11.16.2010

Plastic Scale Models: Revell, AMT, etc.

Every season it surprises me how many brand new models I see at garage sales.  It must be one of those gifts that are given by relatives and shoved into the closet.  This is good news for you because most of the models that you find at garage sales are basically brand new in the box.  I have bought and sold dozens of models and when you see them sitting there new in the box, don't hesitate to snap them up at a dollar a piece.  Larger models will sell for a little bit more, sometimes up to $5.  If I pay for a $5 model, it needs to be complete in the box (make sure it has instructions!), the box needs to be in good condition and the parts still need to be attached to the plastic frame.  Some models will sell better than others, and you may end up with a couple that are not even worth it to sell once you factor in the shipping.  For these I will wait until I have a few and list them as a lot, or wait and sell them at your own garage sale, or craigslist.

No! Do not buy.
Often times there will be paints included or sold as another lot, do yourself a favor and avoid these.  Although they are expensive in the store, they just don't sell that well on ebay, and most likely the person buying your model already has a whole bunch of paints.  There certainly are exceptions to this rule, and some vintage paints are worth good money, just be sure you know what you're doing before you end up needing a Haz-Mat team to come clean out your garage from all the old chemicals that are worth less than the glass jar they are kept in.

Pocher models... Cha-Ching!
As with any product, there are a few model makers who produce nothing but the best.  If you ever see models by a company named Pocher at a price of less than a couple hundred dollars, grab it.  Pocher models are typically 1/8 scale and have thousands of pieces.  They regularly sell on ebay for four figures, even after they have been constructed.  Other high end model brand is Hasegawa, Doyusha, and Tamiya.  Typically, the larger the model, the more money it brings. 

I recently bought this model on the right for $1.  It is 1:25 scale.  The smaller models are hit or miss, but almost always worth gambling a dollar on, especially when they are in such good condition, and completely new.  Again, be sure to look for the instructions, decals, and check all the loose part trees for missing pieces. Final price on this model was $13.25, certainly worth the 20 minutes of work spent on this item.  Keep in mind that these models sell for about $25 new in the store.
What kind of models have you had luck flipping?  Tell us about it!

11.11.2010

Credit Card Terminals


Once in a while, you will come across credit card terminals.  There are probably thousands of different models out there, and there are millions of people who have started a home business and failed.  I have purchased several credit card readers, and they were all good buys.  I have always paid a dollar or two, and the worst one I sold went for $20. 

Obviously the newer and small the machine, the more it is worth.  I sold an Omni 3750 exactly like the one pictured on the left for $37, which although is a far cry from the $125 that Amazon is asking, was still a great return on a $1 buy.  For the most part, it is hard to go wrong spending a dollar on ant modern user-interactive electronics, so don't be afraid to make that gamble.  You can always donate it to goodwill and take the tax write-off. 

The next latest and greatest thing for processing credit cards is the wireless terminal.  These sell for upwards of $500, even on ebay.  I highly doubt you'll find one in a pile of junk at a garage sale, but they are certainly out there. With the economy in shambles and businesses closing their doors, there is opportunity everywhere to find deals on this sort of thing.  Another trend on ebay is to sell these c.c. readers in lots of 8-10.  There is only a small discount for buying these in bulk, and it is a great way to dump 10 at a time and have a nice quick auction for $500 or so. 

Happy hunting!

Fantasy Boardgames (or anything with dragons!)

This colorful plastic platforms will jump out at you when you see them
Its just another lousy plastic dragon without this card
I learned awhile ago that almost anything with dragons or large-breasted women in armor on the box sells quite well, with the exception of actual dungeons & dragons games.  This is the second Heroscape set that I've sold, I paid $5 for the first one, and $5 for this one.  The first netted about $40, this lot sold for $33, but I also sold a single dragon out of this lot for $10.  This game has extra figures that are sold separately, they can fetch $20 or more for the right figure.  If you see the figures separately, remember that for this game, every figure has its own information card that goes with it.  Without the card, forget it and move on.

