaics, the museum curator chooses —
The piece of plane.
I’ve nothing against recording WWII history, but this piece was poorly authenticated to begin with; plus there are museums dedicated to WWII (including the one in Hawaii which said they wanted the piece). And they opt for that instead of those incredible, humbling an huge, antique mosaics made of glass from Venetian glass that came from Murano, Italy; some no larger than a seed, some sandwiched with actual gold. Mosaics which not only have been presumed lost, but which would illuminate parts of history and art which many people know next to nothing about. And isn’t that a large part of what museums are supposed to do? Preserve as well as tell the stories of our past so that they are not forgotten?
In many ways, it’s the Milwaukee episode which most encapsulates the train-wreck quality of America’s Lost Treasures. (In fact, the examples given here all come from that single episode!) If you can get through that one, and still find something fascinating to watch, then you’ll like this NatGeo series.
I myself can’t say I like it. I’ve watched three episodes so far, and I may watch more. But I’m pretty sure it’s for all the wrong reasons. …Well, maybe not “all” the reasons are wrong. I do like to see old objects, and learn what I can. But the more I watch this show, the more I feel like an expert. And I know that as a generalist in this business and hobby, that would be a rather silly thing to say. But apparently Shakespeare was right: “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
It was only a matter of time until Oddities had a spin-off; it’s hard to go anywhere in this business and not hear someone talking about the show, see the increased sales of “creepy”. But for fans of Loved To Death, who has had a great online presence for years (at least longer and, sadly, better than Obscura), the launch of Oddities: San Francisco seems overdue.
Like the original series on Discovery’s Science channel, Oddities: San Francisco focuses on the staff and customers of a shop selling old curiosities, medical and biological oddities, and the decadently obscure. The San Fransisco shop is located at the heart of Haight Street. It is owned and run by artist Audra Kunkle (center in photo), who makes the charmingly freaky taxidermy dioramas and jewelry in her upstairs studio. (Which, viewers will note, must be where she appears ascending from when another staff member calls her to the store.) Other Loved To Death staff on the show are goth model and “brainiac” Wednesday Mourning (left) and well-tattooed “stock boy” Korrie Sabatini (right).
If you haven’t noticed by now, these three look far more like the stereotypical “types of folks” who would make, buy, and sell this stuff. Or maybe they just look like stereotypical Californians? *wink*
It may not be entirely fair to compare the Oddities shows or staff… It somehow seems personal or negative. But that’s not my intention; and let’s face it, spin-offs are compared to the originals. In such a comparison, the new Oddities fares well. It captures the same interests and fascinations, yet is different enough, in staff and objects, to not seem like exactly the same thing. Both series are produced by Leftfield Pictures, so it’s not surprising the same successful formula would be used, right down to street and sideshow performances (and the rather annoying too-frequent recaps of stuff that happened in the same episode). In short, if you love the New York Oddities, you’ll love Oddities: San Fransisco.
Episodes of Oddities: San Francisco air, in back-to-back pairs, every Saturday night at 9PM ET/PT throughout the rest of the summer. I will be watching.
Have you been collecting long enough and have decided you’re finally ready to make the move to television like everyone else? There’s two casting calls out right now looking for people with a taste for old things.
First is an unusual venue: VH1 wants people who collect pop culture, so you can finally justify to your mom that the 150 boxes of C3PO cereal in your closet are actually going to get you somewhere in life. They’re just looking for people within driving distance of New York, so you’re outta luck, Mama’s Family freak from Sioux Falls.
When I first discovered this little plastic man with a movable mouth in an auction lot of winnings, I thought the was Uncle Sam or something because of his red, white, and blue coloring — and the hat. Well, he’s red, pinkish, and blue… And the hat wasn’t your typical Uncle Sam hat, but that’s what I thought. Until my mom schooled me that he was Mayor Phineas T. Bluster from the Howdy Doody Show.
Sometimes you’ll see these vintage plastic figures called “cake toppers” but while there’s nothing to stop anyone from using them on top of cakes, these are little plastic toy puppets made for children who were fans of Howdy Doody. They were early television show merchandising tie-ins from TeeVee, Kagran Corp.
According to one of the original point-of-sale display cards, there were five characters from this classic TV show: Mr. Buster, Clarabell, Howdy Doody, Princess Summerfall-Winterspring, and Dilly Dally.
The display card encourages kids to “Put On Your Own Puppet Show.” To make them talk, “simply jiggle the lever in back of his head.” That’s a bit less than Buffalo Bob Smith had to do. *wink*
Staying in character, Clarabell does not talk — instead, kids could blow his “musical” horn.
