SC couple's estate featured on History Channel's American Pickers

SC couple's estate featured on History Channel's American Pickers

SUMTER, SC (WIS) - T.J. and Nancy Player loved antiques.

They owned an antique store on Broad Street in Sumter and shared their love for historical pieces with their kids. Rob Dinkins remembers going on buying trips throughout the Southeast with his mother and stepfather.

"It started out, more or less, as a hobby and it got to be a business," Dinkins said. "And they did flea markets on a regular basis as wall as had an antiques shop here in town."

Working with antiques in Dinkins' youth led him to become an auctioneer. When Nancy and T.J. died, they left a warehouse full of unsold items in Orangeburg.

Eventually Dinkins moved all the items to an old ice plant in Sumter, but he knew he had his work cut out for him trying to liquidate the estate. So when he got an email from the producers of History Channel's American Pickers show looking for potential sites for a shoot, he replied.

"I've seen what the pickers buy, you know, the American Pickers, what they buy and I knew that he had -- my parents had the same kind of stuff and probably one of the more varied collections that I've seen," Dinkins said.

He said showing his mother and stepfather's collection also helped with his mourning.

"That's what was really great about them coming, because I knew I needed to get rid of this," he said. "But I will always have this story and I will always have this video and I can always go back and see it...It was good to me. It was more like a closure, like, I say this is a way for me to close out this chapter of my life."

And now others can enjoy the legacy acquired by Nancy and T.J.

"A lot of the things they buy go into restaurants or stores and things, so people, you know, 20, 30, 50 years from now can go back and still, there's a story where that stuff came from and it's part of the nostalgia of the whole deal."

The appeal of American Pickers is the stories behind the items they discover.

"I did my best to recall as much as I could about some pieces," Dinkins said. "I knew a lot of where this stuff came from and the stories behind a good bit of it and my mother was really great. She had cards and she would like, if she knew what store it came out of, she would write down the location it came from."

The American Pickers crew, including stars Mike Wolfe and Frank Frick, were at the Sumter warehouse for 14 hours for the shoot in December 2016. Although Dinkins can't reveal what they bought, he showed WIS the items from which they had to choose.

"There were a few pieces that I remember, they were actually in our house," he said. "My mom and T.J. had their store and then they had the house, which more or less, was his personal collection. So he would buy things and the better pieces he would keep at the house."

Among some of those items, a bed that was a mother's day gift to Nancy that was once owned by the governor of Ohio and a wooden telephone booth with a working pay phone inside.

Dinkins said his childhood experience with his parents prepared him for his career as an auctioneer.

"A lot of the same people I deal with now are people I've known since I was a kid working the antique shop with them."

Dinkins said Mike and Frank were as nice in person as they appear on television, and he was impressed that they offered him advice and fair prices.

"It's not just the piece. It's the way you go around doing it and what Mike and Frank do, I few up doing that. I know how hard it is to find this stuff. This is 50 years of buying," he said.

Dinkins has been organizing the collection, getting it ready to auction later this summer. Click here for a link to Dinkins Auctions.

American Pickers airs Monday night on History Channel at 9 p.m.

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