Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Yard Salers: Feb 29: Art, Pricing, More Flips -- 30 days to a Million?


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Hello, all!

The stars aligned and I finally made it out to a preview at a local
auction house, Weschler's, here in DC. I attended the 15-minute prep
session for people who've never been, which was basically an informal
tour around the display room with Margaret, a friendly and
knowledgeable employee.

She explained to me and another person how the whole process
worked: every week, all the paintings, rugs, pottery, books, etc. on
display is auctioned off and a whole new set of stuff comes in.

They put the stuff they think is of lesser quality in the back,
with lower lot numbers, the nicest stuff in the front and front window,
and the other stuff in between.

Although, as she said, sometimes great finds were lurking in
the lesser area in the back. She showed me the books tables, where all
the books are set out, and people can pick out books and create their
own little book bundle with twine, which the auctioneer will then hold
up and sell off as a lot.

By the time I got there, around 9:30, several little bundles
had already been created. I wrote down the names of some items that
jumped out at me so I could research them when I got home.

The next step will be to go to both a Monday preview and a Tuesday
auction, and then bring home the stuff and see how it sells. So I'll be
sharing all that with you. I'm not at today's auction because I just
had too much work to get done, including getting this newsletter out,
and also because none of the paintings jumped out at me.

I got out to three estate sales this past weekend. Along the lines of
what we've been talking about in this newsletter, I've been looking for
more art and other higher-end items. (Not that all art is necessarily

My most interesting finds have been unusual pieces: one, what
looked like an actual chunk of fresco from a Greek palace, mounted in a
wooden frame -- I later came to find it's a hand-painted recreation of
part of the fresco in the Queen's Palace in Knossos, Greece. The fresco
shows two dolphins frolicking in the water with a faint netting image
in the back.

It was funny, because it was in a box on the floor in the
basement of the sale, and written on the back was the date "1500 BC." I
figured if it was an actual chunk of the wall that dated back that far,
it wouldn't be sitting in a box on the floor of a sale. Of course,
stranger things have happened at these sales.

In fact, it was while browsing some jewelry at another sale
that I overheard some of the juiciest gossip about flips. One of the
guys running the sale said a lady had brought him a pearl necklace to
appraise that she'd found in a thrift store. I think she paid like $20
for it.

"And they were South Sea pearls!" he exclaimed. "I would have priced it at $950."

He said she also found a ruby ring for $40 from a lady selling
it on craigslist. It was indeed real ruby and gold, he said, and she'd
made another score. I don't remember what he said he'd appraise it at,
but I think it was a few hundred dollars or so.

Later in the day I got onto craigslist and I think I found the
very ring he was talking about. I emailed the lady and she said it had
sold that day. Just shows you the early bird gets the worm on

Anyhow, my other find. It was another piece of art in the
basement of that sale, a print that was signed Henry Napartuk and
titled, "Eskimo Returning from the Hunt."

I googled around, and from what I could tell, it is a limited
edition print by Inuit artist Henry Napartuk. "Known as an imaginary
and versatile artist, his prints and sculptures often combined animal
and human forms," read the info on one site.

The only comp price I was able to find was $325 for a Napartuk
titled "Eskimo Hunter and Seal." Although I still don't know if the
print was limited edition, how many were made, etc. There don't seem to
be a lot of them floating around out there, so I think it's fairly

So we'll see how that does.


Speaking of art, I'm reading a great book I want to recommend to
you all. It's called "31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques &
Collectibles." I must send a shout out to my friend Skip McGrath for
calling attention to it. He wrote about it in his own newsletter,
Auction Sellers Resource, which you can find on his site at I'll tell you more about it in the first article.

Before I forget, I wanted to share this story: one sale I just
completed on eBay that shows you can still get good stuff when you come
late to an estate sale: two Depression scrip notes (money that was
issued during the Depression in some areas in lieu of real money when
the banks were in trouble) in a frame sold for $66. I picked it up for
$5, hanging on the wall in the bathroom of a sale, around noon.

A guy actually picked it up before me to examine it, read the
inscription on the back about the scrip, said "hunh," and put it back.
As soon as he left the room, I plucked it right off the wall and into
my bag. So that was my good flip for the week.

We have also more  "Flip of the Week" contest entries in this issue.

