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Miller Gaffney shares her tips for finding the best sterling silver pieces.
Age: “We’ll keep it a mystery.”
Occupation: Owner of Miller Gaffney Art Advisory (millergaffney.com)
Hobbies: Cooking, horseback riding and family croquet tournaments
Pet peeve: Rude people. Her coping mechanism: Kill ’em with kindness. “At the end of the day you can smile and say, ‘What did I lose?’”
Strolling the aisles of her favorite hometown antiques market, Miller Gaffney is the proverbial kid in a candy store.
“What do we have here?” she asks, stopping to admire a heavy wooden dresser. At the next booth, her trained eyes dart to a silver plate, which she picks up to evaluate for telltale markings and the unmistakable feel of antique coin silver. It’s something of a “busman’s holiday” for the Greenville‑based arts appraiser and advisor, but at least today she’s free to shop without being followed by a four‑person camera crew.
Viewers of Market Warriors, a new PBS reality show airing Mondays at 9 p.m. on SCETV, will recognize Gaffney as one of four experts who travel the country scouring flea markets for antiques to be sold at auction. The program is ultimately a competition—the picker with the highest profit at the end of the show wins—and success requires Gaffney to employ her encyclopedic knowledge of antiques along with some old-fashioned Southern charm.
“I love it. The buying and selling side of the business is what I enjoy most,” she says. “I’m not a mean competitor, but I like to win.”
A graduate of Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York, Gaffney usually works behind the scenes buying, selling and appraising art collections for high-end clients, so stepping into the television spotlight and shopping in flea markets has been adjustment. The biggest challenge? Getting “recognized” in public.
“A lot of times people come up to me at flea markets and ask, ‘Are you an actress?’” she laughs. “No! Believe me, I am not an actress. That’s the last thing I am.”