Whenever you come across this stuff, you should start to have some alarm bells going off.  It is highly unlikely that this is the only game this kid owned.  At this point I am asking if there are any more games like this for sale.  How about legos?  Other board games?  Video Games?  Chances are the kid had all three of these hot selling items

Other fantasy games to look out for are:

Heroquest:

Buy these for a dollar or two without regard for condition.  Mint unopened value is about $100, but even if you are missing a few pieces it will still fetch $30.  If you are paying more than a couple bucks, be sure all the pieces are there and the box is in good condition.  There are a couple manuals and decks of cards.  If you open it up and stuff is clearly missing, haggle for a better price.


 Crossbows and Catapults
My brother and I had this set as kids and we loved it.  The cool thing about it was the stuff that you could shoot at each other.  They went everywhere and go lost real easily.  For that reason, a nice complete set will sell for $70 and up.  If it is only a few pieces and it is missing the box, don't even bother, it's not worth the time.  There were several different kits and add-ons that came with this set, the bigger the set, the more money.  Don't expect to get $70 for the tiny add on, unless it is really rare!

 Battle Masters
Same as above with this one, it is all about condition.  Mint, unopened will sell for $80 or more, if it has all the pieces and has the box, instructions, and giant plastic mat, you can expect about $30.  The price killer on this one is the size of the box.  This thing costs like $15 to ship!  If you live in a big city, definitely go for craigslist on this one.



 Dark Tower
This is the Mac-Daddy of garage sale fantasy game scores!  If you even see the empty box, grab it.  There are plenty of web pages dedicated to this game if you want more information.  The important thing to remember is that a mint copy of this game will sell for $300-$400.  The price goes down with condition, but even a broken tower will sell for $50.  I had a copy of this game as a kid, and I have only seen one other copy in the wild.  I bought it for $4 and I didn't dare haggle over the price!  This is also a big box, and there is a cardboard insert that keeps the top of the box elevated to accommodate the tower.  If they are asking a lot for it, check the condition.  There are a lot of cardboard pieces, plastic pieces, and a good sized full color manual that goes with this game. 

I know there are a ton more fantasy games out there, and we haven't even begun to talk about cards.  Keep your eyes open and don't be afraid to gamble a couple of bucks on any cool looking board game.  Many of the games you find will be worth $10, which makes them impossible to sell on ebay due to shipping fees.  Just save them up and sell them for $5 each at your own garage sale or on craigslist.  The few winners will more than make up for the break-even deals you find.

Have you had any luck selling unique board games?  Tell us about it!




10.17.2010

Stetson Loafers - Irish Green Leprechaun Pimp shoes, Christian Louboutin, Air Jordan

So normally I don't buy clothes to resell, especially after I took such a bath on the lot of jeans I tried to sell.  Not that there isn't a ton of money to be made on clothing, I just don't have the knowledge of what to buy.  It's not my thing.
So I saw these sitting there in a box full of shoes, and she was only asking 25 cents.  They were my size, and I could see that they were good shoes because of the name brand, Stetson.  I figured it was worth the 25 cents just to wear them to work a couple times to get some laughs.  The other really nice thing about this purchase was the condition of the loafers.  They looked like they had been worn just a couple of times.  There were no scuffs or damage to the leather.

With Halloween right around the corner, I listed them as Leprechaun pimp shoes with an opening price of $39.95. The auction ended for over $50, leaving me a very nice profit on my 25 cent investment, not to mention the fun I had wearing them around the office for a day.


Certainly if you know what you're doing, there are other brands of shoes that sell for ridiculous amounts of money.  Here is a fun search: Christian Louboutin shoes!  Be sure to sort the completed auction results by price: high to low, then you can see how insane people are about these shoes!  A single pair sells for like two mortgage payments.  Simply unreal.  I'm not holding my breath that I will find a pair of these at a garage sale or the thrift store, although you never know, right?  When you were a teenager, did your mom throw away or donate any of your stuff that she had no idea about?  Happens all the time.

Another very hot market is for Air Jordan shoes.  For some reason, these have become collector's items and a single pair can easily sell for upwards of $200.  Again, as with the loafers, it is all about condition.  The Air Jordans are a fashion statement, not a basketball shoe.  There are collectors out there who pay top dollar for these shoes.  Remember, a collector likes things nice and neat in original boxes in mint condition.  It is likely that most Air Jordans you find at a garage sale will have seen a few laps up and down the court, so be cautious about spending more than a couple bucks if you don't know what you're doing.  There certainly is the low end of the spectrum where Air Jordans only sell for a dollar or two.  As with any collector's market, knowledge is power, and someone who knows the market can tell trash from treasure when it all looks the same to you and me. 

