Secret self storage treasures up for auction

Bargain hunters who find eBay addictive should try out online self storage auctions.

The anticipation and excitement is intense - just before the auction, the lock is cut off the storage door and buyers can take a quick peek of a few seconds.

No one can enter the room or handle any items inside.

The auctioneer starts the bidding and the sale is generally over in a minute or two.

Sometimes the auction is over before the bidding starts as some storage room renters wait until the last minute to settle their bill.

Many self storage centres only hold occasional auctions to let a number of default renters build up for a multiple sale.

Storage centre auctions are a growing craze in the US - with auction site [Opens in new window] adding thousands of sales every week.

“Auction information is spread across thousands of websites, making it difficult for a newcomer to know where to find up to date schedules.” StorageTreasures president Lance Watkins said.

“We are ramping up our efforts to bring more and more auctions in to a single site so that first-timer can find as many nearby auctions as possible, and have the best chance at success in the auction hunting business.”

Self storage centres can house a multitude of treasures - and a lot of rubbish.

Auctions have revealed valuables like coins and currency, gold, jewellery, and fine silver packed away in storage.

Serious collectors go from auction to auction in search of special objects - one couple seek out colonial-era handmade weather vanes. A single item, rusted and bent from the elements dating back to the late 18th century could be worth in excess of $20,000.

The contents of an unwanted storage room can go for a few dollars and buyers are relying on their luck to find something of value.

Storage auctions are so popular in the US, one TV company has filmed a series following four dealers to the sales  - click here for a sneak preview on YouTube [Opens in new window]