HISTORY is airing a new, 10-part series called “Real Deal,” which zeroes in on the dramatic interaction between buyers and sellers as they haggle over the best price for a piece of history.
Taped at Don Presley Auctions‘ gallery in Orange, Calif., Real Deal captures the tension that fuels the art of the deal. Antique dealers must summon their expansive knowledge of antiques – and human nature – to clinch the deal. But it’s the sellers who have the advantage. They can walk away from the table at any time and head straight to the auction block, where big money could be awaiting. But there’s always the risk of going home with far less than the dealer offered – or even empty-handed.
The show debuted Nov. 27. “With this show, the name tells it all. It’s the real deal – the most authentic antiques and auction show on television,” said auctioneer Don Presley. “I believe auctions are the best way of determining fair market value, and that’s what this show does.”
Presley explained the premise of the show: “People come into the auction house with an antique or collectible item and sit down at a poker table across from one of a team of four very smart dealers with a stack of cash to spend. They discuss the item and haggle back and forth on price; then the dealer makes them an offer. The seller can accept the offer or consign the item to auction. Viewers get to watch the entire process as it unfolds, all the way through to the bang of the gavel. It’s very entertaining,” Presley said.
Whether it’s a collection of footballs signed by NFL legends or an autograph by Harry Houdini, a WWII German Storm Trooper dagger or a 19th-century spittoon, everything that comes into the auction reveals something about an earlier time and the way people lived in the past. But an article that’s rich with history doesn’t necessarily make its owner rich.
One seller thinks he can get $580 for a 1904 home electrotherapy machine. The dealer offers $240. No deal, decides the seller, and heads to the auction house, where he gets only $225 for it.
But a gamble can sometimes pay off, as it did for Gary, the owner of a 1956 Lincoln Mark II in flawless condition. He knew only a handful of these beauties were produced, and he thinks he can get $70,000 for it. The dealer offers him $30,000. Should he take the money and run? No, he decided. For a collectible car in perfect running condition, he’s sure he can get top dollar at auction. At the auction house, Gary gleefully looks on as bids keep rising. Eventually the vintage vehicle fetches $45,000 – and Gary goes home a winner.
The last two episodes will air at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Dec. 11 and 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 18.
More from Antique Trader
- ‘The Great Big American Auction’ debuts Thursday on ABC
- Latest schedule of antiques reality-TV shows
- The sizzle turned to fizzle for this antiques dealer’s shot at reality TV
- From ‘Mad Men’ to ‘Chicago,’ antiques dealers find new money in film and TV prop rentals
More Resources For Collectors & Sellers