Sale of The Century Wiki
Steve Parr
Judith "Jude" Dobson (Kirk) (1989-1993)
Julie White (1994-1995)
Grant Walker (1989-93)
John Sweetman (1994-95)
SOTC NZ (1989-90).png
SOTC NZ (1991-93).png
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TV2: 1989-1990
ONE: 1990-1993
TV3: 1994-1995

This article is about the New Zealand version of Sale of the Century, a game show format mixed in with shopping and bargaining, where contestants could answer questions and buy prizes at a low cost.

The first version of Sale of the Century aired from 1989 to 1993 (initially on TV2, then ONE), while the second version aired on TV3 in 1994 and 1995. Both versions were hosted by Steve Parr.

Main Game[]

All contestants were spotted with $20 to start. The host read a trivia question to the three contestants (one of which was usually the winner of the previous show). The first to press a buzzer had the opportunity to answer the question (even if the host was still in the middle of reading the question). Players' scores increased by $5 for each correct answer and decreased by $5 for each incorrect answer. If a player answered incorrectly, the correct answer was revealled and the game went on to the next question - that is, only one person could try to answer each question.

Gift Shop[]

Once per round, the highest-scoring player had the opportunity to go to a "gift shop" and was offered the chance to sacrifice some part of their score to "purchase" a prize. The prizes, and the cost, increased in each round. Contestants were allowed to haggle with the host, who, depending on the game situation, could reduce the cost and offer inducements including actual cash in order to entice the contestant to purchase. If two or more players had the same score at this point, a Dutch auction was conducted for the prize.

Some gift shops also included a bonus prize called a "Sale Surprise", revealled only after the conclusion of the gift shop (regardless of whether the contestant bought the prize or not).

Who am I?/Fame Game[]

A longer-format question generally known as the "Who am I?" question was asked once in each of the three rounds. Here, a succession of increasingly larger clues was given to the identity of a famous person, place, or event. In this round, players could buzz in and answer at any time, without penalty for an incorrect answer. However, each player only had one chance to answer. If one of the players buzzed in and answered correctly, they had an opportunity to play the "famous faces" sub-game, where they could choose randomly from a game board with nine squares featuring the faces of celebrities, mostly performers on the network's shows. Once chosen, the face selected would be spun around to reveal either a relatively small prize (typically appliances or furniture valued at around a weekly wage) or a money card (added during each round):

  • $10 in the first round
  • $15 in the second round
  • $25 in the third round
  • Also in the third round, an additional "Wild Card" was added, where the player who picked it could choose to either pick from the board again, or take a cash prize of $500

Fast Money/Mad Minute[]

The final round featured a "fast money" segment, where the host asked the questions in a particularly rapid-fire manner, attempting to fit in as many questions as possible in a 60-second time limit. Most of the more successful players proved themselves particularly adept at this section.

For part of the 1994-95 run, an additional 30-second "Fast Money" was played prior to the second "Gift Shop" segment.

The winner of the game was the person with the most money at the end. If there was a final tie, the tied players answered a tiebreaker "Fame Game"-style question, where a correct answer from either contestant won the game, while an incorrect answer defeated the contestant in favour of their opponent.


For much of the show's original run and the first part of the 1994-95 run, a series of six prizes was offered, culminating in a car. A contestant could take their cumulative winnings, buy a prize and retire, or elect to return the next day and try to win enough to buy the next most expensive prize. They also had the option of purchasing one of the lower-level prizes on offer.

The cumulative scores required for each prize level were as follows:

  • Prize 1 - $75 ($80 at first)
  • Prize 2 - $150 ($165 at first)
  • Prize 3 - $245 ($260 at first)
  • Prize 4 - $345 ($355 at first)
  • Prize 5 - $445 ($450 at first)
  • The Car - $550
  • The Lot - $650

In November or December 1994, two more prize levels were added, and the progression was changed to the following:

  • Prize 1 - $75
  • Prize 2 - $150
  • Prize 3 - $245
  • Prize 4 - $345
  • Prize 5 - $445
  • Prize 6 - $545
  • Prize 7 - $645
  • The Car - $750
  • The Lot - $850

Despite this change, the opening announcement continued to use the $550 price for the car until it was reformatted at the start of 1995.

Prize Board[]

Near the end of the show's original run in 1993, a prize could be chosen from a modified Fame Game board. The Fame Game squares were replaced with numbers (similar to the American Fame Game board format used from 1984 to 1989); squares that were previously picked were replaced with the "Sale of the Century" logo.

Big Winners[]


  1. Values are listed in New Zealand dollars (at time of broadcast) unless mentioned otherwise.
  2. This is not a complete list; further details will be added when they are available.
  • Hamish McDouall (1989) - $96,513
    • On his ninth and final night, he finished with a cumulative score of $722, enabling him to win the Lot.
  • Jeff Safey (1992) - $40,209
    • On his sixth and final night, he initially finished with a cumulative score of $639; this was immediately corrected to $649 following a review of an answer previously ruled incorrect, meaning he was $1 short of winning the Lot. A "shattered" Jeff decided to take the car.
    • He later played in a Trans-Tasman tournament in 1995; on the final tournament episode (incidentally the [unannounced] final New Zealand episode of Sale of the Century), he defeated his Australian opponent by $1 and won a cruise holiday around New Zealand as his major prize.
    • He also played on the Australian Temptation revival and won over $AU380,000 in cash and prizes after declining to play for double his Cash Jackpot on his final night.
  • Sally Chaplin (sp?) (1994) - over $83,000
    • Sally was the first champion to win "the lot" during the 1994-1995 revival of Sale of the Century.
  • Dean Sole (17 November 1994) - $85,313
    • Dean also holds the record for the highest-ever main game score on the New Zealand version of Sale of the Century - $201 - achieved on 14 November 1994. His achievement is all the more remarkable as it took him just five nights to achieve a cumulative score of $790.
  • Ken Bania (6 January 1995) - $40,932
    • On his seventh and final night, he finished with a cumulative score of $835, $15 short of winning the Lot. Ken decided to take the car.

YouTube Links[]

Hamish vs. Jennifer vs. Bob - last 30 seconds of Fast Money and Hamish winning the lot
Closing credits to a general episode from 1989
Fast Money round and credits from the 1995 series finale (also the last episode of an International Challenge)

Full Episodes[]

Dean Sole[]

Family Challenge[]

Ken Bania[]