Billy Leroy owns the famous eclectic prop and antique store, Billy’s Antiques & Props, located in the Bowery neighborhood of New York City. Known for its large, 10,000-square-foot green tent, this antique landmark recently closed for renovations and will reopen in the fall. Billy has owned the shop, originally called Lot 76, since 2002 after working there for 4 years as a manager.
While Billy’s first professional foray was in advertising with a degree from the Art Institute of Boston, he was drawn to the world of auctions at the age of 25 when he bought a $200 painting and sold it for an astonishing $18,000! From that moment on, he knew that his livelihood should be buying and selling goods.Charismatic, well-known and well-respected in his field, Billy, and his store, are staples of the antique and auction world. In order to keep his extensive collection fresh, Billy attends auctions around the world. He is passionate about the theatrics involved in negotiation and always ready to make a deal. Billy knows how to decipher the best from the rest and the phony from the real in a blink of an eye. He demonstrates his skill, and years of auction experience, as he travels the world looking to snatch up the best unclaimed personal property on Travel Channel’s Baggage Battles. In this half-hour weekly series, Billy, along with other auction specialists, travel the world looking to snatch up unclaimed personal property in an attempt to turn huge profits.
Number of years in the auction game: 27 years
Number of auction wins: over 100
Biggest auction spend in dollars: $33,000
“In London at Sotheby's I spent $33,000 on regimental silver. I was overanxious and broke my golden rule "not to buy emotionally" and was taken to the cleaners; I lost $10,000 on that deal.”
Biggest sale in dollars: $225,000
“I sold a William-Adolphe Bouguereau, who was a French academic painter. All my biggest scores have been in paintings and sculptures ... not everyone can spot a great work of art.”
Biggest profit turned in dollars: $25,000
“I bought a collection of First Napoleonic Empire swords and helmets.
On one helmet alone, a French Cuirassier officer’s used at the Battle of Waterloo, I made $25,000.”