Today was an awesome day for finds and new contacts. We went to an estate sale because they had historic guns. However, they wanted 4xs retail prices for them! All the collectibles were in bad condition. When I did get to checkout, the operator was kvetching about how all she sells is cheap household items and not the antiques. I handed her 50 cents for a ring case and left. The irony was not lost on me. I plan on using it for display purposes at sales and for Etsy pictures.
We stopped at 7-11 for some much needed caffeine and water. Mapped out our next sale and headed out. Part way down the road I saw a random estate sale sign and took a hard right into a group of condos/townhouse.
The house had a cute yet cranky 12 y/o kitty (occupational hazard). It was filled with some tchotchkes and what nots. Nothing grabbed me at quick glance. And then I did the slow look across the mantle. I see a clear item that looks like an eagle etched into it. I step closer, and I see on the base of the item a plaque that reads “With Deep Appreciation Richard Nixon November 1972”. (Picker Kevin loves Nixon by the way.) It’s a thank you gift from Nixon with the presidential seal given to Whitehouse aids and campaign contributors and it was marked $2! (Sadly it’s missing it’s original case and letter, together it books for $200.)
We beat feet and then we hit the final sale of the day. We got awesome items there. But, I’m not going to tell you about them yet. The best item needs some cleaning. Then we’ll get some pictures and share tomorrow.
This was all followed by late brunch and an extraordinarily long and needed nap.
Today, Nathan from Edge Induced Cohesion joined us for his first pick. I think he had fun!
Today I went picking for the first time. A lot of the property at the various estate sales was pretty overpriced or did not look all that impressive, but I did see some items that were of interest to me. I managed to purchase five ties, a slide rule, and two books (of interest for reading, not picking), all for a total of $5.50. The trick was trying to find items that were both inexpensive but also of personal interest to me.
When I got back from the estate sales, after a fairly disciplined day, I looked up the values of some of the items on ebay, and I was pleased. I found Christian Dior ties like the ones I purchased for about $20, Oscar De La Renta ties of the same types as mine for the same price, and Del Soldato ties for at least $10, along with $10 for David Crystal ties made of silk. I also found the same type of slide rule I bought for $20. So, any one of four or five items would double the money I spent, and I can keep some ties for my own use while also profiting. As long as something moves, it looks like a very profitable day picking, and that is a great first time experience. Hopefully it can give me some good lessons for the future as well, as I watched how the more experienced pickers behaved as well, avoiding overpaying and buying for quality and value as well as for items that one liked for their own worth. That sounds like a worthwhile day for me.
My skills are growing as a picker. Partly it’s a growth in my confidence. Confidence is a skill in small business. You need it to try, and keep trying.
My other skill is the ability to look at an ad and figure out if the poster knows what he or she is talking about or even knows what they are doing. Seriously, just like all professions, some people know what they are doing, and others don’t have much of a clue.
Why is this important? For one, inexperienced estate sale operators don’t advertise properly. There aren’t as many signs pointing random traffic into the house. They post bad Craigslist ads with very few pictures of what’s for sale. They don’t post up good key words in their ads to let collect it’s know what they have. Then they price items horribly. Mostly because they don’t know what they have.
We’ve bought great items from the same estate sale company and made hundreds from 2 items. Really. Hundreds of dollars from 2 items.
One item was a semi-antique Sarouk. It was marked $330. Here’s the funny part though, it was still available on Sunday morning. Yes, it was greatly under priced at $330. We bought it for $220 and consigned it to auction the next day. The rug sold for a little more than three times the asking price. Last month, I bought a lovely hand painted bowl for $7.25 (half price Sunday) which sold for $125 (free shipping) on eBay from the same guy!
This week we received our check from the rug and bought new tires for the car. Our car must stop quickly for garage sale signs!
It has been a while. We’ve been broke, busy, and sore. We did make time to go out this weekend to 2 estate sales this weekend. One was very crowded. As we stood in line, and watched people come out of the first one, very few walked out with items. However, Kevin, having the awesome eye for quality found an older blue art glass vase and a crystal nut dish for $11.50.
The items aren’t super cheap, but they’ll make nice additions to the case at 3xs their purchase price. The other sale was largely filled with newer items at high prices. So nothing was purchased.
The past two days we have found gold and costume jewelry on Craigslist. Yesterday, we bought 1 gold ring, 4 rings and 3 brooches for $10! The gold ring has sold for $45 on eBay. Tidy profit indeed.
Today we found a ring and a bracelet for $120. We haven’t weighed them, but we estimate by looks that they are 7 grams of 10k gold, which we can sell for about $180. More if people pay for the diamonds. 🙂
it’s good to be back! 🙂