Monday, February 17, 2014

My ISS model was a blockbuster...just like the movie Gravity !

On Saturday, Sonny Boy and I were enjoying one of those lazy, lay-around-the-house winter mornings. Plopped in my favorite reading chair with the morning paper, I happened to look up as my kid channel surfed past a commercial for the movie, "Gravity" starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. While I've haven't seen the movie, Sonny Boy has, and he began to explain the movie's premise to me. Without spoiling anything, I can tell you it sounds like a pretty awesome flick. In addition to the plot, Sonny Boy went on to tell me the special effects are, excuse the pun, "out of this world!" You're probably wondering why I am carrying on about some George Clooney movie?  Not to worry, I never stray too far from the subject so near and dear to our hearts!

The International Space Station (ISS) is featured prominently in Gravity. In the flick, (spoiler alert) the ISS meets it's demise. In reality, the real ISS is still circling some 220 miles above our heads. Short of hopping on a Russian rocket however, you and I will never see the actual ISS. But last fall, not only did I see the ISS...I bought it! Ummm, okay, it was a model, but it was still the closest I'll ever get to the real one!

As seen in the movie, Gravity
I found my ISS at one of my favorite church sales. Each year, the church invites it's members to set up a table in their parking lot for a big community yard sale. Around 40 sellers usually participate, resulting in a nice variety of stuff for sale. Since the church is just minutes away from my house, I always make it my first stop on the big day. I spotted the ISS model seen here at one of the tables. The Revell model was a nice, big 1:144 scale of the original. The box was so big, in fact, that the seller didn't have a place for it on her table. Instead, she leaned the box against a table leg. As I stooped down to take a look, the seller began explaining to me that the model was a gift for her son. Like so many other models I've found at yard sales, she told me her kid never got around to tackling the huge model. The lady must have been pretty desperate to get rid of the big box. She priced the model at an unbelievable three dollars!

Even at that great price, flipping models is not always a sure bet. For example, I've never had much luck selling car models. It seems to me that most are fairly common and finding that rare collectible car is very hard to do. I've done much better with military planes, ships and spacecraft. All models can also face another problem if they've been opened or are half-assembled. Buyers can sometimes be leery of open boxes and worry about possible missing pieces. Your best bet is finding a model that's still factory sealed, or at least the parts are still in their sealed plastic bags. In the case of my ISS, the box had been opened, but all the parts were still factory sealed...a major score! Although I couldn't remember the last time I flipped a space model, I knew that for only three bucks, it was hard to go wrong with this model. I didn't even bother to look the ISS model up on my phone prior to buying it. Instead, I just forked over three George Washingtons to the nice lady. Since the box was so big, I immediately carried it back to my truck before doing some more shopping.

After arriving home, I was more then a little bit curious about the value of my Revell ISS model. Searching eBay, I learned the model was no longer made...always a major plus! Scanning completed listings further, I found identical models were selling for big cash dollars. Armed with this info, I decided the ISS was going up on eBay immediately! I was so confident the thing would sell, I didn't even mess around with an auction, setting a Buy-It-Now price of $95 dollars! I even charged $20 for shipping cost. My eBay research proved correct...the listing only lasted for a few days. An eager buyer snapped it up, paying me my "Gravity" defying BIN price. Overall, I made a profit of $92 big ones....out of this world! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

When I finally do get around to watching Gravity, I am going to have a whole different perspective when I see the International Space Station. It's going to be hard to keep from bragging to Sonny Boy, "See that space station? I made a lot of money on that thing!"

Have you sold any cool models? If so, how'd you do? Share your story below.......


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6 comments:

  1. I've had two vintage ship models (very cool) sitting in my unlisted inventory forever for the exact reason you describe. They are opened and the pieces are loose. I wonder if I should just list them as is, lower the price and have the buyer take a chance.

    Great story and sale.

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    1. Nancy-When I have stale listings like that, I slowly lower the price as the weeks go by.You may also want to think about combining them into one sale. Sort of two-for-one. And definitely put in your description that it's "as-is". You don't want the dreaded negative feedback.

      Thanks for writing in....Dude!

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  2. I picked up a Star Trek Enterprise ship this past summer at a charity sale for less than $1, it was vintage, sealed and Star Trek and with these 3 things you cannot go wrong! Sold it less than a month later for $25, not as good as the space station but still great!! I'll be on the lookout for the space models always!

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    Replies
    1. Samantha- Nice flip! You can't go wrong with a Star Trek model. There are so many "Trekies" out there who are looking for that stuff. Keep an eye out for the Star Trek Hallmark Christmas ornaments too. They're a pretty big deal.

      Thanks for sharing your flip....Dude!

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  3. Nice sale! Most of the models I find aren't sealed, and so I have no idea without actually putting them together if they're complete or not. After seeing this sale, though, I will definitely be looking harder for them.

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    1. Kimberly- Opened boxes are a risk, but you can always sell them "as-is". Take lots of pictures too, that way buyers see all of what they're getting. (Or not getting.)

      Thanks for writing in....Dude!

      Delete