The toys stand about four inches tall and are made of plastic, not celluloid.
Elyse Luray of History Detectives fame will have her own show on the the Syfy channel. The new series is named Collection Intervention and according to the press release she’ll be helping couples at odds with their overwhelming collections:
Collection Intervention follows Elyse Luray, a sharp and to-the-point collectibles expert as she helps couples who are divided over what to do with an overwhelming collection of memorabilia. Whether it’s a husband’s collection of mint-condition G.I. JOE action figures worth thousands of dollars or a girlfriend’s treasure trove of Star Wars movie posters, Elyse helps couples decide what’s worth keeping and what they can sell. For each couple, their new cash windfall will make their dream come true, whether it’s an engagement ring, a down payment for a home, or the honeymoon they never had. Production company: High Noon Entertainment. Executive producers: Pam Healey, Elizabeth Grizzle Voorhees, Jim Berger.
I’m not sure how I feel about the sound of that… Sounds like another show comparing collectors to hoarders, mocking us… But I’ll have to watch a few episodes when it arrives this fall to be sure.
Shane Turgeon, the Indiana Jones of toy collectors, travels to remote corners of the world to find the rarest and most valuable toys and collectibles. Whether it’s in an old toy warehouse in a remote Guatemalan town or a small swap meet in the Ukraine, Shane will go to all lengths to find the most unique and collectible toys. Production company: Jarrett Creative Group. Executive producers: Seth Jarrett, Julie Insogna Jarrett.
Wine, for example, needs special care and can spoil. To enjoy it, it must be consumed. Vintage cars need space and maintenance. Real estate fluctuates too wildly. But watches? They take up no space, and servicing—while subject to long waiting times—is less of a problem than, say, restoring a 1930s Delage motor car. In the U.K., investing in antique clocks has been cited as a good way to avoid paying capital-gains tax. Because clocks are deemed a “wasting asset,” they are not taxed on their capital appreciation. But best of all, watch values have been on an upward trajectory for the past 25 years.
However, fine antique watches remained threatened by the high prices for gold, as antique pocket watches and wristwatches continue to be melted down for their weight and value in gold. Those are the grim realities of our times.
The Grimm reality of old timepieces, however, is all about Eddie Monroe. On NBC’s Friday night TV series, Grimm, Silas Weir Mitchell plays Monroe, a Blutbad — a human who can transform into a wolf. He keeps his wolfish nature hidden (and at bay) with his rather nerdy exterior — not just the usual “bookish” sort, Monroe plays chello, performs clock and watch repair, and collects so many antique and vintage things that I often find myself searching the frames of the show to look at all his cool stuff. The home (set?) was even featured in Oregon Home, so I must not be alone in my fascination.
A plethora of television shows debuted on the subject, along the new seasons of the established favorites. I haven’t seem them all, but here are few mini-reviews of what I haven’t yet covered in full reviews here at Inherited Values:
It’s Worth What? managed to make it into the prime-time line-up at NBC in the summer. Though the horrible forced catch phrases were annoying, I really disliked the game show focus on monetary value. However, it should be stated, from a parenting and cultural point of view, that the money focus clearly illustrates our societal fascination with celebrity and luxury over history; food for significant thought.
History’s Real Deal has a concept I really like. Like Auction Kings, it shows the realities between estimate and actual prices realized at auction. This maybe it will, maybe it won’t, scenario is amplified against a backdrop of Las Vegas style gambling as deals for cold cash are negotiated as an attempt to avoid going to auction. However, Real Deal, even more than Auction Kings, suffers from a lack of cast or characters with enough quirk, drama or intensity to really hold interest.
Storage Wars spin-off, Storage Wars: Texas, seems to be holding up well. Perhaps the organic dynamic of rivalry in bidding, especially on camera, brings out a certain kind of person that makes the show work.
The popularity of collectibles and antiques in TV land is said to have “spawned an American collectible craze,” according to this article in USA Today:
Greg Dove of the National Flea Market Association, noting the reality-based programs have also helped level the playing field between serious collectors and the yard-sale set.
“It’s bringing in new faces, people from all economic strata,” says Dove. “We’re seeing more and more middle-class and upper-class folks coming to flea markets. Some are just curious, others are seeking collectibles and others are trying to stretch their dollar in a bad economy.”
