Barter Kings: Trading Elvis Gold Records for a Speed Boat - Full Episode (S1, E1) | A&E
[music playing] ANTONIO: All across America, people have found a way to get what they want without spending a dime. STEVE: Because in this economy bartering is on the rise. Becoming a $12 billion industry. Nobody has money, man.
Everybody wants to trade. ANTONIO: We trade for a living. We start with something small and trade up to something amazing.
STEVE: Closing the deal takes skill and strategy. But not every trade goes down like we planned. No, no the deal's over. But together we always come out on top. ANTONIO: We are the barter kings. [theme music] STEVE: My name is Steve.
I own a trading shop in the high desert. And we specialize in cashless trading. I need to know what you're looking for and what you want. If you need it I got it.
And I don't have it I'll go trade for it and get it for you. I guarantee you can get triple from trade on this thing, I was fired from the car business. I had mouths to feed. And then it dawned on me, trading.
We're going to trade it. Let's go, let's do it. I started this shop over three years ago with my best friend Antonio. A guy that's been in the business for over 25 years.
Steve learned everything from me. You know there's gas tanks down here, right? I know what I'm doing. Grew up as a junk man's son. My dad would collect junk and make money off this.
I got a lot of trades going on right now. Something really big, I can't tell you. You scare me with that smile. I was diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome when I was seven years old. It's a neurological disorder it gives me movement tics. I hit myself, I make funny noises.
STEVE: As funny as it's not, he makes it funny for us. The way he handles it makes everybody comfortable with him. Yeah It's been a little rough living with it. But I've overcome a lot of things. I can trade anything to anyone and walk away with the best deal.
I spend a lot of time at work. I'd love to see my family more than I do. So I want a boat so the family and I can spend time at the in-laws lake house. I'm going to make a string of trades and I'm going to get to a boat. All right, let's get started. The trading string is about starting with one small item and trading up to get the most valuable item you can.
This is our baby right here. Elvis as recorded, Madison Square Garden. Million dollar seller award status. People love to trade for gold records. I think I can trade up for something that's of way more value. ANTONIO: I don't know Steve. I don't think those gold records are worth what you think they are.
STEVE: It's worth about $125. [laughter] Come on Steve. STEVE: He's an incredible colleague but sometimes he can be a pain in the [bleep] ass. He thinks everything is not worth what I think it's worth. Elvis has not left the building.
[music playing] I got a response online for these gold records. There's a guy that wants to treat a kid's dirt bike. Normally guys don't want to trade dirt bikes for records. This should be interesting.
This dude's name is Allen and apparently his wife loves Elvis. Allen, hey I'm Steve. How are you? Hoping to make a trade today for Elvis memorabilia found on Craigslist. [music playing] ANTONIO: Holy smokes, this garage. STEVE: Wow ANTONIO: This garage is bigger than my house, man.
STEVE: This guy had hundreds of thousands dollars worth of toys. And I got gold records. This deal is going to be a challenge. I lost track of what I was doing, brother. ALLEN: Right here, this bike. It's KTM 65.
My son's been riding it since he was, like, 8. STEVE: And he doesn't want it anymore? He broke his femur out at the dunes and can't ride no more. So, we figure this is the one item we're not using, you know. So we can get rid of it. ANTONIO: OK, cool you want to go take a look at these pictures? What do you think, man? Never thought I'd be trading one of my toys that I have fun on the dirt with for some Elvis memorabilia.
I have no idea what this guy is thinking right now. I don't know if he even likes these gold records or if he just thinks they're a bunch of crap. STEVE: You said your wife is interested in Elvis? ALLEN: Yeah, we're going to have a surprise birthday party. STEVE: Then it dawned on me. This guy's kid broke his leg on the bike and his wife is pissed.
And she told him to get rid of it. He broke his femur out at the dunes and can't ride no more. He needs a little kissy kissy make up thing and his wife loves Elvis. I think I found my way in.
