In Britain, programmes like Flog It!, Dickinson’s Real Deal and Antiques Roadshow tour the country to areas such as Preston with their armies of experts looking for interesting antiques finds. The Antiques Roadshow is famous for creating mini dramas for viewers. People who bring items to the show (perhaps initially played down a little by the expert) are informed at the end of the clip that their antique is worth thousands of pounds, which of course makes great TV viewing.
Flog It! and Dickinson’s Real Deal concentrate on not only spotting items but also selling them for the contestant at auction. However, although great TV again, with only 7 or 8 contestants a show going to auction, the chances of getting on a show and selling your antique bookcase in Preston for large sums of money are rare.
US antiques dealers have grasped the opportunity here and treasure hunting across the country is now big business. Treasure Hunters is a national company that scouts the US on behalf of antiques dealers and other buyers. They are looking for anything of interest brought to their roadshow. Valuations are held over a few days at a local hotel or somewhere central. The Treasure Hunters can buy items there and then, but often if a number of buyers are interested, they will be contacted over the phone and an impromptu auction will take place there are then in front of the seller.
There are words of caution here, that sellers should be aware of the value of items before they take them to companies like Treasure Hunters. However dealers have to make money too, and to quote David Dickinson who promotes a fair deal for contestants on his show: ‘On the day that was the Real Deal.’
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