Controversial Collectibles: Syfy’s Deals from the Darkside

American Pickers, Collection Intervention, Hollywood Treasures – collecting shows have slowly overtaken cupcake shows as the top trend in reality TV. But Syfy is about to take a big chance with a truly unusual collectibles series that combines the allure of Toy Hunter with the creepiness of Haunted Collector.

Deals from the Darkside follows gruesome relic collector Steve Santini as he travels the globe looking for horrific historical artifacts.

The series, which premieres November 7 at 10:00, begins with a relic from one of the most famous disasters of all time – the sinking of the Titanic. When a seller claims to have an original deck chair from the ship, it’s up to Steve and his crew to figure out if it’s authentic. Then, at 10:30, the team enters the magical world of Harry Houdini as they set out to buy a pair of handcuffs belonging to the famed escape artist.

While those two episodes are fairly tame, Syfy promises to offer up an executioner’s sword and a knife used by Jack the Ripper. Those items take us into the realm of murderabilia. Collectors will happily snap up almost any item associated with a known serial killer and the more personal the better.

As reported by Slate, researchers have found that people are more willing to pay a high price for an object if it’s closely associated with a celebrity. The fact that the average person can name at least two serial killers is proof that infamous is the same as famous and that means there’s a value attached to the name.

You won’t find Charles Manson’s handwritten rantings on eBay. In May 2001, the site put a ban on such merchandise after a heavy push from victim’s rights groups. Still, others say there’s no harm in the buying and selling of such objects, as long as the killer himself doesn’t profit. TruTV writes of a case of a local sheriff’s department who tried to recoup some of their expenses by selling the cars that belong to a confessed killer. In that case, it sounds like a good deal all around.

There’s no denying our fascination with the darkside of the human soul. For that alone, Deals from the Darkside is likely to be a smash hit but what if instead of deckchairs from the Titanic, it’s office chairs from 9/11? Suddenly, the whole deals feels a little more tainted, doesn’t it?

So, you can’t sell Dahmer’s car but you can sell Hitler’s uniform? Where do you draw the line? We may find out when Deals from the Darkside premieres on Syfy in November.

Pictured: (l-r) Steve Santini, Robert “Biker Bob” Duguay, Stef Proctor — (Photo by: Syfy)


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