Sunday, April 25, 2010

Women's Underwear

I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert on this particular type of collectible due to my vast experience in handling them. That right! Thongs to Grannie panties I've seen them all. Every time that the opportunity arises I will examine, touch and even look inside every pair that I can possibly get my hands on. I have examined them at flea markets, auctions and garage sales. Most of the time people (women in particular) look at me with complete disgust and condemnation. That dirty old man touching women's underwear. How could he?


Everyone listen, there's money in them panties. No, I'm not talking about 5 year old used underwear. I'm talking about a little known about market for unused women's undergarments from the 1960's and earlier. Why unused? Lets not get gross here, although I'm sure that there are people with unusual fetishes that is not what this is about. It is about filling niche in the vintage/antique clothing industry. Namely Hollywood, and movie making.

Hollywood? Yes, Hollywood. Think about it. The movie industry produces hundreds of films in any particular year. Most of these films strive for complete authenticity in every facet of their production. When you watch a movie based on a 1950's theme would you expect to see a 2010 Honda Accord driving by? The answer is certainly not. The same can be said of the clothing that is used in the productions. In that same movie would you expect to see your favorite actress in a bedroom scene scantily clad in a Victoria's Secrete thong? No.

Authenticity in movies is important. The desire to be authentic extends to the dainties that the actresses wear in the roles. So guess what...there is a need for unused women's underwear. Whenever you are at a sale where old clothing is present always take a look! Amazing enough it does turn up.

How much will they pay? Well, I have sold vintage unused underwear (panties) for prices exceeding $400 a pair. Yes, I will repeat that over four hundred dollars a pair. Bra's typically sell for $50 to $200 each. It is important to note that this is for unused, mint condition undergarments. Buy it only when it is in perfect condition. Is there money in women's underwear (take your mind out of the gutter now)? An emphatic YES is the answer. Don't forget;


Clean, mint condition

With tags

1960's and earlier

Finally, you will most likely be the only person at the sale to know about this one. Because of that you will be able to buy them cheap, and coincidentally make a lot of money on them.

Cash it in!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Washing Machine meets Camera!

So, how are all of you doing? I've been remiss the last couple of days not putting up any new posts and I do have a reason (excuse). It seems that my camera came up missing. I've gotten into the habit of carrying the camera with me wherever I go. It all started with a few missed opportunities to get photo's for what I thought would be interesting stories. The common sense answer, keep your camera with you at all times. Great idea except for one thing, remember to take your camera out of your jacket pocket on wash day.

You see, my wife is a very diligent keeper of the home. Everything is clean and in order, all of the time. This is a good thing because I do not necessarily follow this same creed. I have been known to well, "put things away" by leaving them in a spot where I hope that she will not find them. In this case I foolishly left my jacket laying by the computer (on the floor in a knot), in my basement office. When wash day came, she of course picked up my "dirty" jacket and into the wash it went, camera included.
Oops! Getting old is not as fun as the commercials would have you believe. I know that everything from incontinence to denture cream awaits me but I had no clue that senility would strike so early. First, I forgot to hang up my jacket, second, I forgot about where the camera was and finally I forgot about my wife's obsession with cleanliness. The result; I'll be getting a new camera!

Although I pride myself in being able to sell just about anything this one may be beyond having a value. Maybe if it dries out a little? Any offers? Feel free to shoot me an email.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rogers Flea Market

Once in a while I actually have to get out and work for a living. The overwhelming amount of time that I spend "buying" stuff to sale has to be tempered with the need to obtain new cash so that I can continue to get "fixes". Yeah, I'm a hopeless "JUNKIE". I have spent time in the gutters going through trash, I have spent time sneaking into garages in the hopes of finding unknown treasures and yes, I would even sale the family pet "Gus" so that I could get more stuff.

No, I really wouldn't sell Gus, but I do have it pretty bad. So it was off to the flea market. Rogers, can be described using many adjectives: dusty, hot, huge, fun, great, crowded, tiring, impossible, fantastic, too early, too late, cheap and unusual. It is all of these and many more. My day at Rogers actually started two days before when I reserved a grassy spot along a gravel road. When I called I actually got one of the few remaining selling spots available for the day, number 2032. Well over 2,000 vendors were set up on a beautiful sunny Good Friday and the number of buyers, phenomenal. I estimated the crowd at around 60,000.

So, how did I do? Fair. The dealers that usually comprise around 70% of my sales were as always, very good. The general public sales seemed to be weak. It wasn't so much that they were cheap or that they were not finding that special item to add to their collection, it was that they weren't looking at all. I spent a large portion of the afternoon watching people just walk by. It happens like this sometimes. Too hot, too bored and just not ready to buy. When this happens I just sit back relax and watch.

