Monday, February 28, 2011

How Long Will It Take?

A couple of years ago Stephanie and I took on a small booth at a local miscellaneous store called the Wizzard of Odds. We did it mostly for the fun of it but it does have the added bonus of giving us a place to sell items that we otherwise would put into an auction. I tend to put inexpensive household and antiques into the store, on this occasion I put in a 19" color television with a remote.

The first question all of you should ask is "Does it work?". The answer is yes. The TV actually gets a pretty good picture, the sound is good and the remote works. I really didn't have any type of money in the item so I priced it at a whopping $8.00. I thought it would sell quickly at that price, I was wrong.

Three weeks passed and no sale on the TV. I really wanted to get rid of it so 2 weeks ago I reduced the price, or rather I eliminated the price, I put "free" on the tag. To tell the truth I expected it to go out of the store immediately. It didn't, I couldn't believe that there were no takers.

So today I taped a dollar bill on the screen. I asked the clerks in the store to call me when someone left with the TV. So far, no takers. I'll be back at the store later this week, if it is still there I'm going to tape a $5.00 bill to it. Any guesses as to how long it will be before its gone?
My guess, 6 days.

Sorry about the photo quality, phone camera.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bronze Satyr Statue Silenus

During the show this truly interesting statue was brought in for appraisal. The owner told us about how his mother had purchased it in Las Vegas at a garage sale. It had been brought back to the Youngstown area in the 1970's and it had been a fixture in their home ever since. The statue was large (mostly)standing almost 3' tall, it was cast in bronze and even though it was unsigned it was of obvious quality. The years had not been completely kind to it as it showed damage on the lower part of its leg. During the show I referred to the statue as being Zues, in reality it most likely a Satyr, possibly Silenus. Satyr's are minor gods that are often associated with fertility.

While doing the presentation I picked the statue up by placing my hands between the legs. To me it was the best way to handle it due to its weight. I was also concerned about the risk of dropping it. It was during this process that the crowd (including my mother in the front row, with her purse on her lap) broke out into a huge uproar as I found myself holding onto the statues 3rd leg. As far as this "leg" goes it was quite undersized, especially for a god, but then again I guess we all can't have huge feet.

So, once the crowd settled down I put an estimated price of $800 on the statue. I also included a caveat that the damage could drop the price significantly if the collectors deemed it too extensive. This is yet another reason why we should all frequent garage sales. Just make sure that when your handling one of these beauties that your careful of your hand placement.

1950's Space Age Lamp

Science fiction and Sputnik sparked the interest of just about everyone in the 1950's and 60's. The obvious result being the introduction of many items dealing with outer space. Whenever you see any vintage space age items you should pay attention. Lamps like this one can rocket your pocketbooks right into the stratosphere. This type of lamp is will sell very well in the $135.00 range.

See Us Live

Thanks to Justin.

Justin gave up weekend to produce a new video for me. The video was supposed to be a promo for my antiques and collectibles shows, but in reality it is a showcase for his production skills. So if you have 10:02 to spare take a look at this link to see what we really do.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

CASHIT, STASHIT, TRASHIT...The House Call That Ended With a Splash!

Over the years I have gone on many house calls. Usually these calls involve going to someones home and either purchasing items or offering to sell the items at auction. Even though this sounds exciting an lucrative it really isn't. Most of the time I would go to the homes to see left over garage sale items, broken dishes or something that should be set out at the curb. I would go to virtually every single one of the invitations because you just never know what you will find. The other part of going is the people that you meet. I have been in homes that are so perfectly kept that you feel that you should be walking in your bare feet (that were hopefully freshly washed) and I have been in homes that...

Well its time for a story.

Once upon a time I was invited to a home in a small village close to the thriving metropolis of Youngstown. Quiet town, quiet neighborhood, neat yard. The inside of the house interesting.

Upon arrival I was greeted by a enthusiastic mother and her daughter. They were excited because they were sure that I was going to be so impressed with their items and that I would certainly empty all of my bank accounts to get the treasures. They would have been right if it hadn't been for the birds and the pot (non smokable).

