Meet the Aussie Pickers

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Updated 27 August 2014.

The Aussie Pickers, Lucas Callaghan and Adam McDonald, are Australia’s celebrity pickers and expert valuers. Between them, they have over 35 years of picking and antiquing experience, so we’ve asked them to join us on the Gumtree Roadshow to help you find out how much your stuff is really worth.

We sat down with the Aussie Pickers to chat all things vintage, collecting and what keeps the pair so passionate about second-hand treasures. Here’s what they had to say.

1. How did you get into picking?  

Adam McDonald: I think I’ve always loved to find the odd and unusual. I’ve always loved markets and garage sales. But once I started working in an auction house, and realised I could make a living out of it, then it became almost an obsession.

Lucas Callaghan: As a kid I spent hours at auctions helping people move what they bought to their cars to make a little extra cash. One day I watched a man find a radiator cap in a pile of junk he bought for $35 and then two weeks later sold it through a specialty sale for $275,000.  After that I was hooked and have never looked back.

2. How often do you go picking?  

AM: I’d pick in my sleep if I could. There is not a minute of the day where I’m not on the lookout for collectables. Council clean up to antique shops. If I think I can turn a dollar on something, I’m in!

LC: I go picking 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It’s not just a job, it’s a way of life. You have to love the hunt otherwise you will never find those great scores. You always have to keep your eyes open, you never know when or where you may find that next win.

3. What’s the most common thing people undervalue?  

AM: It still amazes me what people throw away. Retro furniture is commonly discarded as worthless and can be worth something. Ceramics are also an undervalued item. A lot of ceramics are just run of the mill but rare pieces can be worth big coin so you really need to know what you are looking for.

LC: Anything owned by people’s grandparents. Most people think grandma’s old stuff is junk, but more often than not it’s worth big money. People generally send grandma’s stuff to auction or sell it at a garage sale as they don’t do their research on items before they sell it.  I have people come into my shop and say “my mum had one of those and I sold it at a garage sale”.  When they see what it’s worth they kick themselves.

4. What’s been your favourite part of Aussie Pickers show so far?

AM: The people that we meet on the road are by far the best thing about being an Aussie Picker. All collectors have that same mentality, that same twinkle in their eye when you speak to them about their stuff. The history behind every piece is fascinating.

LC: My favourite part of Aussie Pickers is adventuring into unknown places and meeting the people who preserve our history. Another favourite part of Aussie Pickers is the towns and country properties we visit. They are such a great change to the city life.

5. Tell us about a find you sold but you wished you kept.

AM: The thing I wish I kept wasn’t my find, but Lucas’. He found a complete travelling bookies case. It had tote boards, bag stand and tickets. I was standing right next to it but couldn’t see the forest for the trees and he swung in and got it really cheap. I guess that’s the good thing about picking with a mate. The extra set of eyes is gold!

LC: 20 years ago I sold a GJ chair by Grete Juel Jalk – a Danish furniture designer. I bought it for $38 and sold for $1,500. Last year the same chair sold for $75,000.

6. What is one item you are still waiting to find?

AM: I’m always looking for the unusual. The odd. The rare finds. I guess my holy grail of a find at the moment is the VZ-2000 record playing boom box by SHARP. These are the pinnacle of vintage hifi and one I don’t have in my collection. Having said that, I could and probably will change my mind by the end of the day. There is so much stuff out there. How can I decide on one thing!

LC: I am always on the hunt for Australian design, as it is well sought after both here and overseas. My holy grail would have to be any furniture by Marc Newson, he designed and built iconic designs here in Australia for many years.  So I know that there is stuff out there in auctions and garages just waiting to be found.

Want to find out more about picking with Lucas and Adam? Head to this link here.

This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. Could I have the Aussie Pickers to come to my place to value the very first vinyl records and very old magazines to value me me.

  2. I’m selling a lot of household goods moveing overseas need urgent help with prices $$$$$$ I’m in hoppers crossing Melbourne appreciate any help thanks

  3. I have heaps of stuff that my Partner and I have collected over the years. At the moment on our website, Gumtree and eBay we have for sale old manuals going back to the 1920s, plus all sorts of equipment. My Partner has been involved in what is now fashionable recycling all his adult life. In the beginning of our relationship, I saw it all as junk. Slowly, and it has taken me a while, I have been gradually learning the value of what I have always seen as junk. In my personal collection I have a number of old Rising Sun badges going back to WWI and WWII (I’m ex-Army), plus a number of other interesting items between us. We live in NSW, Northern Rivers on the Richmond River, in a semi-tropical rainforest environment on the Border Ranges if you are interested in seeing our part of the world, come visit and check out our JUNK (which I have been learning to appreciate and turn into treasure). Regards Sherrie

  4. Greetings.
    I have quite a considerable amount of goods I wish to sell, what do I do next re your “road show”.


    Hec Varrenti.

  5. Ive got a few bits and pieces that id like too get rid of as im on a disability pension & my ute is four months out of rego .
    Where i live there’s only two buses i dont know how to put things up on any of the sites to sell
    Cheers Lesley

  6. Hi just wondered if you guys were planning on coming to the west, if yes!! when???? have a heap of stuff I think is valuable lol

  7. I would like to know when you will be coming to brisbane so I can get an appraisal of the things I have for sale.

  8. road show is a good idea i wach it on the tv some times i would like to see them on the tv in australia

  9. Hello!

    Would love to have some of my treasured ‘junk’ appraised by these two cool cats!!

    Is there a list of venues and dates anywhere I’m not seeing??

    Tank Girl.

  10. I have old farm implements, buggy steps, brass & copper tray, large curtain rings with brass clips, rod ends, surveyors parallel, rule with brass hinges and rod? shell collection from Darwin, two of each and a few bottles. odds and ends for sale.
    Need help with priceing?

  11. How can I get in touch with these guys?? Saw them on the Today Show this morning, wondering where they are headed to next after Sydney??

  12. I heard on the radio Aussi Pickers will be coming to Maitland, NSW. I missed the date. Could you please tell me the date they will be in Maitland?
    Thank You, Lynette.

  13. Dear Lucas Callaghan And Adam McDonald
    Hi My is name Michael Seery I have lot of James Bond the Other die cast model cars to sale i don`t want any more there boxes of them can you help me don`t what no more i need some little extra cash so i get cash to go on for a holiday and get a car to here mobile no 0412980686
    hope hear back from soon

    yours Michael

  14. Love hearing the stories of picking up something for a bargain and selling sometimes for hundredfold, what an interesting lifestyle meeting the people who have held onto stuff for years and like you mentioned their stories.

  15. I own the Leyland Brothers boat. Yes it’s for sale and yes it needs restoring.
    It’s a one of a kind custom made never reproduced piece of Australian history.
    Contact me if your interested in more info

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