American Storage Pawn Picker War Stars

Monday January 23rd, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

I haphazardly gulp from life’s cup of shame like a thirsty dog laps from a toilet. I should be a millionaire by now, and the one and only idiot to blame for why I’m not gawks at me in the mirror every day. I’ve had chances, and so far I have blown every one. It haunts me.

Nothing reminds me of it more than this recent glut of all the ‘treasure hunt’ TV shows.  ’Pawn Stars’, ’Storage Wars’, ‘American Pickers’ and all their various imitators show me just how close I was to hitting pay dirt. It was right in front of me, and I flat out missed it.

What more of an ideal situation could a person ask for than to be constantly on the road for twenty-five years with 23 hours of free time a day to do nothing but hunt for treasures, make connections all over North America and wheel and deal? I was tailor made for this.

I have always had an eye for collectibles, even as a kid. I remember going to sports card shows in Milwaukee back before they were popular everywhere. I would take the city bus across town to a place called Federation Hall when I was maybe 12 or 13, and come back with as many old baseball cards as I could buy with whatever stash of money I had saved.

They used to have auctions for old cards, and I was right in there bidding toe to toe with grown men many years older than me. Many would ask why I was bidding on those cards when they weren’t from my era, but I just knew they would be worth money in the future.

I ended up selling most of them in my early twenties when I really needed money, and it came in super handy at the time. I did make a healthy profit, but had I really been smart to wait until the peak years of the mid ‘90s I’d have made ten times what I did. I missed out.

Still, I bought and sold sports card collections for years after that. I loved the process of hunting the source, making the deal and reselling it all. Sometimes I lost money, but more often than not I was able to do pretty well. There are a lot of universal steps that go along with any collectible genre, not just sports cards. Had I been smart, I could have hit it big.

Collectibles and antiques are all about knowledge. The objective is to buy items from a seller that doesn’t know where to get as much as you can. That’s the whole concept of all these TV shows, and it’s exactly what I was doing as I was wheeling and dealing cards.

What if I would have gotten to know antique dealers and collectors in all the towns I’ve been going back and forth to all these years? WOW. It boggles the mind how many deals I could have been part of and how many great adventures I missed out on. Sure, I did buy and sell a few random baubles and trinkets along the way, but nothing to break the bank.

Now, after seeing these shows everywhere it’s going to be next to impossible to troll up anything of real value for any kind of bargain. Every seller is now going to jack up prices beyond belief, thinking they’ve got the Holy Grail. I wouldn’t think of starting now, but if I had years ago I’d have probably hit my mother lode by now. I missed the boat. How sad.

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