The birds are simple enough to explain. They were everywhere. The only thing missing was Alfred Hitchcock waddling by. The living room had at least 10 large cages with chirping, talking, squawking, molting, crapping birds in it. The deafening sound made normal communications impossible. Since I don't know sign language I had to revert to using a simple word that every married women knows extremely well, HUH? HUH, I couldn't understand a word they were saying, so I said HUH to just about all of it. I also reverted to another well known response used by married males, the head nod. All married women know that when you get the head nod he really has no clue as to what you just said, nor does he care. But here I was in this bird raging room where they seemed to know what I was saying and all I could do is go HUH and nod my head.

All of this must have translated to them as "He loves our stuff!!", what I was really thinking "There's bird shit on everything!". At this point who knows, I may have agreed to pay thousands for feces covered antiques. What I didn't know is the best part of the call was around the corner in the mother's bedroom.

A few things can happen to you when you get invited into a women's bedroom. One of them if you are a man (and not gay) can potentially be good. A second one is you will go in to see her antiques (which may also be true in the first case) and then there is a third thing that can happen, today was my lucky day, number three.

Number three is actually number two, not the number two see her antiques, number two the human bodily function. That's right I went into the bedroom to see antiques and was confronted by the only smell that could have possibly overridden the smell of the birds, number 2. Not only was the smell there but so was the pot, a personal potty, swishing, full, sitting (upright for the moment) in of all places, the center of the bed. They had sent me in to see the beautiful (their words) bedroom set, bed, dresser, vanity, two night stands and a full potty (?). As I looked, bewildered, at the set there was no way that I could of anticipated what would happen next.

No, thank god I did not knock it over, instead the mother shouted out (over the still cackling birds), "DID YOU GET THE &3IT OUT OF THE BEDROOM?" to her daughter. I remained silent (and non breathing) as the daughter responded "WHAT &3IT?". "THE %3IT IN THE BEDROOM!". It was at this point that the daughter raced into the room and hopped onto the bed to grab the pot with its unholy slurry. I watched as the vibrations caused by her leap caused the contents to, well splash from side to side inside of the container. Although only a small amount actually escaped over the top of the bowl it was still enough for me to momentarily forget about the squawking birds.

As I watched the daughter hurriedly remove the pot, I found myself for one of the few times in my life completely speechless. I came to the conclusion that the best response would be to remain silent. So I said nothing.

As I walked back into the living room where the mother, daughter and 10 bird cages were located I needed to come up with an excuse, any excuse, as to why I couldn't purchase anything from them that day. Always being courteous is important to me so I simply said that I needed to do some research before being able to make any offers. Thank God it worked. I said my goodbyes while easing my way back to the front porch. As I headed towards my car I couldn't help but notice that the pot was now located on the side of the house, tipped over.

Sometimes pot can make you feel good, it is used as a herbal remedy for many ills, in this case it turned out to be a bad trip for me. I never went back and they never called. All in all a good final result. So when faced with a ponderous pot of poop in a potty on pillow top, PUNT!

Friday, February 18, 2011

WMFJ Channel 21 Lunchtime News

Today's tv spot will be on WFMJ channel 21 at noon. Check it out today's menu...stuff that looks like trash but is really cash!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Weller Glendale Bowl..."I found it in the trash!"

This Weller Glendale bowl was actually found in someones trash. One mans trash is another mans treasure? In this case it sure is. Glendale is one of the better patterns produced by Weller Pottery. Pieces of Glendale in perfect condition sell for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars.

This piece is in perfect condition. No chips, no cracks, no crazing and no repairs. It came with a worn original box. To be truly complete it should have a flower frog, the trashkateers must have kept the frog for organizing their pencils. The valuation on this piece would be around $500.00. A nice little profit for one person, a pretty significant loss for another.

