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Modern day treasure hunters digging for valuables

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Photo: Video by ktnv.com

Modern day treasure hunters digging for valuables

By Tricia Kean. CREATED Feb 6, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Everyone loves a bargain. But did you know there's some rare treasures for sale right here in the valley, and they're priced to sell.

The lock is cut and the valuables inside are revealed. These are real life treasure hunters. They're bidding on abandoned storage units. But they're not allowed to take one step inside until they've paid up. So, they're taking a gamble.

Auctioneer Mark Altschuler said he's seen some people strike gold, "Guns, antiques, one unit sold for about $1,500. There was a $40,000 guitar in it. It happens you know. But you got to work at it."

But that's only half the story. After they buy a unit and go through the belongings inside, many of these auction goers then sell the valuables to you. People like Rose Ricks. She's been going to storage auctions for nearly 20 years.

"I go every day. There's sometimes 4-5 auctions going on around town," said Rose.

She takes everything she buys at auctions and sells it all at her Pahrump store, "Building 160 Supply Company." And the best part is, she's not asking for top dollar.

Contact 13 visited her shop and found tons of furniture. For example, couches for only $150. Artwork like this oil painting for $250, or one-of-a-kind pieces like this commercial black jack table for $150. All from storage units.

"One guy came in one time, and said oh, you know that $35 picture I bought from you, I got $4,000 for it," said Rose.

That's why folks in this treasure hunting game say, it's so important to know what you're selling. Because shoppers are savvy, and doing their own research.

"Now with the Google age it's very easy. Google the stuff and it comes popping right out," said Rose.

Jeff Young said you've got to be an expert on everything in this business. He's been treasure hunting for about 3 years, and specializes in finding and selling vintage items, "A lot of stuff that's selling right now is mid-century. Items from the 50's, 60's and 70's. Very popular."

He said he keeps his prices low in order to keep his inventory moving, since he's got limited space inside the "Main Street America" mall in downtown Las Vegas. This glassware is a perfect example.

"Collector glasses that I had growing up. This glass right here they're selling on eBay for $40. I'm selling it for $10," said Jeff.

He said these hard-to-find items are in demand. Just ask shopper, Rick Mears, "I like the art-deco era. The 30s and the 20s. I like the western. And in my house, in the livingroom, it's all western stuff."

Shopper Charlene Mccomb loves antiques too, and recently bought a used poker table, "This table brand new costs about $1,600. And I got that table for $800. And it has so much more character. It has the chip rails, and it just has the character."

Quality features, that won't break your budget.

"A lot of people are in a position where opposed to buying new, they're resorting to buying a higher quality item, but a used item," said Jeff.

Here's the Contact 13 bottom line: If you have stuff in storage and don't pay the rent, state law does allow a storage facility to sell your belongings after 14 days. In case your wondering, these auctions are open to the general public.

More Resources:

Residential Liquidation

Main Street Antiques

Building 160 Supply Company

MSA Auctions

Storage Auctions

Storage Treasures

Las Vegas Storage Auction List

Tricia Kean

Tricia Kean

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Tricia Kean currently anchors the weekday evening editions of Action News.