When driving up to a garage sale, I'll evaluate it's potential before even walking up the driveway. I look for tell-tale signs as I approach, maybe an expensive car in the driveway or a well kept, nicely decorated home. All these things can be a good indicator of finding some high quality stuff. One of my favorite tell-tale signs is white hair. You're probably wondering, "Who's white hair?" I am talking about the seller's of course! If I drive up and see the seller is an older person (usually with white hair) then I am ready to find some garage sale gold!
Now believe me, I am not being a wise guy. In fact, I am starting to show some strands of white hair myself. It's just a fact that folks who are in their senior years often have better stuff to sell. I've literally been at neighborhood garage sales with two sales directly across the street from each other. The one house is a young couple with kids, while the other is an older couple with white hair. Guess which driveway I am going up first? Dog-gone right....the older couple! That's the garage sale where you'll find the antiques, the old tools, fishing gear, kitchenware...all around better stuff!
A few years back I went to a garage sale held by an older gentleman. This was a guy I liked immediately...flannel shirt, neatly kept house and yes, white hair! I wandered around his driveway and chatted it up with him. But it was late in the morning and it began to looked like all the good stuff had already been sold. Thinking I had struck out, I began making a turn back down the driveway when a box caught my eye. I doubled back to take a quick look. It was an Sixties era plastic toy model made by the Aurora Plastics Corporation. The model was partially hidden from view because the old-timer had thrown it in a big "junk" box. (Another reason to slow down and take your time when looking through a garage sale.)
I pulled the box out from it hiding place. It was a very cool depiction of the famous Iwo Jima flag raising from World War II. Opening it up, it was clear that the old timer bought this model many years ago with all good intentions to build it. Lucky for me he never got around to it. The model was pristine with all the parts still attached to the plastic stems. Model collectors drool over vintage kits in this untouched condition! Back in the 1960's, Aurora was the premiere model company. Unfortunately they went out of business in the 1970's, making their kits even more collectible today.
So when I found this Aurora model, I had a hunch I discovered something good. I asked the gentleman what he wanted for the model and he told me fifty cents! Holy cow-only fifty cents? If I had been drinking coffee at the time I may have spit it out my nose! I quickly handed over two quarters to the fine gentleman. Heading back down the driveway, I let out of a sigh of relief that I had spotted the model. That last second glance before leaving may have generated me some serious dollars!
If you have some time, type in "Vintage Aurora model" into your eBay search bar. You'll see collectors are hot for these old models. My Iwo Jima model went on eBay and it was clear it had plenty of interest. It appealed to both World War II, Marine Corps and just general Aurora model collectors. By the end of the auction, my fifty cent driveway find sold for, ready for this......$135 dollars! ......Semper Fi!
So you may have thought the "white hair" theory sounded a little crazy, but try it for yourself. Maybe you'll turn a couple quarters into big cash dollars. That's crazy in a good way!
(Got a good "white hair" story? Shoot me an e-mail or comment below!)
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