Cheap is good, free is better. Don't be afraid to stop by that interesting pile of trash at your neighbors house. If someone asks, tell them that your down on your luck and you thought that it would make your overly ripe bananas look better. Then go out with the profits and buy yourself dinner at a nice restaurant. Cash it don't Trash it!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WKBN Channel 27 First News at 5:00 PM

On Thursday, February 17, I will be doing a promo for the upcoming Mahoning Valley Home and Garden Show on channel 27's First News at 5:00 PM. Make sure that you tune in to see the show. Maybe if they have a huge ratings spike because of it I'll get a daily spot, and that will lead to a syndicated show, and that will lead to a new show that we will call Dave's Pawn Storage Wars Picking Cari Roadshow. The title may be a little long but we all have our dreams.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

1882 Lockwood Surprise Box Cap Shooter

Rare items occasionally show up at the antiques and appraisal shows and this item happens to be one of them. This animated cap shooter was produced in the late 1800's by Lockwood company. My first impression of it was that it would be valued around $500. Upon making this statement the owners informed me of an appraisal performed on the Antiques Road Show for the same item for over $3,000.

My assessment was too low on this item. Theirs too high. I agree that the item is rare. I agree that a top collector in a top auction, held in 2005, would have been willing to pay $3,000 for this cap shooter and I agree that my estimate was low. But...

This shooter was in western Pennsylvania, not in a top auction. That prices on virtually all antiques and collectibles have see significant drops in value in the last 5 years. This shooter was missing all of its original paint, the roadshows was not. This shooter was damaged, the roadshows was not.

So what would this item really sale for? I'm not sure. My inclination would be to keep the estimate on the conservative side and put it at $1,700. I know that this estimate is not what the owners would like to hear but the market is unstable. My recommendation would be to stash it and wait for a better economy. Always keep in mind, there are exceptions to everything. Any opinions?

Mahoning Valley Home and Garden Show

Come out with your antiques, collectibles, interesting junk or just about anything else to get a free appraisal at the Mahoning Valley Home and Garden Show. This event will be held at the Eastwood Expo Center in Niles, Ohio (directly adjacent to the Eastwood mall). Mr. Food, who can be seen daily on WKBN TV will proceed us with his show on Saturday, February 19 and Sunday, February 20. Times for the appraisals are as follows;

Saturday February 19 2-4 pm Free Appraisals
Sunday February 20 2-4 pm Free Appraisals

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Heuer Wrist Watches

Wrist watches are one of the most overlooked collectibles in today's markets. It seems as though dealers either know them and will pay excessively for them or they don't know them at all. This is exactly why you should learn about them. Since there are such extremes in selling prices knowing when to buy can result in great profits for you. I would strongly recommend purchasing The Complete Guide to Antique Watches price guide. This is a very good book that will assist you in identifying and pricing wrist (and pocket) watches. The 2011 version can be purchased for around $25.00.
This particular Heuer wrist watch would sell for around $275.00. The condition of the watch is what effected its value the most. The watch was very well worn, with noticeable scratches on the watch and band. Keep in mind that for the most part watch collecting is done primarily by men and because of this men's watches tend to be higher priced than women's watches. Another item to pay attention to is what the watch is made of. Many quality watches are 10-14-18k gold. Typically the cases will weigh 2-4 pennyweight (not including the band) this alone would amount to $50-100 (gold content).
In future blogs I will get a little deeper into valuing watches. Pocket watches, women's watches and continuing ed on wrist watches. Today's blog is a note to you to keep your eyes open for opportunity. Later on we will get into details.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

These Auction Prices are Insane!

These prices are ridiculous! I can't buy anything! Can you believe the number of people here? I thought the economy was bad. Crazy idiots.

These were the comments that I have heard repeatedly this week. I have been attending auctions for over 30 years now and I can tell all of you that it happens this way every year. I don't know if it is caused by cabin fever, income tax returns or the need for inventory but auction prices escalate during the winter months in this icy abode that we call Ohio.

For many years I too sat through auction after auction in the winter time achieving nothing but frustration. My ability to make money disappeared just like the summer sun. Being backup bidder (which is worthless) on items that I wanted to purchase became the norm. I would become the Sisyphus of auction goers. The frustration of not completing a task (making money) being ever present. So what is the answer?

If you can't beat them join them. Absolutely anyone who subscribes to this is an idiot. This blog is dedicated to helping you know what, how and when to buy. Joining the crowd and potentially over paying for items just for the sake of owning them, not too smart.

Sit back and observe. This response is O.K. but it still does not make you any money (today). I will tell all of you that attending auctions is one of the best ways to become knowledgeable about the values of items. The knowledge that you gain will help you to make money in the future, but it still is not a solution for today.