When they're up on a wall they just look unbelievable. Man, I think she'll be super happy. You can't go wrong. Yeah, I saw we've got a deal.
All right, brother. I traded the gold records to a kid's dirt bike. ANTONIO: That's how we do it in the high desert.
I can't believe this happened. That is such a smoking deal. It's a gold record you have a crowd you can appeal to that's this big. On this bike your crowd goes to this big.
I have my first trade in the bag. But I got a lot of trades to go before I get my boat for this weekend. [bike revving] [music playing] ANTONIO: You know what, Steve, that motorcycle it's all right. But I'll bet you I can make the best trade there is out there. You've got to have some knowledge behind picking the first item. Laptops are always great items.
You've got to have one. Hello. I got this call on a guy that has a 1965 vintage bass amp.
I can come out and take a look at it. And get this, he wants a laptop. [guitar music playing] I trade for a living so I got to pay the bills. So, I'm going to trade up as high as I can and then I'm going to cash out. Hey yeah, you Jay? JASON: Yeah How you doing buddy? Nice to meet you. ANTONIO: This guy looks like he came out of a ZZ Top album.
I recently got a bass amp and I'm looking trade these items today. It was my dad's. He left it to me. He passed away about a year and a half ago. ANTONIO: What years is it? JASON: This is a 1969.
Believe it or not, this used to be Willie Nelson's. Come on now. I'm serious I have a picture of my dad with it.
Signed by him and everything. Wow. It was my dad and Willie Nelson. And they're sitting next to the amp and it's autographed by him. The value of this is, you know, at least $1,500 to $1,800.
You actually know that? Or someone tell you that? I've been told that with a lot of my buddies, yeah. ANTONIO: It's a great strategy to let them think that their stuff's not as great as they think it is. I don't know if it's worth that much. It's definitely been around. JASON: That's when I started thinking his laptop looked all nice and pretty.
And then I got my beat up old amplifier underneath it. It's in mint condition. It has all the upgrades. I've seen these range from $500 to $1,000. I also need some cash, too, with it. You can't do cash at all? Like $200 or $300? I make it a policy never to bring cash to a trade.
That's not what trading is about. I feel good with just a straight across trade. When he said no cash, I was like no deal.
I don't know man. I got to make this happen. [suspenseful music playing] It's a fantastic laptop.
The bass amp used to be Willie Nelson's. You can't do cash at all? ANTONIO: Feel good with just a straight across trade. When he said no cash, I was like no deal.
My wife she's going through nursing school. And I have to have it by tomorrow. ANTONIO: His wife needed this thing tomorrow. That puts me in the driver's seat. Time to make this trade happen.
For you, it's a great deal. You got everything you need right here that she would want. JASON: I don't know, I think you're getting the better end of the stick here.
You're just lucky my wife's going to be starting school tomorrow or otherwise you wouldn't be getting this. Yeah, we've got a deal? We got a deal. ANTONIO: Never be guilty walking away with the better item. JASON: At the end of the day, I didn't get cash out of the deal. But my wife's happy. ANTONIO: This guy said that he had the picture of Willie Nelson with this bass amp.
That makes that amp worth more value than it already is. [music playing] STEVE: I was on my way back from a friend's house and saw a boat in the backyard all covered up. And I just thought that, hey, why don't I see what this guy thinks.
You mind if I look at this? [dog growling] Uh oh. CHAD: Buford, come on son of a bitch. STEVE: This guy is a little bit out there.
Kind of intimidates me. What year is this thing? CHAD: '99. I'm not looking to buy a boat. I'm looking to acquire a boat.
Is there anything that you can think of that I can trade for, man? What about TVs? You need anything for the house? CHAD: No. STEVE: How about a dirt bike? Come on, brother. You can do better than that. I am a little nervous that I can't find something for this guy. I'd use a Harley if you had one. STEVE: I don't have a Harley.
