From Marsha Bemko, executive producer at Antiques Roadshow and Market Warriors
Antiques industry lore has it that old-time dealers or “pickers” drove across the country, stopping to knock on doors and ask homeowners if they had any old screens for sale. Why? Because people kept their old screens in the attic or basement—locations that gave pickers a chance to peruse the contents of a home on their way through it.
A picker might spot a bureau and offer to buy it for a price—maybe $5,000—that was enough to impress the farmer who owned it but in many cases far short of its true value. I shudder to think of all those who must have been “picked” this way, but I’m proud that thanks to Antiques Roadshow, the farmer would today be much smarter about his bureau’s potential value.
Modern-day (and more scrupulous) pickers have kept up the treasure hunt and their fascinating work is the basis of our new series Market Warriors.
Market Warriors explores the business of antiques. The idea is simple: Four pickers travel across the country to buy at flea markets, then sell everything at auction, where the hammer price dictates fair-market value. The picker who turns the highest profit comes out ahead for the week.
Like Roadshow, Market Warriors lets audiences learn from the pros. But the lessons emerge from the hand-to-hand combat of doing business in the real world. We’ll get in the trenches with our players: Miller, Bob, John and Kevin—folks who know the tricky world of buying and selling used objects. They come from different backgrounds and look at the competition from different viewpoints.
The familiar off-camera voice you’ll hear is that of host Fred Willard. We knew before meeting Fred that he’s a gifted comic actor, but we quickly learned that he has his own collecting passion: sports memorabilia. And he isn’t just a casual collector; he speaks like an appraiser. Fred will guide you through each episode—informing, challenging, and entertaining you along the way.
The hunt is on!
Marsha Bemko is the executive producer of Antiques Roadshow and Market Warriors, which premieres Monday, July 16, on WGBH 2.
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