Who knew auctioning off storage units and rifling through them could cause so much drama? Everyone who watched Storage Wars, that's who. If you're a fan of the show, then you know how entertaining it can all be. From the crazy personalities to the incredible treasures found inside, every episode is exciting.
Of course, nothing is ever perfect in the reality show world. Some even claim that it's completely rigged. Check out these behind-the-scenes secrets from Storage Wars including the most bizarre items found inside the units and the enormous fortune that one couple missed out on.
"Budget Cuts" Allowed The Show To Break Up A Father-Son Team
Darrel and Brandon Sheets were the father-son duo that didn't always end up with a good haul, but were definitely entertaining. When Season 10 of Storage Wars flopped in ratings, A&E decided to let one cast member go and they chose Brandon to be their victim.
People argue it wasn't budget cuts though, but that A&E just didn't like the pair.
Your Favorite Auctioneers Met At, Where Else, An Auction!
Dan and Laura are known on Storage Wars for being no-nonsense when it comes to auctions, but also being extremely lovable. The two actually met at another storage auction. When Laura saw Dan, she told herself she knew she's marrying that man.
Four months later, she made her move and they've been together ever since!
The Elvis Newspapers Brought In $90,000
One of Dave Hester's most valuable finds was when he unearthed a stack of newspapers that all reported on the death of none other than Elvis Presley. The papers were not only extremely rare but they were also in very good condition.
The newspapers ended up selling for more than $90,000.
Barry Was Already A Millionaire Before The Show
Some folks do storage hunting to make a living. They comb through every single item in the unit to make whatever profit they can. On the other hand, Barry walks past tons of junk to find one magnificent piece.
That's because Barry is a retired wholesale produce seller. He'd already made his money in Southern California before he took up storage hunting as a hobby.
Brandi And Jarrod Always Find The Creepy Stuff
Poor Brandi and Jarrod don't have the best luck. Their weirdest buy came from a unit that had vintage My Little Pony memorabilia.
The giant pink plush dolls and the rest of the collection were worth $875. Not too bad for a weird set of old toys in a locker.
Stumbling Onto A Hand Shrine
Obviously, the cast members are trying to make the biggest buck, but they can also stumble onto some very bizarre things too, like the storage unit that appeared to be owned by a hand-obsessed person.
One cast member became the proud owner of a bunch of sculpted hands, posters of hands, and hands from clocks. We don't wanna know.
The Dotsons Don't Just Auction Units Off, They Buy Them As Well
Dan and Laura Dotson are seen primarily as the auctioneers on Storage Wars, but they do a little bit of bidding as well. Their biggest haul was when she paid $1,000 for a unit that ended up having $500,000 worth of Spanish gold coins inside.
The "pieces of eight" dated all the way back to the 16th century!
Barry Is Quite The Ladies Man
Everyone's favorite Storage Wars cast member is apparently known to be quite the magnet for women. Ladies of all ages come to the Storage Wars sets to meet him.
Even if he doesn't find a treasure in a storage unit, a pretty good prize is waiting for him just outside.
Hester Says It's Fake, And A&E Didn't Argue It
Dave Hester is one of the most opinionated cast members on and off the show. In 2012, he claimed that the show was completely rigged, and that producers stash items in the units.
Usually, we take Hester's words with a grain of salt, but it was pretty suspicious that A&E didn't even try to refute it. They just said Hester was free to have an opinion.
Non-Cast Members Can Sometimes Make Off With The Best
You might have noticed that the cast members always snag the unit even though there appear to be other non-cast members bidding too. Storage Wars obviously wants to focus on their stars, but that means missing out on some good television.
It turns out that even amateur storage hunters can make off with a prize.
Hester Might Actually Have A Heart
Hester comes off like he's extra aggressive and cutthroat, but he's only in the business after having a change of heart. Hester owned a furniture store when he was busted for a DUI and forced to do community service at a Goodwill store.
He hated seeing that people could barely afford clothes, so he converted his business into a thrift store and started storage hunting.
Trey Songz And Hester Got Into A Serious Lawsuit
The most unlikely pair in history ended up in the legal system together because both of them wanted the rights to the phrase "Yuuup!"
The judge basically ruled that neither can trademark the phrase because it's not a unique or made-up word, it's just a variation of a common phrase. Sorry, boys.
