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The Huge Gamble That Scored $155k For Storage Wars' Dave Hester

"Storage Wars" culls together the kooky, the mundane, and everything in between — and that's just the cast members. Since 2010, the A&E reality series has followed an eccentric group of buyers who bid on abandoned storage units in the hopes of discovering lucrative treasures. Sometimes they're met with the worthless or the truly bizarre. Indeed, "Storage Wars" entrepreneurs have unearthed boxes of teeth and a nest of Burmese pythons, among other goodies.

What goes on outside the storage units is often as entertaining as what's inside. Each buyer brings their own bidding style to the series, whether it's good-natured patter or not-so-gentle ribbing. With his combative presence and signature "Yuup," Dave Hester, a licensed and bonded auctioneer since 1992, joined "Storage Wars" for the first three seasons. Following Hester's Season 4 absence, he returned to the series for Seasons 5 through 12 (via IMDb). During that time, Hester became known for his smugness and broad knowledge of the business. Here's the story behind Hester's $155,000 score.

Hester paid $750 and found a valuable oil painting

In an interview on the La Crosse, WI radio station 95.7 The Rock, Dave Hester, typically a smug rabble-rouser on "Storage Wars," humbly offered that securing valuable goods is a matter of being in the right place at the right time. It helps to have the veteran buyer's eye for detail. For his biggest score yet, Hester noticed his bid's vintage packaging. "I could tell that the boxes were boxes from the 1950s," said Hester, who put down $750 for its contents. "I took a gamble on it, and it turned out to be an oil painting by Jack Wilkinson Smith, who was a California impressionist, and I sold it for $155,000."

Smith is a noted painter who came up in the early 20th century. The artist moved to the West Coast in 1906, where he lived until he passed away in 1949 at the age of 75. He's especially known for his sweeping landscapes of the Golden State (via Karges Fine Art). It's a fitting find for Hester, who made his name working in the California auction scene.

It's gambles like this one that have made Hester such a success, both on "Storage Wars" and through his own auction house, Dave Hester Auctions. According to Net Worth Reporter, Hester is worth between $3 million and $5 million. "Sometimes in this business, you're better off leaving your money in your pocket than to spend it and have to work your butt off," Hester said on "The Big J Show." Luckily for Hester, he knows exactly when to make a big gamble.