Though no empirical data exist, Dove says the flea market industry, with estimated annual sales of $30 billion, has been energized by the renewed interest in antiques and collectibles.
Other venues are also benefiting from the uptick in demand for collectibles, however, namely online auction site eBay, which redefined the art of collecting when it went live in 1995.
In the third quarter of 2011, sales volume for its collectibles category reached $557 million, up 18% over the same three months in 2010, says Colin Sebastian, a senior analyst for Robert W. Baird & Co. asset management firm in San Francisco.
Its antiques and arts category posted sales of $263 million, up 17 percent over the third quarter last year; and coins and stamps hit $415 million, up 47% year-over-year (likely due to the skyrocketing price of gold.)
“It’s still a rough economy and I imagine there are still people trying to create some cash by selling things they have around the house,” says Sebastian, noting part of the category’s success stems from efforts by eBay to make its marketplace more appealing to buyers and sellers.
Those of us who have painfully been experiencing the snub of eBay’s nose regarding the lack of concern over the antiques and collectibles categories relish the numbers. Surely this will lead to better treatment, right? Don’t count on it.
Despite eBay’s own “Top Shopped” list for 2011 (a list, with an infographic, the company describes as “editorial in nature” and “focused on pop culture crazes”), eBay continues to move away from antiques and collectibles to it’s apparently preferred place as the Big Box Marketplace, catering to clients with contemporary inventory, big lots of identical new products, even if last year’s styles and lines. That’s not to say you can’t find a good deal there; it’s just that they are not going to focus on the needs of dealer and collectors of vintage and older items which are unique and certainly do have different requirements from the listing of multitudes of identical products.
I feel I must whine.
I just don’t understand eBay’s complete abandonment of what it was built upon: collectors and collectibles. We’re still here, in greater numbers even; why don’t you have our backs, want our bucks?
To illustrate my point, I draw your attention to this quote from eBay, Inc. covering the 2011 “Top Shopped” in more depth:
Retro Glamour: Between “Mad Men” and “Pan Am”, the small screen has never been so blessed with pitch perfect vintage style. And despite its mid-season cancellation, shoppers were still inspired by Pan Am, flocking to eBay to snatch up related items – 41,003 in total. Mad Men (30,378 related items sold) may have more seasons under its belt, but when it comes to memorabilia, the coolest fictional ad agency in the world can’t compete with the romanticism of 1960s air travel.
While eBay focused on pop culture, TIAS (The Internet Antique Shop) Hot List for 2011 focused on the old stuff. In this recap and interview with Phil Davies, you can see that vintage living and classic items for the home top the list.
All this seems to indicate that collecting is up and that collectors are looking for more places to buy their antiques and vintage collectibles — online and off. That tells us here at Inherited Values that we’ll need to focus more on helping you find the best places; so look for plenty of shopping reviews here in 2012.
The Discovery Channel’s Dirty Money may seem like just another formulaic collecting reality TV show, complete with a cast of family members — but if you believe that, you’re wrong.
Sure, the show features brothers John and Jimmy DiResta, along with John’s son Matthew aka “Rat-Boy”, in pursuit of getting their junk on, dumpster diving & making deals in order to turn trash into treasure selling their fab finds and resurrected relics at Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market. And that may seem familiar — maybe even too familiar. But have you forgotten why you like to watch these shows?
Plus, Dirty Money has some aces up its sleeves…
First of all, the show starts with a bang. There’s a parental advisory which suggests that in order to avoid the not-for-kids language and humor on the show, adults should put their kids out in the car. It’s not that the show is wildly inappropriate or even overly risque, but the boys talk like, well, boys. And I happen to find them to be pretty funny. The show should be funny, for in researching to write this post I discovered that John is comic John DiResta, “the funniest human being that ever lived.” I like humor with my collecting, in case you hadn’t noticed. *wink*
Perhaps most importantly, Dirty Money succeeds where shows with promise, like American Restoration, Cash & Cari, and even Picker Sisters has failed: It realistically brings to life the joy of transforming vintage and found objects into something collectible and coveted.
It’s not a true step-by-step “how to” show, but with an authentic creative builder in Jimmy DiResta, Dirty Money does focus more on the process and pitfalls of restoration, recycling and other projects. And in an affordable way, for both collector and creator. Examples: An antique Gramophone turns out not to be worth the money & effort to restore, but is revitalized as a beautiful decorative, functional, and affordable player any record lover would want. And a vintage kid’s bike, also not worthy of an authentic restoration, is turned into a chain-saw powered, Evel Knievel-esque bike.