Finally, A Fistfight
It took eight seasons, but finally, in 2015, a physical fight erupted on the show. Allegedly, Dan missed a bid made by Hester. The producers kept pushing Dave to make a comment about it until he lost his cool and went at Dan.
No one got hurt, but Laura was pushed down in the fight and started swearing up a storm.
An Eye For Expensive Items
Barry once bought an entire storage unit because he thought he spotted an ornate gold bowl up at the top of a heap of junk. The ornate bowl turned out to be a hard hat that had been covered in metal and engraved for fun.
You'd think the "bowl" was useless but it ended up fetching a pretty penny anyways.
Playing Dirty Isn't A Crime
Hester is the king of playing dirty on Storage Wars. In one episode, he used his acting skills to make it seem like a unit was worthless. In reality, he had spotted a bunch of brand new vending machines in the back behind the junk.
After everyone else lost interest, he bought the unit for $1,300 and sold the machines for $28,000.
Barry Has A Famous Family
Before Storage Wars, Barry already had a good idea about reality TV because he is the godfather to Jesse James. You might recognize James as the motorcycle customizer from Monster Garage and Jesse James Is A Dead Man.
James was married for four years to actress Sandra Bullock so that basically makes Barry a Hollywood celebrity.
Darrell's Fantastic Art Heist
The biggest payout in the history of Storage Wars belongs to none other than Darrell Sheets. He invested a hefty $3,600 into a storage locker, which is pretty pricey, but it paid off.
Inside was $300,000 worth of art by Frank Gutierrez. Even better: it's not fake. Darrell has been in contact with Gutierrez and it was indeed his old locker.
A $7.5 Million Storage Unit Treasure
One of the unaired storage unit discoveries includes a cash bundle worth, oh, just a crisp $7.5 million. Auctioneers Dan and Laura Dotson sold a unit in Indio, California for $500.
The guy who bought it found a safe inside with more than $7 million in cold, hard cash. The previous owner must have died. Finders keepers, right?
Jarrod Can Thank His Aunt For Getting Into The Business
Jarrod may have had a dark past but he can thank his aunt and his partner Brandi for turning it around. His aunt actually owns a public storage facility and after spending some time with her there, Jarrod was encouraged to get into the storage hunting game.
He also has his partner to thank for supporting his dreams.
Voodoo Items To Put A Curse On Other Buyers
As always, Brandi and Jarrod find the strangest things. One storage locker revealed a box of items that appeared to be everything you needed to curse someone with a voodoo spell.
The box held stuff like a deer skull, human hair, chicken bones, and statues of people. Uhm, please burn the box immediately.
Faceless Bills Can Still Turn A Profit
It isn't every day you stumble upon wads of cash that are missing the faces of our past presidents. Immediately, you assume the cash is counterfeit and can't turn a profit, but you'd be wrong.
One cast member bought the unit for $400, found these wads of faceless bills, and learned that they were still legal tender so they made off with $24,000.
Brandi Sued An Adult Film Distributor
In 2013, Brandi won a lawsuit against an adult film distributor after they posted a video claiming it was her. The video included a woman they claimed was Brandi, but most definitely was not.
Brandi sued for $2.5 million but only ended up with $750. She says she doesn't care about the money but mostly wants her fans to know she wouldn't do that.
Darrell Basically Stalked His Wife
It's not every day that following a car for miles and then holding your number up to their window works, but that's exactly what happened when Darrell Sheets met his (now ex) wife.
He was driving in California when he spotted Kimber and began to stalk her. Incredibly, it worked and the two got married.
A Spinoff Cast Member Has Family Drama
Kevin Pew, one of the cast members of Storage Wars: Miami, was caught up in some legal issues after his son shot a woman. Kevin was there and had to physically restrain his son.
The scandal was a dark spot for Kevin, but it didn't affect his time on the show.
Hester's Lawsuit Against A&E Screwed Him Over
In 2013, Hester filed his lawsuit alleging that the show was faked and that production plants items in the storage unit. Production listened to his concerns and allegedly stopped planting items...but only in Hester's units.
If the claims are true, then it explains why Hester turned into such a horrible buyer by the end of his time on the show.
A Diamond In The Rough
One of the earliest victories on Storage Wars came only four episodes into season one. Barry bought a unit for $275 filled with beauty and salon supplies. He figured they'd resell at a decent price but none of that mattered after Barry got to the back of a unit and realized there was a grand piano back there.
