Monday, August 29, 2011

I am sorry...did you just say one dollar?

Here's another garage sale find falling under the “I don’t know what that guy was thinking” category. I recently found two vintage mechanical toys which I bought cheap and sold, well...not so cheap. I got such a deal on these that after sharing the story with a friend he gave me the overused, "Boy, you took advantage of that guy!" That's a common critique you hear people throw out sometimes. Needless to say, it's a theory I don’t buy into. Let's be real...we all know it takes almost no effort for a seller to look up an item’s value on eBay before pricing it. So it's not the buyer's fault when a seller doesn't bother to do a little homework. Conversely, there are plenty of sellers who quote you a price and back it up with the definitive statement, "I looked it up on eBay". (And boy do I hear that a lot.) So while some sellers take the time to do their research, others don't bother. Naturally, I prefer the ones who don't bother!

This mechanical tin toy is a case in point. The guy who sold it to me was in his mid-Fifties and said it was a childhood toy of his. It was a space capsule modeled after the Gemini spaceships from the early Sixties. With a flick of the switch, it spun around, beeped and the door opened revealing an astronaut. Very cool right? I'll bet you don’t even have do an eBay "price check" to figure out it’s worth a lot of money!

So guess what the seller charged me for his childhood toy? Would you believe one dollar? Before you accuse me of taking advantage of the poor fella, let me assure you he seemed lucid and bright. So how to explain a guy selling me a vintage collectible tin toy for a buck? Maybe he didn’t really care about it’s true worth, or was too lazy to research it. Or maybe he didn't need the money and just wanted to clean house. Either way, I gladly gave him his asking price. I even bought another toy of his...a tin flying saucer for another dollar! I am telling you....this guy was the best!

Once again, I was tempted to keep this great find for myself. As a kid I was fascinated by the Space program and still have a little thing for all that cool Apollo Space program stuff. But I decided against it, sticking to my rule not to get emotionally involved with my garage sale finds!

In order to show off my space capsule on eBay, I needed lots of pictures. Photos showing the great graphics, another photo showing the capsule door open with the astronaut inside and finally one showing the lighted plastic light nose cone. After taking all the appropriate photos, I launched the capsule into that vast galaxy we call eBay. This type of toy is a winner as it attracts two types of bidders; space exploration collectors and people who love mechanical tin toys. When the auction went live both groups jumped in on the bidding. Just like a rocket leaving the launch pad, my one dollar find sold for an out-of-this-world $90 dollars!

As an extra booster, I also posted the Space Saucer and it sold for another $30. Not as good as the capsule, but not bad for a buck investment. Getting back to the original seller, why would he give away two great old mechanical toys for only two dollars? Who can really say? But as long as there are deals out there like that, I'll keep getting up early every Saturday morning! You too, right?

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  1. Wow! I haven't made that much profit on any one item. Awesome! I've only been selling on eBay for a few weeks but I keep asking myself, "Why don't more people do this? It's such a fun way to make a buck!" Thanks for sharing your story!


  2. Every time I get a good deal like that, I always think it will never happen again, but luckily, it does and I keep going. We buy regularly from an older couple at an indoor flea market. One day I actually told the woman that I resell some of what I buy from her on Ebay. My husband wanted to kill me! But even after I told her that, she still only charged me 5 bucks for a bunch of items and one of them I knew was worth at least 25-50 bucks. I was guilt free! :)

  3. I love reading your stories. I look daily to see if you post a new story. This story was a tad confusing at first, but that was my fault. After I re-read it, I got it. Why did he sell it so cheap? .. well, like you probably thought he just didn't want it around anymore. You got to also put into consideration a few other things. It was a garage sale, so the seller knows a couple of things, A) he has maybe 3-4 hours max to sell all the stuff he put out B) he has to find someone who is actually interested in each particular piece he is selling. and finally.. maybe he thought.. well, if I charge too much it might not sell then I'd be stuck with it again! We all know that those home owners hate to have to take back the stuff they didn't sell into the house. Don't feel guilty. Hey, you sold it to someone who probably wanted it really bad (he paid mucho $, so he must have wanted it bad), probably to collect. So, in ending it got to a place that ultimately the old timer would have been happy to know it went to a good home.

  4. Glad you all enjoyed the story.

    Amy-It's fun right? What else you doing on a Saturday morning, that how I look at it!

    Hey Clamcos...Ha! That's great you told the little old lady. What does she care, right? She probably doesn't even own a computer! (I do think like your husband though. Overall, they don't need to know we sell on eBay)

    GS-I agree with you 100 percent! We find this stuff and send it along to a good home!

    Thanks all & happy hunting!

  5. I think you did an awesome job! I hate when people get mad over this stuff. I have sold several things at a yard sale for next to nothing because I didn't care about it. If I found out that someone then made a profit on it - I wouldn't care, I would be happy for them because like you said, it would be my own fault for not looking it up or caring.

    Happy sales to you!

  6. Ashley- Exactly, glad to see that as a yard sale seller, you "get it"! Thanks for the positive comments and come back again!...Dude!

  7. I don't go to garage sales because most of them around here fall into two catergories: worthless junk that should be thrown away or stuff that is worth something but is over priced to resell. I go to this thrift store by my house. It is in a huge warehouse and always has lots of good stuff for cheap. Sometimes even better than a garage sale. Their books are 2 for a quarter and almost all glassware is a quarter. I go there twice a week sometimes more. I think the people who work there think Im a hoarder. I am always buying plush In fact one of my best sellers was a teddy bear I bought for 50 cents and sold for $75

  8. Beckyp-I hear ya. It's better to find yard sales where you know the stuff is going to be good. In my area, I just know some garage sales will be junk only. If I hit them at all its a quick in and out. Then I have some neighborhoods that are "high falutin" if you know what I mean. So when I am there I am on full alert looking for good stuff at great prices!

  9. Dude, I updated my profile. You can now contact me directly, if you wish. I had a question I wanted to ask you (which includes photos). Hit me back if you are cool with that. Hope you had a good morning :)