Deals From The DarksideEpisodes

Cat O' Nine Tails
Season 1 - Episode 4
Cat O' Nine Tails

Steve and his crew go to the dungeon of a retired dominatrix to check out what could be a 19th Century cat o' nine tails - a whip used in British prisons to subdue the convicts. The owner, Carolyn, is asking for $1600, but Steve says he can't go above $1200. Since Carolyn seems unwilling to budge, Steve plays a risky move and leaves, but Carolyn would rather have some sale than no sale, so she relents and sells for $1300.

Now the team has to find out if the whip really is what they think it is. Stewart McLaughlin, a museum curator, thinks that it's probably from the mid-1800s and was used in a penal colony, but since he can't be sure, Steve decides to bring forensics in on it. Forensic specialist Agata Gapinska sprays a chemical on the whip that makes blood glow neon blue. Once they've confirmed there's blood present, it's time to check to see if it's human blood, and bingo - we've got a match. The trouble is, Steve still doesn't know where it was used or when, and since he hopes to put this in a touring museum exhibit, this information is critical.

It's time to call in the big guns. Peter Fiske, a whip expert who owns more than 1,000 whips, comes to Steve's house to take a look. Not only does he confirm that the whip is from the 19th Century, he believes it was used on the convict ship Success, which itself toured as an exhibit displaying the horrors of the British penal system. The whip bears a small stamp that could tie it to the Success. If that's the case, the whip is worth roughly $10,000. If not, it's still worth $3,000-4,000, meaning Steve can probably triple his investment if he ever decides to sell it.

While all of this has been going on, Steve has been mentally preparing for the invite-only Dark Relics Auction. A Victorian coffin and a Scottish executioner's hood are the pieces Steve has a keen eye for, but he knows he'll have some competition in Dan, a newcomer to the scene. Steve nicknamed him "Money Bags", since he so often is able to outbid him on pieces that Steve dearly wants.

The coffin comes up and the bidding is quick, rising up to eight hundred, where it hovers tensely until Money Bags jumps up to $1300, a price that Steve refuses to match. He's going to concentrate his efforts on the hood, and by bidding $2500 where others bid $2,000, he walks away with the hood, and his pride.

Now it's time to head home and see his daughter off on a date to her first serious school dance. After giving her date the requisite "I'll use my antique torture devices on you if you don't behave" speech, he sees them to the limo - which, in the Santini household, looks more like a hearse. The kids head off and Steve tries to relax until the moment his daughter comes home.

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