If you have never tried selling at a flea market you should. You will be amazed at not only the people, but what sales and for how much. I was lucky on this day it was sunny, warm and not too hot. Overall, a plain great experience.

So give it a try. The recipe:

Throw a few tables into the back of the mini-van

Take a little bit of change

Toss some junk (I mean antiques) into the van

Get there early

Sell it as fast as you can.

Good luck!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Atmos Clocks

Sometimes I'm really smart. Sometimes I'm really stupid. I'm really smart when I go to an auction and find a $200 treasure in the bottom of a box lot that I just paid $3 for. I'm really stupid when I go to an auction and miss a $1000 treasure because I made an untrue assumption.

Remember the old adage about the word assume? Assume; it makes an ass out of u and me. Well on Saturday, I managed to make an ass out of me. It all started with a typical household auction. I got to the auction my typical 1 hour prior to its start. During the preview instead of doing my review of every item that would be offered for sale that day, I instead became involved in a long conversation with the auctioneer who happens to be a good friend of mine.

We talked about golf. Not Tiger Woods golf, we talked about our own miserable game. He told me in detail about how poorly he played last week. I in turn told him about how poorly I play every week. He told me about how he was going to get lessons. I told him about how every lesson I ever had made me play worse. Then we talked about bowling. He told me about how the season was over and about his 194 average. I talked about how I went bowling once this year and about how my 13 year old daughter beat me. We then talked about.....

And so it went. I spent 50 minutes talking and 10 minutes previewing. It seemed like plenty of time to preview to me due to the fact that the sale was mostly household items. I proudly discovered a set of flatware that I knew was worth $250, I ascertained that one lamp was worth $300, I used superior intellect to determine that a set of three prints was worth $60 and I confidently concluded that a plastic bag filled with Euros was worth $30. Everything else was well, junk.

STUPID!! The exact adjectives and colorful metaphors that I used to express my disgust with myself should not be entered into a blog designed to be "family" friendly. Overconfidence, not paying attention and yes, assuming were my downfall. I should have looked. I should have known. I should have paid attention. Instead of talking I should have looked at every item. I should have known that every item deserves to be properly previewed. I should have paid attention during the selling of the item because even after everything else I still had the opportunity to correct the mistake.

I allowed myself to not see what was right in front of me. I go to auctions every day and every auction seems to have some type of anniversary clock. After seeing several thousand of these clocks I just stopped looking. They just are not worth the effort (except this time). They are only worth a few dollars (except this time). You don't even need to bother looking at them (except this time).

O.K. Atomos clocks, as described in an advertisement for them:
ATMOS clocks are technological marvels. Inside each clock are a hermetically sealed capsule that holds a combination of liquids and gas that expands and contracts as temperatures rise and contracts as temperatures fall. This motion constantly winds the mainspring a variation of only 1 degree centigrade being sufficient for two days operation.

Every ATMOS clock is made entirely by hand, and with some models, a single clock takes over one month to produce. The incredible precision of the ATMOS manufacture produces clocks that have an expected life of over 600 years.

New cost: over $4000.

Over the years I have seen thousands of anniversary clocks most are not worth the time of day. Never ASSUME that because 99% of the time that something is true that exceptions don't happen. Don't let your arrogance stop you from examining every item because you think that you already know the answer. Pay attention! Because even after everything else that I have said I still had the opportunity to correct it when the auctioneer announced that he was now selling an ATMOS clock.

The final analysis of my errors. Used ATMOS clocks sell for between $500 and $3,000 and I never looked at it. I had a great conversation about golf. The clock that I did not look at sold for $90. Stupid

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lionel Train Sets

Lionel and American Flyer are two types of trains that everyone should be keeping their eyes open for. The golden age for toy trains was in the 1950's and 1960's. Train sets were one of the greatest gifts that a young man could get during this period in time. Because of this trains in good condition command high prices in today's market.
This set was a Pennsylvania freight set that was of 1950's vintage. We sold this set in 2002 for over $1,200. The set had the original engine, cars, track, transformer and switches. Keep an eye out for the diesel engines in particular. The diesels seem to bring better prices than the steam engines because fewer were produced. There are also sub collecting groups for "S" gauge, "N" gauge, LGB, HO and others. So pay attention whenever you see trains at the garage sales, flea markets and auctions.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

And They Call Themselves Professionals

I am an auctioneer Licensed and Bonded by the Department of Agriculture in the State of Ohio. I know that the title Licensed and Bonded by the Department of Agriculture in the State of Ohio is a little on the long side but that is how we are required by law to present ourselves. The laws concerning auctions and auctioneers are both complex and strictly enforced. One law that the legislators apparently missed was the one on stupidity.

