Thursday, November 2, 2017

Sell weird stuff and make big money

When it comes to finding inventory at a yard sale or thrift shop store, some stuff can be an easy decision to buy. As seen in numerous past blog examples, whenever I come across stuff like Legos, American Girl Doll and Coleman camping gear, I can’t get the money out of my pocket fast enough! But then there’s times I find unusual stuff, causing me to scratch my head and wonder if it's something I can make any money on?  It can be hard to decide whether to spend hard-earned money on stuff you never sold before, but in these thrift store examples, I made my money back and more!

Dog training collar 
For example, a few years back I was rummaging through a local thrift shop when I found a box that contained what looked to me to be just a glorified dog collar. But this wasn’t any run-of-the-mill dog collar. In fact, it was a shock collar designed to train dogs, particularly hunting dogs. Using a hand-held transmitter, the collar emits a light shock activated by the owner when training the dog to do things like return and other skills. As I usually do when faced with a buy/no buy situation, I conducted a quick look up on eBay. When I did, I saw these collars sell for serious cash, with retail prices going over $200. The thrift shop was only asking eight dollars for the collar, so while there was no way of knowing if it actually worked, I decided I could afford take a chance on it. Back home, I took some time to clean up the collar and the radio transmitter. Also a little more research on eBay gave me some encouraging news. Apparently, many hunters need multiple collars since they often have more then one dog with them out in the field.  Learning this, I figured I could at least advertise the collar and transmitter as a spare.  After gaining this rudimentary knowledge on the collar and  transmitter, I posted them up on eBay. In the description I pushed the idea that the collar would be a great backup or “spare” if needed in the field. I guess whoever bought it agreed. The collar and transmitter sold for a nice solid, $71 dollars. Not bad for something you don’t find every day.

Vintage toy ukulele
In another unusual thrift store find, I was scouring through a local Goodwill store. After about 30 minutes of searching, I thought I'd struck out when my eye caught a festive looking box in the glass display case. A closer look revealed something you don’t see everyday-a vintage "Arthur Godfrey" toy ukulele in the original box! Most folks probably don’t even remember Arthur Godfrey, but back in the days of radio, he was a huge star. When TV came along, Godfrey made the transition to the small screen with a variety show similar to Ed Sullivan's. Godfrey was also well known for playing a ukulele on his show. Apparently he also wasn’t above making a few bucks by slapping his name on toy ukuleles. This particular toy appeared to be from the late 1950’s. With a Goodwill price tag of just ten bucks, I had to take a chance and buy it. The little toy ukulele went right up on eBay. I wasn’t sure how it would do. When you think about out, who's really interested in ukuleles anymore? But proving there’s a market out there for almost anything, my Arthur Godfrey Ukulele was bid up to an incredible $171 dollars! The buyer was from France! I am guessing ukulele’s are big in France? If so, I have just one thing to say...."Vive la France!”

Go sell a kite!
Hard to top that one in the unusual category, but I think I can. In the same thrift shop where I found the dog collar, I also came across a vintage “Sting-A-Ree” kite by Gayla. The kite was laying in the corner of the shop, unnoticed by most shoppers. Judging from the cardboard label attached to the top of the plastic wrapper, it looked to be from around the Sixties or Seventies era. And talk about a time capsule...the kite had never been opened! Although the Gayla kites came in all different cool styles and colors, this particular kite was fairly basic in blue and yellow. You might also assume Stingray kites have been around forever, but I remember it differently. Growing up in the Sixties, there were basically two kinds of kites: box kites and the triangular kites with the tail. Both kites had one thing in common-they were a pain in the @#* to fly! These "old school” kites spent most of the time spinning in circles, then violently crashing to the ground! But then along came the “Stingray” style kite. A cool, modern kite that even the most uncoordinated kid (like me) could easily fly! Hoping that a few collectors would have the same fond memories as I did, I forked over a whole two dollars for the vintage kite. With this complete and untouched kite being so unusual, I couldn’t wait to test out the kite collector's market on eBay. To borrow a Star Wars reference, I discovered the force is strong in the kite market! In a seven day auction, my Sixties era kite topped out at  $202 dollars! An awesome sale. In fact, anytime I am in that same thrift shop, I always glance into that corner  hoping to somehow find another $200 dollar kite! (Sigh)....maybe some day.

How about you? Whether it’s an old kite, a dog collar, a ukulele or any other unusual stuff. Tell us what you flipped in the comment section below.

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