This is just another reminder for you to keep your eyes open at garage sales, there might be money laying around in all sorts of places!  It is a reminder to me to always keep my mind open to buying and selling just about anything.  Before I wrote this post, I would have never considered buying a pair of used air jordans as a possible hundred dollar score, but as I said, knowledge is power.  Now I know to buy them when I see them, and after I buy, research, and sell my first pair, I'll know even more about that market.

Another pair shoes that I bought to resell were some Birkenstock sandals that were new in the box.  I paid $4 and sold them for $35.  This was a no-brainer for me because I have bought Birks and I know how much they sell for.  And of course if you ever run across a pair of Elvis' blue suede hush puppies, don't be shy.

Do you have any tips about buying shoes for resale?  Any common brands that are good for resale?  Post your comments below!

10.06.2010

Tag-Heuer Dive Watch

I really lucked out on this one.  Tag-Heuer happens to be one of the brands of watches that I liked as a kid. I actually don't wear a watch anymore, but I know from years ago that these watches are fine jewelry and can be very expensive.

One of the things t look out for with fine jewelry is fakes.  I actually bought a fake Tag-Heuer at a garage sale a couple of years ago.  I should have know better.  The big giveaway on nice dive watches is the crown.  On many dive watches, the crown screws into the watch to keep it waterproof.  You have to unscrew the crown and pull it out before you can set the time.

The other thing to know about fine watches is that many of them use a sapphire crystal.  This means that the only thing that will scratch the face is a diamond.  If you think you are holding a treasure with a scratched face, you probably are not.

This watch retailed for over $1000 when it was new, and it currently sells for $200 - $400 depending on the condition.  Mine ends Friday, and the opening bid of $199 has already been met.

I paid $7 for this watch, and it was in the same bin that the "scrap gold buying guy" just finished picking through.  He found some sterling silver, but I know he didn't do as well as me!

The Unknown Banjo

Here again, I will illustrate the importance of getting there early.  I was about to leave this sale empty handed when I saw more stuff for sale on the front porch.  There was this banjo there, and I opened the case to look at it.

Before I go on, I have to confess that I know nothing about banjos.  However, I do know that quality instruments hold their value, and as soon as I picked this up, I noticed that it was heavy, it had mother of pearl inlay on the neck, and beautiful wood inlay on the back.  The instrument was in very good condition.  There was a second banjo there, but it was missing screws and the neck was loose.  I passed on that, even for $5, it probably would have been more trouble than it was worth. 

I asked how much, and she said, "30 bucks".  Normally I like to haggle a bit, but when the price is really good, and there are other people at the sale, sometimes it is best to just pay the asking price and complete the deal before someone else offers full price (or more).

The maker of this instrument is still unknown, I could not find a manufacturer name, only the logo on the headstock.  It came with the case, and it had two sets of finger picks, some spare strings, and an old songbook.

I listed it on Craigslist for $200, and it was gone the same evening.  I had 3 responses within the first 3 hours, which makes me think I should have listed it for $300.  Oh well, I'll just cry all the way to the bank.


9.21.2010

Exercise and Fitness DVDs - P90X, Yoga, Insanity, Zumba, etc.

Sports and fitness is a billion dollar industry.  If you watch any TV at all, I'm sure you have seen the ads for P90X, and numerous other weight loss / fitness videos.  People get seduced into buying these videos all day long with the promise of a perfect beach body in just minutes a day.  There is always some latest greatest workout guru who has a revolutionary set of videos that will really work for you this time!

