Storage Wars

Imy Clarke - On behalf of Alchemy Recruitment, October 28, 2015

Storage Wars is a reality TV show that has gripped the world. Exploiting a California state ruling that storage units overdue on three months’ worth of rent can be sold via auction, the show follows a team of professional buyers who purchase these lockers based almost purely on a hunch and try to turn a profit on the unit’s contents.

There have been some incredibly impressive and incredibly weird and wonderful finds throughout the 8 series of the show so far. The most impressive payout of all came as Darrell Sheets invested $3,600, a hefty gamble, into a storage unit to discover it filled with original art by Frank Guttierez. The whole collection was estimated by an expert to be worth $300,000.

Other impressive finds included a model grand piano that turned a profit of $11,625, a selection of limited edition Elvis Presley newspapers that were valued at $90,000, classic toys with a profit over $12,000 and even $10,000 worth of car and motorcycle parts.

Perhaps one of the greatest finds related to the show, however, occurred in 2011 when a private buyer used the service to blindly bid $1000 on a storage unit. A heavy chest inside was found to have “Pieces of Eight Spanish Gold” dating back to the 16th and 19th Centuries, valued at over $500,000. The buyer wished to remain anonymous so the findings were never aired on the show.

Yet, the show is not without its controversy. Former star of Storage Wars Dave Hester, of Elvis newspaper fame, sued the show’s network A&E under allegations that the majority of the show was faked. Hester claimed that expensive and unusual items were placed within the units for entertainment purposes, and sought $3.5 million in damages for his firing after supposedly complaining about this. The termination lawsuit was settled privately for an undisclosed amount after a court judge ordered Hester to pay more than $122,000 to cover the network’s legal fees. His later return to the show questions exactly what is real and what is not.

Despite the controversy surrounding the show, there is no denying that sometimes miraculous things from Nicholas Cage’s stolen comic book to a NASA rocket do occasionally turn up in unclaimed storage units. If the items themselves aren’t enough to hold your interest in the show, then the competitive camaraderie of the buyers is sure to keep you entertained.

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