The Travel Channel has my number, and I couldn't be happier! First I had the opportunity to interview Jordan Hembrough prior to the launch of his show Toy Hunter, and last week I interviewed Laurence and Sally Martin, antique store owners from sunny California. If you are a fan of the show Storage Wars, you'll remember Laurence and Sally appraising Barry's silver flask that turned out to be a pocket spittoon, and another memorable episode when Barry brought in a not-so-valuable cuckoo clock. You can probably remember several others, too.
Laurence and Sally have been battling it out on their own show, "Baggage Battles" for the past year, using their vast knowledge of antiques, jewelry and other merchandise on a different playing field: the unclaimed baggage and cargo at airports. Beginning Wednesday, November 14 at 8:00 e.s.t., season two of Baggage Battles begins, and I have some scoop on what the new season will bring!
Laurence and Sally looking at some mystery boxes:
But first things first. I talked with Laurence and Sally on the phone, and it was totally up to me to ask whatever I wanted. I was curious about their entire business, so we started with that. Laurence has long been a collector of antiques, and frequented a shop in El Segundo, California. Finally, the owner suggested he just buy the whole shop, so he did! He's been running Studio Antiques in El Segundo for 25 years. Sally joined him about 12 years ago full time.
Over the years, the Martins have acquired much of their store inventory from locals who bring in treasures to sell. They also purchase containers of antiques from across the globe that are shipped to them directly. They have a good crew running the shop while they are on the road, and one can also shop their eclectic mix at www.studioantiques.com, so be sure to pay them a visit!
I spotted a half-doll on their site that is very appealing and some miniature items to outfit a dollhouse. They have a large collection of everything from lighting to furniture on their site:
The new season of Baggage Battles expands the battleground to estate auctions, unclaimed freight at shipping ports, and seized property auctions. Because we're talking Travel Channel here, each week the show visits a different city, including Boston, Brooklyn, Toronto, Dublin, and London. Naturally, there's drama built into the equation because there are other bidders competing for the best deals. The bidders can't inspect the items at the seized property or unclaimed freight auctions, so there's mystery involved. Bags of jewelry sometimes cross the auction block, and the question might be "is the Rolex watch in the plastic bag packed full of jewelry the real deal, or is it a fake?"
Aren't they a colorful couple?
Photo Credits: Travel Channel
The two half-hour premiere episodes of Season Two will first find Laurence, Sally and their competitors in Brooklyn, NY, at an unclaimed freight auction. Apparently our busy ports in the US have incoming freight that goes unclaimed on a fairly regular basis. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Auctions takes care of this so there isn't a bottleneck of goods clogging the ports. I have no idea what kind of merchandise would be abandoned at the port. After talking with Laurence and Sally, I still have no idea! That would ruin the surprise of the show, and we can't let that happen....
Inspecting a bag in Brooklyn. Could that be a valuable watch?
The second half-hour of the premier episode will be held at an estate auction in Boston. This will be an interesting episode for us antique buffs, promised my new friends. Some nice pieces of American history will be up for sale, and may need some expert appraisal as the authenticity of some of the items might be in question. Sally had to prevent Laurence from spilling the beans to me about what they purchased in Boston! I'll definitely be watching next Wednesday to see what they found.
The last question was one I failed to ask Laurence and Sally directly, so I'll ask it here: would you consider having an eager "intern" tag along during Season 3? I'll even consider schlepping boxes around just to hang out with you all!