Dave Hester is an American businessman, storage unit buyer and professional auctioneer who has appeared on the A&E Network reality television series 'Storage Wars' since its inception in 2010. The most affluent one among the characters of the show, he is known by the nickname 'The Mogul'. Being in the business for over three decades, he is known for his experience and profound knowledge of collectibles. He has gained notoriety for taunting the lesser experienced bidders, often getting involved in altercations with his fellow cast members. He had also been fired from the show in December 2012, following which he began a legal battle against the network, but eventually settled the dispute and came back again as a regular cast. Dave, who later became an auctioneer and founded 'Dave Hester Auctions', thinks that he has the advantage of knowing the correct market value of an item just by looking at it, as he has been in the business of buying stuff from homes or estates for over 10 years. He was interviewed by Anderson Cooper in May 2012 on the show 'Anderson Live'.
The Meteoric Rise to Stardom
Dave Hester grew up around antiques and collectibles as his father used to buy and sell valuables at auctions. From the age of five, he used to accompany his father to auctions, swap meets and garage sales. When he was 14, he started buying machinery and tools from auctions, and then selling those items to military-base shops in Orange County, California.
In 1986, he attended his first storage auction and in the 1990s, he worked as a bid-catcher. His catchphrase "YUUUP" dates back to these days when he had to shout out the word to spot bidders in a crowd. He became a licensed and bonded auctioneer in 1992. While he was primarily in the furniture business originally, he realized the potential in the storage unit business after being forced into community service at a local Goodwill Store following his conviction in a DUI case in 2005.
While Dave's father had amassed a huge train collection, Dave sold the collection over five years to gain a small fortune to further fund his business. He set up two shops— Newport Consignment Gallery and the Rags to Riches thrift store—in Costa Mesa, California, and hired about 15 employees to sell the valuable items he bought from auctions. One of his most valuable finds was a painting by California impressionist Jack Wilkinson Smith titled 'The Golden Pool', which he bought for $750 and sold for $155,000.
In 2010, he was selected as one of the main casts of the A&E Network reality television series 'Storage Wars', after the show’s auctioneer Dan Dotson told the producers about him. While the show had a slow start, with only a few episodes being shot initially, it soon gained momentum and became the most watched program in the history of A&E Network on its second season.
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Controversies & Scandals
Dave Hester, who is notable for his competitive and outrageous personality, has been involved in a number of disputes and brawls during his stint on 'Storage Wars', especially with other buyers like Darrell and Brandon Sheets. Interestingly, his feud with his own brother became public after his brother appeared on the second season of 'Storage Wars' in the episode 'Unclaimed Baggage', and placed bid against him.
In December 2012, Dave Hester was fired from the show by the producers, after which he filed a lawsuit against A&E and Original Productions claiming that he was fired for complaining about their practice of planting valuable products in the lockers. Part of the lawsuit was rejected and he was asked to pay $122,000 in legal fees, but he reportedly refused to pay. They settled the case later, following which he returned to the show. In 2015, he got into a brawl with co-stars Dan and Laura Dotson, leading to fistfights.
Dave Hester was born on July 23, 1964, at the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base near Oceanside, California. His father was of German and Irish descent, while his mother was born in Mexico. His father, who served in the military, was also a train collector who frequently visited auctions to buy collectibles. Instead of pursuing studies, Dave became interested in auctions following his father; however, unlike his 'hoarder' father, he is more interested in the business and making a profit.
Dave has a younger brother, but is apparently not on good terms with him. His son Dave Jr. primarily managed the online aspects of the business, but eventually started to take part in auctions after appearing on the show. Dave's goal is to own a motor home so that he can move from town to town as a "gypsy auctioneer", attending at least one auction every day.