Keep those good flips coming to Please
mention what the item is, what you paid for it, and what you sold it
for. A photo would be great too, if you can swing it. But not
mandatory. I'll feature one flip per week.

Now let's get to it!

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In This Issue:


1) 31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques & Collectibles

2) Flip of the Week Contest Week 2

3) Reader Mail



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1) 31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques & Collectibles


Quick! Answer this within 5 seconds without thinking about it too much.
If someone asked you if you'd rather have a) A Million Dollars or B)
they'd give you a penny, but every day, the amount you receive doubles,
so the second day you'd receive two cents, the third day four cents,
and so on...for 29 days. Which would you choose?

If you said b, you made the correct choice. By Day 28, in fact,
you will have surpassed $1,000,000 and that day's pay would be
$1,343,488, for a cumulative total of every day's earnings of

This is the example Daryle uses in the book, 31 Steps to Your
Millions in Antiques & Collectibles although his question actually
goes up to 31 days, by which time you will have received $21.5 million
dollars total for the 31 days.

He uses this to illustrate the power of not only compounding,
but of a strategy of buying and selling antiques and collectibles. Buy
one item at 25% retail (his rule of thumb), resell it, and use the
proceeds to buy another item that you can flip for twice as much. And
so on.

Of course, that's simplifying it, but you get the basic idea.

Daryle's book is full of great stories of his finds and flips.
But one of my favorites comes in the beginning, when he tells the story
of how he put himself through college with his coin collection.

He used to go back and forth to the bank, buy a bag of coins,
sift through them and save the good ones. The rejects went back to the

By the time he was 18, already married with a wife and child,
the collection had grown in value enough to pay for his entire
collection to Kentucky Wesleyan College.

If you want to buy Daryle's book, simply go to, or Daryle's site at


2) Flip of the Week Contest Week 2

Flip of the Week Contest #2 Entries

Got some more great ones, people..including some wonderful tips for the offline auction house. Read on!

Hi, Julia!

Great newsletter, thanks for all the great stuff. I'm especially
excited about your new feature regarding flipping because I enjoy
swapping eBay stories.

My latest best flip was for a "Ming's of Hawaii" ivory pin I
bought at a white elephant sale for only .50-cents. I did a little
research and discovered Ming's jewelry is quite collectible, so I
started the bidding at $24.99, confident it would bring at least
$50-$75. Imagine my surprise when I immediately got an offer to take it
off-line for $100! Being one to follow eBay's stringent rules and now
knowing I could possibly get a bid of a-
hundred bucks, I graciously declined. Imagine my surprise when the
bidding ended at $241.50, the most I've ever gotten for any item I've
sold since joining eBay in April of 1999.


Thank you for indulging me and keep up the great work!


eBay ID: dawt

*DuplicateDaughters: and soon-to-be-open Web site:


Since most of my auctions deal in vintage crafts, when I saw
this $2 bag full of vintage silk thread by Corticelli at a garage sale,
I knew I had to have it. Even if it wasn't something that sold on eBay,
I would find a use for it. When I got home to do my research on the
purchases I had made, I realized I had found a gem. Yeah! They were
good sellers on eBay.

I listed the spools for a starting price of $9.59. When the auction
ended seven days later, they had 11 bids and an ending bid amount of
$59.86. Someone from the UK had won them.

There were several other partially used spools in the bag I hadn't
included in the auction. I decided to add them to the package I sent to
my buyer as "extras". It was very fortunate I did, especially after she
had to pay a pretty hefty duty tax that I had not warned her about.
Even with the extra tax, she was delighted and left glowing feedback.

I learned my lesson, now I let the buyer know in my Terms, they are
responsible for any duty tax that would arise with their purchase. I
assumed the International buyers knew they would have to pay a duty tax
over a certain amount. You know what they say about assuming.

So that's my flip of the week. A $2 purchase that brought $50 in profit after fees!  I love vintage crafts!

Debra, Vintage Crafts and More


The next letter comes to us from the UK, eBay ID idlehippy, who has his
own site at Rodney shows us both the power
of the right words in the title, and how a savvy Buy-It-Now strategy
can lead to a good flip:

"I thought there would be a little bit of profit in a Duff beer
can puzzle (Rubik's) I saw in a local charity shop for �1 so I quickly
snapped it up.

