‘Seb’ snaps it up on new TV show

A Clitheroe wheeler-dealer and his family feature in a new BBC television series which begins tonight (May 21st).

Daniel Sebastian, star of DelBoys and Dealers, with Wilf Mould, auctioneer at Silverwoods.
Daniel Sebastian, star of DelBoys and Dealers, with Wilf Mould, auctioneer at Silverwoods.

Daniel Sebastian is a well-known character on Lancashire’s auctions and saleroom circuit, known to most as “Seb”. Tall, slim and dapper, with a gold tooth, shades and a distinctive Afro hairstyle, Seb is hard to miss and instantly likeable.

He talks the talk and walks the walk of an experienced wheeler-dealer, and under the surface sheen clearly knows his stuff, with an eye for a bargain he knows he can sell on at a tidy profit.

All of this is what attracted the producers of “Del Boys and Dealers”, a new series of four 60-minute programmes scheduled for 9pm on Wednesdays. Although it started this week, Seb is featured mostly in the final two episodes, scheduled for transmission on June 4th and 11th.

Clitheroe antiques and collectables dealer Daniel Sebastian with his wife Jo and children Grace, Lilly and Kiona

The series was commissioned on the back of a successful one-off documentary – “Wheelers, Dealers and Del Boys” – which aired last summer and focussed on South London’s real-life “Trotters” as they ducked and dived.

The new series follows dealers in other parts of the country as they try to make cash from cast-offs and search for hidden gems that could make them a mint.

Seb’s masterplan is simple. He buys wisely in the North, using his knowledge to spot a bargain, then takes his hoard south to sell at fairs, sales and established customers. Knowing what his customers want that is the key to Seb’s success.

Some are private buyers, but others are window and set dressers and interior designers looking for a particular, distinctive or unique piece.

Something that looks to most people like it’s only fit for the bonfire could be the “distressed” piece a designer is seeking, and it is knowing that which separates Seb from the rest. He counts among his customers Tommy Hilfiger, Fat Face and AllSaints. He is also getting more into selling online through his own website – www.afrojunk.co.uk

His hectic lifestyle means Seb splits his time between his family in Clitheroe and travelling the country in his van, bearing his “afrojunk” logo and a graffiti-style image of his face.

His family are wife Jo and children Grace, Lilly and Kiona, who live in West View. Jo is no stranger to a bit of wheeler-dealing herself and the couple met at an auction.

The TV cameras came to Clitheroe before Christmas, following Seb as he juggled the everyday demands of family life with rushing to auctions to snap up good finds then heading south in search of a profit.

Luckily for Seb, his favourite haunt is right on his doorstep – Silverwoods auction house in Lincoln Way, at the edge of Clitheroe. Its weekly Rediscovery sales on Wednesdays are his bread and butter, with 450 lots going under the hammer each week, everything from furniture to jewellery to lighting and pictures and countles “boxes of mixed items”, any one potentially containing that special find.

It was Silverwoods who came to Seb’s aid when the producers of the TV show put a proposal to him. They wanted one of their featured dealers to stage their own auction, and persuaded Seb he was the man for the job.

He turned for advice to Silverwoods’ auctioneer Wilf Mould, who knows all there is to know about wielding the hammer. There were tips too from Jeremy Greenhalgh, livestock auctioneer at Clitheroe Auction Mart, next door, all filmed for “Del Boys and Dealers”. Silverwoods even provided the lot number tickets and equipment for Seb’s auction.

“It was fantastic, it’s definitely something I’d do again,” said Seb. “When they first asked me to do an auction I wasn’t sure, as I usually sell at fairs or direct to my clients, or on the internet. So I thought ‘if I’m going to do it I’ve got to get some advice’ and Silverwoods were brilliant, they really helped me.”

Pinning down Seb for a quote during Silverwoods’ weekly sale is no easy thing, as he constantly has one eye on the sale catalogue in his hand and one ear on auctioneer Wilf, making sure he doesn’t miss the next lot that has caught his eye. With a quick “excuse me” he’s off and a few subtle nods to Wilf later he has bought a retro chic ’70s starburst mirror in silver, for £18 plus commission.

“That’s a good buy for under twenty quid,” he confides, adding he already has a buyer in mind. How much will he sell it for? Well, that’s Seb’s business.