Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tiger Woods, Nike Dri-Fit golf shirts & Under Armour HeatGear golf shirts ...all found at low, low prices

The  garage sale season kicked into high gear this past weekend! After a long winter of thrift store shopping only, I was ready to finally get outside and spend some dough. I mapped out six homes to hit. Unfortunately of the six sales, four were not really worth my time and effort. But one sale turned out to be a homerun. I arrived at the house early and found the seller had a simple pricing strategy. Nearly every item she tagged was one dollar! I walked away with some good stuff, including a  dollar box containing some pricey computer DJ mixing gear. I intend to separate the the gear into three different auction lots. I am pretty confident this particular dollar find will net me at least one hundred buckaroos after all is said and done. That's a pretty good start to the season!

Speaking of selling, I've commenced my seasonal listing of golf shirts. The golf shirt season is as anticipated as the swallows returning to Capistrano! There are two important events that signal this money making season-warm weather and the playing of the first big golf tournament of the year -The Masters. These two opening events serve as a starting bell for most golfers to get out and play. Likewise, these duffers will also buy some new shirts to start the season off right. (I've played some golf and believe me, if you can't play well, you can at least look like you do by wearing a nice shirt!) Once the golf shirt season kicks off in April, it reaches a fevered crescendo in June when the US Open is played. This year, the Open will be at the prestigious Merion Country Club located outside of Philadelphia. I actually found two Merion shirts with the famous Merion CC basket pin stitched on the upper chest. These shirts will be perfectly timed for auction right when players like Tiger Woods are teeing off at the Open!

Overall, my collection of golf shirt is impressive! After many thrift shop trips over the winter, I've
accumulated a bright, colorful array of popular brand name golf shirts. Most are "pre-owned" but some are new with manufacturer's tags still attached! While I could sell golf shirts all year around, I don't think it makes sense to sell in the winter when half the golfers in the country are in hibernation. Since I run mostly auctions, I want to attract as many eager bidders as possible! In my mind, that's in the spring when golf is on television and in the news. Until then, my shirts stay in winter storage
Ready for auction!
awaiting the start of the golf season. I have to admit that as my inventory grew over the winter months, I would often stand back with pride and admire all the shirts neatly lined up in a row. I felt like a lumberjack after he chopped and stacked a nice cord of firewood in preparation for the season! Only instead of a cord of wood, I have a cord of golf shirts. The hard work accumulating this inventory should be well worth it. I wouldn't be surprised if the shirts collectively earn me close to a thousand dollars once they're all sold! That's beats a pile of firewood any day! 

I've recently noticed some other bloggers singing the praises of several brands not cited here, including Adidas and Callaway. I have to tell you that unless you got the shirt for free, or it's new with tags attached, those other brands will not make you  any dough.  Best to leave them on the Goodwill rack! Sure, you may get a sale, but typically we're talking in the ten dollar range. When you back out the $4 dollars you paid for the shirt, your eBay and Paypal fees the profit might come in at around 4 dollars. Puleeze....not worth the effort! Stick to the big dogs that I cite and you should do well.

When it comes to selling golf shirts, I've had the most success with Nike Dri-Fit and Under Armour HeatGear brands. Nike Dri-Fit is very popular and will always make you money. However the Nike "Tiger Woods" line of shirts is a step above standard Dri-Fit, fetching you even higher bids. Under Amour shirts are very popular too, particularly their "HeatGear" line.  For example, recently I bought an Under Armour HeatGear golf shirt for $4 bucks at Goodwill and flipped it for $30 dollars. Another "can't lose" brand is "The Masters" line of golf shirts. These shirts have the famous Masters Logo on the upper chest and always generate lots of bidding action. The one seen here was also snagged at Goodwill for $4 bucks. I sold it using an eBay auction for $30 dollars-a typical closing price for this line of shirts. If you find any of these shirts brand new with tags attached it's your lucky day! You can tack on at least another five to ten dollars on the final selling price.

How's your luck with golf shirts? Have you done well with any brands that I left out? Give us a shout in the comment section below.....

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Vintage Marx toys in the thrift store

A few days ago, I received a very nice e-mail from a reader named Trey. He wanted to give me the heads up on a sweet find he uncovered at his local Goodwill store. Check out his story below....

Hey Dude,
Just wanted to share a pretty decent find I had at my local Goodwill. It's because of reading your site that I even thought about finding things to resell. Goodwill has those big gallon Ziploc bags of toys and I usually don't pay them much attention but this one stood out to me. It had these little miniature figurines and upon closer inspection they were United States Presidents. 

I bought the entire bag of random toys and the Presidents for $2.50. After doing some
Hail to the Chiefs...a couple bucks turns into $30!
research, I found out these were 1950-60's toys made by Marx. I counted my set and had 32 but I was three Presidents short from having a complete set. I decided to list it
BIN/OBO on eBay for $30  plus shipping . This morning I received a BO for $20 which I countered, but before the buyer could respond someone paid my full $30 price! Not a bad profit for those toys! (Even though part of me wanted to keep them for my collection.)
Just thought I'd let you know about these so you could be on the look out in case you ever ran across them on your excursions.
Keep up the good work!....Trey

What a great flip! Think about it-what can $2.50 buy you any more? If you're lucky, maybe a Starbucks coffee or the sunday paper? Trey turned $2.50 into thirty big ones! Major props also to Trey for his eagle-eye skills in spotting those little Marx figures in a plastic bag. I often see those Goodwill "grab bags" on the shelves. Like Trey, I'll admit I occasionally overlook them. My nonchalant attitude is based on having looked inside those bags many times, only to find them filled with cheap toys from someone's McDonald's' Happy Meal. However Trey's score proves those bags shouldn't be ignored. You just never know what you're  going to find inside!

