Saturday, February 20, 2010

José Carioca: not your average bird !

Check out this vintage Disney toy bank that I found late one morning at a very busy neighborhood yard sale. I vaguely recognized this little guy as being a Disney cartoon character and was surprised that no one snatched him up earlier. The women who was selling him informed me he was one of her childhood toys. Based on that information, I figured the toy bank was probably from the late fifties or early sixties. He stood about a foot high and was marked " Walt Disney Enterprises". Disney stopped using that company name in 1968. I paid only $15.00 for him and took him home to begin some Google research. It took some time to identify him since he is not a major Disney character. I discovered he was José Carioca, a Disney cartoon parrot featured in many old Disney shorts and movies. He was widely known for his star turn in the classic 1943 film short "The Three Caballeros" along with Donald Duck and a Mexican rooster named Panchito Pistoles.

After doing my research on the character, I wrote what I thought was a funny, informative description. As the week progressed I began to worry; the parrot sat for days with a high bid of only $12 dollars. This was three dollars less then what I paid for him! However there were a lot of people “watching” the auction...always a very good sign of buyer interest. Amazingly, as the auction concluded buyers kick into high gear. With only 8 seconds to go in the auction, the bird soared from $12 to $90. I love when that happens, it’s like watching your favorite stock go through the roof! The buyer was another EBay seller who deals only in antique toys. He ended up listing it in his Ebay store for $300! I don’t know if he ever got his price, but I got more then enough for Jose and moved on to my next deal!

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Momma Bear and Baby Bear.

A few blogs ago, I talked about finding a yard sale with toys from my childhood era (Sixties). This sale produced a huge list of items for me which I sold off during the Fall months. One of the last items that I sold on Ebay was a mechanical tin toy featuring a momma bear spanking her baby bear. When I found it sitting on the table I thought it was just a plush doll in it's original box. Not being a doll expert, I bought it for no other reason then the fact that it was still in the box. The price was ridiculous-one dollar! So I brought momma and baby bear home and forgot about them. My plan was to post it during the slow winter months, basically one of those "I'll get around to it" items. Some weeks back I pulled it off the shelf and took a good hard look at it. I was pleasantly surprised! This wasn't a doll, it was a famous Japanese mechanical tin toy! Researching it further, I found it was made by Linemar toys and considered one of the more highly collected toys due to it's politically incorrect action-spanking a child! The toy jogged my memory too, I am almost positive it was once featured on Antiques Roadshow, a mark of approval if there ever was one! To top it off, the toy has been listed on some antique toy websites for upwards of $500!

While examining the toy closely for my item description I found one damning flaw. Although it's condition was near-new, it didn't work...Dang the luck! Looking inside the battery compartment, I noted the inner compartment wall was separated, making it impossible for the batteries to make contact. I considered paying to have it professionally repaired to maximize my profit, but I don't have the time to find a trusted toy repair shop. So I decided to sell "As-is" with a complete description of it's non-working condition. Just to make sure lots of eyeballs had a chance to find spanking bear, I spent the extra 45 cents and posted for a full ten days.

The results were pretty impressive. At it's close the bear had over twenty people "watching". While I didn't see $500, she sold for $91 bucks! A nice yard sale return on a one dollar investment! If only every yard sale had a "spanking bear" waiting to be discovered!
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