Tuesday, January 31, 2012

End Tables

Not very interesting today, but very practical. End tables. They like many items are in virtually every home. This set was in a mahogany finish, with a gently flowing cabriole leg. The set was in perfect condition and as a bonus, made by a known manufacturer, Drexel. Originally purchased for close to $500 for the set they should be considered by anyone looking to make money.

Maybe not. One thing that you have to keep in mind when buying things like used furniture is, how much of this type of furniture is actually available. When you are driving home from work today, count the number of homes that you pass. For the majority of you it will be several hundred. Then think about the fact that most (probably close to 90% ++) of these homes have a set of end tables in them. Then come to a rational conclusion, high availability / average demand equals low price.

I sold this set for seventy five dollars. Five hundred new, seventy five used. Whenever you have items that are widely available with average or below average demand, figure low resale prices. On the plus side if you are looking for stands (or other common items), patience will usually get you something good for a low price. I actually purchase this set for $35 at a local auction. Ultimately, the trick is to be aware; buy low / sell moderate.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cranberry Home Show

This weekend, February 4 & 5, we will be conducting a free antiques and appraisals show. Grab your best stuff, antiques, collectibles, jewelry or just about anything else and come out to the show for a free appraisal.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Safe! Your OUT!! Of Your Mind!!!

There's an easy way, there's a hard way. Take the easy. So, what did I do today? I purchased a safe. Why? I don't really know. It just seemed like a good idea.

Today, I attended an auction that had, among other things this very large, very heavy safe. When it was announced that they had the combination, I was so taken, that I through my hand up in the air, and in a single flash of a second, it was all mine. Weighing in at around 400 pounds I now have the honor of trying to move it. The real question is where? My living room? The basement? How about leaving it on the back of my pick up for added weight in these tough winter months.

Stupid people do stupid things, smart people do stupid things, since I am neither, I suppose that this means that average people do stupid things. Oh well, I'll try selling it on craigslist before I'm forced to move it. It probably won't happen. Do you think that Stephanie (my loving wife) would like to see this in her kitchen? Maybe if I put a flower arrangement on top of it first....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Have No Clue

In the gotcha category, this item came into the Easton Show for appraisal. The problem, I have absolutely no clue as to what it is. This happens occasionally, do any of you have an idea as to what it is? Send me an email if you do.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tiffany and Company Sterling Candlesticks

This pair of Tiffany and Company, sterling silver candlesticks came through the Easton Home Show this past weekend. This pair defies the odds. Most candlesticks are worth the weight of the silver only, the exceptions to the rule are usually name associated. Tiffany, George Jenson and Taxico (Taxico must come with identifying makers marks) are among the few that will exceed scrap silver prices. This particular set I appraised for $450-500 for the pair.

"But people are asking more for them on eBay." This is absolutely true. An eBay search will reveal that several similar pairs of Tiffany candlesticks are being offered for sale at a much higher price. The key to this is "offered for sale". Simply stated, anyone can ask any price, for any item, anytime they want. This is not a guarantee that they are worth that amount. If you want to actually sell them, get them priced at $500, if you want them to sit, price them at $1,000 or more.

The reality on a pair of candlesticks like this is they are available. In other words "not extremely rare". Not everything marked Tiffany is rare or for that matter expensive. The name does help, but, the name does not automatically make them worth thousands. In summary, if you see Tiffany candlesticks you want to try to buy them. Just don't be crazy about it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sand shaker / Pounce Pots

OK, someone stumped me! Saturday, we were conducting an appraisal show in Columbus, Ohio (FabulousEaston Home Show)' and a gentlemen brought in a small wooden shaker. Initially I misidentified it as a salt shaker and was told its true identity as a sand shaker.

Sand shakers were used to dry ink. They originally dated back to the 1600's and had continuous use thru the early 1900's. I correctly dated the shakers to the mid 1800's, I also correctly appraised them at $100 each. A subsequent eBay search unveiled several of the same vintage selling for $80-100. Sometimes even when you don't know an item specifically, you can still come to a price that is correct. It's just a simple matter of connecting the antiques and collectibles dots, and adding 35 years of experience.

As I have said before, every single day I learn something new today it was about sand shakers / pounce pots.

I'll follow up with a photo on Monday, I still haven't totally figured out this iPad for putting on photos.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Staffordshire Dogs

This pair of Staffordshire dogs came in at our show in Columbus, last year. Original Staffordshire dogs were very desirable back in the day. A good set could sell in the thousand dollar range. Then a bad thing happened on the way to the forum, they started reproducing them.

Some reproductions are easy to pick out. They have obvious flaws or are of such lower quality that determining them to be repro's is an easy task. Staffordshire dogs are a little more difficult. Many of the repro's are actually pretty good. This fact along with a declining market in general for classic antiques such as these, has lead to a drastic drop in prices.

A quick look at eBay will show you that the reproduction dogs can be purchased for just a few dollars. A good set of verified antique dogs sell for around $250. Quite a drop from the good old days. I would suggest to anyone who is just going for the look, buy the new. You don't have to worry as much about them being broken, and the overall appearance is close enough to the old, that you won't notice the difference.