Well, find one. I want something worth around $8,000. I think that's fair trade. Something I can use. If he comes up with something, great. If not, oh well.
STEVE: I appreciate your time, man. Thank you for let me stop by. This guy's a tough customer. The only way I think I'm going to get a trade for this boat is to bring him something that'll blow him away.
ANTONIO: I got a response on the vintage bass amp. I got a guy interested in trading it for an ATV. An all terrain vehicle.
This guy has a band and they play Mexican weddings. Hey, are you Luis? Antonio. Nice to meet you man. My band would love this. I can just see their faces. We're getting pretty busy.
So, we could use more equipment. Absolutely amazing, amazing sound. Willie Nelson owned this amp. No way. Want to check out the Rhino? I'm trading today, 2003 off road vehicle. ANTONIO: Now when I talked to you on the phone you said that it was wrecked.
Yeah, it's a salvage title. ANTONIO: Does it run? Try it out. [rock music playing] ANTONIO: This thing is awesome, man. I can't let Luis know that I'm excited about this.
I got to keep my game face. I'm going to tell him that I'm really concerned about the savage title. What do you think, man? I like it.
I'm a little scared. I don't want people to think, oh yeah, it's been wrecked. It's been rolled.
But I think it's worth what the amps are worth. His vehicle is worth way more money than my vintage amp. To be honest, I would like to get some cash on top of the amp. Come on, everybody wants cash. Get off my back. I was hoping we could trade straight across.
LUIS: I definitely want the amp. You're going to make a lot of money doing weddings with the amplifier. But, you're not making money with this. It's sitting there.
What else can you do? I'm having flashback with the memories. It's just hard, you know? Everybody has memories. Sentimental value is worth anything to you? Sentimental values don't mean a whole lot to me in this business, you know? I'm sweating inside because he's not budging. I got to do something.
I'm going to offer him something I don't have. If I can get you a signed picture of Willie Nelson with that. I promise you, man.
You will love, love, love it. You know what? Let's just go ahead and do it. Got a deal. ANTONIO: Awesome, man I got to get that Willie Nelson picture for this guy. LUIS: No picture, my wife's coming after you. OK.
STEVE: So, I posted this dirt bike on Craigslist. Finally I get a hit. Yeah, let's go with it. All right, we got a deal. STEVE: A guy trading me for a safe. ANTONIO: What a dumb trade.
Been doing this for 28 years. I know what stuff is worth. Nobody's going to want to save. You can't even move the damn thing. STEVE: Hey, Wont you ready to try to help me with this mess? Yeah, definitely.
I'm going to get this safe out of here before Antonio arrives. Good, tilt forward. What the hell are you doing, man? Just what I didn't need. Go take your nap.
Go back to your hole. I was concerned when I came off the ground. I was concerned when we turned around. Whoa hold on.
ANTONIO: Hey, if that thing goes 3,000 pounds will crush you instantly. Easy, easy, easy. Someone's going to get hurt here. We're safe. The safe is safe.
Ha, eat it Antonio. Unbelievable. STEVE: There she is. I love it when I can say I told you so. ANTONIO: All right, fine you got it on the trailer. Trading is another story.
STEVE: So I started with gold records. I traded those for a dirt bike. Then I traded that to a bank safe. ANTONIO: He better come back with something good or he's not going to get that boat.
I got this one. All right, you got this one. STEVE: Got a response online for the safe. And the guy restores cars for a living. Hey, you Henry? I'm Henry.
I really need a safe right now. I don't want my money and my jewelry to just be sitting in the open. And I feel that would be the safe thing to do.
STEVE: I don't think they come any stronger bigger than this one. And any heavier. You might be able to lift it but I can't. Easy to fall in love, huh? Antonio's right, I got to trade big if I'm going to get this boat in the next two days. He told me he had a couple of cars to look at.
That one there is the one I was trying to move. This one? It needs some work. Yikes. [music playing] What are you doing? I had to bring the safe back.
