How long has this straight razor been in your family asks a dealer at the Florence Antique District; while such questions will now be common for viewers of the new “Market Warriors” PBS TV program that debuts Monday, July 16.
Visit the Florence Antique District (FAD) along the central Oregon coast in Florence, Oregon, and you will be amazed at all the antiques and collectables that are being sold at more than a dozen locations. In turn, watch as screwed antique hunters seem to possess the “gotcha” syndrome when they unearth a great find in much the same way as these self-proclaimed “Market Warriors” like to do on this new PBS TV program that debuts Monday, July 16 at 9/8c. Market Warriors is produced by PBS with the “prominence” of its famed “Antiques Roadshow” TV program that has its roots in England where the original “Roadshow” captivated television viewers decades ago with people sharing their treasures and experts offering them estimates on the current market value.
Market Warriors concept based on big business
Calling it a “multi-billion a year industry of antique dealers,” the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development’s recent report on “the nature of antique businesses” also states how the buying and selling of antiques and collectables in the U.S. today is not only big business, but a growing trend during these uncertain economic times.
Moreover, this government economic development report states that “one-quarter of the overall population collects something. As people become more educated and experience greater expendable income, they tend to look at the purchase of antiques and collectibles for investment, security, and for aesthetic appeal. It is estimated that one-third of these people invest in antiques and collectibles. The prime antique collectors seem to be the more affluent population born in the 1950s and 1960s. Since the number of people in their thirties and forties is the fastest growing segment of the population, it would seem that the sales of antique objects will continue to be strong over the long term.”
In turn, the report seems to mirror the PBS preview for this “Market Warriors” TV show by educating America about what’s “hot” and what’s not in terms of antiques and collectables.
For instance, this U.S. Department of Commerce states that “two of the largest, worldwide auction firms are Sotheby's and Christie's, which had combined 1988 auction sales of more than $2 billion. This was an increase of about 500 percent from ten years earlier. About 15 years ago, Sotheby's began to publish antique market trend index numbers for people to relate their moves to that of a popular stock average, such as the Standard and Poor's Average of 500 Stocks.”
Thus, this new PBS “Market Warriors” TV program shares these “market trends” and follows antiques pickers Bob, John, Kevin and Miller on what the program calls “a nationwide treasure hunt; scouring flea markets and antique shows for vintage valuables with an eye toward selling their finds for profit at auction.”
Buyers looking for good antique deals
Given this weak economy, such foraging for antiques and collectables has become a sort of “national pastime,” explains Florence Antique District (FAD) customer Jonah Hurley who calls himself a “self-proclaimed antique junkie.”
In turn, Hurley told Huliq during a July 14 interview - outside this FAD collection of antique and collectable shops - that “real treasure can be found today because it’s a buyer’s market. People need money now days and they’re selling some great things at these shops.”
At the same time, a local “barter” expert advices customers to “save their money because barter is better.” Thus, a growing trend into today’s recession weary economy is “for people to simply trade for goods, including some rare and expensive antiques and collectables.”
However, knowledge is power when it comes to such “bartering,” and thus “Market Warriors” warns those with pricey items to “get smart” before going into an antique shop expecting the dealer to give you “the fair market value.”
Also, another trend for summer antique and collectable fairs around the country is to appeal to “Baby Boomers” with such events as vintage car shows piggy-backing with sales of antiques and memorabilia; as evident here in Florence, Oregon, where “car shows translates into more visitors getting in the mood to buy old things sold at the antique district,” explained one local dealer who adds: “business begets business, and that’s especially true when you combine the nostalgia of say old cars with the marketing of vintage items that we sell.”
Market Warriors explained as entertainment and information
Over the course of 20 one-hour episodes, the PBS producers of this new “Market Warriors” TV program hope “viewers will get to know the pickers, enjoy an up-close look at the fierce competition and obstacles they face in the marketplace, and make their best guesses about who will come out ahead at the end of the competitions.”
In turn, the U.S. Department of Commerce report explains to American consumers how “competition is considerable” in this “growth industry” that involves the buying and selling of antiques and collectables.
For instance, this government “economic development report” explains that “owning an antique shop is not a short-term profit-making venture because antiques can sometimes sell well, at a good price, or sit for months with few interested customers; therefore, some owners make their antique shop only a side line to their usual occupation. Care should be taken not to acquire antiques to sell too near the market's peak price, or it may be several years before such items win bring a reasonable profit.”
This government report also states that “most experienced antique shop owners report they must gross at least $40,000 a year to continue in business. It is important to note with antique shops that gross sales are directly related to the size of the dealer's inventory.”
Market Warriors wants to be your antique pricing resource
Thus, with this knowledge in mind, the new “Market Warriors” TV program hopes to really help those antique hunters who are keen on finding real bargains when they visit such places as the Florence Antique District, flea markets, garage sales and even established antique shows.
“With Market Warriors, we wanted to turn the lens on the antiques experts themselves," says series executive producer Marsha Bemko in a PBS news release on the program’s website. "Our pickers aren't your amateur-weekend-flea-market hobbyists — they are pros looking to turn a profit in a highly competitive setting where the element of chance and a little luck sometimes trump expertise. And who better to guide viewers through the challenges our pickers face than Fred Willard, who brings to the series both his signature improvisational skills and the eye and know-how of a collector."
According to the U. S. Department of Labor, “total revenues for these stores are cyclical as are the number of stores and the average prices of the more common antique merchandise. Prices of the more expensive items tend to vary, but parallel the rise and fall of the stock market. Stock prices tend to turn down about six months before the prices for the better antiques, but the prices of the second and third tiers of quality antiques tend to move more immediately in line with stock prices fluctuations. However, it should be understood that prices may be subject to a 30 to 50 percent price cut (usually occurring about a half year after a major stock market downturn), depending on such influences as recession, speculation, availability of merchandise, consumer buying habits, and even social fads or styles.”
Will they cash in on treasure or cash out on trash?
The producers of the new “Market Warriors” TV program are marketing a catch phrase for this new television show that states: “Will they cash in on treasure or cash out on trash?
In turn, the famed comedian Fred Willard – who is best known for his appearances in the film “Best in Show” and playing a quirky relative on TV’s “Modern Family” – serves as the “off-screen host” for Market Warriors by offering what the show’s producers call “wry commentary throughout the show” and, as host, “the competition is filtered through his eyes.”
The concept of someone offering commentary - while the “Market Warriors” team scours the country for great antique and collectible finds - is not unlike a visit to say the Florence Antique District where comments are often over-heard by customers and dealers along the lines of “my grandfather once had that, and wow it’s worth how much?” Or, comments about “how much this will be worth in a few years,” or “I wish mom never threw out my baseball card collection.”
Overall, this new “Market Warriors” TV show on PBS is sort of a long-lost cousin of “Antiques Roadshow,” say producers with the concept being four savvy antiques experts travel around the country to search for cool and valuable items at various shops and flea markets so – like millions of Americans who sell their stuff on eBay – these Market Warriors try and sell their finds at action with the auction result creating the item’s “fair-market value.” In turn, the Market Warrior who earns top price is the winner for the week. Market Warriors is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston.
Image source of a vintage car show in the Old Town area of Florence, Oregon, where “Baby Boomers” flock to enjoy old cars while the local “Florence Antique District” markets antiques and collectables to these nostalgia buffs. Photo by Dave Masko
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