For you antique purists out there, make sure that you ask for a guarantee on any dogs that you purchase...especially on any online purchases.

Monday, January 16, 2012

This weekend; Appraisals at the Easton Home Show

Ou annual tour of the home show circuit, begins this weekend in Columbus,Ohio. This years first sow is at the Aladdin Shrine, 3850 Stetzler Road, Columbus, Ohio. We will be on stage on Saturday, January 21 from 1:00-3:00 pm. On Sunday, January 22, we will beon stage from 1:00 - 3:00 pm.

If you have antiques and collectibles this is the place to be this weekend. Everything from fine artwork to boxes of buttons will be brought in for our live, interactive presentation. So even if you don't have anything yourself, come on in to see what shows up.

Appraisals are limited to one item per person during the live portion of the show. Additional items will be appraised after the live shows end. Furniture cam be appraised through photographs.

So, come on in for your free appraisals and enjoy seeing all of your favorite home improvement vendors.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Nissan truck update.

When I purchased this truck it wasn't running. I thought I knew what was wrong with it, I was wrong.

Today, I actually made some time to work on it. When I finally got it to start, the truck was running so rough that it would have been impossible to drive. So, I decided to try the obvious fix, a tune up. My reasoning was sound, by eliminating all of the typical stuff that would make a car not run right, I would be able to concentrate on whatever major problem it really had.

So off to the parts store, $135 later I had all of the basics needed to do a tune up on the truck. I started with the easiest first, the air filter. I pried off the clips holding it in place, and I tried to remove the filter. As I pulled out the filter I noticed a huge amount of "fluff", this "fluff"was created by some type of rodent living in what used to be a air intake.

It took about 10 minutes of cleaning to fix the problem. Afterwords the truck ran perfectly. The moral of the story, don't ever allow mice to nest in your automobiles engine compartment. As it turns out I could have fixed the truck for free.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A&W Auction Insanity

Today, I worked at an auction for the iconic A&W restaurant in Boardman, Ohio. It's fame was based on its long history as a hangout for car aficionado's. The auction was conducted by Paul Basinger Auctions. Paul is a master of promotions. This sale was promoted on television and print media like few others that I have ever attended.

The crowd was tremendous. The prices equaled the crowd. The equipment's prices were on the high average side, the memorabilia would knock your socks off. Groups of 4 A&W mugs were selling for over $150, the ordering stations averaged over $300 each, porcelain signs sold for $900 each and the clock brought an amazing $800. What makes this even more impressive is there was a 10% buyers premium added to all purchases.

But, even though each of these items did fantastic, two other items set new standards for auction insanity.

The first was a photograph of two hot rods, I like hot rods as much as any other guy, but the two gentlemen bidding on this photo must really like hot rods. The photo sold for over $400!! It's not like this was an exceptionally rare photo. I actually thought that it was a good quality stock photo. I either really missed it this one, or they did. I'm voting for them. Sometimes with memorabilia bidders get caught up in the moment, this was one of those moments.

But, as crazy as the photo was the plastic gum ball machine was beyond imagination. I personally thought it should bring around $350-400, not at this sale, it brought in a whopping$2,300!!! The photo is a little grainy, but, I think you get the idea.

There are times when auction magic defies logic. It will happen whenever buyers become enamored with the idea of owning a perceived piece of history. So the next time that you think that you have to own a $10 item for $200 think of this lesson, then leave immediately.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Success at the car auction

Last Saturday, Stephanie and I wenT on a whirlwind auction tour. The first stop of the day was at George Roman's Auto Auction. I usually try to attend all of the car auctions for a couple of reasons. One very good reason is every now and then a car (or truck) will sell for a reasonable price. A second is the auctions are a lot of fun.

This particular truck was towed in. For the most part tow vehicles are a huge gamble. Typically they are wrecked beyond driving, or they have some horrendous mechanical problem. This Nissan would turn over but once it was started it would immediately stall out whenever the gas pedal was depressed. This made it impossible to drive.I gambled.

A few years back I had another car that did the same exact thing. The darn car would start and as soon as you tried to put it into drive it would stall. I fixed it by replacing the mass air flow sensor. It's a $100 part that anyone with a screwdriver can fix. In absolute terms I didn't know that this was the problem but I took a chance.The gamble paid off. I paid $1,150 for the truck and after paying for it I tested the air flow sensor.

Bingo!!It ran fine! Now I know that I'll be spending several hundred more to get the truck just right, but where can you buy anything for that much money. The trick to buying cars at auction is patience, observation and a little luck. Patience means passing on a lot of cars before the right one comes along. Observation, look carefully at every car and be willing to bid on the best one. Luck, pray that you were right about the first two.

This is about the 20th car or truck that I have bought at auction. I've had a few that we're bigger pains in the @&/es than they were worth. But, because I paid so little for them I've never lost any money. Often I've made pretty good money on them. So give the car auctions a try. They are like a box of chocolates Forrest.

