Antiques Road Show started it all. The popular TV show, which has been on the air since 1997, appraises various antique items brought into its traveling studio and discovers hidden gems for excited owners. I was able to attend the appraisals when the show came to Washington, D.C. in 2010. The interest in antiques and collecting has exploded in the last few years. Collectors are attracted by the acquisition of interesting items, while others are interested in the increasing value of older objects. When one TV show is successful, others are sure to follow. Antiques Road Show has spawned not just shows that are imitations, but TV shows that dramatize every strata of the business of antiques. Mike Wolf and Frank Fritz hit the road each week to unearth hidden ‘farm fresh’ antiques off the beaten path on American Pickers. They encounter unique collecting characters and ‘pop’ on an item when they manage to negotiate a good price for ‘rusty gold.’ Following in the boys’ footsteps, but in designer high heels, are the Picker sisters. This dynamic dame duo dumpster dives and digs in derelict destinations to discover pay dirt. They buy forgotten items and re-imagine them for their Los Angeles store. ABC's Collectors, went off the air in 2011, featured various collectors and their hobby. “It’s Worth What” from NBC is available online. Pawn Stars, perhaps the best play-on-words TV show title, do not strip down for the camera, but they do sometime dress down a customer to get a better price. Rick, The Old Man, Big Hoss and the chubby Chumlee make fun of each other while they negotiate with customers who bring in a surprisingly diverse selection of new and old items to pawn for cash. Hardcore Pawn is another pawn shop TV show. Sometimes networks produce very similar shows to compete for viewers. Auction Hunters and Storage Wars follow people who buy self-storage containers and sell the contents. The cast of Hollywood Treasure tracks down and then auctions off movie memorabilia, film props and tinsel-town trinkets the realize top prices. Utilizing research and metal detectors, the American Digger team literally digs for their antiques. When they find something its, “BOOM, Baby!” The more scholarly viewer can follow the History Detectives on PBS as they investigate the provenance of historically significant items. My Crazy Obsession is a light-hearted look at collectors, while Hoarders on A&E and TLC's Hoarding: Buried Alive record what happens when collecting goes bad. On these shows, it goes very bad and out of control as people acquire too much and can’t give anything up.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
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The now long off the air show Personal FX on the early FX channel focused on collecting and appraisals before ARS. It even featured a few building collectors.
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