Monday, May 17, 2010

A rare Sunday yard sale.


Saturdays are the primary day for most people to host a yard sale. This is followed by those people who like to get a jump on the weekend and run an "early bird" Friday yard sale. The Sunday yard sale comes in third place: rare but still a chance for you to find some treasures.

One late Sunday morning, I was heading back from the supermarket and turned down a road I don't normally take. It must have been some crazy happenstance, because I spotted a sign for a rare Sunday yard sale! In my neck of the woods finding a Sunday yard sale is like witnessing a celestial comet, very rare and sporadic! I followed the signs with low expectations; it was late in the morning and a Sunday to boot. When you do see a Sunday sale, it's usually a continuation from Saturday with nothing left but the junk. I pulled up and observed an old timer presiding over his treasures. It looked like he threw together a quickie Sunday morning sale just to clear out some junk in his garage. Walking around his blankets full of dusty old tools and household items, I noted a classic fireman's helmet. The kind you see in the movies; made of black metal with the pumpkin-style ridges and the famous elongated back brim (to shed water). It was a little dirty and had some scratches but that just gave it character. It was also missing it's front fire department brass badge, but I couldn't complain, I found it by pure happenstance! I chatted it up with the old timer, acting very casual about the fireman's helmet. “How much?" I finally asked pointing to the helmet. He was a spry old timer and quickly shot back with "Gimmee $20". " How's about $15.00?" I countered. He agreed and I scooped up the helmet and headed home.

Doing some Internet research, I happily learned that firefighters equipment is big-time collectible. It makes sense: lots of folks are involved in volunteer fire departments all across the country. Not to mention the full-time fire fighters in most cities. Many of them are out trolling Ebay for their personal collections with vintage helmets being a prized collectible piece. My particular helmet happened to be made sometime in the thirties or forties by a well-known fire fighter's apparatus manufacture. Based upon my research, I was feeling pretty good about my Sunday morning acquisition. I listed it on Ebay and saw a huge amount of interest. Bidders bombarded me with questions and there were plenty of watchers. The auction closed with a high bid of $85...an outstanding price for a rare Sunday find!
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