The TV reality show Baggage Battles premiered over the Travel Channel on Wednesday night, April 11, 2012. The series follows the exploits of Billy Leroy, Mark Meyer and Laurence and Sally Martin as they bid on lost airline baggage and other unclaimed/seized merchandise at auction. The first two episodes were set at Miami International Airport and London's Heathrow Airport, whose auctions yielded valuable jewelry, 16th century paintings and rare first edition books.
The Travel Channel's Baggage Battles follows the adventures of three teams of entrepreneurs who travel the globe bidding on unclaimed, lost and seized airline luggage and merchandise at auction. Billy Leroy a.k.a. "Billy the Dealer," Mark Meyer a.k.a. "Mark the Hustler" and Laurence and Sally Martin a.k.a. "The Wild Cards" are the TV reality show's stars.
Travel Channel's Baggage Battles Debuts in 2012
Baggage Battles debuted over the Travel Channel on Wednesday night, April 11, 2011. The series opener introduced the show's principals: Billy Leroy ("Billy the Dealer"), an antiques dealer from New York; Mark Meyer ("Mark the Hustler"), owner of a thrift shop in Long Island; Laurence and Sally Martin ("The Wild Cards"), proprietors of an antiques/collectibles store in Los Angeles.
The inaugural episode "Miami" was set at bustling Miami International Airport, one of the nation's busiest travel venues. Some 10,000 bags are lost or go unclaimed at Miami International every year, with those items eventually going up for auction. In this particular sale some 600 lots were offered, including plastic bags containing an array of rings, watches and other jewelry. Also put up for auction were decorative art and unclaimed luggage, the latter of which had to remain unopened during the preview inspection by the bidders.
"Auction is straight chaos," observed one of the bidders as the proceedings got underway. Mark Meyer won a 1970s traveling bag for $500 and also purchased three bags of jewelry for $800. Billy Leroy won the bidding for the heaviest bag offered at $400 while Laurence and Sally Martin scored an unopened black designer bag for $500 and a bag of jewelry for $1,350.
Of course the climax comes when our successful bidders open and inspect their wares. Mark's 1970s traveling bag proved to be a dud, yielding nothing but stale oatmeal cookies and other spoiled food. His bagged jewelry bling, however, was a different matter, with his top items garnering the following appraisals: 14K gold bracelet $735, gold diamond pendant $1,500, small bag of 14K and 18K gold $4,000.
Billy Leroy's $400 bag was a bust, yielding a woman's fake fur jacket and men's shirts which he valued at only $5 each. His other purchases didn't add up to much, either. The Martins, on the other hand, scored well with their various purchases, which coughed up an 1867 Charles Dickens first edition book later appraised at $75, a woman's Rolex watch at $300 and a rare 1889 limited edition book titled Camden's Compliment to Walt Whitman at $750.
When the dust had finally settled, the three teams added up their net profits. They were: Mark Meyer $6,300, Laurence and Sally Martin $2,800 and Billy Leroy -$725.
Billy Leroy bidding at a Miami International Airport auction - Travel Channel
Baggage Battles: London
The second half-hour episode of the evening was set in London, specifically Heathrow Airport which hosts some 180,000 travelers every day. The venerable London firm of Greasby's Auction House was doing the honors, offering for sale lost/seized luggage and other merchandise in 600 lots which had to be previewed by prospective bidders in one hour.
The London auction, often known for its high-end offerings, commenced. Laurence and Sally Martin scored an 18K gold diamond gypsy ring for 780 pounds ($1,170), Mark Meyer purchased a Swiss Army bag for 50 pounds ($75) and Billy Leroy bought a black and red suitcase for 50 pounds ($75). Also offered at auction was a 16th century painting, which eluded Billy and went to another bidder for 2,600 pounds ($3,900).
Mark's Swiss Army bag, which in itself costs $300 new, yielded clothes and a 1901 Elgin National Watch Co. pocket watch, which was later appraised in London at $600. Billy's unopened suitcase contained the usual clothes plus a small bag of English and American silver coins, which he later sold to a London coin dealer for $1,000. The Martins' gypsy ring was appraised at $3,500 while their antique sterling silver watch fob with telescopic pencil from their bric-a-brac purchase garnered an appraisal of $450.
All three teams showed a profit at the end of the segment: Billy Leroy $925, the Martins $2,500 and Mark Meyer $475.
Laurence and Sally Martin - Travel Channel
Baggage Battles: Stay Tuned
Baggage Battles airs over the Travel Channel on Wednesday nights in the 10-11 (ET) time slot. Make no mistake, it's a very fast-moving, high-energy show that's sure to entertain fans who also enjoy similar fare such as Storage Wars, Auction Hunters and Storage Wars: Texas. All four shows appeal to the treasure hunter in all of us. And who doesn't enjoy a good treasure hunt?
Now, whatever happened to that airline bag from 1989?
- L-r: Mark Meyer, Billy Leroy, Sally Martin, Laurence Martin of Baggage Battles - Travel Channel
Copyright © 2012 William J. Felchner