Monday, July 12, 2010

Camp Stoves are hot...and not just when the flame is on !

As mentioned in a previous post, Summer is a great time to sell camping gear. In Summer people go camping and before they hit the road, they need gear. The most well-known of all the camping gear brands is Coleman. When I am at the yard sales I keep an eye out for that famous green color and red logo... it's a sure-fire sale on Ebay.

I noticed out in my YS travels that people often have Coleman gear that has been lightly used or never left the box! While camping can be a lot of fun, it's also a major time commitment and labor intensive. You have to buy the gear, pack the van, unload the gear at the camp site, start the fire and so on and so forth. Soon enough you learn that camping takes total commitment! For those who can't commit, they lose interest quickly and the camping gear goes unused, stored away somewhere in the garage. Then it gets rolled out to the next yard sale-that's where you come in!

I have a lot of "outdoorsy" types in my town so finding camping gear is not difficult. The propane camp lamps are easily found. The older and cleaner the better, Ebay buyers seem to love them. Gas propane stoves are another big seller. You can often pick them up for five to ten bucks and re-sell them for $50 or more on Ebay.

Here is a stove I really lucked out on. It was an early 1960's Coleman Stove still in it's original box with it's instruction manual. This Stove was a beauty: clean, pristine and never used! (To check the date you only need to look on the underside of the stove. Coleman prints the date of manufacture on the bottom. When you sell one on Ebay, make sure you tell folks the year it was made.)

I encountered this stove on one of my first stops one Saturday morning. The lady wanted 20 bucks for the stove which I thought was a little too high. I tried to negotiate her down, but she felt it was too early in the yard sale to drop her price. In retrospect I should have just gave her twenty, but instead I went away empty handed. That stove ended up bugging me the rest of the morning...I really wanted it! Later in the morning I decided to employ my "Trojan horse" ruse. This is when I ask my wife to drop by the same yard sale and offer a lower price on the hot item. My theory is this: It's psychologically easier for the seller to come down on the price with a new buyer then me. She already turned me down once, to come down on the price now would admit she was wrong! She also might feel embarrassed or annoyed that I am back to low-ball her again. So I sent my wife into the fray like one of those Russian spies. Her spy orders were to search, low-ball then buy!

I think my wife would make a good spy! When "Natasha" arrived back home she had the stove with her and nonchalantly told me she paid a whopping five bucks for it! Turns out it was late in the day and the women just wanted to get rid of it. (See my baby stroller theory) I immediately took some pictures of the stove and posted it on Ebay. (Camping gear photos should always be taken outside, it gives it that appropriate woodsy look.) My Ebay description played up it's vintage age and it's pristine, like-new condition. Bidders must have liked the sound and sizzle, because the stove ended up selling for $85 dollars...Yea Coleman, Yea Natasha !

With lots of Summer and Fall still left in the yard sale season, I 'll keep looking for the green Coleman gear... green Coleman means green paper!
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  1. Awesome tip! When I first started EBaying, my Dad gave me some super old Coleman stuff that I thought was junk, and it all sold soo quickly and for at least $35 per lantern!

  2. Yep, it's almost always a "sure-thing". Campers love it! Thanks.....!