Isn't it amazing me what people will practically give away at a yard sale? Particularly stuff that even the average "Joe" should know is valuable. Take this old Coke sign for example. If you lived in a cave for a few years, you might still realize this sign could be worth a few bucks, right? Coke is one of the most collectible products in the world. Despite this, I guess some folks don't always get the memo. Check out how I scored this sign...
About a year ago, I was out on my very first garage sale stop of the morning. As I pulled up to the house, I took note of a lot of interesting "man cave" stuff in the front yard. Included in the guy stuff was this enamel Coca-Cola sign, which was just laying in the grass. It was a classic Coke sign, measuring four feet long and a over a foot wide. Jumping out of my truck, I zoned right in on the sign and grabbed it! My first instinct told me it could be a reproduction. I figured there was no way I found a classic Coke sign this easily! But after some close examination, I started to believe it was, as the old commercial said; "the real thing." It had some age to it, and there were some small serial numbers in the bottom corner.
At this point, you may be wondering why I didn't just ask the seller if the sign was real? While that seems like the obvious thing to do, I don't like asking that question. Asking a seller if an item is genuine, can be tantamount to telling him to price it way-high! Garage sale picking is like a game of poker-you never show your cards! In fact, when asking for a price, you should act like you're practically bored with the item. It's as if you're doing the seller a hugemongous favor by taking the piece of junk off their hands! When the seller sees you're not getting all excited over his item, there's less of a chance he'll overprice it.
Putting on my Lady Ga-Ga poker face, I looked over to the seller. He was still busy bringing even more stuff out of his garage. Finally getting his attention, I asked what he wanted for his Coke sign and braced for his response. He gave me a quick glance and said, "Give me twenty for it." I was a little shocked! I thought even if the sign was a reproduction, twenty bucks was still a good deal! Knowing a good price when it's lobbed to me, I quickly peeled off a twenty dollar bill and scooted off with my latest, greatest find!
After I arrived back to the Moneyinthegarage studios, I did some internet searches and verified the Coke sign was authentic. It harkened back to the late Fifties-a perfect vintage era. Now it was time to make some money! On any given day you'll find thousands of Coca-Cola signs listed on eBay. Many sellers ask big money for their signs with a fixed price listing. These same signs will just sit on eBay forever, due to the high price. I don't like to go this route. My philosophy is to get things sold quick! To do this, I like a good, old fashion auction. In an auction, the market determines the final sale price. Keeping with my free market philosophy, I listed the old Cole sign at a below-market price of only $50 dollars.
Once the auction started it became obvious people like their Coca-Cola. My sign saw immediate bids and watchers. (That's why auctions are cool. It's like playing the state lottery-everyone thinks they have a chance to win!) For the entire seven day run, the Coke sign ticked steadily northbound. On the seventh day it rested........at $168 dollars! A pretty good haul for only a twenty dollar investment!
My Coke auction did great. But while I like the auction format, other folks favor fixed pricing. What do you prefer?
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