Friday, February 26, 2010

The great tractor story.

Once in a while this business is a little crazy. This is a story that will take a little time to tell but it is certainly entertaining. So here we go.

One summer day about 15 years ago I was attending an auction not too far from my home. This auction was a particularly boring one with virtually no items that I would want to purchase. However having nothing else to do I decided to hang around the sale just to see what would happen.

Now after an hour or so of just hanging out the auctioneer came up to a brand new looking Jacobson lawn tractor. The auctioneer while describing the tractor stated emphatically that they tried, and tried, and tried to get the tractor started but it "just wouldn't go". He told everyone listening that they would be buying it as is because it just would not start.

As I stood there listening I could not believe that this wonderful looking piece of equipment could have anything wrong with it. Even though past experience had proven to me that buying things like this usually ended up with me being disappointed (and losing money) I decided "what the heck" and throwing caution to the wind I purchased the mower with a whopping $100.00 final bid.

I paid for my item and then proceeded onto pushing, dragging and shoving my wonderful purchase into the back of my pick-up truck. After driving home and putting it on the driveway I started my usual routine of "Oh what the #@*!! have I done now". I tried to determine what was wrong with the stupid thing. First, I of course turned the key and myself witnessed the whirring of a starter without it starting. I next thought why not check the obvious and much to my delight I discovered that the tractor had no gasoline in it. I reached over to my trusty 5 gallon can of gas and poured a little in and guess what.....it started. I was so excited that I immediately cut the front and back yards in record time. The real problem for me was my yard was so small that I could really cut it with a good pair of sharp scissors and although the tractor was wonderful I really had no use for it.

Later that same day I was talking to a good friend of mine about my good fortune. He was so excited about it because (unknown to me) he was looking for a tractor. We talked for a little while and we came to the conclusion that the tractors cost new was about $3,500 (remember it was in perfect condition once the gasoline was added) and that a fair price to him would be $900.

So I sold him the tractor. Everyone was happy....I made $800....he purchased a $3,500 tractor for $900 and my grass was cut for the week. So ended a very good day for me....or so I thought.

About two years later on another sunny summer day my phone rang. It was my friend who purchased the tractor. He went into a long and sorrowful story about how he was trying to remove a tree and was using the tractor to get the stump out of the ground when a horrific grinding an crunching noise was emitted from the tractor. He had ruined the transmission. It was broken so bad that it would cost over $1,500 to repair it. My friend decided that the cost to repair is was too much for him so he bought a brand new tractor. His call to me was to see if I wanted the remains of the Jacobson.

Alright, I am somewhat of a junk collector so when he offered it back to me for free how could I resist. I once again took out my truck to pick up the same tractor, that this time really wasn't running. Back to my house it went, this time unceremoniously dumped into the back of my garage to await its ultimate fate.

Two weeks later I was talked into attending a local craft market. Its a really nice market (not really my thing though) but as often is the case I had nothing to do at that particular moment so off I went.

As we were driving home at 55 mph I was mindlessly looking out the car window at the garage sales that inevitably crop up whenever an event like this occurs. As we raced by I shouted out "STOP THE CAR!!! I THINK I JUST SAW THE TRANSMISSION FOR MY TRACTOR!!!

As unbelievable as it may sound I was right. Upon turning around and going back to the sale I discovered that it was in fact the transmission for a Jacobson tractor. As it turns out the owner forgot to put oil into his Jacobson and locked up the motor. This turned his Jacobson from a usable machine into a large orange paperweight. He told me that the transmission was all that was left and his wife had threatened to divorce him if he returned it to his garage. So after a little haggling and foot shuffling I purchased this potential divorce maker for the incredible sum of $5.00. His marriage saved I once again loaded up my pick up truck and headed home.

At home I immediately got out my tool box, the remains of the tractor and the new transmission. It took all of 30 minutes to replace the broken transmission with the new one. After making sure that the machine had gas in it (remember that's where this whole story began) I started it up and....cut my grass. Yes I cut both the front and back yards, again in record time. But I still did not need a tractor.

So I drove my now running tractor down to the end of the driveway and placed a for sale sign on it. A very short time later a man drove up, test drove it, haggled with me (while shuffling his feet of course) and ultimately purchased the tractor for....yes that's right $900.

The moral of the story is not that Dave is lucky or that Dave is smart. The moral is, however, Dave takes advantage of his opportunities. Anyone can do this. All you need is to put yourself out there, be patient and buy whatever bargain that becomes available. And always remember that when an auctioneer tells you that a piece of equipment just won't start that just maybe......

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Art Nouveau Lamp

Great Art Nouveau Lamp produced around 1900-1920. These lamps are getting harder and harder to find. This particular lamp is interesting because it had its original shades included with it. The lamp is most likely a spelter (pot metal) with a bronze finish. The shades are made out of strung glass beads that are most likely from Austria. This is a lamp that should probably be classified as a STASH it because prices are only moderate at this time on good quality nouveau lighting.

I put a value at the show of $700-800 on this lamp due to its excellent condition and the fact that it had the original beaded glass shades. Keep an eye out for these beauties! The prices are low right now and the opportunity to buy a great lamp at a bargain price is there.

Niles Home and Garden Show

We just completed the Niles Home and Garden show. Absolutely had a great turnout. Over 400 appraisals completed in three 2 hour shows. We saw everything from hand decorated stoneware to childrens toys and books.

I am going to post some photos of the action and feature a couple of the more interesting items. We are really looking forward to the next Home and Garden shows put on by Dominic Baragona and Mid America Events (www.ohiohomeshows.net). The next show will take place in Hudson Ohio on March 5-6-7, We will be on stage from 2-4 on the 6th and 7th. Come on out and see what turns up.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show

Just completed the Pittsburgh Home and Garden show held in Cranberry Twp Pa. Normally we have a couple of hundred people who attend these events but the great snowstorm of 2010 seems to have kept most people at home. 2 feet of snow!! An event that normally attracts thousands had less than 50 show up on Saturday and not to many more on Sunday. Still the die hards showed up. Gibson guitars, violins, books and jewelry dominated.

The winner is the Gibson guitar. We gave it an estimate of $800-1200. It was an early guitar most likely from the 1920's but the condition was fair. It would be a good player. The owners decided to STASH it for now. They were really happy about the appraised value but just are not ready to part with it. Keep an eye out for these because the prices can easily reach into the thousands.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fisher Tuner

This is a fine example of an item that is not "antique" in the purest sense of the word but definately falls into the you want to have one category. This is a vintage piece of stereo equipment from when we were all rocking out to Cheap Trick and The Who. Most stereo equipment falls into the trash category. This includes mom and dad's consule stereo unit and a majority of 8 trak players. This Fisher tuner is an exception to the rule.


High quality 1970's electronic equipment is very collectible and usable. Collectors are really seeking out and paying high dollar amounts for this type of equipment. So make sure you talk to mom to see what she did with your old stereo tuner. If it didn't get sent to Goodwill you will be able to turn it into $200.00!

Oh yeah, if you were smart enough to keep all of the original manuals and box add another $50.00