BEAVER FALLS, Pa. — Don’t clean out that barn yet, a new television series may be interested in what you have inside it. And what you may consider junk may actually be worth big money.
Lee Alan Hostetter, the third generation of the Beaver Falls, Pa.-based auction company, Lee Hostetter Auctioneers and Realtors Inc., is one of four real auctioneers on a new television show, Money Barn.
Hostetter said he got a call out of nowhere about the television show and it piqued his interest. The producers had viewed a video of Hostetter on YouTube, which led them to get in touch with him.
He met with the producers and after months of no word, he found out he would be signed on to the show last winter after producers came in to the area to collect video of him and conduct interviews.
After the pilot was filmed late this summer, Hostetter was signed on for 40 shows.
Show of characters
The show has four characters. They are four auctioneers: a female from Iowa, a male car auctioneer from Pennsylvania, a male art dealer from Connecticut and Hostetter.
They are taken to barns all over Pennsylvania and given 20 minutes to inspect what is in the barn that has value and can be auctioned off. The show expects to stay in the Pennsylvania. Hostetter said there has been discussion that the show may tape some episodes in New York, West Virginia, Virginia and perhaps even eastern Ohio in the future.
Hostetter said the producers are trying to keep the barn auctions in areas where more than one can be filmed in a short amount of time. He said it takes awhile for the auctions be set up and by shortening the travel distance it allows them to concentrate on production.
The goal of the show is to find items that will bring a big payoff for the owners.
Each of the auctioneers is followed around the barn by a camera operator while they go through the contents.
Hostetter and his “picking stick” go through the barn quietly so the other auctioneers don’t pick up on the stuff he finds that he knows can bring good money from buyers.
After the 20 minutes, all of the auctioneers are brought out of the barn and they meet with the barn owners. The auctioneers then have to sell themselves as to why they should be the one to auction off the goods.
They have to explain why they should be picked and how much money they think they can garner from the sale of the items.
Hostetter said the auctioneer who conducts the most auctions will be compensated from the production company at the end.
“This is real. There are no makeup artists. It’s just four auctioneers doing what they do best,” said Hostetter. “Think of Storage Wars on steroids.”
Hostetter said he was worried at first about how auctioneers would be viewed on the show because it is the auctioneers’ names, reputation and credentials on the line, but so far he feels they are depicting the auctioneering business in a positive light.
“It feels good knowing we are representing the business the best that we can,” said Hostetter.
He has heard from many peers who have viewed the show (it has appeared on the Animal Planet three times so far, including once on New Year’s Day), and that fellow auctioneers appreciate what the show is trying to do and the way they are portraying auctioneers.
Technology to the rescue
Hostetter said he relies on his Android smartphone to help him identify items he doesn’t recognize.
He said two of the coolest items he has found in the barns so far include a broad ax from the 1700s and a John Deere B tractor.
Hostetter said the show is really competitive and none of it is staged.
“We are constantly trying to throw each other off,” he said. ‘You have got to keep quiet about your finds to throw off the three other auctioneers.”
So far, Hostetter has won one of the auctions but only four have been completed so far. The production company is expected to begin filming again in February.
Hostetter is in business with his father, Lee Hostetter, and his mother, Margie. In addition, Hostetter’s daughter, Nicole Lee Hostetter Rettig, and his son, Lee Alan Hostetter Jr. are also involved with the auction company.
The show has not been assigned a schedule as to when it will appear, so continue to check your local listings for the Animal Planet’s shows. It premiered Dec. 26 and was again on the air Jan. 1.
See our coverage of other farm-centric reality shows: