Spike TV‘s dynamic duo is back tonight with the second season of “Auction Hunters,” premiering at 10 p.m. The series follows Allen Haff and Clinton ‘Ton’ Jones while they find treasures in others’ trash. Haff and Jones began working together as antiques dealers after several chance encounters at storage bin auctions. These storage bins have lost owners or had people abandon them, so the contents are auctioned for the highest bidder to sort through the trash and find little nuggets of greatness inside.
Haff and Jones met on several occasions at these auctions, and, at first, Haff was not too fond of Jones and how he worked. However, it’s always advantageous to be kind to your peers in these situations.
“One thing is you have to be careful and be respectful but not share too much information,” Haff told LA’s The Place about the auctions. “It’s all about the intel. Ton knows a lot but doesn’t keep his mouth shut…truth is, my friend Ton loves to be the center of attention, loves to tell a joke.”
At one auction, Ton asked to borrow a flashlight, and typically, this request would not be fulfilled, but Haff explained, “When you have someone the size of Ton, you say, ‘Yeah you can borrow it.’” Then later, Haff gave Jones some off-the-cuff advice on a bin he had won and some pointers on how he likes to “hustle.”
The two had a connection and decided that working together would be beneficial for both. It’s always good to have “auction friendlies” when on the job, Haff advises.
Auction Hunters On The Road
Tags: Auction Hunters On The Road
Haff was born into the auction hunter world as a second generation antiques dealer, but when he was riding around with his mom in a station wagon looking for deals and great finds, the career didn’t seem so appealing. Haff’s mom was a great collector, and when Haff started resaling as a side job, he could come to her for advice, as well as his many experiences.
“Like my buddy, Ton, I have learned the most from the school of hard knocks and trial and error,” Haff said of his auction knowledge. “In resale, you learn only what you have sold before, and between the two of us that covers collectibles from every category.”
He still didn’t see it as a career though, and went to college in Michigan to study English with an emphasis in journalism and psychology. He traveled to Huston for a job with an airline before conducting more and more resale transactions on the side.
“It was something that I could return to,” Haff explained of his initial start in the antiques world. “If on the side, I needed extra money, I could always go out and hustle and not everybody has that.”
Soon what started as some on-the-side eBay resales turned into a full-fledged business, and at the age of 24, Haff was the owner of his first antique business. When the airline he worked for asked him to appear in a national commercial, he traveled to Los Angeles and discovered a whole new side of work that he enjoyed, this time in front of the camera.
His love for commercials brought him to Los Angeles for good, and from there, he developed relationships at various stores across the city and continued a thriving business and making a name for himself.
“In LA, everybody kind of seemed like they knew what I knew and more,” he laughed. “It’s a wonderful place because there is so much turn over. Everyone is from somewhere else. It’s this circle of life thing happening in Los Angeles, and it’s really competitive.”
He began discovering the best places to go, made friends with store owners around the area and scored some on-camera roles in TV series like Style Network’s “Clean House” as the Yard Sale Guy and HGTV’s “My House is Worth What?” Haff continued to get busier and busier and realized that he needed assistance, and it wasn’t such a bad idea to share the wealth.
“I figured out a system, not to be greedy, to share with my friends,” Haff said. “I could build this network of honest people and become a franchise in buying.”
That’s what he did, putting friends in place to make bids when he was going to be clearly recognized by pros in the area who would see his bid and try to outbid him thinking he clearly knows a good bin when he sees one.
Flash to present day when Spike TV was looking for a subject for an original documentary series. The channel approached one of Haff’s friends, and he insisted they look to his colleague to be the subject of the series.
“Ton and I have earned some beautiful money together, and when the network saw us together, doing what we love, well, the rest is history. We may look like the odd couple but we are similar in many ways such as our hard work ethics, ambition, ability to adapt and overcome and it is no secret we both love to win,” Haff revealed. “For us, there is nothing sweeter than finding our discarded junk a good home for a great price and making your friend a beautiful dollar right along with you.”
For season two, the friends will be taking their expertise on the road, creating a brand new (and much harder) experience for the pair.
“We know Los Angeles. We know the inventory. There aren’t too many things that we can’t foresee or have intelligence on,” said Haff. “[This season we're] constantly the visitors, going on the road…more importantly, we don’t know the big shots here. Every little town has a big shot, and he isn’t going to give up his room without a fight. For the first time in our buying lives, we are really the underdogs.”
Alongside the 20-episode order that Spike put in for the season premiering tonight at 10 p.m., Haff has other interests he devotes time too, including his book, “The Auction Guys’ Guide,” and his interest in rescuing animals by working with LA groups like The Rascal and Chloe Fund (www.rascalandchloefund.org).
Haff added, “Like the discarded antiques we find, I love to save unwanted animals and find them homes where they will be cherished.”
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Written by Mandy Rodgers