Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tomy Thomas paid for my toy trains! (Say that five times fast)

When you buy a box of stuff at a garage sale, there's nothing better then finding an unexpected little gem inside. It doesn't have to be a million dollar find that makes you quit your day job. (Although that be would be great too.) What I am really talking about is something that's hiding in the box that ends up making you some unexpected cash. Those surprise finds are one of the best garage sale scores you can get! Here's one that meets that description....

As you may have noticed from reading my past blogs, I am a big Brio and Thomas the Tank Engine buyer. I go way back with Thomas, having bought many of the wood trains for my boys back when they were little shavers. Although my guys have outgrown their Thomas trains, the wood toys have never gone out of style with parents and kids. Because of their continued popularity, I am always on the lookout for Thomas trains and Brio train tables. I'll buy any Thomas trains, as long as they're priced right. When it comes to garage sales, the trains are almost always sold in big lots, typically piled in a shoe box or a big Tupperware-type container. Once I buy them, I won't immediately list them on eBay or Craigslist. Instead, I'll include them with a Brio train table as part of a package deal. This always works out great, usually earning me a hundred dollars or more on a table!

Lots of Thomas the Tank !
Keeping with this philosophy, last year I bought a big Tupperware container full of various Thomas trains at a local garage sale. There had to be at least 50 trains and track piled inside, including James, Harold and Diesel. All were in very good condition. The Mom selling the trains was asking $25 for the entire lot. But since everything is negotiable, she agreed to come down to a twenty dollar bill for the whole kit n caboodle. Sticking with my usual plan, I stockpiled the container until I came across another train table to re-sell.

Wind-up Thomas by Tomy
Fast forward a few months later. After finally scoring another train table, I began fishing around the Tupperware container in search of a few trains to include in the sale. As I rooted around, I discovered a small, wind-up Thomas the Tank Engine toy made by Tomy. The train came with it's own little carrying case that opened up into a track for the engine to chug around. Since I had no idea that the toy was even in the container in the first place, it's discovery was a nice bonus for me. For kicks, I looked up the Tomy toy on eBay and discovered many were selling for pretty good money. Never one to miss out on making a few extra bucks, I snapped some photos of my Tomy Thomas Engine and posted it on eBay.

Now here's how it turned into a gem... After a seven day auction, the little toy sold for a twenty dollar bill! Your first reaction might be, "What's the big deal?" Well, I look at it this way...that little gem, discovered at the bottom of the Tupperware container, actually paid for everything in that container! Thanks to that little wind-up Thomas, the rest of the trains were now all freebies! It's a beautiful thing when you look at it that way, isn't it?

I get revved up over little victories like my Tomy Thomas train!  I'll bet you have a few stories like that too. Share some of your unexpected little gems in the comment section below....


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10 comments:

  1. I once picked up a little 8 inch doll at a garage sale for one dollar. It was a Vogue doll that came with some of her clothing. I didn't know a thing about it, and listed it at a starting bid of one dollar. It sold for $50! My Finnish exchange student was returning to the US for a visit, and I spent every dime of that profit on him. Easy come, easy go!

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    1. That's awesome! A random garage sale find turns into a fifty dollar bill ...you gotta love that, right? Sounds like you put the money to good use with your exchange student too.

      Great score, thanks for sharing the story.....Dude!

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    2. I found the Polly Pocket size Disney Magic Kingdom Castle at Goodwill for 2.99...imagine my surprise when opening the bag, I found a hidden drawer containing teeny tiny Polly Pocket figures of a Mousketeer, Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, 2 Piglets and some replacement items for the castle. Haven't sold them yet, but what fun finding the treasure and now I know I will make that $2.99 back!

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    3. Awesome score. Just like a box of Crackerjack with a hidden prize(s) inside! Thanks for sharing....Dude!

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  2. I found two of the same Thomas the Train carrying cases at a childrens consignment stop for $5.00 each a couple of years ago. Sold both of them for $25.00 each. Sometimes you can find great items to sell from those consignment shops.

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    1. Wow, never flipped a Thomas carrying case, but it's on my BOLO list now! And you are right about those consignments shops-you just never know what you'll find.

      Thanks for sharing your scores....Dude!

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  3. I love it when that happens. A few weeks ago I purchased a vintage scrabble game at an estate sale for $2. When I got home, I discovered the game pieces and instructions for a second vintage word game tucked into the bottom of the box. It wasn't a huge score, but it was an extra $10-$15 I'll be seeing in profit.

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    1. Kimberly-That's like a nice, two-for-one deal. You gotta love that, right? Thanks for sharing the story-hope you keep finding more...Dude!

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  4. Love those surprise finds! Whenever I go to our local Goodwill Outlet, I usually get a cart full of goodies for anywhere between $20 and $40. I like to find toys to resell, but now my new method is to include some home decor/organizing items or one large item that I can sell on the local Facebook yardsale pages. Most often, one or two items will cover the cost of my cart and then the rest, like you said, are freebies. Do you ever dabble in Facebook selling? @The Magic That Is Thrift

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    1. Janis-I've never sold anything through Facebook, although I keep hearing about folks who do. Sounds like a great option, especially since you can avoid those nasty eBay fees.

      Thanks for the ideas and for writing in....Dude!

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