Saturday, January 14, 2012

Steampunk !

This site to passes along my garage sale success stories. But I've also learned some things form readers over the years. Jill wrote in about her Scooby-Doo find is a recent example. Another excellent tip came in just a few months ago. Site follower "We are Clamco" wrote in about a collectible genre not even on my radar: Steampunk. If you never heard of it don't feel bad-neither did I. Miss Clamco informed in the site's comment section that her husband sells reconditioned Nerf toy guns to Steampunk enthusiast. He buys the plastic guns at garage sales, then paints them up all steampunky, making nice money for his efforts. I was intrigued with this whole new geeky genre. It sounded like a huge market with potential sales written all over it.

Here's how Steampunk is described in Wikipedia:

"Steampunk is a subgenre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where STEAM POWER is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often set in Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date."

Got that? If not, there are a bunch of movies depicting Steampunk fashion and machines. Foremost is the 1999 movie, "Wild Wild West" featuring Wil Smith. Watch that movie and you'll be completely schooled in the Steampunk genre. I'm a quick study, so armed with this new information I began thinking what I have that fits this niche market. I scurried to my garage and retrieved something that was totally Steampunk-an old pair of safety goggles. As with most junk I acquire, I had a story with this find. (Cue the back-in-time music)

A couple years ago, I was on vacation in a local beach town. Much of my extended family were there too, including my brother. One day after a few vacation cocktails, my brother and I felt the overwhelming need to ride our bikes around town. Zipping through the back alleys in this beach town, we came across an old garage that was being torn down. I immediately hit the bendix brakes, as did my bro. Out in the demolition rubble were buckets of old hardware that were clearly from an old timer's shop workbench. Much of trash contained old nails, screws and other old garage shop stuff. Even after imbibing in a few vacation cocktails, my well trained eye spotted an old pair of welder's safety goggles in the trash! These things had the old metal protective side covers, a leather nose bridge and thin pre-nylon age head strap...very old school! So I fished the goggles from the trash and with the encouragement of my brother and the aforementioned cocktails, I thought it would be a pretty good idea to wear the dorky goggles as we continued on our bike ride. (For the record, it takes little prodding...I would have worn them with or without the cocktails!) I am certain I looked pretty goofy, grinning from ear to ear and sporting my vintage welder's goggles. But I didn't care-I was on vacation! For the rest of the bike ride, my brother had some good laughs and I didn't get any bugs in my eyes!

Once home from vacation, I didn't have much use for an old pair of welder's goggles. That is until I learned about the Steampunk craze! I retrieved the old goggles from the garage and took some photos of them. I didn't bother cleaning them up, figuring the old dust and dirt gave them a nice aged character. After the photo shoot, the goggles went up for auction on eBay. Lucky for me, goggles seem to be one of the more sought after pieces of Steampunk. Currently, there are about 4000 Steampunk fashion items listed on eBay. Only a few of these items are true vintage goggles like mine. I further upped the ante by hyping the cool leather nose bridge and head strap. It all must have created some steamy trash-salvaged goggles sold for a $48 dollars! Long live Steampunk!

So thanks to Miss Clamco, Jill and other readers, this Dude has learned a few new tricks too. If you're familiar with any hot collectible genres, please let me know in the comment section below. I need this info before my next vacation bike ride!
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  1. AWESOME!!!!!! Loved the story and thanks for the mention! Those goggles are perfect for a Steampunk outfit! Convention season is coming up so people are looking to put costumes together and accessories like this are just the thing! Well done! (clapping)

  2. Miss Clamco- Those goggles were cool, right? Good info to know about the upcoming convention, another reason to scour through my house and inventory looking for Steampunk.

    Thanks for the awesome was a home run!

  3. Dude - Passing along anything I come across in my short time of reselling is the least I could do for all the info you've put out there on your blog!!! It's been a tremendous help and I'm having a blast. BTW - my church ladies might have come through again for me. I picked up a pair of Royal Doulton salt and pepper shakers today for $1.50 - the pattern is Rhodes and I believe it's from the '80s. I didn't see any listed or completed sales on eBay so I checked Replacements dot com and they go for $119 there. We'll see how it ends up!! Thank you again for everything!
    - Jill

  4. Jill-We all learn from each other! I am glad you'll finding the site is a big help, that's what it's all about. That Royal Daulton salt/pepper sounds like another major score. Let us know how you do.

    Thanks again for nice compliments and keep doing what you're doing....its working!

  5. "Out in the demolition rubble were buckets of old hardware that were clearly from an old timer's shop workbench. Much of trash contained old nails, screws and other old garage shop stuff."

    Now look at Ebay completed listings of "old nails" and "old hardware". Some can sell for a pretty penny.

    Love you Blog!

  6. And look at this clip on You Tube...

    - Oh, the Places You'll Go at Burning Man! -

    A few Steampunks - maybe your goggles will end up at Burningman. I think over 48,000 people go to the festival...

  7. Frugal-I've heard about Burning man, pretty cool. For what it's worth, I actually sold them to a guy out in Hollywood. He had me mail them to his office which was the Screen Writers guild. They may have ended up in a movie or something! That would have been cool to know, but I usually leave the buyer's alone, figuring it's their business.

    I see what you're saying about the hardware. Would have need the truck to haul the stuff , but may have had some potential for $$$. Thanks for checking in!

  8. I'm sure you've probably seen these on other blogs, but I just picked up 2 vintage Hot Roller Sets from the Salvation Army for $2.50 each. Listed them and one already sold in less then 24 hours. Just make sure they come with the clips that holds the rollers, this can really bring your price down. You can also pick these up at garage sales for cheap. My husband loves picking these up at garage sales, he gets the most bizarre looks. It couldn't be that he is completely bald, 5"11 and looks like a linebacker? It's probably similar to your Barbie buying experience.

  9. Hey kdelrosario, Ha! That's great. Tell your husband I can totally relate! I've ventured into those hot roller sets. The reminder on the clips is important. I Usually look for only the big ones, as I am told they're used for beauty pageants. Or doesn't it matter?

    Either way, thanks for the hot roller tip!