The piano ended up turning Barry a sweet $11,625 profit. Or should we say, "tuning" a profit?
Barry Barely Looks At Units
When Barry Weiss decides to bid on a unit it's because something has caught his eye. In one episode, he climbed onto a pile of junk until he saw something he thought might be valuable.
Barry, as you know, wasn't concerned about paying rent, he was just looking to make one big score.
Darrell Sheets Threatened To Quit
Darrell Sheets was never viewed by A&E as the reason people watch Storage Wars. Once he realized how undervalued, and underpaid he was, he threatened to quit.
His final straw when he heard a rumor the network was going to slash his pay in half. Nothing ever happened and he remained a main cast member.
Barry Has Been In Two Spin-Offs
Barry Weiss is a big character best served in small doses. A&E learned this the hard way when they cast him in not one, but two spin-off shows.
Neither attempt was successful. In fact, A&E has tried to launch several off-shoots of the tried and true formula only to be met with failure. How different can Container Wars really be?
Ride Some Vintage Camel Saddles All The Way To The Bank
Mary was the star of the spinoff Storage Wars: Texas and didn't seem too intimidated when she saw a pair of saddles in the back of a unit. That is, until she looked closer and realized they weren't horse saddles, they were camel saddles.
The vintage camel saddles dated to the 18th century and sold at $1,500 each. Not too shabby!
After suffering a back injury as a kid, Barry Weiss started smoking marijuana to help deal with the pain. When the drug became legal medicinally, Weiss got himself a card.
Obviously, you'll never see him treat his back pain on the show. That's a whole new mess that A&E would prefer to avoid.
Dan Almost Died In 2014
Dan Dotson nearly died in 2014 after suffering a double brain aneurysm. He required immediate medical attention and was operated on in California.
A week after the procedure, Dan was able to go home and be with his wife. Following his near-death experience, Dan did something no one expected. He quit smoking after 40 years.
Laura And Dan Were Cyber Hacked
In 2012, Laura and Dan Dotson faced a huge dilemma when they were cyber hacked. The crooks were able to steal the couple's credit card and bank information.
The thieves weren't very bright, though, and used their own information when buying things with their new riches. They were apprehended and the couple's cards were blocked by their bank.
It's Easy To Lose Your Locker
One of the key factors in Storage Wars is that you can't bid on a locker that has an owner. To keep business running, however, lockers can be taken away after one missed payment.
Even worse, if the owner of a locker passes away, the locker is still put up for auction. Next of kin is not notified and it's business as usual.
They Aren't Always Betting On Something
To help increase drama on the show, sometimes the shots you see of the cast bidding on lockers are actually the casts bidding on nothing at all.
The truth is that not every auction is exciting. Sometimes only one person will bid, and there's no drama. To fix this, the crew has the cast fake bids away from the locker to edit into the scene.
Cast Interviews Are Scripted
Again, trying to up the drama as much as they can, producers on the show will often script one on one interviews they have with cast members. That means what you're hearing is all lies.
For reality shows this is pretty common practice. It's disheartening to hear about Storage Wars because it's not your typical reality show, but some lies are universal.
Brandon Sheets Could Have Gone To College
Before Storage Wars began airing, Brandon Sheets had to make a big decision. He was just finishing high school and had to decide whether he wanted to pursue a higher education.
He chose to skip college and get into the storage business with his father. The move might not have worked out since Brandon was forced to leave the show over "budget constraints."
A Script From The Godfather Was Something Special
At one point, a seller came into Golf and Silver Pawn Shop with an autographed original script from Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather. As it was supposedly signed by Al Pacino, autograph expert John Reznikoff was brought in to determine if the autograph was real. He said it was.
Reznikoff valued the script to be worth around $2,000, so the shop offered the owner of the script $500. The owners then turned down the offer and went on to sell the script at auction for $12,000. Apparently, Reznikoff was wrong about the autograph and the script was actually signed by Al Ruddy, the film's producer.
An Old Spanish Coin Was Something Out Of A Pirate Movie
When a woman brought a unique coin into the pawnshop, she claimed that she had inherited it. Since it was made of solid gold, it was already valuable, however, the year it was made would only increase its value.
