Yard Salers: Nov. 25: The Basket People, Gifts that Keep on Giving
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Please forgive me for the lateness of this issue. The family has been felled by illness in recent weeks..well, specifically, my son and then I. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice to say if I had it to do over, I would get that flu shot.
I've been to a few memorable estate sales since last writing you all. One of them has stuck in my mind with the phrase "The Basket People." I'll explain why in the first article in this issue.
Another cool one was in a house in Southern Maryland, which had its own barn, and I shall heretofore reference it as "The Barn Sale." I figure it can't hurt to give your sales nicknames.
A third one I simply chanced upon via craigslist.
I find craigslist to be pretty hit-and-miss. The thing is, you're going to miss the hits if you don't look regularly. One of the nicest things I saw on there recently was this lovely wooden cabinet/sideboard by Broyhill -- that someone was just giving away for free because they were moving! I thought, someone could probably make a whole business by hiring two burly guys to haul off good free furniture, storing it in their house or warehouse (you would need a room or two or more for storage), and then reselling it on eBay as a local pickup auction, or even on craigslist itself, or other site. Maybe even rubylane.com if it's an antique.
Now, my husband would cry especially foul if I started hauling home whole pieces of furniture, instead of the smaller items like dishes and books he puts up with now.
And, of course, some of the stuff being given away for sale is...just, well, butt-ugly, if you'll pardon my French.
Back to this good sale, though. Speaking of larger items...usually, yes, I stick to smaller items..books, jewelry, maybe art that's not too huge..but I saw some things I just could not pass up.
Two antique chandeliers. And sconces. One for only $35, with a solid brass fixture and real leaded crystals. I was actually poking through a few large stacks of cd's, not hopeful of finding much, when I heard the lady giving the sale talking about how she was surprised no one had yet bought these two great antique chandeliers they had for sale. Everyone had come for the tools and building material.
In fact, the sale had been advertised as mainly a tools sale..with something like, "Men..don't miss this sale!"
I picked up the smaller chandelier and saw that it was very nicely made. It was also small enough that I could easily put it in the car, and it could be shipped for a non-astronomical price if I put it up on eBay.
I bought it for $35 and it sold for $149 a week later. The lady who bought it got a good deal (I think it would retail for $300-$400), I got a good deal, and the people who got rid of it just wanted to get rid of it.
The other chandelier is quite a bit bigger, but it was so lovely and had such an interesting backstory (it was allegedly brought over from France by Lillian Russell, and the house actually had some reclaimed stained glass from a Russell estate in it which I saw with my own eyes, so I believe it). It also had an old door which had been in one of Winston Churchill's office, and was the coolest thing.
It did not sell on the first go-round on eBay (one reason being I had to do it as a local pickup; it is just too heavy), so I have it in my store and have one lady interested in it who's tying to figure out a ride for the thing. Yes, the lovely old chandelier is going to try to hitchhike.
Another interesting find I got there was a wonderful old US Naval commission document which had been signed (most likely by autopen) by Andrew Johnson. I got it for $25 and it sold for close to $200.
These finds just show you, you never know about a sale. Sometimes you just have to show up and see for your own eyes. As Woody Allen said (I think it was he), 90% of life is showing up.
As to the "miss" part of craigslist, sometimes things can seem pretty overpriced. I came across this one posting I thought was funny, from one person frustrated with this situation...I thought I'd share it with you all. It's snarky but funny:
HEY, JEWELERY SELLERS...WAKE UP TO REALITY!!!!! - $1
Reply to: xxxxxx Date: 2008-10-30, 5:28PM EDT
It's about time that all jewelery sellers woke up and realized certain things: 1) saying that you are sacrificing something for a portion of the appraisal price is ridiculous because we all know that appraisal values are marked up at least 100%;
2) the original retail price that you paid for something from a chain jewelery store is even more ridiculous because we all know that stores mark up prices 200%;
3) used jewelry (and that is what you are selling) is worth much less than new jewelry;
4) you need to lower your expectations in this economic environment as you obviously need money if you are selling something;
5) BUYERS DETERMINE MARKET VALUE AND SOMETHING IS ONLY WORTH WHAT SOMEONE IS WILLING TO PAY FOR IT, NOT WHAT YOU MAY THINK IT IS WORTH. IF SOMEONE THOUGHT YOUR SELLING PRICE FAIR, YOUR JEWELRY WOULD HAVE SOLD ALREADY! Many of you have re-posted the same ad for your same, unsold jewelry for over two months. Why? Because no one thinks your price to be fair! Wake up! Stop getting mad at others for offering much less than your unrealistic asking prices. Their offer prices to buy are actually much more realistic than your offer prices to sell. They have the cash, you need the cash. Figure it out.
And before I forget...the "gifts that keep on giving" in this newsletter's title is...estate-sale sourced earth-friendly wrapping "paper" -- by this I mean one or two scarves in holiday colors, which you can get for a song (look for red, green, gold or holiday pattern), tie them around your gift box, and secure with a sparkly dirt-cheap rhinestone or othe festive brooch you got at a yard sale.
It keeps on giving because they can wear their wrapping paper, or use it to wrap someone else's gift.
There's more in this issue, about making lemons from the current economic (as in bad) environment, and more. But let's go ahead and get into it.
Meantime, everyone have a happy and safe Thanksgiving, and I hope your Black Friday puts you very much in the black. B-)
Garage sale and wholesaler expert Pat Bateman has put together a fabulous ebook about making regular income with yard sales, finding wholesale goods to sell, using drop shippers, and more. Right now I'm offering it at a special preview price for $8.95. PayPal me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you will receive the ebook via email, usually within hours.
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In This Issue:
1) The Basket People
2) Flip of the Week Contest 11: Wedgwood, American Folk Art Vase, Cool 80s Skateboard
3) Coasting on the Ivory Coast and Other Bad Puns
4) Stores Closing - An Opp to Buy Closeouts
5) Reader Mail
[ Pls. See Next Post for Article 1]