Friday, November 19, 2021

Vintage Barbie, Midge and other Mattel finds.

You just never know what treasures are inside a garage sale twenty five cent box. That's the "catch-all" box, wherein the seller throws in anything they think is pretty much worthless. Most of the time I give them just a quick glance, fully expecting to find cheap junk. My speed picking nature doesn't allow me the time to really root through most of those boxes. But this story shows that taking a good look worth the time.


A few weeks back I found a garage sale which looked promisingThe house was a small cottage and the husband/wife couple were into cottage shabby chic decorating. The sale had quite a few antiques, fabrics and old knicky-knacky things. Walking around, I spotted a huge box marked "25 cents" and started rooting around in it. I was flipping through stuff in a perfunctory way, not really "feeling it" with this box. There were lot's of cast-offs; playing card decks, ashtrays, cheap souvenirs and other junk. But as I dug further, I spotted what looked like a Barbie doll hidden in the bottom. I am no Barbie expert, but even I could tell this girl was old, she had a beehive hairdo and the more angular fifties style face. I nearly fell into the box as I leaned in to retrieve Barbie from the bottom! Looking at her more closely, I knew I had uncovered an awesome find! This Barbie was definitely from the late fifties to early Sixties era. I double checked the outside of the box to make sure of the price. In black magic marker it read, "25 cents - any item". I chuckled to myself, "OK, sounds good to me!"

I am always paranoid that sellers will change their price if they realize they threw a collectible item in a low-end 25 cent box. So I decided a quick hit and run tactic would be my best bet when paying for Barbie. As I was getting ready to pay, I held Barbie up to the husband but only fast enough that he could glance at her. Then I held her down by my side out of his view. I gave the husband a quick nonchalant, "Hey, this doll was in your quarter box. I am going to get change from my truck." He nodded and I quickly walked down the driveway to my truck and tossed Barbie inside. With my poker face still on, I handed the husband my quarter and casually said, "Here's for the doll".

This casual act is one of my buying tactics. It always good to play down your interest in an item in front of the seller. Unlike Mike and Frank on my favorite show American Pickers, I never freak out and gush in front of the seller over an item. With the Barbie I didn't say, "Here's a quarter for your woefully under-priced, vintage and highly collectible Barbie doll." Enthusiasm like that could cause the seller to jack up the price or change their mind in selling the item. (Which has happened to me) For my awesome Barbie find I simply said, "Here's for the doll." Low key means low price.

Once I returned home to the "Money in the Garage" corporate office, I researched my twenty five cent Barbie. Turns out she was a "Midge" doll dating back to the early Sixties. I took a few nice photos and posted her knowing I had another "sure-thing" sale coming my way. My plunge into the quarter box was well worth it....Midge sold for $34 dollars! A good day at the garage sales!

So jump into those quarter boxes...stick your head and hands way down to the very bottom. Barbie or some other great find could be down there waiting for you! 

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Friday, April 23, 2021

Tons of money laying around your house

With Covid still running rampant, who feels like putting on a mask and leaving the house to trudge through yard sales and thrift store? Instead, you probably have some undiscovered inventory right inside your house. Take a good look around your home. You probably have stuff laying around or stored away that can fetch you decent bucks. I try to always stay aware of selling opportunities in my house. I have a theory best described as the "overlooked syndrome". This effects all humans in their daily life. It goes like this: Due to daily exposure, a person tends to ignore valuable items sitting right in front of their face in their home. This household clutter becomes background scenery in your life. It's right there in the open, but you don't see it.  You might even move it occasionally to  dust around it,  but you don't pay it any mind. It just sits on a shelf and takes up space. The crazy thing is that, if you sell in on eBay, it can probably put money in your wallet. For example, how about some old video game your kids haven't  played in months, or years? Would you rather have it sit on a shelf collecting dust, or maybe turn it into a twenty dollar bill? I like the twenty dollar bill myself. 

Some time ago the "overlooked syndrome" was in full effect in my old basement where an
old "Sims" CD game literally stored on a shelf right in front of my face. My kids had lost interest in playing after  upgrading to the latest, greatest "Sims" game.  And when I mean in front of my facem I am not kidding. I am not kidding... it was three feet from my face on my desk shelf, just above my computer monitor! Then one day I just happened to notice it. I tilted my head like the RCA Victor dog and wondered, "Hmmm, wonder if this is worth anything?" Looking it up on Ebay, I discovered this particular Sims game was still in high demand. I listed it right away and sold it for $35! So not only did I make enough money to buy dinner for myself and my wife, I freed up valuable shelf space on my computer desk!

