Auction Hunters Bio: Allen Haff

Allen Haff is the slick-talking wheeler and dealer on Auction Hunters that scours storage facilities with his partner Clinton “Ton” Jones looking for great loot. Whereas many of today’s famous professional locker hunters were self-taught, Allen actually has auctioneering in his blood. Allen’s father was a collector and antique specialist that showed his son the ropes, meaning that Haff has nearly double the experience and time spent with auctions than any average Joe that walks in off the street. Allen Haff was born in Michigan, but today he criss-crosses the country rapidly in search of the best storage auction finds.

Allen became so proficient in antiques dealing that he opened and operated his own antiques business at the age of 24. This guy knows what he’s talking about when it comes to valuables, old or strange oddities, and things you just can’t seem to categorize. All this specialized knowledge helped Allen to land a string of successful television appearances that further catapulted his career and ultimately caught the attention of Auction Hunters producers.

In fact, Allen has opened and maintained a number of retail and collectibles operations over the years, including Hollywood & Vintage, a company he started in Los Angeles to process, refurbish and re-sell specialty items coming out of movie studios in the area. He gained notoriety early on as a pioneer in online sales, becoming one of the first and most successful eBay sellers to deal in specialty and rare items.

On the show, Allen is a smooth operator with a keen eye for the treasure peeking out amongst the trash. He works closely with Ton to procure the items they believe will be worth their time. It’s refreshing to watch this duo work together and provides a nice counter-balance to the tried and true but somewhat more common reality television approach of setting up multiple intense personalities to clash with one another.

Allen Haff and Clinton Jones Pose on the Set of Auction Hunters

Allen and Ton have different styles and personalities, but they’re both extremely knowledgable and professional so watching them spot, process and profit from good lockers makes for entertaining TV. Both bring a very deep background in antiques and oddities to the table, but sometimes one of the duo’s specialties will help to cover a gap in the other’s knowledge.

Ton and Allen have a good working relationship that started up when Allen helped Ton re-sell a storage unit full of depression glass for a big payoff. Since that time they’ve been working together and discovering that they have more in common that it may seem at first glance. Allen Haff describes his working relationship with Ton as very positive because both men are competitive and willing to work hard to make their¬†pay dirt.

Allen is also pretty outspoken about his role as the Auction Hunter on Spike’s hit TV show. He claims that when he was first approached to become one of its stars, he didn’t want to take the offer because he didn’t think this kind of show would have a positive effect on the industry he loves so much. You have to remember that Haff has been doing this his entire life – he eats, sleeps and breathes auctions and re-sale.

However, eventually Allen realized that, whether or not he liked it, these shows were going to proceed with or without him and they were likely to become big. He says he’s not oblivious to the storage auction craze that Auction Hunters and Storage Wars have drummed up, and that it’s only natural that so many viewers should tune in, see the big scores, and want to throw their own hats into the ring. But he doesn’t spend time agonizing about how the swell in popularity has jacked up prices or made it harder for veteran auction buyers to keep walking their same old beats without crossing into eager newbies. It’s just the nature of the game.

As for the best and most definitive answer as to whether or not Auction Hunters is fake: Allen says that the episodes that finally air only show 20% of the units that he and Ton actually buy. He chalks up all the screaming and whining on the blogosphere about the show being totally false to jealousy and cheap therapy for the whiners. The fact of the matter is that in addition to the units Allen buyers on Auction Hunters (only 20% of which are actually shown!) he still buyers several hundred storage units per year. 

Combine this kind of drive to succeed with his expertise on antiques and their values and you can understand why he makes so much money! Haff has just as much to say to people wondering how they, too, can turn a really good profit by working public storage auctions. For one thing, it takes a great deal of hustle and drive. The second element is to build up your knowledge of items values by watching the shows, reading catalogues, studying eBay auctions (that are already successfully completed!) and attending trade shows to learn what everything is truly worth.

Here’s a clip from Auction Hunters that shows how Ton and Allen work together to score big off of the strange items they sometimes find in units they buy. In this clip, you’ll see them turn around a display coffin and some fire fighting equipment. It’s just another day in the life of the Auction Hunters.

Auction Hunters Bio: Clinton “Ton” Jones

The bad boy of storage auction hunting is known as Clinton “Ton” Jones. A native of California, Ton is a man of varied interests, which can be as tame as collecting ancient coins and bills or as wild as buying junk cars to trash in the desert. In fact, looking for beater cars to destroy for fun is exactly how Clinton first got into buying storage lockers. On Auction Hunters, Ton leverages his many years of expertise in rarities and collectible items like unique weaponry and armor to earn himself handsome profits on repossessed lockers he buys up.

If you’ve ever seen Storage Wars, you know that it’s all about the competition, egos and bad attitudes that can pervade a storage auction. In Storage Wars, all the regular contestants battle one another and sometimes resort to tactics as low as bidding up a unit they don’t even want just to cost their fellow auction hunters more money. There are often arguments, mind-games and constant posturing and intimidating.

Auction Hunters takes a different tack, which can be refreshing. Ton and Allen actually work together as a team to make the smartest purchasing decisions possible. They have both been steeped in antiques, retail and rare commodities for many years, so when they put their heads together they’re a masterful purchasing team. They keep their eyes out for very specific details, unnoticed by less experienced buyers, that alert them to potential profits.

Allen and Ton discuss an auction purchaseFor example, when Ton and Allen open up a locker and find a bunch of fold-up lawn chairs, they think twice about laying any money out for the unit. They believe these kinds of furniture are strong indications that the previous owners led a pretty transient lifestyle, meaning that it’s unlikely they preserved anything of real value in their unit.

Ton gets a lot of praise from his fans for being a cordial, friendly and down-to-earth guy. California residents often bump into him in the course of running errands and say that he has a good head on his shoulders and that fame has not spoiled him.

Aside from starring on Auction Hunters, Ton has an exotic animal control business and often responds to animal rescue or emergency calls that involve some pretty unique and scary critters such as poisonous snakes. One enthusiastic forum poster even thanked Ton for helping to compassionately put down his family’s dog when it had been critically injured in a car accident.

Ton is definitely a big boy, weighing in at over 300 pounds and standing 6 feet high. He had already become a well-known auction buyer in the Southern California area and his stint on Auction Hunters has only solidified his credibility as a professional storage unit buyer. There’s no doubt we’ll be seeing Mr. Jones around the auction circuits for many years to come.