Auctioneers don't have to be smart, nor do they have to apparently be good photographers. This wonderful photo is part of an online auction that is currently being held. Shame on the auctioneer for putting on such a poor photograph. Presentation is going to be one of the major factors in the determining the final selling price. If this were a live (onsite) auction the lousy photo would not be acceptable, when its an online auction only, unspeakable.

People selling their own items on a website such as ebay can photo their items however they want. It is their own personal property and if they are willing to take a loss on it due to sloppy photography thats O.K.. In this case someone went out and hired a licensed auctioneer to sell their items. The auctioneer apparently convinced the seller that an online auction was the best option for them. I guess that they forgot to tell them about their inability to take a decent photo.

Choose your auctioneer well! Ability to call an auction is a small part of the job. Knowledge about what you are selling and obviously the ability to properly promote, in this case photograph the auction are extremely important. I may be leaving you under the impression that I am not happy about this poor example, you would be right. I guess this is an example of brutal honesty.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Madame Alexander "Glinda" Doll

Madame Alexander Dolls at one time were one of the most collectible dolls ever produced. When I was in my early 20's I worked in the toy department at a major downtown store. For those of you under the age of forty; downtowns at one time had stores that you could actually shop at, unlike today's modern downtown districts that are full of empty buildings (oxymoron) and sports arenas where the big draw is the annual empty parking lot show. Anyway, on the days when shipments of Alexander dolls were received the employees were expected to go to their "call" lists to make sure that all of the potential Alexander doll buyers were notified of the new arrivals. The collectors would actually rush down to the store so that they could get the best picks from the shipment.

Great story, but what are they worth today? Well it depends. We need to answer some questions first.

1. Do you have a 6" or 10" doll?

2. Do you have the original blue box?

3. Is yours "vintage" from the 1970's or earlier or is it a modern McDonald's version?

4. Do you smoke?

5. Was the doll ever in a house where someone smoked?

6. Is the doll missing any of the clothing (including shoes)?

7. Is the original tissue paper present?

8. Does the box have any foxing?

9. Is there any musty smell to the box?

10. Has the doll been exposed to sunlight?

11. Was the doll displayed and exposed to dust?

12. Has it been played with?

These are just a few of the questions that you may have to answer before you can sell the damn thing.

O.K. here are the answers to the basic questions above:

1. 6"

2. yes

3. yes, 1960's

4. no

5. no

6. no

7. yes

8. yes

9. no

10. no

11. yes

12. no

Good now we know all of the pertinent facts. Your 6" doll in the original blue box with the original tissue paper that is a vintage 1960's piece from a non smoking home that has a slight amount of foxing (wear) that doesn't smell musty that was not exposed to sunlight but was displayed and was never played with (major run on but I am doing this to make a point!) is worth a whopping $15.00. STASH IT! PLAY WITH IT! GIVE IT AWAY AS A GIFT! But don't spend a lot of time worrying about how much it should be worth.

Check every Alexander doll out, there are exceptions! Some Alexander dolls are great. This one is simply too common.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

German Bisque Figurine's Black Americana

What a great set of Black Americana. The grouping of 4 children sitting in and around a treasure chest has a high collectibility.

This figure was impressed Germany and also contained some identifying numbers. The piece was in great condition with no chips, cracks or crazing noted. Damage can be a killer on the value of any type of antique or collectible. The great condition and subject matter make this bisque a real winner. Cash it in at around $250.00.

Email me your photo's & questions

Do you have something and you just don't know what its worth? Send me an email with photo's if you have them and I will answer them. Anything from lamps to coins.


Do you like the format? Do you have any suggestions on how and what you would like to see?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

So what do you do with an old bowling ball? A sphere of rubber or plastic with 3 holes drilled in it. You could use it as a planter. I have seen people paint them and use them for lawn ornaments. Cannonball? Boat Anchor? Pretty much a useless item unless you have dreams of one last 300 game before retiring it.

They don't sale at garage sales, auctions or flea markets. They are too large to be used in boccie tournaments. They make lousy cat toys (even with a little catnip sprinkled on it ). So what do you do?

Trash, Trash Trash! Two great ways to get rid of them. The first one is simple put them out at the curb. Your trash man will hate you for putting such a heavy item out but oh-well. Second, go out and bowl one last game with it and accidentally forget to take it home with you. The bowling proprietor just loves getting free bowling balls so make sure you go to a place where the chances of anyone recognizing you are zero. One exception wooden balls (not to be confused with brass). So if your balls are made of wood make sure you have someone check them out before put them into the trash.