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Oklahoma storage unit sales aren't as glamorous as those on TV show

Oklahoma law allows for the sale of storage unit contents at auctions when renters fail to pay. Those who frequent these lien sales said bidding can turn a profit, but it's a lot of work.
by Juliana Keeping Published: April 1, 2012

Fast-talking auctioneers and cutthroat bidders. Gold, guns and other treasures buried in inconspicuous boxes of junk. It's the stuff A&E's television series “Storage Wars” and “Storage Wars: Texas” is made of.

How do those shows stack up to reality?

Patrons of Oklahoma storage unit auctions said bidding on storage unit lien sales is not quite as glamorous, the treasures not quite as rich, and the rivalries not as heated as seen on TV.

Still, played right, a gamble on a unit can mean a big win.

That takes a lot of elbow grease — work that's not seen on TV, they said.

Public Storage hosted eight auctions Wednesday at facilities throughout Oklahoma City, drawing about 40 people who drove to the various auction across town.

Public Storage employees opened each locker for onlookers, who filtered by to get a quick look at the goods. Some shined flashlights inside, while others stood on their toes and squinted for a look into the piles of stuff.

Dave Silva, of Blanchard, was in the crowd.

The owner of Silva's Pest Control has gone to storage auctions for years, first, as a kid, with his dad.

When he grew up, he developed a taste for gambling, but has quit.

The storage auctions are a healthier alternative, and he typically doubles his money, he said.

“This is my casino now,” Silva said.

The auction for the contents of a particular unit at 8012 S Santa Fe moved fast, with bids quickly climbing.

Where some may have seen trash, Silva saw treasure.

He won the unit for $500. A big box of DVDs? He's got a guy to buy those. The bed? He's got a guy who'll take that. He expects a large container of in-the-packaging collectible toy cars to help win his money back, too.

Crowds have gotten a lot bigger in the past year, Silva and other bidders agreed.

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by Juliana Keeping
Enterprise Reporter
Juliana Keeping is on the enterprise reporting team for The Oklahoman and Keeping joined the staff of The Oklahoman in 2012. Prior to that time, she worked in the Chicago media at the SouthtownStar, winning a Peter Lisagor Award...
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