I found this P90X set for $30.  We have friends that use this system, my wife recently bought her own copy, and was thrilled to get it for $70.  It had all 13 DVDs, and they were in excellent shape, so I didn't balk at the price.  As I mentioned, fitness is a huge industry, and this is what's hot right now.  I put this up on a one day auction with an opening bid of $79, and it ended for $81.
Ahh the 80's... don't bother!
Now I know you are getting ready to go search your old VHS tape collection to pullout that copy of Jane Fonda's workout  Go ahead and grab it and see what it is going for on Amazon or Ebay...  My bet is that you will be lucky to sell it for a penny!   First off, the fitness industry is much like the fashion industry:  it is full of trendy fads and everyone want to have the newest and hottest workout.  Second, no one even owns a VHS tape player anymore.  I don't care what videos you are thinking about buying and selling, stay away from VHS.  Even disney movies won't sell in VHS.  So, as you are out hunting for purple unicorns and other various one of a kind bargains, keep an eye out for modern exercise DVDs.
I recently bought a set of 6 Yoga videos for $10 that ended up selling for $50.  They were in good condition, in their cases, and adult owned.  Now in case you didn't guess, a six DVD set in Kundalini Yoga is very much a niche item.  I ended up trying to sell the set for $99, and lowered the price twice before I got a hit.  however, at $10, I had a lot of wiggle room to turn a good profit, which I did.  New DVDs usually sell for around $15-$20 each, so this 6 DVD set probably retailed for close to $100 or more.  Niche products typically command a higher price simply because they are smaller distribution to an enthusiastic audience.  
Other popular workout programs right now are Insanity, also by Beachbody, the folks who publish P90X, as well as any P90X variants.  Tony Horton has put out several follow up videos after his success with P90X, and they are still in high demand.  There is a workout series called "The Firm" that has many many videos out, and you can expect an average value of $5-10. Pick these up for a dollar a piece and save them up to sell five to ten at a time.  You can certainly mix up a number of different exercise videos in the lot as well.  The only rule you really need to follow is to make sure that here are all in good condition, with their cases, on DVD - I'll say it again: Don't Buy The VHS Tapes!  The biggest loser is also very popular right now, and so Jillian has rolled out her own set of exercise videos, and I believe she has at least a half dozen of them.  These videos would fit in nicely with  the Firm videos, as they all sell for about $5 each used. 
Another workout that is really popular right now is Zumba.  It is a dance aerobics type workout and I know some of my wife's friends go to Zumba class several times a week.  These will certainly start showing up at yard sales just like the rest of the exercise videos.   What type of exercise videos or equipment have you had luck flipping?  Tell us about it!

Posey Gait Belt... re-selling medical equipment, knee braces, etc.



I found this gait belt sitting on a table, unused in the original box.  I had never even heard of a gait belt, much less did I know what it was for, but what got me was that it was new in the box, it had the original price tag of $25 on it, and they were only asking a dollar.  I figured it was worth at least $10, and at worst I would get my $1 education on whatever the heck it was.  

one of my pictures for ebay


Well, although the model hasn't changed,  this belt that was $25 a few years ago is now selling for $35.


A gait belt is used by nurses and care assistants to help move people who may need help walking or may not be able to walk at all.  See there?  I just shared my $1 education with you for free!

As with most any product, there were several factors that allowed me to sell this for $35 and turn a great profit:
  • It was in brand new condition still in the original box.  Never discount the importance of this, even with something as mundane as a gait belt.
  • I was able to get in a lot of key words in the title describing the belt, and I started it well below market value at $9.99, which was still a 1000% markup.  
  • Little did I know when I bought it, this is a very common item and is often used to care for patients at home.  This means that people are paying for them out of their own pocket instead of getting them from hospitals and charging insurance. 
This is the second time I had a good medical score at a garage sale, the first was a knee brace and a recirculating ice cooler.  I paid $10 for the lot and kind of figured that I would end up eating it, but I had to find out so I bought it.  The knee brace ended up selling for close to $100, as it was a very nice brace with steel hinges and whatnot.  I would not have spent $10 on a simple neoprene knee brace.  The cooler had a pump and hoses so that it could circulate cold water from the cooler through the hoses.  I believe it sold for about $30.  I'm not sure that it was as nice as the one on the right, but it was the same idea.  That ended up being a heck of a find for something I figured would be a $10 education. 

Another medical item you see a lot is the standard walker.  You know, the kind that you would pick up and scoot forward then take a step to catch up and repeat.  Well, most of the ones you see at garage sales look like they are 20 years old while the plastic and rubber on them is yellowed and cracking.  I'm sure I don;t need to tell you, but stay away from these.  


There are however, good walkers to buy and resell.  The latest thing with walkers is the knee walker.  
Typically they have handlebars to steer as well.  Most knee walkers in good used condition will sell for at least $100.  The nicer ones in new condition will go for upwards of $300.  You can see the one on the left, these things have steering wheels, brakes, big rubber wheels.  I'd imagine there have been more than a few instances of the grand-kids taking granny's walker out for a spin.

