Auction Hunters – "Strat-ed For Cash" – Season1, Episode 4 – Recap & Review

This week’s hunting grounds are posh West Evans, one of the oldest neighbourhoods of LA…home to celebrities, rich in history, and rich in antiques too if our Auction Hunters are lucky enough to have their way.
Unfortunately it seems that they’ve got limited funds, Allen having admitted that they’d bid at a lot of LA auctions recently but with not much profit to show for it. (In fact, later on he confides that 80% of the units they bid on are not big money-makers.) So this week all they have to play with is $1,000.
They like the first unit with its neatly stacked, “professional movers” boxes (which cost $5-8 each and usually indicate goods of superior value). They’re happy to win the unit for $475 but at the same time, half their stake is now gone and there are still four more units being auctioned off.
The competition claim the second and third units. The fourth unit is mainly full of trash bags which has most of the bidders turning around and “heading for the hills” but the eagle-eyed Ton sees a liquor dispenser that suggests there might be something other than trash in the bags. So he bids low and takes the unit for $225.
Now the hunters are down to just $300. Will it be enough to win the final unit? The lock is cut, the door rolled up, and the storage unit reveals multiple generations of old computers. The interest from the other bidders is again weak so Allen and Ton score their third unit of the day for just $275.
Now for the dig. Allen points out that there are an estimated 65 million old desktops in storage in the USA as he and Ton paw through the old “hardware”. Not much of it is worth anything at all until they pull out a vintage Atari game with the old “Woody” console and featuring the original computer game Pong. A real collectable, Ton values it at $250 which pretty much covers the cost of the unit.
From there they move back to the unit with the liquor dispenser. Once they wade through the bags of crap and old clothes, Allen starts getting excited. He pulls out a set of 50s/60s era silver cutlery and serving dishes, followed by a professional, military-style telescope.
But then his eyes really light up, he shouts out “this is a GOOD unit”, and from behind the mound of crap, he pulls out a vintage Schwinn “Autocycle” bicycle with its original leather seat, dual headlights and rear reflector.
Finally they’re ready to excavate the first unit they bought – the one with the moving boxes. They unpack an old spear blade and some African art, followed by an amplifier. And soon the piece de resistance – an old guitar case in which lies a beautiful blue Fender Stratocaster.
Allen is absolutely stoked as they head out to sell the goods they’ve bought. But it doesn’t start off well. Bobby, their local military antique expert, confirms the telescope is from a WW2-era tank but he’s not interested in buying it – not even for $20.
Norm, their guitar expert/dealer is much more interested in what they’ve got for him. It turns out the Fender was made in the 70s, and painted in a relative rare shade of “Maui Blue”. They open it up to check to see if it has the original pick-ups (it does), and pass it under a blue light to see if the paint is original (it is). Norm values it at $3500 and offers them $2000 firm but when Ton offers to toss in the amplifier, he agrees to pay $2200.
Finally the last sale of the day – the Schwinn bike. Andrew, a rare antiques dealer, is totally taken by it, admitting the Depression-era model might be worth up to $8,000. So when he offers just $2,200, Allen says he knows he can get way more out of him, with the two eventually agreeing on a price of $3,400.
So it certainly ended up being one of the boy’s better days so far. With just $1,000, they managed to score three units at a total cost of $975. And by the time they sold all the contents, they grossed $6200 for a profit of over $5,000. With that kind of return-on-investment, there’s no question our two auction hunters are true professionals.