Market Warriors advise turning trash to treasure with your flea market finds

Dave Masko's picture

Here’s the deal: view Market Warriors and see how anyone can turn trash to treasure.

One selling point for the new “Market Warriors” TV antiquing treasure hunt series is a dynamite collection of old stuff that’s featured at various antique markets each week; while last night’s episode seemed to hide the nerves inside each of the show’s four pickers as they again failed in their assignment to turn trash to treasure during the show’s auction segment where these experts learn if they made or lost money on the collectibles they purchased. While the Aug. 13 airing of the "Market Warriors" at the famed Renningers Adamston indoor and outdoor flea market - in the Pennsylvania Dutch country of Lancaster, Pennsylvania - was a repeat of the first Market Warriors episode, it was a good lesson for garage and flea market pickers that “treasure is right under your nose if you just look.” For instance, the somewhat dysfunctional team of the four “Market Warriors” still seem to drop some tips from time to time on the kinds of things that flea market fans should be looking for; while gold and silver top the list of “stuff” to check-out when visiting your local thrift store.

Also, the Market Warriors say home décor, vinyl records (*early Beatles albums), old art work and vintage books, art deco dish ware and funky furniture are the “big finds” for those savvy enough to know if your local charity shop is just selling junk or treasure.

For instance, a thrift shop picker found a signed 1950’s folk art box that lists on eBay for several thousands of dollars and yet the customer only paid $1.99 for the item that’s featured in the photo that accompanies this story. Go figure those trendy thrift and charity shops for high valued items?

Market Warriors auction house sets values

Now that the PBS “Antiques Roadshow” spinoff “Market Warriors” has taken its first Monday off – while featuring a re-run episode this past Aug. 13 – the program website offers the following tips from Joe Baratta from the Abell Auction Company.

Thus, in the recent series premiere episode the four pickers headed out to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, home to Renningers Adamstown - a large indoor/outdoor flea market - where they must find Mid-Century modern items amid the Pennsylvania Dutch antiques.

In turn, the winning picker is determined at A.N. Abell Auction Company in Los Angeles, California, where their chosen items go under the hammer. Abell has been a family owned and run business since 1916. At the same time, famed auctioneer Joe Baratta appears in the episode and shares some of his key tips for the auction novice.

Baratta offers these tips for sellers:

-- Know your Auction House: You should only attend auctions held by reputable auction houses. How long has the auction house been in business? Do they have a knowledgeable staff? Do they have their own place of business or have they popped up in a temporary (hotels, etc.) location?

-- Preview Preview Preview: If you plan to buy, make sure you PREVIEW the item(s) beforehand. Avoid places that do not offer a preview at least a day before the sale; the key is allowing yourself the time to assess future purchases. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the auctioneer or staff.

-- Utilize the PROXY bid: If you cannot make the auction in person (a must-do for everyone at least once!), or if you can’t trust yourself to not over-bid, utilize the “Proxy” Bid. The “Proxy” bid (also called "Absentee" or "Left" bids) allows you to call in a maximum bid for an auction item without having to attend the auction itself. Then, if the item does not reach your proxy, you only pay what it hammered at, so you’re guaranteed the best price!

-- Know your Limits: After you preview the item in person, assess what the value of the item is to you, know your limit before the auctioneer starts the bidding and then, the hardest part, STICK TO IT! Knowing your limits will avoid disappointment or that guilty-shopper feeling.

-- Beware the Buyer’s Premium: All auction companies implement what’s known as a “buyer’s premium” – in short, it is an additional percentage added to the hammer price for any item, which is paid to the auction house. This premium varies greatly between auction houses and knowing what this is before you start bidding allows you to factor this additional cost into your bidding limit. Too many people who think they are getting a bargain get caught up by the buyer’s premium.

Overall, the Market Warriors experts say don't trust until you verify that the auction house won't rip you off.

Market Warriors still in a state of flux

The first “Market Warriors” episode – that was rebroadcast on PBS stations nationwide on Monday, Aug. 13, at the regular program’s air time of 9/8c – was an attempt to reinforce the “brand” of Market Warriors with a re-dubbed first episode that used the narration of Antiques Roadshow veteran Mark L. Walberg over the “original” Market Warriors host Fred Willard who was arrested, and then booted from the show, after Los Angeles police charged Willard for “lewd conduct.”

Still, both Monday’s show and continuing “Market Warriors” episodes are aimed at four experts shopping for antique market treasures. While this concept is fun to watch - for fans who also enjoy hitting garage sales, flea markets and antique mall shopping - there seems to be a sort of disconnect between the original first episode of the show with its original narrator Fred Willard and Mark L. Walberg from “Antiques Roadshow” stepping in after PBS fired Willard for being arrested in Hollywood for “lewd conduct.”

For instance, Market Warriors fan Bill and Donna of Reedsport, Oregon, told Huliq during a recent interview that “without the wise cracks from Fred Willard, the show lacks that humor that sustains you after being annoyed at these experts who are clearly not very successful.”

Also, both Bill and Donna say the new host Mark Walberg “tries to add humor to the show, but maybe he tries too hard. His comments about what the pickers did or didn’t do come off judgmental, when Fred Willard just made us laugh out loud.”

In turn, the Market Warrior pickers are Miller, John, Bob and Kevin who – let’s face it if you’ve watched the first five episodes of this PBS TV “reality show" – are not always on the same page when it comes to “values” for the antiques and collectibles they picked.

For example, Miller likes to use her laptop to confirm values, while John seems lost in the past when picking trending items for auction; while Kevin comes off too "stressed," and Bob still wins week after week after admitting he's "just lucky."

A new episode of Market Warriors returns next Monday, Aug. 20, with yet more back and forth on what’s collectible today and what’s not with this PBS "reality show" offering news that all fans of flea markets and garage sales can really use since it's a "very difficult market right now with this uncertain economy," add the show's experts.

Image source of an antique picker finding a real treasure – a 1950s era “folk art” creation - that’s considered “hot” today by experts at “Market Warriors” on PBS – while the experts say look for gold, silver, home décor items, old art and books and vintage dishware when looking to “turn a buck” from treasures at your local thrift shop. Photo by Dave Masko

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