As with anything, just be sure to check the condition and price it accordingly.  

Another item you see a lot are crutches.  Don't buy them, you'll have trouble giving them away. 


I'm sure there are a bunch more good quality medical items that are good for resale.  Do you flip medical items?  Tell us about it!

7.29.2010

Back in Action (sort of) ...Delphi SkyFi XM Radio receiver

I have made some progress cleaning out the garage, and the local goodwill store must love me.  I have started dropping by garage sales again, although I am being VERY picky.  I do not want to be a crazy hoarder featured on a cable TV reality show.  Until I have the elbow room to take on some more projects, if it needs work or is not ready to sell as is, I'm not interested.

I picked up a Delphi SkyFi XM radio receiver at a garage sale for $1.  The lady told me it worked just fine, and I decided that for a dollar, I could throw it away if it was worthless. I bought this based on my past success with two different Sirius radio receivers.

I am selling it as tested and working based on the previous owner's input.  I have found that people tend to tell the truth about the working condition of these things when you know where they live.  If it is a dud, then I will be out a dollar. 


The auction has 6 watchers so far and ends on Saturday.  I am hoping to get at least $20 out of it.

Here is the Amazon product:

6.09.2010

Slight change of direction

I started this blog to chronicle the items that I buy at garage sales and flip on ebay.  I have been doing this for a long time, and the only drawback is that sometimes I end up with pieces and parts, odds and ends, and general piles of stuff that sit unsold.  Some of these items need repair, some are orphans that need to be paired with other items.

Although I usually end up making money on this stuff, sometimes it has to sit for months or years until it is ready to sell.  This would not be a problem if I had a nice big barn or huge basement.  Unfortunately, I have neither of those things and the piles of crap drive my wife crazy.  Crazy to the point of talking about moving to a bigger house, because of my crap.

We just refinanced into a 15 year mortgage at a fixed 4.25%, with a payment that is only about $200 more than we were paying when we bought the place 5 years ago.  Our house is not huge, but it is a great property in a great neighborhood with great neighbors.  I don't want to move, and moving to a bigger place just to store my yard sale junk is what really sounds crazy to me.

So...

I have come to the conclusion that I need to get my house under control.  My house is bursting at the seams with video games, board games, and a plethora of other junk that needs to go.  The house is bloated.  We are going to exorcise the bloat.


I am officially on yard sale hiatus, but I will continue to sell on ebay and craigslist to get rid of the excess junk.  I will continue to blog about the stuff I am selling, and I will do my best to remember what I paid for it, and try to offer buying tips for similar items.

I love my wife, and I love my house.  I need to clean my crap out of the house so that my wife will love our house again.

6.05.2010

Revell Model Corvette Sebring 1971

I usually find a few models every year, and it is hard to know what they will go for.  I will never buy a model that looks incomplete.  I will buy incomplete Lego sets, but you don't want an incomplete model.  This one looks to be complete with instructions and is in good condition.  I picked up a few items at this sale and my cost for this probably ended up at about 75 cents.  For these smaller models I won't go over $2, and it would have to look really good to pay that much.  I like to pay a dollar or less, and then if it is a dirt common model, I can throw it into a lot and get a few dollars out of it.

Within the first hour of listing it I have 3 watchers.

My Auction (ends June 10),     Update: Sold for 99 cents.  What is going on ?

6.03.2010

Commodore 64 Games

This lot of games came from the Commodore 64 lot I purchased below.  I noticed on ebay that sometimes the C64 games can go for quite a bit of money, so I pulled out the three floppys, and added the one cartridge game from my own collection that I am selling off, and I will start them at 99 cents.  I took lots of pictures because I know this is probably going to a collector.

Amazon carries one of the games here:  Conflict in Vietnam 

 
Update:  Unsold.  This is ridiculous.  Is my judgement that far off?  Do I smell bad?  I haven't had such a bad streak in a long time.  I am going to relist this at $39.95 buy it now / best offer.

