Top Ten Traders on "Bares für Rares"“Bares für Rares” (“Cash for rarities”) is a daily German TV show that first aired in 2013 on ZDF. It usually airs at 15:05 and lasts for 45 to 60 minutes, running without commercial breaks. The host of the show is Horst Lichter, who has been a popular cook on TV shows, although in the meantime being well known as a host for all kinds of shows. The series was a sleeper hit that gathered a huge multi-generational fanbase and managed to become ZDF’s biggest afternoon show to date. It reaches up to 3 million daily viewers. As of May 2018, eight seasons with over 450 episodes have been produced.
The concept of the reality show is that ordinary people come to the ”Bares für Rares” hall, bringing along items they assume to be rare, very old or expensive, to have their worth be estimated by experts. In case the expert’s report is the same or higher as the person’s expectations, they are allowed to meet a round of five professional traders who will bid for the object without knowing its worth. Whether the seller is satisfied with the highest bid (which, considering they are traders themselves, is usually a bit below the price), they may or may not sell the object. One episode usually features six different objects.
The show’s unexpected success story is mostly due to how it differed from other similar shows that aired in Germany before. Some of them focused solely on expertises, and were very dry and factual, others focused on poor people who were in need for money selling what they had at garage sales with the help of a trader, and were overly emotional and presumably staged.
Now, “Bares für Rares” is more light hearted. Not only does Horst Lichter constantly deliver funny dialog, the recurring cast of traders also adds personality to the show, and it’s very thrilling hearing their bids getting higher while knowing their actual price. Although in many cases the traders are more likable than the sellers, you are always sympathizing with the latter and hope for them to get as much as possible, and sometimes more than the object is actually worth. The traders, many of which have very distinctive quirks, ways of talking and different professional and regional backgrounds (there are sophisticated art dealers as much as junk market traders from the countryside), are a crucial part of the show. Throughout much of the show there has usually been a classic cast of five dealers, consisting of Walter Lehnertz, Susanne Steiger, Fabian Kahl, Wolfgang Pauritsch and Ludwig Hofmaier. In some episodes, other traders filled in for those of them who couldn’t take part in the show, which became more common as the series goes on. In more recent episodes, Daniel Meyer, Julian Schmitz-Avila, Friedrich Häusser and Elke Velten-Tönnies became recurring members that frequently alternate with the traditional cast. Apart from them, there have been quite a few other temporary replacements.
This list is for honoring our favorite traders on “Bares für Rares”!
Ludwig is awesome. Being the oldest of the traders, he’s wise and has a lot of knowledge about all kinds of objects no matter from what era or culture they originate from, but he’s also got a lot of humor and is extremely likable as a person. Often, he bids along not because he actually wants the object, but because he feels the current bidding is far below the worth of the item, and wants a fair deal for the seller. Ludwig buys all kinds of objects, but prefers old rarities and folk art.
Walter is without a doubt the funniest of the bunch. He’s from the countryside and always has some very direct but friendly humor, and a lot of “running gags” in his behavior. His bids always start with 80 euros, whether it’s worthless trash or expensive Jewelry. Also, often when he doesn’t get the object for sale, he buys the package it came in separately. And while other traders use words like object or artefact, Walter uses words like “der Prügel” (“the club”) or “der Vogel” (“the bird”) to describe them. He always feels very light hearted and fun. That being said, he always buys the stupidest things. Either it’s terrible kitsch for which he pays prices higher than the actual worth, or it’s nothing worth to begin with. The other traders buy things they assume sell well, but he buys things he personally likes, and he does have a thing for terrible trash.
Fabian is fashionable, androgynous and cool. He’s even more unlike the stereotype of the stiff, suit wearing and humorless art trader than the others, and that’s what makes him so awesome. He usually only buys antique artefacts that fit to the tone of his family’s castle, and despite being very young compared to the others, has a huge knowledge of art history. He’s also the most likely of the traders to buy objects for himself instead of re-selling them.
Wolfgang is an Austrian auctioneer with a big knowledge in arts, historical pieces and special interests (e.g. Freemasons objects). Due to his job, he knows the prices very well and has many regular customers for extremely specific interests.
Julian is an extrovert type that seems to be constantly in a good mood and also knows what he wants. He definitely gets points for sympathy because with him the bidding process always feels like a friendly. He doesn’t seem to have a specific interest, he bids for almost every object.
Susanne is a very confident, very professional and very persistent young woman who will not give up until she has her preferred object. When a bidding fight between two traders occurs, she is usually involved in it, and often, I tend to sympathize with her. She prefers to buy luxurious jewelry and accessories.
Saskia sometimes steps in for Susanne as a professional jewelry trader. From all of the female traders in the show that temporarily took her place, she is by far the best choice, as she has all the qualities that Susanne has, just in a lighter form. The other women were always pretty restrained, hesitant and didn’t really fit into the fun atmosphere of the bidding round, but Saskia is the only one apart from Susanne that could keep the men in their place.
Daniel keeps it professional and win oriented. He’s definitely a pro in art and antique trading, and knows what he does. He’s also less extroverted than the other traders and less likely to take a risk.
Sandra was the predecessor of Susanne in the first season which had only 6 episodes (note: season 7 had 208 episodes). We got little impression of her in this short period of time, but unlike some other guest traders, she didn’t stand out negatively.
I must admit that I was stunned that she has already appeared in so many episodes. Mainly because to me, she left no impression at all. She’s probably pretty quiet and does not bid that often, and it’s not that she’s not likable, but in between all these memorable people, she just doesn’t stand out.