Another dusty item I found in our basement was used by my Son back when he went through his guitar stage. It was some kind of electronic gizmo you hooked up to an electric guitar. 
I wasn't sure what exactly it was suppose to do, and still don't. All I knew was it was very lightweight and seemed kind of cheap, so I assumed it was worthless. It included a few wires sticking out that I think were for plugging into a speaker. Whatever it was for, I must have handled this little gizmo a dozen times when cleaning the basement.  But one day I had an awakening and decided to see if it had any value. I typed in the name of the manufacturer and guess what I discovered?  Similar models were selling on Ebay for as much as $75! I was at a loss to provide a good description in my listing but that didn't seem to matter. Seven days later, I was $46 dollars richer...a basement moneymaker!

So liberate yourself from your clutter! Take a walk around your home with eyes wide open. When you spot something, ask yourself, "Do I really need to have this around?" Then look up it's value on Ebay. If it's worth a few dollars-sell it. You may turn it into a some serious cash! 
Have you sold dusty old stuff from around your house? Tell us about it in the comment section below. 

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Monday, January 11, 2021

Holiday finds, flips and deals!

With the holidays now behind us, this is a good time as any to go over some of my seasonal flips. Overall, I feel sales were strong, although not as good as previous years. But considering the Covid pandemic and the economy, it's easy to see why. I am not complaining though. I still did pretty good considering the situation. Let's take a look at a few of my more successful holiday flips. 

Blowmolds galore!
Blowmolds galore! 
My obsession with holiday blow molds continues. Over the course of the yard sale season, I picked up about a dozen plastic figures, paying anywhere from a dollar, to twenty dollars for each one. I just can’t resist them! Since I buy them all year long, they are subsequently stashed in various nooks and crannies around the house.  Incidentally, I found that Noel candles are the easiest to store. I tuck them neatly in the rafters of my attic space until it's time to post them. In my experience, the weekend that follows the Thanksgiving four day weekend seems to be the best time to go “live” with Christmas Blowmolds.  That’s when folks begin decorating their homes for the holidays.  For example, I posted several blowmolds on Craigslist prior to Thanksgiving and didn’t get a single bite. But that all changed once Thansgiving past and I quickly sold several figures in my collection. (I only sell blowmolds on Craiglist to avoid high shipping costs.)    

Two for one price!
One of the first blowmolds sales of the season was this set featuring a reindeer and a penguin. These
guys were probably made back in the mid-1990’s, so they're not true vintage. However, they meet an important criteria for resale...they’re not made anymore! That’s good enough to bring the buyers out. I forgot what I paid for these guys, but I’d venture to guess it was no more then ten bucks a piece. I posted the pair on Craigslist for $85 dollars just prior to Thanksgiving. They were snapped up the following weekend. I met the buyer at a local convenience store and she gleefully forked over the $85 dollars for the pair. As she loaded them into her car, she told me she lived with her elderly parents and liked to decorate their front yard with lots of Christmas blow molds. With that, she pulled away and the penguin and reindeer were heading for a spot in her front yard.

In past holidays, I've stayed away from flipping Christmas tree ornaments. Not that they don’t bring in money, because they do. But rather because I am afraid of them breaking in shipping. Many vintage tree ornaments can be as fragile as eggs. The notion of putting them into the rough and tumble mail stream scared the heck out of me! But last fall I came across a box containing a dozen vintage ornaments. At only a dollar for the entire box, I couldn’t pass it up. Mrs. Dude did some research and advised me that my box of ornaments had the potential to bring in some serious cash. She pointed out further that several of my ornaments had fancy “indents” which seemed to be really popular with buyers. So following her advise, I nervously posted my one dollar investment on eBay with a starting bid of $15. Turns out, Mrs. Dude was onto something. The ornaments topped out at $45 dollars a week later! In order to prevent my shipping nightmare from becoming true, I very carefully packed the ornaments using loads of peanuts and bubble wrap. Although due to Covid delays they took a little longer to reach the buyer, they thankfully arrived at their destination safe and sound. (Good job USPS!) 

 MTH Rail King
Since we’re on the subject of Mrs. Dude, here's a major score she made at a yard sale. While on this separate yard sale mission, she came across a top of the line train set by MTH Rail King. These sets are very high quality and harken back to the classic Lionel trains from back in the day.  In this case, the set contained a model engine, three passengers cars, track and  a transformer set in the original box. Along with the train set, she also found three special Christmas edition Lionel box cars, each from a different year. She picked up the entire lot for just twenty five dollars! After she brought her scores home, I held off posting them until the Christmas selling season. When the time finally came to post the train finds, I began piecing out the MTH trains and the Lionel box cars in separate auctions. It took the entire month of December, but when the last train piece was finally shipped, my profits added up to $480 dollars for everything. A nice return on a twenty five dollar investment!

Those are a few samples of my holiday flips. Like I said, a pretty good Christmas season considering the current situation out there. So how’d you do this year? Use the comment section below to fill us in.   


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