I personally subscribe to this...BEAT THE OVER BIDDERS AT THEIR OWN GAME!

How do you beat overly competitive people in the wintertime in Ohio? Simple. Become the seller, not the buyer. The best way to win the game of selling antiques and collectibles this time of year is to become the seller at auction, after all wouldn't it be wonderful if it was your $300 item that sold for $1,000 at the auction. Imagine the smile on your face when the overspent money is coming into your pocket instead of out of your pocket.

When prices are low in the late summer and fall buy, buy, buy. Store it in your garage, attic or local storage center (just remember to pay your rent or I may end up with it). Then schedule an auction with your favorite auctioneer and watch the fun. There is an element of risk (3 feet of snow can kill a sale) but generally speaking you will be selling at the time of year when auction prices peak. Last week I had two separate consignments with different auctioneers with the end result being more than triple (after commissions) the value that I would have received any other time of year.

Solution to winter time buying blues:




So don't get caught pushing stones up to the top of the mountain with the end result that the stone rolls back to the bottom. This is when you should cash it in.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Seven Days Soligen Razor Set

Every now and then someone brings in one of those really rare items that just makes you say wow! That was the case with this razor set that was brought in at our Pittsburgh show. You just don't have unused, sets of any kind show up, much less in their original case. This Solingen razor set would make a collectors of razors or barbershop items mouths water.

The set was given to the gentlemen who brought them by one of his customers. They were unused when he received them and to his credit he never used them either. I estimated the set between $600 to $800. Remember, there will always be a premium price attached to any collectible item that is unused, in the original box and in excellent condition.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I've Got Blisters on My Fingers, Pittsburgh Steelers of the Century

Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers of the Century, Limited Edition Jersey. I am amazed that as I was touching this that I did not spontaneously burst into flames. Such is the life of a Cleveland Browns fan. To their credit the people of Pittsburgh were a fantastic group at the appraisal show that we held in conjunction with The Ohio Home Shows presentation in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. They were a fun and very well versed in the valuation of the antiques and collectibles that they brought in. But, DID THEY REALLY NEED TO BE WEARING ALL OF THOSE STEELERS JERSEYS?

Well to tell the truth, yes they did. One of these days the Browns might, maybe, hopefully win a chance to possibly get to the game (any game). For the Steelers its a yearly pilgrimage.

This type of jersey was produced for each of the teams in the NFL. These jerseys are in fact considered to be counterfeits. They are not licensed by the NFL and are of less quality, than an officially licensed jersey. Technically speaking if you were to try selling these at a local flea market they could be confiscated and impounded by law enforcement.

Reality however is a little different. It does not appears as though the NFL is actively pursuing enforcement. These jerseys are being sold on Ebay and other venues for around $45.00. So in the final analysis, if you don't care about the licensing go ahead and buy one. If being 100% legal and above board is important to you, then stay away from these and purchase items that are officially licensed by the NFL. The blisters on my fingers? Slowly healing. My ego? Destroyed.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Old Hickory Chair

Old Hickory furniture company has been in business since 1892 in Martinsville, Indiana. Simple, easy to identify and virtually indestructible this furniture is found both indoors and out. This piece came out of a local auction and is an example of a "new" chair. Although my first preference is to purchase older pieces of Old Hickory, sometimes you have to take what you can get. For anyone seeing this type of furniture for the first time the old and new pieces have virtually the same look. Antique pristine Old Hickory that has been used only indoors will carry hefty prices. If this chair were a vintage piece from the early 1900's with the original woven seats you could expect to pay $300 or more for it. A weathered chair from the same period would bring $150.
This chair would bring around $75.00. If this chair had the woven seat the price would increase to around $125.00. Keep an eye out for these at garage sales and auctions. The chairs will be marked with either a metal tag or they will have a burned in mark. These marks can typically be found on the legs or stretchers. Old Hickory produced a wide variety of items so make sure that whenever you see furnishings with hickory as the primary wood you check for the markings.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cranberry Home Show

This weekend on Saturday, February 5, and Sunday, February 6 we will be conducting an antiques and collectibles appraisal show in conjunction with the Cranberry Home Show. The show will be from 1:00 to 3:00 each day. Come on down and bring your antiques and collectibles for a free appraisal.