Oh yeah, it's a 4x4, automatic,a/c and a little on the dirty side.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Whiffle Pinball Machine


Business is slowly picking up. Yesterday, I had a call to look at the contents of an old garage. It turned out to be mostly miscellaneous junk, but hidden in the attic was this really cool Whiffle pinball machine made in Youngstown, Ohio in the 1930's. This particular machine was in poor condition. It had been sitting in the old garage attic for as long as anyone could remember.

The wood was suffering from varying degess of dry rot, the base was very shaky and it was missing several pieces of trim work. Rodents of some type had decided that it made a great placeto hide their nuts for winter, it was full of nutshells. In spite of all of this I wanted it anyway.

I offered $250 for it based on its need for extensive repairs. They didn't sell it. My guess is they were unduly influenced by eBay. I checked on it after leaving and found that someone was trying to sell their Whiffle for $1,400. It was in far better condition (the one on ebay) and I suspect that they were fishing, hoping to get a higher than average price. The sellers most likely saw this and thought that my offer was to low.

It wasn't. One of the problems with inexperienced sellers doing their own research is they don't really understand how the business works. An asking price is not necessarily an indication of true value. In this case the ebayer was plain too high. Whiffle's in good working condition sell for $700 in the Youngstown area. Poor condition models like this one sell for $350. My offer of $250 was more than reasonable given its condition. Since I do Need to make something on my purchases I had to walk away.

This business can be frustrating at times. I wish that every deal worked out for everyone but sometimes you just can't make it happen.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Winter costs money.

I succomed to the pressures of boredom, I went to a casino today. Bad move. I should stick to what I know!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Surviving The Winter In NE Ohio, Judge Judy or Work in the Cold?

Today's big adventure...standing outside in fourteen degree weather looking at repossessed cars. Since there are not many auctions or for that matter many anythings going on right now, I will do pretty much anything to occupy my time. Good friends of mine run a bimonthly auto auction and when things are busy for them they ask me to help out. My task is to write up auto condition reports. In a nutshell I look at the cars and write down what I see. It's real high tech, paper, pencil and clipboard in hand I simply look the cars over!

It doesn't t pay exceptionally well but I do make more doing this than I would sitting at home watching Judge Judy, though I do enjoy watching episodes of stupid people and their lease issues. A second by product is I get to take a first hand look at the cars without other people watching me. This is a great advantage on auction day. I'm able to look closer and longer than everyone else so I can make better buying decisions. This is vitally important to a person who won't spend more than $1,000 on a car!

So this Saturday, armed with all of this superior knowledge I hope to pick out a possible replacement for the red truck that I currently don't like. I'll let you know how it works out.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sorry about the photo's

For some unknown reason the photo's from yestarday's post did not show up all of the time. Hopefully its fixed now.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

GMC Truck

GMC two wheel drive trucks are great in the summer. They absolutely suck in the winter. I spent the day trying to drive this toboggan around town. A dog sled would have been better, but my sledding team is a little weak. They seem more concerned with staying warm than pulling a sled. I haven't seen an antique worth buying in 4 weeks.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Wig Auction

This time of year there just isn't enough going on to kep me occupied. So I will go to absolutely any auction that I can find. Today's sale was at a now defunct wig and hairpiece store. Since I am somewhat follically challenged trying one on "just to see", seemed like a great idea.

I picked out this little number because it seemed to match up to my skin type and color. It was a dark brown with purple hues. Unfortunately a very large person with a much greater need for a brown and purple wig outbid me. I'm pretty sure that I would look better as a redhead. Hopefully the antiques auctions will start again soon!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

As Seen on Television, $50 Buffalo Gold Coins

The commercials seem to run constantly. Fourteen Milligrams of pure 24 karat gold. First issued by the U.S. Government demand was so high that they are no longer available. You can now buy these exact replica's. Limited time offer. Buy now to secure your future. Introductory price of $9.95 plus shipping and handling. National Collector's Mint. Strict Limit of 5 proofs per order. Certificate of authenticity. With gold skyrocketing to over $1,500 per ounce, price can only be guaranteed for 7 days. Based on famous buffalo nickle designed by James Earl Fraser. Made out of .9999 gold that's four nines. Wildly popular with collectors. Iconic. Final issue was going to be $50 each now only $9.95. Must hurry, avoid disappointment and future regret.

Wow, what a great deal!. Being able to buy a $50 gold piece for only $9.95, get your credit cards out, but before you do lets put on our thinking caps and see if its worth it.

Let's do some math:

Assume gold at $1,600 per ounce (actually higher than their advertised claims).

Gold $1,600
Pure content x .9999

total 1,599.84

divide by grams per ounce

.9999 pure 1,599.84
Grams per ounce 31.1

total 51.41

Sounds great so far, oops need to divide by 1,000 to get the cost per milligram

Cost per gram 51.41
Divide by 1,000 1,000

Total .o51

Now multiply by 14, the number of milligrams your actually purchasing

Cost per milligram .051
# of milligrams 14

Total Value $ .72

That's right seventy two cents of gold for only 9.95 (don't forget to add shipping charges).

Doing reverse math gold would have to be worth $30,603 per ounce to break even on your investment. What a deal!!!