One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and hosts Allen Haff & Ton Jones of ‘Auction Hunters’ are out to prove this once again as Season Three of the hit unscripted Spike TV series, ‘Auction Hunters,’ premieres LIVE tonight at 9 PM PT/ET with host Mike Catherwood.
In my exclusive interview with Allen & Ton, I learned why these two are amongst the best in the business. This isn’t just a job for them, but a true passion for both. I also learned what we might expect to find during their unprecedented live kick off & how fans can get a piece of the action.
Examiner: Hi guys, thanks so much for talking to me & Examiner today. I was surprised to learn that there are thousands of abandoned storage units being put up for auction daily. What are some of the reasons people let their valuable items go?
Ton: It can be for a number of different reasons, anything from a hardship or a divorce. A lot of people think, I’ve been storing this unit paying $200 a month for the last 6 years and say I don’t remember there being that much stuff really worth anything in there. Instead of going back and paying the 6 months that are owed on that unit, they think it’s not worth the items that are in there. Some don’t remember the items that were even put in there. It gets passed on, they don’t feel like paying it, it gets too expensive & people can’t afford it. Sometimes a family member passes on & then the other generation that was meant to take care of it, didn’t want to pay the bill or couldn’t afford it and they let it go. We’ve had some where they’ve gone to jail. They can actually call the storage facility if they owe a bunch of money and say you know what, I’m signing this unit to the storage facility because I can’t afford to pay it off.
Examiner: Are you more likely to find higher ticketed items here in LA?
Allen: California is the 12th largest economy in the world & most of that wealth is concentrated in this area. So I don’t think there’s anywhere better than where we are naturally stationed, as far as the most amount of money that you can find in units. Though really every city has its nice part of the city & typically that’s where the best stuff is found.
Examiner: What would you typically find here in Los Angeles?
Allen: Obviously in Los Angeles this is where show business is, so we get to see a lot of autograph memorabilia, a lot of collections. That’s the thing about the LA. You’ve got the fans, you’ve got the collectors, you’ve got the movie stars. When those units come up a lot of times they are rented in the name of their assistants or their friends or somebody that no longer works for them, so that’s one reasons they didn’t know their stuff is coming up for auction. Ton & I have seen some pretty amazing things & a lot of it we haven’t sold out of respect for the celebrities like videotapes, photographs that nobody needs to see that kinds of stuff. So really this is an incredible area as far as the Hollywood memorabilia & that type of thing. When there’s this much money & this much transition everyone’s always moving, & when you’re successful, you move up ,you get the bigger place. Sometimes while you are making over your mansion, you put stuff in storage & sometimes you decide it’s not worth it. There are a million different reason but the largest one is people don’t appreciate what they have. The grass is always greener on the other lawn. Look twice at your mother in laws junk, because it can’t all be junk. Anytime we hit those rooms that there’s 60 years old full of stuff Ton & I get giddy. Anything 50 years old is going to be worth something.
Examiner: Let’s talk about your upcoming LIVE Auction Hunters special. Who’s idea was it to go LIVE?
Allen: We joked about it & unfortunately somebody heard us. The point we were trying to make was, people should really see what happens & what we really do because by the time they cut the show up it looks a lot easier than our real life jobs. We wanted the opportunity to go straight to the fans with that but somebody decided that would be interesting so here we go.
Examiner: I understand all proceeds will be going to charity. Tell me about the charity.
Ton: This is actually pretty cool. The money that’s going to be raised from the auction & selling of the items, as well as a portion of the donations being matched by Spike TV, will be going to the IAVA, Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America. It’s a pretty important thing. These are the people fighting for our peace & for us to be able to do what we do.
Allen: Ton & I get a lot of attention & credit but really the fact is that any one of those guys that are over there fighting for us is worth more than me, Ton, the whole show & probably just about anybody in the genre. We really want to honor those guys and what an exciting opportunity. That really was the pushing point for us too.
Examiner: What’s exciting as well is that your fans will also be able to interact with you during the show via Twitter & be able to win some pretty cool prizes. How can they get involved?
Ton: The items they are giving away are from past shows that we’ve done. Items that we’ve picked up & didn’t sell. So what we’re doing is to keep people involved and make them a little bit more of part whole process. There will be random giveaways while people are tweeting to Spike_TV on Twitter.
Allen: You can also type in #AuctionHunters & specify what you are interested in. I can tell you that when they said do you guys have anything for the cause, one of the things we are giving up is a very high end nice piece of historic, I don’t want to blow it, autograph. It’s an autograph photograph that has several very important sports figures that signed it & would be worth some big bucks. So I’m excited our fans get a chance to win this without getting their hands dirty.
Examiner: Speaking of Twitter can people follow both of you?
Allen: Yes do I finally get to promote my twitter? AllenLeeHaff
Ton: Mine is TonsRescue
Examiner: Any highlights you’d like to mention that we’re going to see this upcoming season?
Allen: What I’m most excited about is a week from Wednesday, we’re opening up in the wildest place a person can go to in the United States, Alaska. I’m telling you it’s incredible. I have to tell u the stuff we shot is so beautiful. I saw dailies & thought I was looking at high end Hollywood movie. The footage is gorgeous & we found some really cool stuff. So Alaska is by far the star this season.
Examiner: What advice would you give advice to someone who wants to do what you do to try to make extra money on the side?
Allen: Start small. With the competition now you have to hit the ground running. You have to know what you are buying. You really can’t lose. You can pick up a storage unit on average for about $80, $90 bucks. Hey they were probably spending $300 a month just to store it, so they thought it was worth more. Start out small. Don’t get carried away. The best thing you can do is go to an auction and not buy a thing & just watch how it goes.
Ton: Make sure you have room to store everything you just bought. Make sure that you don’t fill the garage that your wife kicks your butt & don’t spend what you can’t afford to lose.
Examiner: What do you like best about what you are doing now?
Allen: I’ll tell you what it is for me. The idea that I can share something that I’ve been passionate & enthusiastic about my whole life. That I can actually sort of turn younger people towards antiques which really celebrate our nation because we were on the cutting edge of ingenuity for so long that most of the innovation that we saw with technology at the turn of the century is thanks to us. So to be able to have a show where we get to celebrate that American ingenuity & make people feel a lot better about what we’ve accomplished, I’ve got to say I’m honored to do that.
Ton: It’s for me a lot of it is I just enjoy the everyday treasure hunt, going out there with a friend & being able to go on these treasure hunts day in and day out & discover Americas history & keep learning. I like to learn & just soak up everything I can about everything. To have the chance to do that with a friend, working with Allen & to be able to go across the country , to all of these new places & find a little history about each place& the uncovering of all these vintage artifacts. It’s almost overwhelming & it makes doing this a pleasure instead of a job.
Examiner: Why should people tune into your live special?
Ton: Anything can happen.
Allen: You’re going to get to see the real us without someone standing between us. Your gonna get a better idea of the human beings we are. Hopefully. We’ll see how it goes. This is going to be weird.
Tune into the Premiere LIVE special kick off of Season 3 of ‘Auction Hunters’ tonight on Spike TV at 9:00PM/PT & ET. Check out preview clips of tonight’s show or watch full episodes of previous seasons at : http://www.spike.com/shows/auction-hunters