"Doing a little research to establish what it might be worth on eBay, I
found one that sold a while ago for about �35. There was also one
currently listed which was ending in a few days so I made sure that
when I listed mine, it would end after the one already being sold.

"I listed in the usual way, low start, no reserve. After all I
only paid a pound. There was immediate interest, approximately 16
watchers in about 2 days. This got me thinking because the other Duff
puzzle listed didn't have nearly the same level of hits on the its view
counter as mine had. I realised that it was the Rubik's cube collectors
who were watching the auction and not the Simpsons collectors. My
initial thought had been that the Simpsons aspect would be the main
attraction but that wasn't the case.

"Anyway the other puzzle didn't have any bids and still had
three or four days to run. I noticed the title didn't have 'Rubik's' in
the title which mine did so I decided to take a chance and emailed the
seller to see if she would give me a Buy It Now price. She did, revised
the listing and I got it for �7.50 including Special Delivery.

"The upshot of all this was that my �1 charity shop special
finished at �43 and I was able to give second chance offers to the
other bidders. The one I received for �7.50 went for �26 to one of the
other bidders. This meant I saved a little more as I only had one
listing fee to pay.

"So �8.50 spent and �69 in - my chest was swollen with pride at
my success and the �60.50 profit on just two items. Percentage wise,
the supermarkets would kill for that kind of mark-up percentage!

"It doesn't always work out quite so wonderfully for me, I've
had my fair share of bombs too, but it's nice to learn something new
and make a little money at the same time. I do love eBay."



Hi Julia,

I am a new subscriber to your newsletter, and I just had to let you know of my recent flip.

Purchased a set of books at a yard sale for $3.00 (she asked $5
and I offered $3). I sold these books on Ebay to an Australian buyer
for $510.00. I am still in shock!. This was auction #300193986637

Well back to work!




Hi Diane!

Welcome to Yard Salers! I'd love to hear where you found out about us
-- I'm always trying to figure out what advertising works..was it an
ebay auction..or other? Thanks!

Wow! That is amazing! Sounds like a home-schooling buyer, maybe? Or
maybe a teacher? I love that on top of it all, you dickered down. LOL.

You are duly entered into to the contest and have a good shot at winning! Thanks and hope u enjoy the newsletter. :-)



Ok, as always it was a very tough call..everyone's entry was great. All
the flips were fabulous. And as I did with last week's contest, all the
entrants get to pick a free ebook of their choice. Entrants, please
email me at and let me know which ebook you'd like.

I'm picking the two below as winners of the signed paperback both
because of the high dollar amounts the flips went for and the kinds of
tips they gave us about how we can ferret out our own good stuff.
(Although, again, we can learn things from everyone's entries).

Here they are:

This next letter, from Michelle, tells us not only about several
great flips, but shares some wonderful tips for bidding at live
auctions. I plan to keep them in mind next week as I head back to the
live auction house:

Hi Julia,

I love your newsletter. I�ve had a few great flips over the last
year and I couldn�t pick just one so I�ll give you my top three:

A 1964 Volkswagen Beetle manual set that I bought at a
neighbor�s yard sale for $1.00 � The covering the set came in (manual,
service ticket book, and radio manual) was filthy. I took it home,
wiped it down and listed it. It sold for $62.00.

I bought a Pilot printing press at a live auction for $25.00. I
sold it for $325 and the winner was so excited to get it she drove from
northern Michigan to central Ohio after a BIG snowstorm to pick it up
rather than wait for it to be shipped.

At another live auction I bought a set of 15 books titled John
Stoddard�s Lectures for $15 after heavy bidding� I sold the set to a
man in Poland for $649.97. This was, needless to say, my very favorite
flip of the week!

I know that you�ve been talking about attending live auctions. I highly
recommend them. I use to find auctions going on any day
of the week within a given radius of any zip code I put in. Lots of
people use this tool and auctions are becoming more crowded but I find
that many people specialize in particular areas and I always come away
with something good.

For example, this past week I sold an American Colonial Era (1815)
Bible for $102.50 that I got for $3 dollars when the loan bidder
against me wouldn�t go $4 on it. I guess that�s another great flip, eh?
Anyway, this happens a lot at live auctions with books and paper items.
No one ever wants to spend more than a dollar or two on them.