It didn't fall through the trailer? I painted it black and I put some wheels on it. Holy [bleep] what is that? [music playing] What are you doing? I had to bring the safe back. It didn't fall through the trailer? I painted it black and I put some wheels on it.
Holy [bleep] what is that? If that's what I think it is I'm going to be pretty excited. Now who is the best trader Antonio? Bah bam. This is one of the few times I might get to say I told you so. You traded that for a safe? Traded it for a safe, brother. I traded my safe for a 1970 Monte Carlo.
This is a highly desirable item. ANTONIO: I've got to tell you, man. You did a good job.
Good job. Holy [bleep] STEVE: Inside needs a little work. The whole interior's rusted out. It also doesn't start.
Let's just coast it. ANTONIO: Where are we going? STEVE: We're going to see a guy that has a custom chopper. ANTONIO: Wow. I intend to trade this 1970 Monte Carlo for a chopper bike. And if I can get that bike, I think I found what I need to persuade the guy with the boat to make this trade.
You Steve? - Yes sir. - How's it going? Good, how are you? I saw an ad on the internet a guy wanting to trade for a motorcycle. I have a 2001 Lucky Seven Chopper. And now I have two kids. And I made a deal with the wife where I can't ride any bike until the kids get out the house. Which is going to be quite a long time.
STEVE: What's the engine? RICHARD: It's a 110 Rektek. STEVE: OK. RICHARD: 110 cubic inch built the chain. STEVE: This bike is amazing. I've got to stay calm and not show how excited I am. I'm assuming you didn't build it, right? RICHARD: No Lucky Seven Choppers built it.
Let's look at the Monte Carlo. RICHARD: If this Monte Carlo doesn't even add up to anything that Steve has told me about the deal is off. [engine turning over] STEVE: There you go.
Go ahead curb it. Wheels are brand new. The tread is brand new, and the paint is two years old. This is definitely a project. You know that a little bit of money into this when you restore it, this thing could be worth twice what that bike's worth. So you got potential to make a lot of money with this car for a lot of fun.
I don't know. I don't know, bro. I can see this guy starting to have second thoughts. Time to put my skills to good use. How long you been trying to sell that? RICHARD: Trying to sell for about two years now. - Nobody has money. - No one has money right now.
Everybody wants to trade. No, I know. I really don't want to get rid of the bike. But the old lady, you know, two kids.
Come on, do it for the family, man. This says right here familia, right? Right. The fact is, he has kids. And his wife does not want him riding this chopper anymore. So he has to get rid of it one way or the other. [bleep] it, all right.
STEVE: I traded 1970 Monte Carlo for a chopper bike. I am giving up my baby. But, you can't put a car set in the back of it. ANTONIO: So I got a guy who answered my Craigslist ad who might want to trade a lifted truck for my ATV. Today is my Super Bowl.
I started with a laptop and traded that up to a custom amp. Then I traded the amp up to a Rhino ATV. Now I'm on my way to lifted truck.
You Louie? LOUIE: Yeah, bro how's it going? We're looking for an ATV to hang out with my family. I don't have the money to buy an ATV like that. But I could trade my truck for it.
It's my project. Never finished it up, you know. What's going on here? LOUIE: It needs a bumper, a grille.
So it starts and everything? I've got to pull up the hood, and open it, and start it for you. - Oh really? OK. [truck revving] That definitely has some kind of suspension put in. Does it have a stabilizer? LOUIE: It's disconnected, if you can see it right there.
Well it looks like it needs a lot of work. I didn't want this guy to know that all these things I could actually fix myself easily. Well you want to check out the Rhino? LOUIE: Yeah, let's check out the Rhino.
ANTONIO: It's got a five point harness. It's got the shade canopy. It's got halogen lights in it. I mean, this thing's ready to roll. You don't have to do anything.
