Sunday, December 18, 2016

Vintage Christmas is the best Christmas !

The holiday selling season is coming to an end. As it does, it’s time to take a look at this Dude's holiday sales. For me, it’s always fun to look back and see what sold, and for how much? It helps me decide what to buy at future yard sales and stockpile for the next holiday season. Overall, I had a some pretty good sales. Check out a few examples of the holiday stuff I flipped this year.

Vintage “rope” candle set
Although I’ve never bothered with them in the past, I am starting to realize you can make some decent money flipping vintage Christmas decorations. Lighted candles, tree toppers and alike from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, seem to get plenty of buying interest. I guess for many people, vintage decorations bring back childhood memories of Christmas. For example, check out this vintage set of plastic ”rope” candles. I bought this set at a yard sale for a dollar, then stored them away until the holidays. They came in their original boxes which always increases buyer interest. Although a neat little set, I decided that once you factor in shipping and fees, they were not worth the trouble to post as an eBay auction. Instead, I listed them on a local Facebook yard sale group for ten dollars. But minutes after posting them, I began to realize I may have under priced the candles. Almost immediately, potential buyers began stacking up in the posting’s comment section. The candles had attracted way more interest then I’d expected! The following day, a Facebook buyer picked up the candles up, slipping a ten dollar bill under my welcome mat. While I’ll take ten bucks any day, after seeing a dozen people line up for the candles, you can be sure I’ll double my asking price next time! Live and learn, right?

Last minute Goodwill find!
Blow molds continue to be one of my favorite holiday items to sell. Over the yard sale season, I accumulated various blow molds and piled them up like cordwood in my garage attic. When it comes to yard sales, it seems like sellers price them very low. Maybe it’s because in spring and summer, holiday decorations are the last thing people want around their house, or they just need to get the big, bulky figures out of the garage? Whatever the reason, if the price is right on a holiday blow mold, I'll buy them. On occassion, I even luck into a blow mold at the Goodwill store. Just a few weeks ago, I bought this small, nine piece Nativity set for twenty dollars. Since it was December, the timing could not have been better. I immediately posted the set for sixty dollars on Craigslist. A day later, a buyer drove to MoneyintheGarage headquarters and handed me three crisp twenty dollars bills for the set. You have to love a quick flip like that!!

Staring me in the face!
I also need to brag a little bit about what most yard sale flippers would consider to be the Holy Grail of any holiday selling season...a vintage aluminum Christmas tree! I was lucky enough to stumble across this tree at Goodwill back in November. Believe it or not, I didn’t spot it right away. For reasons unknown, I actually was distracted by a toy robot sitting a few shelves below it. After looking up the toy on eBay and deciding not to buy it, I lifted my head, and lo and behold, realized there was a vintage aluminum Christmas tree right in front of my face. I couldn’t believe my luck! It had been a few years since my last aluminum tree find, and as far as I was concerned, it was long overdue! I quickly grabbed the old box and tucked it under my arm like a big football. Unlike other stuff I find in Goodwill, there’s never a need to to look up a vintage tree on eBay before buying it. I knew it was the score of  the day, if not the year! Adding to my holiday joy, the store had priced the tree at just eight dollars! After paying, I took the tree home and set it up for photo taking. If you’ve never set one of these trees up, let me warn’s a lot of work! Most trees have 75 to 100 separate
Big, shiny tree!
branches that need to be removed from their paper sleeves and carefully inserted into tiny holes on the main trunk. Being a little lazy, I filled in as much as I needed for the photo, then began snapping away with my digital camera. After the photo session, the tree went up on eBay. I made it a ten day auction so that as many people as possible would have time to find the listing. I also timed the listing so it ended on Sunday evening, when most people are home and ready to bid! My combination of luck and prep work paid off. After ten days, the vintage tree sold for $285 dollars! The buyer, who lived on the West Coast, paid all shipping costs as well. At nearly $300 bucks, it's easy to see why I consider vintage aluminum Christmas trees to be the Holy Grail of holiday finds!

Hopefully to shine again!
Lastly, I’ll mention the sale of another vintage Christmas decoration
that didn’t make me rich, but hopefully might be
making some little kid happy somewhere. The vintage Christmas lights seen here date back to the 1960’s. I know because these were the lights my Dad put up on our house back when I was a kid. Back then, I couldn’t wait until the lights went up. I would bug and bug my Dad until he finally found the time to get outside and hang them on the house. As he did, I would generally make a nuisance of myself under the mistaken belief I was actually helping him. Once they were up, the bright, colorful lights looked awesome! For me, it was one of the most exciting days of the holiday season and meant Christmas was right around the corner. But even though they looked great on the house, once the energy crisis of the Seventies hit, those big, electricity gobbling lights went by the wayside. Like many other people in the neighborhood, the big bulb lights were tossed aside in favor of smaller, more energy efficient lights. My father boxed up the old lights up and slid them into the attic. Years later, I pulled the old Christmas lights out of my parent’s attic with the well-meaning intention of hanging them on my own house. That never happened, so this year I decided it was time to finally part with the old lights. After posting them on Facebook and receiving no interest, I turned to eBay, listing them for $25 dollars. That’s exactly what they sold for! Fortunately, the buyer was located only one state away, keeping postage costs down. After fees, I made about twenty bucks. Not a huge sale, but since I am trying to downsize, there’s now one less box in the attic. Hopefully, those lights will get hung up again just like the old days. Who knows, maybe there’s a little kid trying to help his father hang them on their house right now? I hope so anyway.    

That aluminum tree and my Dad’s vintage lights were a pretty nice way to end the holiday selling season. I hope you had some great sales this season too. More importantly, as we come to the end of another year, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year! Thanks also for following my antics on MoneyintheGarage. Keep on flipping and let’s all hope for a safe and prosperous 2017! 


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