5.27.2010

Commodore 64 Lot with many extras

I was leaving this neighborhood when I saw an older guy setting a few things in his driveway, so I asked if he was having a sale.  I love being the first one to go through all the stuff at a new sale.  I had a huge box of Commodore 64 computer stuff and he wanted $50.  This stuff is big and bulky and sometimes not worth as much as you might hope.  However this lot looked pretty clean and there were a bunch of games (separate auction on some of them), and he ended up taking $25 for the lot, so I bought it.  Special thanks to my wife for putting up with this huge lot of vintage computer crap all over the floor for far too long.  I have included the link to Amazon where someone is selling a system with one floppy drive for $130, good luck with that!

COMMODORE 64 HUGE LOT - 2 DISK DRIVES, CASSETTE, GAMES ends June 1

Update: Unsold.  Relisted at 99 cents.  New auction ends June 7

Update:  Sold for $56.09.  Shipped across the state for $26. 


5.26.2010

K'NEX Flying Fun 10 in 1 building kit

I found this for a dollar, and although I normally stay away from the K'NEX kits, I bought this one because the parts were still sealed in the original bag.

Normally the K'NEX kits are big and bulky, and half the value of the toy is wasted in shipping costs.  If you find the kits for really cheap, it could be a good purchase for a Craigslist flip, or eBay, provided they are in excellent condition, and the closer to Christmas, the better.

Amazon has these new for $13.99 k'Nex Flying fun Set Building Set 112 Pc, so I can't hope for a whole lot out of this auction.  I'd give it to my kid if he didn't already have thousands of legos.

KNEX Flying Fun Set 10 different models unopened ends May 30

Update:  Sold for $3.24  I've got to stop messing with this nickel & dime crap!

Vintage cluster bead Japanese clip-on Earrings

I found this lot of clip on earrings, and I knew that the Japanese cluster beads were desirable - although more research has shown that they are not all that valuable.  I picked up a couple more pairs that I thought were in the vintage fashion that is popular among some folks.  I paid $4 for the lot of five pairs of earrings.  I was hoping to make $20 or so, I may be lucky to break even.

I have a flat rate shipping of $2.99 to the USA on this.  I know from past experience that this package is not going to weigh more than 5 or 6 ounces, and after using a free small box out of the Petsmart dumpster (Barnes & Noble also has great boxes in their dumpster)  I will probably pocket a dollar from the shipping as well.  This is win / win, as you see a lot of overpriced shipping for the small stuff on ebay that really does not cost a lot to ship if done correctly.

VINTAGE CLIP ON EARRING LOT FIVE PAIRS JAPAN CLUSTER ends May 30

Update:  Unsold.  Another loss to throw into the goodwill pile.

5.20.2010

lot of TI99/4A Computer games & stuff

I have been collecting video games for many years, and I have started getting rid of my smaller collections in an effort to reclaim some garage space.
This is the last of my TI99 stuff.  I didn't purchase it all at once, but I know that I paid less than about 25 cents per game.  I also had a system left over, but I don't have an RF connector (hooks to the TV), and the systems don't bring much money, so for the effort involved to get the system working, I just decided to give it to the thrift store.

TI99/4a 26 GAMES, POWER PACKS SPEECH, & MANUALS LOT ends May 26

Update:  sold for $46.63.  not bad, considering I probably had less than $10 into all of it, and I get to reclaim some more garage space.  I had a lot of European interest in this, and I recall now that the TI99 and the Commodore64 has a lot of collectors in Italy, Spain, and Germany.  If you list this kind of stuff, it may be worth it to ship to Europe.  Be careful to check the customs restrictions with Italy and Spain, their customs are notoriously harsh, and many packages get confiscated and go missing.  -And you know who ends up paying for that, right?  (YOU!)

Six pairs of women's jeans

I saw a guy on ebay who was selling nothing but used jeans, and he was getting upwards of $15 per pair.  So I saw these jeans at a yard sale for 50 cents each, and I picked out the nicest ones.

I got them home and asked my wife what style or cut they were, she looked at them and said, "eww, those are 80's housewife style". 

I guess this is why I'm not allowed to buy clothes for the kids.

6 pairs womens jeans size 12 petite  started at 99 cents, ends May 26.

Update:  sold for less than $2, and I messed up the shipping weight, giving me a net loss of about $5.  The lesson here is that you really need to know the style and the cut of the jeans you are selling.  Mens jeans would probably be a little easier, as the styles do not change nearly as fast as women's clothing.

