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THAT entrepreneurial spark got lit at age 12 for Scott Diament.
Today, he is the CEO of the Palm Beach Show Group, where he oversees a string of prestigious antique fairs across the US, as well as the owner of six jewellery stores.
Viewers are introduced to his world of high-stakes buying and selling in Discovery Channel’s Dealers.
Talking about the show, where deep pockets are a prerequisite for the bidding wars among Diament and four others in the same league, he says: “I’d say the appeal is manifold. One, it’s pretty exciting to watch people compete against one another.
“So let’s just go with the entertainment, excitement value of five dealers in a room with a seller and them competing to buy the item. I’d also say it’s very educational because viewers will be able to see a myriad items and objects. They’ll learn a little or a lot about each one of them, maybe more than they ever wanted to know, and they’ll see money changing hands; they’ll see commerce in action.
“It’s cultural, it’s educational, it’s fun to watch.”
Of course, he had a good training base to hone his skills. On the entrepreneur in him surfacing when he was still a little boy, he recalls: “When I was about eight, my father took me and my sisters to garage sales and I would negotiate and buy things for a dollar, and then we would every so often have a garage sale at our house and we’d see if we could sell it back to people for more than what we paid for it.
“So that could be the start of the real businessman… but I think my first real business started when I was 12. I created my directory from the White Pages and went door to door and telemarketed and built up a route to deliver bagels to people’s homes on Sunday morning.”
Diament says his grandfather and father were great influences.
“My grandfather was a self-made entrepreneur. He would buy from government options – for pennies on the dollar – and then resell to people around the world. So I would say he was definitely an early role model.
“I don’t think he went to college but he was very educated. And then my father was always a role model because he is just a good, smart person. He was an attorney and was very into education and treating people correctly – so he was influential in that way.”
While he has experienced his fair share of easy and hard sells, Diament says he would never deal in anything related to tobacco products because he is against smoking.
Recalling one of the most valuable objects he has had, he says: “I’ve just had something that is like a $100 million item – a 2 500-year-old gold belt that was discovered, I believe, in northern China.”
Diament laughs at the recollection of the most unusual thing he has come across.
“Okay. Well, one of the more unusual items in the show was a… it was a dildo,” he chuckles.
“It was made 150 years ago, so it was an antique and it was made by somebody on a ship to give to his girlfriend. It was made out of ivory and wood. It was pretty funny to ask questions about it and to bid.”
So what does he look for in an item before opening that cheque book?
“I look for something beautiful. Something that is rare and that has a demand because you need all those three factors to have value.”
And if you want to know more about the world of buying and selling, best you tune in to Dealers tonight.
• Dealers airs on Discovery Channel (DStv Channel 121) at 7.35pm.