“Flea Man” debuts Friday night: new collectibles TV show

A new National Geographic Channel program follows the exploits of flea market veteran Jimmy Kaplow as he travels the U.S. buying and selling. "Flea Man" looks at the often humorous and touching situations that happen when buyers and sellers meet. It’s the latest reality program to debut on the antiques market ahead of a few others coming late this year and early next year.

garage sale america flea man

Kaplow is a flea market veteran. He’s been buying and selling at flea markets for more than 30 years. In his native New Jersey, they began calling him the “Flea Man” after he became such a fixture at the markets. Kaplow knows what’s trash and what’s treasure among what most people might consider “junk” in their basements or attics. His specialty is Americana, which can be everything from wartime recruiting posters to vintage surfboards to antique bikes.

Flea Man starts Friday, June 17, 2011, with back-to-back episodes at 8 and 9PM ET/PT, and continues with four more episodes June 24 and July 1. Here’s a run down of what you can expect to see from each new episode:

June 17: Estate Sale Addict (Friday, June 17 at 8PM ET/PT)

In the premiere episode, Kaplow butts heads with a self-proclaimed “addicted collector” with a 40-year estate sale “habit” over the value of vintage costume jewelry. He also helps a family that inherited a house full of antiques raise money for their daughter’s medical school expenses at a flea market in Long Beach, Calif.

    Big Bucks Bible (Friday, June 17 at 9PM ET/PT) 
How much would a Bible owned by an aide to George Washington be worth?  Kaplow helps a retiree find out, selling the Bible and a variety of other items so he can go back to school. At a flea market in Columbus, N.J., Kaplow teaches two entrepreneurs how to haggle like pros when selling vintage Barbies, golf clubs and a 1950s mirror. But when time runs short and tensions rise, the sellers risk missing their financial goals.
June 24: Batman’s Basement (Friday, June 24 at 8PM ET/PT)
Follow Kaplow as he shows you how to rake in cash from flea markets. In this episode, he helps a toy collector who wants to raise money to convert his basement into his kids’ playroom and a Venezuelan-born chef and his partner with their goal of republishing a Spanish-language cookbook in English. Under Kaplow’s guidance the sellers learn how to haggle like pros, but on flea market day, time runs short and tensions boil as the sellers risk the possibility of missing their financial goals. Can he help them pull it out in the end?
   Antique Goldmine (Friday, June 24 at 9PM ET/PT)
Kaplow shows viewers how to rake in cash from flea markets. In this episode, he heads to Los Angeles to help a budding country music singer who wants to record his first album. But Kaplow learns he’s reluctant to sell his most valuable collectibles. The other seller is a pest inspector who wants to get a refurbished Volkswagen to his son serving in the military. He’s got a lot of great vintage items, but wants sky high prices for them. On the big day of the flea market, will the singer be able to part with enough of his treasures and the pest inspector cut his prices in order to meet their goals?

July 1: Rock & Roll Riches (Friday, July 1 at 8PM ET/PT) 

Kaplow travels to Texas to a unique flea market. His sellers are business partners Alisa and Bryn, the "Texas Tornados," who need cash to start a consignment business, and motocross veteran Jenny Leonard, who wants to sell everything she owns to travel the world.  Kaplow has his work cut out for him as the "Tornados" can’t seem to agree on anything and Jenny has trouble finding enough collectibles to raise the money she needs. To make the challenge even greater, on the day of the flea market, the coldest weather in over twenty years hits the area. With all that against him, can Kaplow help his sellers reach their goals?
Junk in the Trunk (Friday, July 1 at 9PM ET/PT)
San Francisco: it’s synonymous with streetcars and sourdough, and now it’s where Kaplow goes to help two sellers.  Jill needs to raise cash to move back to New York by selling family heirlooms like a mid-century handmade Danish desk and chair set, a vintage steamer trunk, and some potentially valuable jewelry. Nataliya wants to send her mother to visit her homeland of Ukraine. She’s selling art, silver and furniture to help finance her dream. But Jill and Nataliya will battle bad weather and hundreds of other sellers at the upscale Alameda Point Antiques Faire. Can they meet their personal goals with the Flea Man’s help?
"Flea Man" debuts Friday on the National Geographic Channel.

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