5.06.2010

2 Gun Belt Buckles

I have never sold belt buckles before, but I figured these were worth more than the dollar each that I paid for them.  After some research, I found that some belt buckles will go for upwards of $50.  It looks like a $1 gamble is a good investment.  Even if you get a few duds, you can save them up and put them in a lot.

Gun Belt Buckles Winchester, Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum Ends May 11

Update:  Sold for $8.39

5.05.2010

Palm Pilot M130

Usually you see this stuff priced at garage sales for more than it sells on ebay, and the technology moves so fast, it is hard to keep up with it.  They were asking $20 for this lot, and they ended up taking $10.  It came with the collapsable keyboard, so I thought it was a pretty good deal.  I think I'll be lucky to get $30 out of it, but that's alright.  Older Pocket PCs sell a lot better than older Palm Pilots.

The saving grace on this lot is the original manuals, cd-roms, and original box.  It is always good to find original boxes.

PALM PILOT m130 HANDHELD IN BOX W/ CASE, DOCK, KEYBOARD ends May 11

Update:  Sold for $15.50.  A co-worker was telling me that no one likes palm pilots because their system is all proprietary.  Pocket PCs of the same age will sell for a lot more.

Police Radar Gun - MPH K55

I was on my out of this sale when I saw this sitting there.  The off-duty female cop shouted from the garage, "It's a radar gun, three bucks".  "How can I resist?" was my reply.  She showed me how to work it, but I forgot what she said and I couldn't figure it out.

POLICE RADAR GUN UNIT FROM PATROL CAR MPH K55  ends May 12

Update:  Sold for $43.86

2 Vintage Cameras, Imperial Satellite, Kodak Brownie Starmite

I thought I had a couple of winners here, I picked up both cameras for $7.  I have started this auction out at $9.99, and if I only get one bid, I will just about break even after all the fees.  These old cameras are hit or miss, but for that price I will always take the gamble.Here's one on Amazon without the box for over $20 when you add shipping:  Vintage Kodak Brownie Starmite TLR Camera.  Of course, it is still sitting there, not selling and collecting dust.

The key to this gamble was the condition of the cameras.  There were two more sitting right next to these, but they did not have the boxes.  Original boxes can double or triple the value of a collectable.

CAMERAS IMPERIAL SATELLITE 127 KODAK BROWNIE STARMITE ends May 12

Update 5/20/10:
No takers on this lot.  I have relisted it for 99 cents.  Someone will buy it, but I will almost certainly lose money on this one.

Update 5/27/10:  sold for $5.70.  The shipping on this was almost $15, which really killed the deal, as well as the cameras not being worth a whole lot.

Baby Car seat and Stroller

Here is an opportunity to talk about another area of yard sales that often goes overlooked - baby stuff. I picked up this Evenflo car seat with base and stroller for $10. If you have done much selling, you know that this is going to cost a fortune to ship.

So don't ship it!

If you haven't heard of craigslist.org, it is a free local classified advertising site. I use it to list all the big stuff where shipping would kill the deal on ebay. The other great thing about it, is that it is free, so there are no ebay or paypal fees. It is also fast and simple to set up a listing. I didn't spend more than 15 minutes on this listing, and I will most likely have it sold within a couple of days, even with the ugly stain.

http://dayton.craigslist.org/bab/1726596088.html

I am asking $40 bucks for it.  The other nice thing about craigslist is that the buyer will come to you and take it away.  No packing, no shipping, and get paid in cash.

*Please use caution and common sense when meeting strangers over the internet, online craigslist scams are common.  Face to face crime is rare, but it has happened.

Update 5/20/10:
So zero response on this.  I bought a pack n play for $10 last weekend and I am going to list them together in the same lot.  It's time to use the first trick of retail;  if it's not selling, raise the price!

5.04.2010

Lord of the Rings Trilogy Boxed set of books

I've been getting into selling books lately, and it has been hit and miss.  I have take a lot of books to the goodwill.  I picked up this boxed set after having some great success with the Lemony Snicket Series last week.  I was disappointed to see that the individual books from this set all have 'buy it now' prices of $1 with $3 shipping.  However when I searched the ISBN number of the boxed set, there are only 5 complete boxed sets like this for sale, and they are all asking over $50.