Plus, Dirty Money shows the realities of what happens at flea markets, i.e., you don’t always get the money you’d like — but you will meet some great characters!
However, the best characters are the cast. It’s clear that the humor and antiquing skills are hereditary; they’ve got “the sickness,” the love of other people’s junk, from their father, who is known as the “Lord of the Fleas.” It’s not just a name. When John & Jimmy’s dad shows up at their flea market booth with a suitcase full of “chum” (smalls items for the boys to sell), the Lord of the Fleas then takes his now emptied suitcase out into the flea market to fill it back up again. I love it!
I wish Dirty Money had a regular set schedule. Not only does it make it hard to find an episode to watch, but such things lead to rumors that the show’s been cancelled. I hope the show lands a steady, stable spot on Discovery.
Last night, History debuted it’s latest collectibles reality television series, Cajun Pawn Stars, in the now familiar two back-to-back half-hour episode format. (I don’t know why these guys haven’t yet just committed to the full hour episode yet.) The commercials for the show made it seem like a blend of Pawn Stars and Oddities, seasoned with a dash of Swamp People. Is that what the show is really like?
After watching just the first two episodes, it’s clear this show is modeled after the wildly popular (and deservedly so) Pawn Stars. Set in the Silver Dollar Pawn & Jewelry Center, a well-established, 25 year old pawn shop located in Alexandria, Louisiana, Cajun Pawn Stars is also focused on three family members in this family-owned business: owner Jimmie “Big Daddy” DeRamus, Jimmie’s brother, Johnnie DeRamus, and Jimmie’s daughter, Tammie DeRamus. Here too are the trivia questions wrapped ’round the commercial breaks, the little facts and history notes in the corners, the outside experts brought in to authenticate and educate. Also part of the packaging and branding emulating the formula of success, the staff here wears matching polo shirts: Cajun Pawn Stars Purple, instead of Pawn Star Black.
It’s obvious that the producers of this new collecting show have realized that the audience is drawn to more than just the triad of ownership talent. Like Pawn Stars, which learned fast that Chum was a star and has been increasing the exposure of other staff members, Cajun Pawn Stars starts off right away including other pawn shop staff: Tina Journet, Fred (Yankee) Howell, Walt Piper, and Robie Friend. Like Oddities, the show also has realized the shop regulars are also likely to gain fans and followers, so Cajun Pawn Stars offers info on these folks who, it seems, will make semi-regular appearances on the show.
Of course, none of this is by accident or purely copying either; Cajun Pawn Stars is produced by Leftfield Pictures, which also produces Pawn Stars and Oddities. These folks know what they are doing. Which means if you like those shows, you should like Cajun Pawn Stars. I do. And, speaking frankly, Sunday night TV stinks; so this is most welcome!
The biggest “twist” involved in this spin-off seems to be organic to the pawn shop itself. A large part of their business includes animals, including farm animals, and the first two episodes featured a herd of donkeys as well as a pygmy goat. And gun laws are looser in Louisiana, so it seems gun lovers will see even more gun sales mixed in with the historical objects, pop culture artifacts (such as the first Jerry Lee Lewis recording from 1952), collectibles and other items.
I’ve only seen partial episodes of Swamp People, so I can’t say if there’s anything in common with that show besides location and accents; but, despite some mean-spirited shows, Cajun Pawn Stars doesn’t seem to be mocking the store, staff or residents — well, some of the regulars, perhaps… But not because of their location or any Southern-stereotype. These quirky guys seem to be aware of their humorous status. They are, as I say, a hoot and they know it. No harm done.
Overall, I’m looking forward to seeing more of Cajun Pawn Stars. It’s not a rip-off, but a well-done spin-off.
PS Note in the background, the Silver Dollar Pawn sign which features “Uncle” Pennybags, the guy from Monopoloy. I wonder how much that cost?
I don’t collect records by series or any other system, to be honest. Like everything else I collect, I mainly rely on the serendipity of stumbling into something and falling under it’s charm… Then, whether I buy it or not, the obsessive researching begins. So I didn’t know that the old Capitol Records series of Record-Readers were once sold as Looky Talky book and record sets.
License To Pawn isn’t a “how to” in terms of opening or running a pawn shop, but the book contains more information on the business side of things than I had previously known or even thought of before; it takes a lot more than money to invest to enter and remain in the business.
License To Pawn isn’t a “how to” for collectors, dealers or buyers, but there are tips on how to negotiate, what affects the antiques and collectibles market, etc. Like the show, Rick bluntly lays down the realities.
