BETHEL — The team of Tony, Codfish and Duke are dickering again. 

The Bethel guys — Stanley “Codfish” Cordwell, Tony Bennett and his family’s Jack Russell terrier, Duke — were a mainstay in the first season of the History Channel’s “Down East Dickering.”

They bought and sold buses, barns and land. They made a healthy profit, and Bennett, who’s a fast talker despite a thick Maine accent, became the show’s narrator.

On July 7, they started production on the second season. Once again, TV crews are following the teams, who use the weekly Uncle Henry’s Swap or Sell It Guide to find bargains and make a profit.

The Sun Journal wanted to learn more about talkative Tony, quiet Cordwell and photogenic Duke, as well as how they make their deals and handle their growing fame.

Name: Tony Bennett

Age: 49

Hometown: Bethel

Single, relationship or married? Long-term relationship

Children? Three children, four grandchildren

Name: Stanley “Codfish” Cordwell

Age: 39

Hometown: Bethel

Single, relationship or married? Married

Children? Four children, one grandchild

Name: Duke

Hometown: Bethel

Age:9

Single, relationship or married? Single, though he loves them all, according to Tony.

Children? None he knows of.

How did you start collecting stuff and making deals?

Tony: I was a dump picker since the age of 5 years old. I lived right beside a dump, two houses from it. For every dump within 50 miles of Bethel, if I could get my mother to take me to it, I was picking.

When did you start with Uncle Henry’s?

Tony: In 1978 and 1979, I started reading it and dickering in one form or fashion.

Codfish: I started later in the 1980s. We knew each other. Our families knew each other.

What makes a good deal?

Tony: A good deal is when everybody is happy when the deal is done. Now, you can deal with that person again. There’s always another dollar to be made.

What’s a bad deal?

Tony: I’ve been on both ends. Some people will tell you a good deal is when you’ve got $1,000 in your pocket and the other guy has nothing. Well, the other guy is pissed. That ain’t always the best deal.

Does the TV show capture the best deals?

Tony: They are not always with us. They miss nine months out of the year. It’s not like we could line the deals up. We don’t know until the book comes out.”

Are there any dickering rules for what you’ll buy or do?

Codfish: There are no rules.

Tony: We can’t just rely on (buying and selling) three-wheelers and four-wheelers because that’s seasonal. We have to rely on whatever comes along. We’ll buy yarn if there’s an old lady down the road that’s knitting. Maybe we can sell it to her and maybe she can make us some mittens. We’ll buy anything. We’ll swap vegetables.

Will there be something new for the second season?

Tony: We don’t know. Honest to God, we don’t lay anything out. There’s nothing scripted. It’s all day by day as it comes along.

Do people come up to you all the time, especially if you’re together?

Tony: It’s getting pretty crazy. At home it ain’t bad. If we go downtown, somebody pumping gas next door will come over. It’s just one person at a time, so that ain’t too bad.

And if it’s more than one at a time?

Tony: We went to Maine’s Ultimate Yard Sale in Cumberland.  Every time we tried to walk up to a table to buy something, there were six or eight people who would come up and want a picture. We were all about it because we love PR. Then, as soon as we’d say ‘Yes,’ 20 more people who didn’t dare ask before would jump up.

How famous is Duke?

Tony: He’s got a few girlfriends. He’s been getting all kinds of letters. People have been sending pictures of their dogs to him. There’s one woman up north who says every time the show comes on, her (female) dog goes nuts and keeps attacking the TV. Her Jack Russell had a boyfriend down the street, but she won’t have anything to do with him anymore. It’s all about Duke.

Codfish: He’s the one that’s making us famous.

Editor’s note: No date has been set for the new season.


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