It's not every day you find a bunch of old Marx toys just sitting in a Goodwill store. Marx went out of business in 1978.  During their glory days the company made all kinds of toys and play sets. Here's what the well-known website, Collector's Weekly says about Marx toys:

"In 1955, "Time" magazine declared Louis Marx the “Toy King” of the United States. That’s not surprising, considering it’s likely that every child—and parent—in the country had played with at least one of his toys at that point. Today, Louis Marx and Company is perhaps best known for its early wind-up tinplate toys, yo-yos, HO and O scale train sets, and plastic playsets depicting everything from European battlefields to prehistoric dinosaur-filled landscapes. The company also made toy guns, dolls, doll houses, robots, and Big Wheels."

Given their long history, many of the Marx toys are now sought after by collectors. Baby boomers are the primary collectors, having grown up with Marx back in the fifties and sixties. As a kid, I had my share of Marx toys including the Fort Apache play set. I am not sure what ever happened to the set, but most likely I sold it back in the day for college text book money-ugh! Oh well, maybe I'll find a replacement set at some future garage sale. Of course, if I do find one, I'll have to fight off my natural instinct to immediately sell it on eBay!

Make sure you put Marx toys on your "buy" list this garage sale season. If you don't know your Marx toys from your Mattel, look for this little target-like logo somewhere on the toy. Usually you'll find the Marx logo on the underside of the base or the back, depending on the particular toy. If the toy is small like Trey's presidential figures, you may need a microscope to find the logo, but it's there.

Thanks to Trey for sharing his awesome find! How about you? Any incredible scores in those Goodwill grab bags? How about Marx toys? Let us know in the comment section below..... 


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Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Vera Bradley Outlet Store

Here's a no-brainer....Vera Bradley handbags are a pretty big deal! This obvious bit of fashionista knowledge has made me a lot of money over the last few years. Admittedly, my fashion sense doesn't go much deeper then that. In fact, sometimes I mistakenly confuse Vera Bradley with the similar sounding, Laura Ashley. This always cracks up my daughter. But in my defense, it's easy to mix them up. Both have the same amount of syllables in their names and kinda sound alike. Just try saying them both out loud and you'll see what I mean. (Pause) See? They practically rhyme!

Once my daughter stops giggling at my fashion mix-up, she'll usually remind me again that Laura Ashley is the broader fashion brand, while Vera Bradley is known for their paisley patterned handbags, purses and wallets. You can find the bright colored bags at specialty stores or Vera Bradley outlet stores. However the one thing my daughter doesn't have to school me on is pricing. I know for a fact that Vera Bradley can be expensive! Given these obvious facts, I make sure I look for Vera Bradley at the yard sales.

It would be really nice if Vera Bradley was as common at yard sales as the ever-present George Foreman grill. But sadly, it's not. The stuff is hard to find. It would also be nice to find it at a reasonable price. A few sellers think that just because Vera Bradley is expensive in the stores, the high price should transfer down to their yard sale table! But finding these bags at the right price isn't impossible. You may get lucky and encounter a husband who unwittingly prices his wife's Vera Bradley for cheap. (If you score a deal like this, make sure to bolt to your car before his wife realizes what happened!) Another option is to bundle several purses together and ask for a lower price. I've done this a few times and usually score a group of Vera Bradley bags for $3 to $5 dollars each.

I kept this one away from the family!
But no matter how you score your Vera Bradley bags, I have some cautionary advise. DO NOT show off your Vera Bradly inventory to friends or family! I made that mistake once and don't plan on doing it again! It happened last summer when I invited family over the house for a picnic. At these get-togethers someone invariably will ask me if I've scored any recent yard sale deals? This has become something of a tradition in my family. Always ready to crow about my favorite subject, I then made the dumb mistake of showing off my Vera Bradley stockpile. Included in my hard earned collection was a very nice backpack. It was so nice in fact, that my sister-in-law took an immediate liking to it! You can probably guess what happened next. Embracing the backpack as if she just pulled it off the outlet store shelf, my sister-in-law asked if she could buy it from me? This was immediately followed by an awkward moment of silence as I tried to figure out my next move. Now don't get me wrong, I've handed out many yard sale finds to various nieces and nephews, but this was different! What if every women in the family asked me for one of my Vera Bradley bags? I mean seriously, who do they think I am....the Vera Bradley outlet store?!

All these thoughts were racing through my head as the entire family stared and waited for my answer. Beads of sweat began to appear on my forehead as I wrestled over what to say. A few of the guys in the family smirked widely, taking perverse pleasure in watching me squirm. The whole anxious moment probably lasted only 30 seconds, but it felt like an eternity! After a quick swig of liquid courage to stall for time, I decided a fair compromise would be to charge my sister-in-law exactly what I paid for the bag. Since the backpack still had the $5 dollar sticker on it, that's what I charged her. My sister-in-law thanked me and happily handed over a five dollar bill. Just that quickly, a potential profit of $30 disappeared into the summer evening. Oh well, that's what I get for bragging I guess. I'll be sure to put myself in verbal lockdown at the next party!

With one bag now gone, I posted the remainder on eBay during the fall and winter months. Probably not the best time of year to sell Vera Bradley, but with more then a dozen stockpiled, I just wanted them out the door. Some were auctioned off in matching sets, while others were sold individually. The purple backpack seen above was a  typical eBay sale for me. I paid $5 dollars for it and sold it on eBay for $32. When all was said and done, I made around $250 in Vera Bradley sales. Pretty good for a guy who can't even get the name straight, right?

Have you done well with Vera Bradley? How about your family? Has anybody ever "shopped" your inventory? Share the saga below....

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