I really didn't do too much this weekend, so I spent a few minutes looking back at old photo's of treasures past. This one popped up and I thought it was pretty cool so here we go.
This mounted mountain lion showed up a a local auction several years ago. I was immediately interested in it because cool looking, unusual items often sell very well. The problem with this mount is (was) you have to be very careful about selling certain types of animals. I'm really not sure about why, after all they are already dead, but the department of wildlife frowns on the selling of certain mounts. Their frowning comes with high fines, jail terms and public embarrassment.
So, before bidding on it I did some research. This particular type of taxidermy it is legal to sell. I ended up purchasing it for around $100. The question now became what do I do with it. Initially I attempted selling it at the antique mall. I priced it at $450, I chose this price after some Internet research showed other dealers asking $1,500 or more for similar mounts. The antique mall that I have space in has a price point of $8.00 so needless to say, it didn't sell.
Being a consummate daredevil I decided to try the auction route. This may seem like a crazy concept to some of you but, buying at one auction and then selling at another can be a very effective method in money making. Auction goers tend to become "groupies" for one particular auctioneer (or auction company), and will ignore all other auction companies. It seems silly to me because I try to go to every auction I can, but then I really don't care because it enables me to make more money.
The other auctioneer in this case was a whopping 40 miles from where I initially purchased the lion. The result of this gamble, a profit of $800 after commissions. That's right $800. The lion was advertised the same at each auction, the difference being the stuffed animal buyers went to one auction and would not go the other.
Insane? Sure, but then again, who cares. Your goal as a dealer is to make a living for yourself. Paying attention at all auctions to see who buys what, and where they buy it at can really payoff for you.