Inside, one can find a black dress once owned by Marilyn Monroe, a campaign poster with John F. Kennedy’s smiling face or a gold album for John Lennon’s Double Fantasy. Outside, you can see the N.C. State Fairgrounds and Dorton Arena. This is the home of Tory Hill Auction Co., a business on Hillsborough Street.
Tory Hill is owned by Jason McCoon, who turned to antiques and autioneering after he graduated from NC State in 2000. McCoon bought and sold antiques before opening his own auction house in 2008. “I never expected to do this,” he said. He holds auctions about every six weeks, but McCoon says the startup process is difficult in his field. “Customers want to be sure you can sell their stuff,” he says, “They always ask how long you’ve been around.”
Then, The History Channel stepped in.
Producers from The History Channel called McCoon in January, asking if he was interested in being part of a new TV series called “Real Deal” featuring auctioneers. “It was completely out of the blue,” McCoon says. After submitting a tape, McCoon was called to California to record 10 episodes. The first episode aired on Sunday.
“I’ve had probably 24 emails since it aired,” McCoon says. “And people have recognized me in public.” He says the exposure has generated some new business.
McCoon says he enjoyed being part of the show. “It should’ve been stressful,” he says. “But it wasn’t stressful.” The show features four buyers who negotiate with customers on antiques and collectible memorabilia. “We actually do business. They just filmed,” McCoon says. If the client refuses to sell for the offering price, the item is taken to auction.
On the show, McCoon specializes in sports collectibles and memorabilia. McCoon says the exposure from the History Channel will allow him to be more selective in what his business can buy.
Although his moment of TV fame has come, McCoon still stays grounded in Raleigh life and culture. “On Saturdays I can turn on the [football] game while I work and open the windows,” he says. “I can hear the crowd cheer and yell right from my desk.”
— Jeannene Lang