Thursday, July 24, 2014

American Pickers Danielle & Mike are a bad influence on me!

They say watching too much television can really influence a person. For me, watching too much of American Pickers on the History Channel has definitely influenced my garage sale purchases...and not always in a good way! I love watching the show and have learned a thing or two about what to buy. But prior to the show hitting the airwaves, my buying habits trended towards small-ish items to flip; shirts, toys, collectibles. Pretty much anything I could fit inside a USPS Priority mailing box. But since the arrival of American Pickers, I've noticed my buying tastes have grown much bigger! Not a bad thing, but unlike most of those sellers on American Pickers, I don't have a barn or warehouse to store my stuff in. As a result, it's getting a little crowded in my basement and garage. If this keeps up, my house will look less like the American Pickers' shop, and more like a house on the Hoarders show! Here's some of the bigger stuff I've come home with lately. Some have turned into pretty good flips, others...ehh, not so much.

STOP in the name of American Pickers
Here's an example of a American Pickers influenced purchase-a genuine STOP sign. Think about it-who among us does not need a STOP sign? Everyone should have one! It can be posted in your driveway to prevent visiting company from driving straight into the garage! Either way, at only five bucks it was a deal. (Would you believe a brand new STOP sign can sell for over $75 bucks in industry catalogues?) The American Pickers were on my mind when I scooped up this sign. The stars of the show, Mike Wolfe, Danielle Colby-Cushman and Frank Fritz, are always on the lookout for old traffic signs and related automobile paraphernalia. Although this sign wasn't nearly as old as the signs found on Pickers, I figured someone could use it in an industrial setting or hang it up in their man cave or garage. Although the sign was large, storing it wasn't a problem. Traffic signs are made to be out in the elements. For six weeks of occasional rain and hot summer sun, the STOP sign sat on the side of my house until it sold on Craigslist. After a month and a half, a young guy finally bought it, paying me $25 dollars for the sign. He told me he intended to convert the sign into a table. A creative use for a street sign and a twenty dollar profit for me!

At the very same garage sale where I bought the STOP sign, I also came across this old metal bird feeder.
Would Danielle buy this feeder?
The weathered, primitive look of the feeder caught my eye. It was another American Pickers type purchase. Like the guys always do on the show, I speculated as to who would end up buying this old piece. Since there are plenty of bird lovers and folks who like anything primitive, I concluded there would be a buyer for the big and bulky feeder. I listed it on eBay using an auction and it sold seven days later for twenty five dollars. My only concern was the shipping costs since the heavier the item, the higher the postage costs. If you're not careful, you could undercharge and get left holding the bag on some postage. I charged a reasonable shipping cost for the heavy feeder, but also caught a break when the buyer turned out to be only a few hours away from MoneyintheGarage corporate headquarters. Like the sign, I made another twenty dollar profit.

Steamer trunk-not worth the trip! 
But alas, not every one of my American Pickers influenced buys can be a winner. I bought this awesome looking steamer trunk in my local Goodwill store. When I came across it, I thought I had a definite winner. The vintage piece had all the makings of a classic steamer trunk seen in the movies. It oozed old world charm, including weathered travel stickers from a defunct cruise line, wrap-around ribs and a classic aged patina. In my mind, it was the total package and I gladly shelled out sixty big ones for the honor to take it home. I am pretty sure Danielle Colby or Mike Wolfe would have bought this trunk. But sad to say, we all would have greatly overestimated the popularity of old steamer trunks...or at least this old steamer trunk. Starting with a pie-in-the-sky price of $175, the old trunk languished on Craigslist for nearly two months. Over the weeks and months, I slowly dropped the price, finally throwing in the towel at fifty bucks. That's ten dollars less then what I paid for it! But after lowering the price to fifty, I finally received my one and only e-mail from a buyer. I met the young mom at the local CVS pharmacy and loaded the trunk into her car. Although it turned out to be a small loss, I was just happy to get rid of the monster. I will say that had the trunk been deeper, it would have sold for a much higher price. But what can you do, right? Even the American Pickers get burnt once in a while.

Overall, not a bad record with my American Pickers style buys. I have a couple of more big items currently sitting in the garage that should turn into major flips. Big money or not, I am under some pressure to get the stuff sold. Mrs. Dude wants her parking space back before the winter snow returns!

Got any American Pickers type stuff that you've sold lately? Share the story in the comment section below.....

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  1. That steamer trunk is really nice Dude! Too bad you took a loss on it, but I appreciate you sharing the story. Flops are part of what we do, unfortunately. Also, I think that your stop sign buyer's idea of making it into a table is genius! I haven't found any affordable "rusty gold" in a long time, but I did sell what looked like an antique bicycle emblem a while ago for nice money. That's something Frank and Mike would appreciate. :-)

    1. Lorraine- Yeah, your flip would definitely fit the American Pickers criteria, especially since those guys are into motorcycles. I think you may have blogged about it?

      That steamer trunk threw me for a curve. I thought for sure it would do much better. But again, it was on the flat side as opposed to those deeper versions. I think that's what hurt it's resale value.

      Thanks for checking in....Dude!

  2. I love that trunk too....not my tastes are getting smaller and smaller. If it's not under 13 oz for first class or fits in a flat rate envelope it had better be a gem! LOL....I'm already in hoarders territory.

    1. Grace-I hear ya in the Hoarders territory!

      I keep telling myself that I need to just deal in clothing, easy to ship, no boxes, low postage. But then I walk into a thrift store or Garage sale and next thing I know I am throwing some gigantic item into the bed of my truck! Oh well!

      Thanks for writing in....Dude!

    2. personally im getting out of clothing. I have 10 tubs listed but not moving and another 8 not listed. But a lot has to do with hating dressing mannequins too :D