The League: Reality TV Treasure Hunters

This week’s topic from the League is:

Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Hollywood Treasure, Storage Wars, Toy Hunters, Auction Hunters, Auction Kings — the list of reality TV treasure hunting shows goes on and on. If you could spend a week with the crew from one of these shows (or one that I missed) who would it be?

Seeing that I’ve spent the last 14 years inside of Hollywood Treasure, a.k.a. Profiles in History, I guess I would go with this crew. The fact is, with or without cameras around, we are constantly honing our craft and refining our business. We built our auction business from the ground up without assistance from outsiders. Our methods and protocols are strictly homegrown. I’m proud of this. We have our own consignment policies and invoice system. We found what worked for us, which may not work for others. I suspect this might be true for the other crews in the aforementioned shows.

This makes me wonder why they all seem to be so similar in format. My guess is that each of the show is subject to the whims of the studios that produce them. When there is a successful model, clones will spawn. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery and all that. I can’t speak for the other shows, but for Hollywood Treasure the cameras pick up but a tiny fraction of what we really do. Part of the reason is client confidentiality and logistical practicality. Even then, what is shown on the show is enough for a narrative, albeit just a glimpse of the entire picture. That all these reality shows are pigeon-holed into the same format is kind of a disservice to their distinct respective identities.


  1. Even if most of these shows use a similar formula, it all comes down to the likability of the personalities. For all the successes, there are plenty of one-offs that came and went in the blink of an eye.

    Hollywood Treasure is unique because it features items that won’t show up on those other shows. I’m a huge fan of the “treasure hunting” genre, but you’re not going to see Marilyn Monroe’s dress on Pickers! Your show may not fall squarely into the mold, but some of my favorite segments are the ones where the crew has to dig through warehouses and garages, not knowing what they’re going to find.

  2. Fong Sam says:

    Good point, Brian. Formulaic or not, it still boils down to content and personalities. The beauty of a national public platform is that viewers will decide. It doesn’t get more democratic than that.

  3. Kevin Hellions says:

    The only reason I didn’t pick Hollywood Treasures as my favorite (well besides the desire to write a long winded blog entry) is that I feel I need to earn my way up to your level. Without a doubt you guys (and girls too of course) have the best, most jaw dropping, museum quality pieces on each and every episode. One day I’ll work my collection up to that level.

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