I�ll give you one trade secret about live auctions: there are
break points that few people will cross. If you�re willing to go over
$5, $20, $50, or $100 on an item, you�ll win the item almost every
time. Going $6, $21-$22.50 (depends on the auction house and when they
start raising the incremental bids), $55, or $105-110 has worked for me
time and time again.

Take care Julia. I hope you can use one of my flips of the week or my live auction tips in your newsletter.



eBay ID: MJsConsignments


Winner Number Two is Tubular:


I picked up this Audio Research Tube Pre-Amp (Model LS7) at a thrift
store for $7. I sold it on eBay for $560 the following week.

I didn't know much about the brand but modern tube amps are
always hi-end equipment, actively sought by audiophiles. I'm a bit of
one myself and I was tempted to keep it but this would have only been
one of the 5 or 6 (potentially 4 figure) components that I'd need to

I'm going back out today to see if my luck holds.

William Smith

Hang Fire Books

Rare, Obscure, Eclectic, Synonymous


one creepy little magazine

and yes...I'm blogging


Hi William!'re the second one I heard from in the last month or 2
who is into tube stereos. I asked the other guy how you can tell if a
stereo is tube, but don't know if I heard it just telling how
old it is? And how would u do that? I'd love it if u'd share some
secrets with us.

Thanks so much for sharing that great flip.

Again, any tips you can share would be much appreciated..I saw a
couple old-ish stereos at an estate sale last weekend but had no clue
if they were tube or not.

Thanks again!




Not sure how you can tell with any given manufacturer without
looking into the works. I'm no expert. However if you can see through a
vent or a grill, tubes are about 2 1/2 inches tall and look like
cylindrical light bulbs. Most stereo equipment made between say, 1965
and the present is solid state based (not tube), some of this equipment
is collectible as well (Marantz and early Kenwood are always good names
to look out for) but is not as highly sought out as tube equipment.

Modern tube components tend to be very minimal with only a few
switches/lights. That's one easy clue. And if it is of recent origin it
is always high end since the audience is audiophiles with relatively
deep pockets.

Hope this is helpful.



Congrats, Michelle and Will! Please email me your physical
mailing addresses so I can send you the signed book.

Everyone, keep those entries coming for next week!

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2) Reader Mail 



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Hi, Julia --

Thanks so much for your newsletters, I really enjoy reading them and learing new and inventive ideas from you and other readers.

One quick question: You have a BigCrumbs link on this newsletter - I
would like to join, but I'd like to make sure that you get my referral.
Do I simply click on the link in your newsletter and it will be tracked
to you automatically?

Thanks again, and keep up the outstanding work!



Hi Kaytee!

Thanks so much! I appreciate that a lot. Yes, you will go to my
referral page at Big Crumbs if u click on the referral link, and I will
get credit. Then you can refer your own people and create your own

I really think BigCrumbs is a good idea and "win win" as the owner
says..if I didn't think it was good I wouldn't recommend it to folks.
So join up and let me know how it goes! It may take a while for us to
build up some $$, but I think after months it will start adding up. :)

One other note about BigCrumbs, which I meant to mention in the
AuctionBytes article that I did (but didn't because I didn't think to
ask until later): if you just go to the main site and join that way,
they will simply randomly insert you into someone's referral system. In
other words, there's no negative to using someone's referral link to
join; it doesn't set you "farther back" in the system as it were.

Having said that, BigCrumbs discourages high-pressure tactics
to get peopel to join. So I hope any mentions of BigCrumbs I make are
seen as suggestions and not strong-arming. ;) Personaally I don't see a
disadvantage to it, and as long as one is careful about about how and
when one mention's one's referral link, i think it's a neat program.

thx again for reading!




*** end of Reader Mail **



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That's it for this issue. Until next time! - Julia


Questions about My eBooks Ordering

You can certainly purchase from me directly, as can anyone. Most of my
ebooks are now available via the website's bookstore at Any others you have questions about, all
you have to do is email me and let me know which ebook(s) you want, if
you are a subscriber and thus eligible for the discount, and then
PayPal me to my PayPal id at I'll be tweaking and
updating the ebooks page on my web site soon.


Do you have a Flip of the Week? I'd love to hear about it! Email me at and let me know.