Storage Wars Bio: Darrell Sheets “The Gambler”

The senior member of another father and son auction hunting duo, Darrell Sheets “The Gambler” has laid claim to some pretty hefty scores in his years of sifting through storage units. Some of his biggest finds include a letter that was found to have been written by president Abraham Lincoln, which netted him $15k, in addition to a couple of paintings by Picasso. Darrell came upon storage auctions when he was 20 years old, after being fired from a landscaping job that simply didn’t fit his personality.

Laying down cash on delinquent storage lockers, however, was something else entirely. Since appearing on Storage Wars, Sheets has been absolutely blown away by the show’s fans and the general response they’re getting. He never expected this kind of publicity or success for something that seemed to be a relatively quiet little niche. As opposed to the other professional buyers on the show, Darrell has made a name for himself by taking bigger risks and taking them more often.

The reason for this is that Darrell looks at storage auctions differently than his competitors. Whereas Barry, Brandi, Jarrod and even Dave might work by the day, trying to only spend what they must in order to turn a profit, Darrell works by the month. If he’s a few grand up by the end of the month, it’s been a successful one, all told. This means that Darrell will keep on buying and laying out cash even when the competition isn’t quite as eager to jump on a unit.

This is not to suggest that Darrell is simply shooting in the dark and hoping for good luck. He applies the same perceptive experience, savvy and good buyer’s judgment when it comes to selecting one storage unit as opposed to another. Sheets has mentioned he likes “clean” looking units without too many dusty footprints or indications of grime because it means that the original owner most likely boxed up and secured valuables and goods they cared about, but then through some twist of fate lost their ability to access it.

Darrell and Brandon Sheets Pose on Storage Wars After a Big Score

Darrell calls these kinds of lockers “virgin units” because of their cleanliness. On the contrary, he feels that units that have mud and boots tracked all over them have likely been used semi-recently as an outpost for their original tenant and it’s far less likely that he’ll find something spectacular tucked away that the owner never intended to give up. In fact, one of Darrell’s favorite tell-tale signs to look for is whether or not the tenant paid a professional moving company to install their stuff in their storage locker.

People that pay professional movers are able to pay professional rates, which means they have good stuff. It also means they might have been using the storage locker as a staging area for getting into a new home or out of an old one, and that there could be some hefty estate valuables tucked away inside. When the locker door rolls up and Darrell has scanned through all of his go-to signs, he finally trusts his gut. “If I want it, I get it,” Darrell says. In fact, Darrell’s nickname is fitting in that he has described storage auction hunting as the kind of roller-coaster ride that you just can’t get off once you’ve experienced your first high.

Darrell claims to have experienced about 20 truly excellent and lucrative storage auction lockers in his time, and he says that the feeling of getting one of those lockers has been enough to propel him through this industry for 20 solid years. Turning $3,000 into $100,000 in a week or too is just too sweet to walk away from according to Sheets.

Here’s a video of a fan spending some time with The Gambler if you want to get an up-close look at his big personality.

 

Storage Wars Bio: Dan Dotson

Storage War’s Dan Dotson has been steeped in auctions his entire life, starting out at the tender age of 11 when his grandfather, an auctioneer of cattle and farm equipment, began showing Dan the ropes. Since then, auctions have been a constant fascination for Dotson, who would spend summers working for his grandfather.

From then on, Dan has never strayed far from the auction scene, becoming known as a self storage auctioneer as well as an auctioneer of collectibles, antiques, furniture and estates. In 1983, he began American Auctioneers, which would first put him on the map as a top auctioneer.

Dan’s a prolific work-a-holic and is famous for ¬†usually running about 2 auctions per day for up to 6 days per week, and up to 1,500 in a good year. His American Auctioneers is responsible for handling everything from business close-out sales, to foreclosure auctions to sales for charity. His prodigious work ethic has certainly paid off for him now. It’s estimated that Dan Dotson is worth 3 and a half million dollars all told.

dan dotson and his wife laura on the scene of a storage saleIn 1996, after American Auctioneers had been established as a success, Dan met his wife Laura.

Laura was not only the apple of his eye but also a shrewd business woman, so the two collaborated on several auction based projects and their teamwork continues today, since they co-host Storage Wars and conduct their cadre of zany and eccentric storage pickers around the country looking for hot storage units and big scores.

Dan has the essential rapid fire patter you’d expect from a seasoned professional auctioneer. On Storage Wars, he calls out units very quickly and maintains order once the bickering starts following a tight bidding war. Check out this video to see Dan and his wife Laura in action on an estate sale, and to get an experience of Dan’s famous “heirloom chant” auctioneer calling.

 

Storage Auction Tips From Dan Dotson

Dan has built up a great deal of storage auction wisdom over his decades of selling units.¬†One of the best storage auction tips Dan gave behind the scenes of Storage Wars regards “smelling out” units.

Of course, you can’t smell a storage unit when you’re watching it being sold on TV, but you can when you’re in person the scent, or stench, a unit gives off can be the greatest clue to its potential.

For example, musty newspapers have a very distinct odor, and the mustier they are, the older they likely are. Dave Hester took a big whiff of a unit on Storage Wars and it smelled like a winner, so he bought it and found collectible newspapers featuring Elvis on the front page.

Dotson also mentions that gasoline is another very distinct smell that can give you clues as to whether or not you’re likely to find valuable lawn care equipment in a given storage unit.

 

Storage Wars Bio: Barry Weiss

Knowledgable, often cranky and sometimes downright eccentric, Barry Weiss brings his unique touch of personality to the bidding action of Storage Wars. Barry recalled in an interview that he probably started attending auctions at age 15, so hunting for modern day treasure is clearly a passion of his to last him into his 60’s. Mr. Weiss is an inveterate collector and something of a pack rat, but he says what interests him most are the things he hasn’t yet seen before.

He’s always on the hunt for something exciting, new and different. Barry loves everything from vintage cars to choppers to outlandish clothing. Barry has a flowing humorous patter and the gravely chopped rhythm of his voice draws ample comparison to Jack Nicholson. Capable of losing his temper and nutting off, especially when he overpays for a crappy unit, Barry is described as being friendly and mellow off the set.

Dealing in antiques for this many years, the Storage Wars star has amassed an estimated net worth of $7 million. From watching storage wars, you might not always be able to tell that Barry is sitting on that kind of green, though. He gets plenty testy whenever he bids too aggressively on a storage shed only to find it’s full of junk.

barry weiss showing off his pearly whites and skelton gloves

What about Barry Weiss’s more bizarre auction buying tactics? In early episodes he was noted for bringing a pair of genuine night vision goggles to peer more deeply into units up for sale.

What about the time he consulted a professional psychic in order to determine the likelihood of a big score?

Whether they’re all just for showmanship or simply intended to distract his competitors, Barry’s tactics have definitely earned him the stamp of “that guy”.

This picture shows what Barry’s all about. Despite all the tense bidding wars, he genuinely has fun on set, perhaps more so than any other buyer.

Here, Barry’s seen wearing his trademark skeleton gloves in preparation for some serious unit picking.

In California, Barry has been spotted at Brandi and Jarrod’s Now and Then thrift store meeting fans of Storage Wars and signing autographs.

One thing’s for sure. Barry’s got his own sense of style. Equally comfortable in plaid or skeleton printed sweatshirts, this Storage Wars star isn’t afraid to do his own thing, on or off set. Although Barry doesn’t quite need the money anymore, he does use his influence and deep pockets to search the local storage auction scene for the best collectibles and antiques to add to his inventory.

Get up close and personal with this video of Barry showing off one of his many antique cars. This is uncensored Barry at his finest, and not for the faint of heart: