By Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writer
A family-owned Corbin Auction House is being featured on TruTv’s “Kentucky Bidders” Monday, July 8.
The reality show focuses on Sammie Issac, his parents Sammie Jr., and Debbie, along with his brothers Mark and David.
According to TruTv officials, Kentucky Bidders follows this crew as they try to buy or sell just about anything from wedding dresses, live animals, condominiums, antique coins, warrior helmets, antique cars, motorcycles, bull castrators…you name it.”
“It’s really about the family business of the auction house and how we operate it as a family. In a family business, everything is a family discussion,” Sammie said, adding that the business had been in operation for 66 years and had been started by his grandfather Sammie Sr., on Depot Street in Corbin.
Sammie said he got back into the family business because of his dad and grandfather.
“Not a day went by that someone didn’t stop and tell me what a great guy my dad or my grandfather was and I kind of got pulled back into the business. A family business is kind of like the mob, you try to get away, but it keeps pulling you back in,” Sammie said with a laugh.
The show also features several others such as Andrew the “unintimidating” security guard and an auction regular Leonard Huff.
When the family was approached around a year ago by Emmy-winning producer David Leepson, Sammie said he at first thought it was some sort of joke.
“I almost hung up on him and practically threatened him because I thought it was some kind of prank; it’s not the kind of call you get every day,” Sammie said.
He also said he knew it would be up to the family whether or not they participated in the reality show.
“We had all seen enough reality TV shows that we knew we needed to discuss it before going through with it; the whole family had to be on board,” Sammie said.
Though focusing on the Issac family, the variety of interesting auction items and their emotional value to customers also play into the show’s concept.
“We get a lot of interesting things such as celebrity memorabilia, but often it’s not the item itself that is so interesting, but rather the emotions of the buyers,” Sammie said, recalling the time when a salt and pepper shaker went up for auction and two people almost got into a fist-fight over them because of sentimental value.
“We even offered to sell one the salt shaker and the other the pepper shaker, but they wouldn’t have any of it.”
From antique ice cream machines to Model A Fords, a little bit of everything has passed through the doors at Sammie’s Auction house.
A total of six episodes were shot to document the vast and interesting world of auctions.
“An auction is like the wild west, you never know what’s going to happen, what’s going to come through that door or who, but you know it’s going to be fun; auctions are full of emotion and excitement,” Sammie said.
The first two episodes were shot in February, with the next two shot in April.
Sammie said that at first it was hard for people to believe what was going on and that the auction house was going to actually be featured on TV.
“People’s reactions ranged, but most of our customers are tickled to death,” Sammie said, adding that a few people even suggested that Sammie Jr., his dad, was paying people to follow them around with cameras.
“If you knew my dad, you would know that he’s not the kind to spend that kind of money,” Sammie said laughing.
According to Sammie, his dad at first kind of blew it off, but now that the premier date is closer, “you can almost see the buttons popping off his shirt with pride.”
“The whole family is proud of the show and we are glad that it will give people a chance to see Southeastern Kentucky in a positive light,” Sammie said.
He and the family invite anyone who wants to “have a good time and a good laugh watching life”, to tune into the show’s premier on TruTv on Monday, July 8 at 10:30 p.m.