‘Real deal’ Aussie bar­gain-hunters pick­ing their way to fame and for­tune

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

LU­CAS Cal­laghan (pic­tured), the co-host of new an­tiques show Aussie Pick­ers, has a nose for a bar­gain. He has spent the past seven years hunt­ing for trea­sures at auc­tion houses, garage sales and op­por­tu­nity shops and in peo­ple’s back­yards, sheds and at­tics. ‘‘Yes­ter­day, at an auc­tion, I bought a Range Rover door painted by by Abo­rig­i­nal artist An­thony Hill. It started at $10. It went to $350. It’s worth in the vicin­ity – in the fu­ture – of $3000 to $5000.’’ Like ev­ery­thing the 40-some­thing Syd­neysider ‘‘picks’’, it has a story. Take his French chaise longue. Af­ter spot­ting it on the in­ter­net, he flew to By­ron Bay to buy it and forked out a for­tune in ex­tra bag­gage costs to get it home. ‘‘I paid $500 for it and who knows what it’s worth. I’ve been told it could be worth any­where be­tween $8000 and $10,000. It was so worth the flight up there. That’s the beauty of the in­ter­net.’’ On Aussie Pick­ers, which airs on Fox­tel’s A&E chan­nel, Cal­laghan and his friend Adam McDon­ald, wan­der from Toowoomba to Ho­bart search­ing for trea­sure. Along the way they meet junk­yard own­ers, an­tique deal­ers and ec­cen­tric col­lec­tors and af­ter some en­thu­si­as­tic wheeling and deal­ing, the ‘‘pick­ers’’ end up with items that can be resold for a profit or re­pur­posed, such as an old heater that they turn into a unique lamp. The ap­peal of Aussie Pick­ers – and of its in­spi­ra­tion, US show Amer­i­can Pick­ers, – lies much in the fact that the hosts of both shows are fun, rugged types, as op­posed to the stereo­typ­i­cal posh an­tique dealer. Both re­al­ity shows have hosts who are not ac­tors or pre­sen­ters but the ‘‘real deals’’. Cal­laghan started his ‘‘picker’’ life af­ter be­com­ing dis­il­lu­sioned with his ad­ver­tis­ing ca­reer that fo­cused on sell­ing ‘‘dis­pos­able in­come prod­ucts’’. ‘‘I had a son seven years ago and that made me want to have a job where I could cre­ate my own ex­is­tence, where I was my own boss. And I wanted to do some­thing a bit more ben­e­fi­cial for the planet,’’ he says. He started his ‘‘new life’’ by sell­ing all his pos­ses­sions and then vis­it­ing auc­tion houses to buy ‘‘fresh’’ items to fur­nish his life. He now owns Modern2Vin­tage store in Padding­ton, Syd­ney, and is try­ing to ad­just to the fact that many peo­ple now recog­nise his face. ‘‘If I go to an auc­tion now I’m sure to pay triple of what I’d nor­mally pay be­cause they think ‘he knows some­thing’. ‘‘They think that if I’m bid­ding on it, then it’s worth some­thing.’’

– LEAH McLEN­NAN

Aussie Pick­ers: Thurs­days, 7.30pm, Fox­tel’s A&E chan­nel.

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