Trader Bob was a game where the contestant had to trade up to win.

It was one of five retired games (alongside of the original Balance Game (1), Finish Line, Give or Keep, and Shower Game) in which the contestant would win something regardless of the game's outcome.


  • The contestant was shown a small prize, which served as their "base prize", but was not shown its price. They were then shown a pair of small prizes. The contestant had to "trade up" by selecting the prize which was more expensive than their base prize. The rejected item's price was revealed, while the kept item was placed next to the base prize. This process was repeated with two additional pairs of small prizes, for which the contestant would have to choose the prize which was more expensive than their previous selection.
  • Once all three choices were made, the prices of the selected prizes were revealed one at a time, starting with the base prize. If all four chosen items were priced in ascending order, the contestant won a large prize. Regardless of the outcome of the game, the contestant won the last small prize to have its price revealed before the game ended – this was the fourth and final small prize in the trading sequence if the contestant also won the large prize, and the first small prize picked incorrectly if the contestant lost. This made the base prize and the correctly-picked items in the first two pairs impossible to win.
  • Ultimately, the simplified goal of Trader Bob was to pick the more expensive of three pairs of prizes. In this way, the game had the same goal as Give or Keep and Finish Line - however, these two games did allow a contestant the possibility of winning even by getting one or two selections wrong, depending on the prices used. Conversely, the game was the opposite of Hurdles, in which the contestant had to select the lower priced of three pairs of grocery items.
  • Trader Bob's concept was also employed in Step Up; the only differences were that Step Up awarded contestants a cash prize if they picked a more expensive prize than the last, and that they could choose to quit and take their winnings.


Premiere Playing (April 19, 1980, #3662D)Edit

From November 1, 1983 (#5062D)Edit

History and behind the scenesEdit

  • Trader Bob was created by producer Phil Wayne. Its set was styled like a log cabin housing a general store, with a large wooden barrel sitting at the front and the set decorated with shelves housing items often found at such a store. Smaller wooden barrels were wheeled out to display each small prize.
  • Trader Bob was the second pricing game bearing a titular reference to host Bob Barker, and premiered within a week of Barker's Bargain Bar on April 22, 1980 (#3652D).
  • The game was known as "Trade Up" on the 1980s UK version of the show.


  • This game and Clearance Sale was played 99 times before it was retired.
  • The most number of times this game was played in any season was 28.


  • Trader Bob's structure allowed no room for error. This resulted in a low win rate and played a large role in its eventual retirement.