The woman had done her own research and claimed that the coin was valued around $18,000. The Harrisons had the coin examined by an expert who concluded that the coin was from 1715 and was part of a treasure trove that was brought from Cuba to Spain. They purchased the coin for $11,000.
Isaac Newton's Copy Of De Natura Fossilium
Published in 1546, De Natura Fossilium is a guide to rocks, minerals, and sediments. Although this book is old, what makes it particularly special was that it was owned by Sir Isaac Newton. When the book was brought to the pawnshop, the Harrisons were very skeptical and brought it to an expert to be looked over.
Inside the book, a plate was discovered which indicates that it was indeed Isaac Newton's. The expert estimated that the book was worth $20,000, but the owner still ended up selling it for $7,000.
Corey Paid A Pretty Penny For A Mummy Mask
Most people will never hold a mummy mask in their hands or even see one in person, but that's not the case for the Harrisons. When one came through the door, Dr. Phineas Kastle was called in to examine what was supposedly an Egyptian mummy mask.
Kastle confirmed that the mask was genuine and valued it at $22,500. He also warned that because it was so old and rare that it could be worth far more than that. In the end, Corey bought the mask from the owner for $30,000.
The Guys Scored Big With This Emblem
When a seller came into the shop with this Polish emblem, Rick wasn't sure how significant it was or what do with it. He ended up buying it from the person for a mere $6,000, unsure if he had lost or made money. The authenticator who then came to take a look at the emblem determined that it was made in Russia and that it was as close to a Fabergé as you can get.
He noted that the emblem was also made in 1975 when Poland was split into three parts, with the largest being controlled by Russia. In total, the emblem is worth $30,000.
The Book Of Mormon From 1842 Was Bought With Ease
The Book of Mormon was first published in 1830, so when someone came in claiming to have a book from 1842, they had the Harrisons' attention. Luckily for the Pawn Stars, book expert Rebecca Romney examined the book and confirmed that it was from 1842, making it a fifth edition.
Romney then estimated that the book was worth around $40,000. Even though the book was estimated to be worth so much, in the end, Rick made a deal with the owner and bought it for just $24,000.
16th Century Spanish Gold Was A Rare Find
Somehow, a bar of Spanish gold from 1554 made its way into the shop. Supposedly, the gold bar had been lost in a shipwreck the same year it was made. The owner of the bar had found it in his attic and decided to bring it in to see what he could get for it.
Melted down, the bar would have been worth $24,000, however, still in its original shape, it was easily worth $50,000. The Pawn Stars made a deal and acquired the gold bar for $30,000.
Rick Drove To Florida For A Single Coin
Although not known to everyone, not every deal that's made is done in the physical shop. At times, the Pawn Stars will set up meetings with private sellers or travel themselves to see specific products. In the case of an octagonal Panama Pacific gold coin from 1915, Rick drove all the way to a coin show in Florida.
The coin commemorates the completion of the Panama Canal and is extremely rare. Estimated around $70,000, Rick talked down the price to $67,000, and sold it to a private buyer he already knew was interested.
Vic Flick's Guitar From 1961 Was Sold By Vic Himself
Typically, a Fender Stratocaster from 1961 sells for around $20,000 on most websites. However, this guitar was different from the others, because the owner who brought it in claimed that it once belonged to Vic Flick.
Flick is a well-known session guitarist who played on countless popular songs, also teaching students such as Jimmy Page. As it turns out, the man selling the guitar was Flick himself, except nobody knew who he was. Once everything was cleared up, they bought the guitar for $55,000.
The Boys Bought Quite The Car
Another occasion in which Rick left the shop to make a deal was when he went to check out a Ford Roadster Model B from 1932. Bringing his son along for the ride, after seeing the vehicle, the two decided that they needed to have it. The car they looked at was in mint condition and worth a lot of money.
Of course, Rick also had his car guy, Danny Koker, look at the car, and he decided that it was worth around $75,000. After some back-and-forth with the seller, Rick ended up paying $68,250.
One Of 150 Mustangs
There were only 150 of the 2014 Hertz Penske GT Mustang ever produced. On top of that, the first ten of them were given to VIPs and Hertz executives, leaving only 140 available for the public.
Furthermore, it's the only GT Mustang with a six-speed manual transmission, making it especially rare. Nick asked for NASCAR driver Joey Logano to take him for a test drive, telling Rick that it was easily worth $75,000. After some negotiation, Rick bought the car for $60,000.