Is the cardboard box that holds the books worth $35 ???
I paid $5 for the set, so we'll see what happens... Ends May 11
The Lord of the Rings by Alan Lee, J. R. R. Tolkien 

Update:  Sold for $32.79, however due to my packaging error, the cardboard box broke open and the buyer settled for a 50% refund.  I still ended up making money, but hasty packing cost me a chunk of change on this.

King Oil by Milton Bradley

I found this one two weeks ago, but I thought it was worth sharing.  Many times board games will only cost a dollar at yard sales, this one actually cost $1.50.  After a while you will figure out which games are valuable and which are not, but I try to go with games that I have not heard of before.  Also, any game with a dungeons & dragons theme, or a WW2 theme sells pretty well.  

Sorry, you childhood copy of monopoly is worth about 50 cents, unless of course it was a first printing.  The same is true for other common board games.  I bought a pristine copy of Clue from the 1960's, it is worth $10, which is what it costs to ship anywhere.  Stay away from common board games to resell unless it is a first printing in good condition.  

Anyway, I picked up this game for $1.50 and it sold for $31.  Board games are good to know about, because a lot of people will skip right over them.  It was after noon in a large community garage sale when I found this.  Hundreds of people had already passed it over.

5.03.2010

Magic the Gathering (MTG) trading cards

I've seen these from time to time, and have only done the most basic research on them.  When I saw a huge box of them and the lady was only asking $5 for the lot, I grabbed it.  There turned out to be almost six thousand cards in that box.  In a nutshell, here is what you need to know about these cards:

For the most part, alpha, beta, and unlimited series (the first years, 1993, 1994) cards can be worth substantial money - more than $50.  I'm sure there are exceptions, but with over 20,000 different cards, I'll let the MTG folks flame me over this broad statement.

You can tell the rarity of most of the cards by the color (or lack thereof) of the symbol that is halfway down on the right hand side of the card.  If there is no symbol, it is an earlier one, you probably ought to look it up.

Most of the common and uncommon cards have values from about 10 cents to 50 cents, if you go by the rarity guide.  Some will go for 1-2 dollars.  The rarest card, black lotus, regularly sells for over $1500, with one instance of a perfect (10/10) graded card selling for $20,000.

Here is a good guide to help you identify the card series.
Here is a rarity guide.
Here is my auction for 5,200 common MTG cards, ends May 8

Update:  note from buyer:
Sorry I haven't gotten back with you sooner. This was the coolest box of cards I have ever gotten on ebay. I am still going through them. Please let me know if you ever have another lot like this. TJ

So in retrospect, I probably should have just counted the cards and sold them.  I probably could have got a  lot more money for the lot from just advertising a completely unsorted lot of 6000 cards, nad it would have been a lot faster.


Antique Barn Beam Borer

I was feeling a bit defeated walking into this sale as there were a bunch of people already there, and I could see some good stuff getting paid for and carried off before I even saw anything.  I picked out some tools and a fishing pole, then saw this beauty sitting there:
I didn't know what it was, but I knew it was old, and being an engineer by trade, I was instantly fascinated with the hand crank gears.  I asked him what it was, and he admitted that he didn't know.  I asked how much, he said "ten bucks", I said, "Sold!"  
So after a little research, I found that this is a Buckeye Mfg. Barn Beam Borer (drill) "The Boss" made in 1882.  One sold a little while ago for about $150.  I started the auction at 99 cents, here it is:


First Post

Welcome to my Blog! In this blog I will track some of my yard sale purchases that I flip on ebay. This has been a side business (and at times a primary business) for me since about 1996 when I started buying old Atari games at the thrift store and putting them on ebay. Back then, it was very uncommon for an ebay listing to have a picture, as most people did not own digital cameras. Paypal did not exist, and you had to trust the person on the other end with a money order.

My best percentage to date is an atari game that I bought for 70 cents at the thrift store, and sold it for $285. My best profit to date is a McIntosh Preamp that I bought for $20 and sold for $500. Lately, as more people are selling their own stuff on ebay, garage sales have been getting thinner and thinner, and I have had to expand my knowledge base to keep my sales going.

My current ebay user name is bcsteveandsara, and I will try to share my successes here as time allows