What would you value that truck right now? At least at $10,000 right now. $10,000? Yeah, $10,000. If the truck was complete, yeah I could see it would be worth around that. But, this thing is worth $8,000 to $10,000 the way it is.
And they are $15,000 new. And you wouldn't have to do nothing. Turn the key and go. I got to go ask my other half first.
Sometimes when a trade gets tense my Tourettes will act up a little bit. This trade is starting to stress me out. When he said he wanted to talk to his wife I was not expecting that. Her money is into that, too. So I got to. - Oh Yeah?
Yeah. My wife gave me permission to do whatever I need already. [laughing] I've got a lot riding on this trade. All right, let me in there to check it out.
- OK. - All right? All right. I got this chopper. Now we're headed over to see the boat guy. If this trade doesn't happen I'm going to be heartbroken.
OK I'm not even going to talk, man. You're just going to look at this thing and you tell me what you think. In order for me to make the trade today Steve's going to bring me something worth my while. STEVE: It's a 4x4 custom. I'm sure you know all this.
You got to be a little bit excited. He has no emotion. Doesn't tell me anything.
So, I'm not quite sure where that leaves me. It's missing a pipe. STEVE: Let's wheel it out. Now we get to see what kind of scratches are in it. STEVE: There ain't no scratches on this thing, bro.
I still can't put a chick on this one. STEVE: Who would look better on this bike than you? The guy that owns the boat is kind of a dick. And this bike screams dick. I got to make this thing happen quick. My family's waiting down at the lake.
I'm going to have to drink a beer. There's always a possibility to trade. Don't know, just weigh my options. Oh, come on man.
Done make a lot of stupid decisions. Let me have a beer and a smoke. I've worked so hard to get to this point.
And now he wants to go inside and think it over? He might not even come back out for all I know. ANTONIO: So what'd she say, man? Oh, well, she's feeling a little rough. But, you know, I talked her into it. So we got a deal? We got a deal.
I'm happy with the trade. I'm just going to get on that ATV and rip across the desert with my family. [truck revving] I am super cocky. I'm so cocky they call me the cockness monster. This is why I trade. I started with a laptop and traded that up to a custom amp.
From a custom amp up to an ATV. Now I'm going home with a big ass truck. And I sold that truck and cashed out for $9,300. [truck revving] Ba bam. STEVE: If this trade doesn't happen, I'm going to be heartbroken.
Hang on. This guy has no emotion. I got to find a soft spot.
Time to use some trading psychology. I'm trying to get a boat for me and my kids. I know it sounds like a sentimental story. But, you got kids? I got a lot. For your kids? Then I might as well let it go to somebody that's going to enjoy it.
Done? You got a deal. He did it. He said yes.
CHAD: Beautiful. Now that's something that you could pull up to a bar and stands out amongst others. So, it's pretty nice. It's been a long road. I started off with Elvis Presley records, traded that for a kid's racing bike. Right into a safe.
Traded a safe for a Monte Carlo, for a 4x4 custom chopper. And I ended up with an absolutely awesome boat for my family. I cannot wait to see the expression on my kid's faces. This is going to be absolutely incredible.
[music playing] I brought you something. KIDS: We got a boat! Give me a jumping hug. This rush is not going to last forever.
I'm going to be back bigger and badder. I'm going to trade up like I always do. ANTONIO: So, I'm on my way to Luis's house because I got his picture.
When I traded Luis this amp for his Rhino, I promised him a Willie Nelson signed picture of the amp in the background. This is amazing, man. ANTONIO: You see the amp right there? LUIS: Yeah, definitely going up on the wall. ANTONIO: Right on. I'm really glad I have this photograph.
I can prove to anybody that Willie Nelson actually played with my amp. ANTONIO: It was a great feeling giving Luis this signed photo. But I'll tell you what, it was even greater feeling kick Steve's ass in this competition. Nice truck old man. You want me to build you some steps so you climb up in it? Speaking of old, the '80s called they want their boat back. - Oh, man.