The O.J. Statue That Flava Flav Had A Hard Time Parting With
In one famous episode of Pawn Stars, rapper Flava Flav came into the shop with a strange bronze statue of O.J. Simpson. Flava Flav claimed that the statue used to be perched next to Simpson's pool at his home in Los Angeles. Initially, Flav was looking for $125,000 for the statue, but the Pawn Stars only thought it was worth $80,000.
TMZ later reported that Flav held onto the statue, not taking any offers under six figures for it. He even offered it back to Simpson who refused it. It's possible he still has the statue today.
Rick Couldn't Tale Advantage Over A Lady For This Brooch
When a woman came into the store to try and sell her unique looking brooch, she had no idea that she was holding one of the most expensive items to ever come through the doors. Apparently, she had received the brooch from a relative and was hoping to get a few thousand dollars for it.
After examining the brooch, Rick knew that it was worth far more than what she was asking for and offered her $15,000 instead. Even though Rick didn't try to rip the lady off, it was later discovered that the brooch was a genuine Fabergé piece worth upwards of $80,000.
Rick Bought A Car In Gold
A private seller and classic car collector/enthusiast who calls himself "Uncle Phil" approached Rick with a 1932 Lincoln Roadster. Uncle Rock had bought the iconic car from a museum and wanted $100,000 for it. Unsurprisingly, Rick fell in love with the car but was still unsure about spending $100,000 on it.
Rick knew it would be difficult to find a buyer since there was such a small market for vehicles as specific as this. Finally, he offered Uncle Phil an amount of gold worth around $95,000.
They Came Up On A Superbowl Championship Ring
When New England Patriots defensive back Brock Williams walked through the doors, there was little doubt that he was in possession of something authentic. As it turns out, he sold his New England Patriots Super Bowl Championship for just $2,000 as collateral for a loan.
The ring is made of white gold with 143 diamonds. Rick was interested at first sight, and since Williams never came back to pay off the loan, the ring legally belongs to the shop. In total, the ring is worth around $100,000.
One Of The Most Valuable Coins In The United States
The 1922 Proof Peace dollar coin is one of the most valued coins ever produced in the United States. Once worth just a dollar, coin collectors have been known to pay outrageous amounts of money to get their hands on one.
On the show, one man trying to sell the coin won it in a poker game and was asking $20,000 for it. However, after having an expert look the coin over, it was determined that it was worth at least $100,000. Rick offered $80,000 and the buyer walked away happy.
Stephen Stills' 1941 Guitar Was Expensive By Itself
Any 1941 Gibson guitar is going to be worth a nice chunk of money, but if its previous owner was the legendary Stephen Stills, its value only goes up. Somehow, that guitar found its way through the doors of the pawnshop.
Regularly, a 1941 Gibson guitar would be worth around $75,000, but after it was proven to have been owned by Stephen Stills, the price shot up to $105,000. Rick offered the seller $85,000, and the man handed over the guitar.
Thousands Of Ounces Of Silver Had To Be Wheeled In
When a seller arrived at the store with 3,000 ounces or nearly 200 pounds of silver, Rick was impressed but also hesitant to make an offer. The seller had shown up with countless bags full of silver blocks that he wheeled into the store.
Supposedly, his father had told him to invest in precious metals and he listened to his advice. Now, he was ready to cash in. Obviously, Rick had the metal tested and it proved to be 100 percent silver. Rick offered $111,000 for the silver and the exchange was made.
Massive Gold Bars Caught Rick's Attention
Rick and the other employees on Pawn Stars don't always bite when it comes to buying things, but these four gold bars were too nice to pass up. Each gold bar weighed a little over two pounds and looked like buried treasure straight out of a movie.
Rick was quick to make an offer and flipped them for $128,000, around $32,000 each. Rick always makes it clear that if you ever have an opportunity to acquire gold, it's in your best interest to buy it.
A Bell From The 1600s Turned Out To Be Real
When a woman came into the shop with a ship's bell that she said dated back to 1602, the Harrisons were skeptical about the whole thing. People come in all the time claiming they have something extremely old only for it to turn out to be fake.
Supposedly, the bell was from a ship owned by the Dutch East India Company, but it didn't look like it had ever been in the water. Of course, the Harrisons called up an expert who said the woman was telling the truth, making the bell worth $15,000.