Yes, there are stories about interesting objects (and persons) who come into the shop (most of the stories about objects are those already seen in show episodes), but that’s not what License To Pawn is really about either.
What License To Pawn really is, is the stories of the men behind the counters at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. And that’s far more entertaining and inspirational than even I, a huge fan, thought!
The book focuses on Rick, but even if Big Hoss, The Old Man, and Chumlee didn’t have their own individual chapters, which they do, each is included in Rick’s stories; it’s a family business, after all. However, Rick (even without my serious girl crush) remains the focus of the book.
While I am a fan of the show, I’m not one who stalks, even in terms of internet reading and media stories about celebrities so I had no idea that Rick suffered from epilepsy (grand mal seizures) as a child. This led to his belief that he wouldn’t survive to adulthood — and an eventual drug problem. But those seizures, which he eventually did outgrow, led to something else wonderful.
[The seizures] altered my life in nearly every way. Whenever one hit, I would be out of school for as long as ten days. The muscle pulls were so painful and severe that ai could do nothing but lay in bed with ice packs on my hamstrings and quadriceps.
It was there, in that bed in our suburban home in the Mission Valley section of San Diego , that my life changed again. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t move more than a few inches without pain. I didn’t have a television in my room. Video games and iPads hadn’t been invented. I was left to my own devices.
So I read books.
A lot of books.
…I have a very analytical, mathematical, calculating mind. I know I’m not supposed to believe in things like karma. But certain things have happened in my life that can’t be explained by simple coincidence. How else can you explain the sequence of events and circumstances that led to me turning those bedridden hours — which should have been the worst hours of my life — into something that would provide a foundation for a life of curiosity and fun?
That’s what happened. That’s how profound the discovery of books was in my life. I didn’t like school, but I loved books. Reading has been the basis of just about everything that came after. In that bed, I fell in love not only with books but with knowledge. The experience tapped into something I might never have found without the trying circumstances that led up to it. So much of the enjoyment I’ve gained from life has stemmed from a book — either researching some arcane item or reading to learn how to do something practical with my hands.
(Is there anything sexier than a man who loves to read — and research yet!)
And then there are the Horatio Alger-esque stories of each member of the Pawn Stars cast’s rise from humble backgrounds to lives of security and comfort through hard work and determination. Passion and skills into profit, yes; but even more than that, the stories in this book are about finding yourself even when you do your very best to get in your own way. Overcoming obstacles — internal and external — with responsibility for personal accountability, education, and a dedicated pursuit of goals. There’s even a “be careful what you wish for” story; now that the show’s made the cast and the store so popular, Rick can’t be out on the floor, doing what he loves. All things worth reading. Even if they weren’t mixed in with stories about antiques and collectibles — and the unique individuals who buy and sell them.
I only have two complaints about this book…
One, Hyperion is often noted for their “strike while the iron is hot” approach to publishing. This makes sense, but I couldn’t help but feel that this book would have benefited from at least one more round of editing; there were several awkward phrasings, etc., which would have been simple fixes to make the book a bit more polished. And I do mean editing — this is not a slight towards Rick or any of the Pawn Stars themselves (or even Keown); another pair of professional editor eyes would have caught the small problems. Something that bothered me more than a bit for Rick, the reader!
Two, my kids are a fan of this show and while I think there are incredible personal stories my children would benefit from reading, I don’t feel comfortable giving them the book to read due to one adult joke. While reading about prostitutes across the street is certainly less shocking than the plethora of police and crime shows on mainstream prime-time television (not to mention song lyrics on the radio), a joke about oral sex is a bit too much for me to feel comfortable letting the 11 year old read the book.
Overall, License To Pawn is easy to read, charms with great stories, and offers an entertaining look at the world of pawn shops as well as the cast of the show and the cast of characters and objects one is likely to find at pawn shops. It’s definitely worth the read.
Have you ever watched one of the antiques and collectibles shows, or history shows, and screamed, “Put on your gloves!” Not the work gloves worn when picking (though we’ve gone that too lol), but the archival gloves worn to protect objects from skin oils etc.? Hubby and I do, so we were thrilled to see one of our favorite shows, PBS’s History Detectives, address this issue in a recent (but recorded) episode.
The clip is below; but please watch all of it, because it’s sort of telling the story a bit backwards, saying “they respect the rules of the institutions and organizations they are at,” before explaining why some preservationists do not want gloves or other precautions taken…