There is money in these streets!

Well, sidewalks anyway….

Today just before closing, a man came into the shop with a thousand dollar bill

As you can see, this isn’t your average “Cleveland”. This bill is encased in lucite.

The $1000 bill was printed until 1946, and taken out of circulation in by the federal reserve in 1969 by the federal reserve under the direction of Nixon. Nixon believed the higher denomination currency made it easier for criminals to launder money.

This $1000 was in a sidewalk in Barrington, RI. Apparently a homeowner in Barrington put a $1000, a $100, a $50 and a $20 all in the walkway. The home owner (according to the neighbor) put the money in there and enjoyed watching people trying to dig it out. It had been there for as long as she could remember…and was removed today.

The man who brought the bill in was doing construction on that neighbors house, and decided to take his hammer drill and pull that bad boy out of the ground.

He had already brought it to the bank and they said they could not accept it because they could not physically touch it, so he brought it to me.

I sort of wish I bought it, but I didn’t. I love quirky stories and local history, and this was both. As a mater of fact, I even put something in the sidewalk cement during construction just recently. But I don’t think that someone will try to get it out in 50+ years from now, it is only a buffalo nickel with my initials. (See that blog here: Wet Cement)

I told him he could contact the Internal Revenue Service and they would be able to “remove it from circulation” and would probably send him a check for $720. $1000 minus the 28% tax, cause the government always needs their piece of the action ūüôā

You can find anything….

As a reseller, I enjoy getting things back to people who have been looking for them for a while.  A few times, customers have contacted me to let me know how happy they were to finally find something they were looking for.  This is one of the perks to hustling.

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This sort of thing has happens to me once in a while. A customer will contact me and tell me they were looking for something for a long time and finally found it. I had a man contact after he purchased and received a “lamp”. ¬†I had no idea about the item, didn’t know what it went to, or any info on the lamp….I just figured I would list it on eBay and see what happens. ¬†When he received it, he sent me this message….FullSizeRender

How cool is it to have something that is the “only one known to exist” pass through my hands? ¬†Sometimes business is hard, but I could / would never do anything else.

Get that out of your mouth!

Get that out of your mouth! As a mother of a 3.5 and 1.5 year old, this is a phrase I say often.  You would think I would remember to do that myself.

This week, I went through more silver scrap.  As a reseller, my favorite thing I get to do is go through buckets of silver jewelry that is heading to the refinery.   I get to see all sorts of things, all different pieces of jewelry.

I saw these “items” in my last “picking”.

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I love unusual things. ¬†Anything that grabs my eye, I have to grab. ¬†The item to the right is hollow, and I thought “This is a strange whistle” and I put it to my mouth to see if it worked. ¬†DUMB. ¬†I am dumb. ¬†In my defense, these two items were not together when I pulled them out. ¬†I didn’t see there was a tiny spoon to go with this “tube”.

As soon as I did it, the woman who works at the shop where I do some picking said, That is a coke straw! ¬†Now I have no ideas how many nostrils touched this item, but it went in my mouth. YUCK! ¬†I learn lessons everyday, and this one I will not forget ūüėČ

Lessons on Losses

I recently read the book “Black Privilege, Opportunity comes to those who create it” and one of the principals is: There are no losses, just lessons. ¬†I find this to be true, and it happens to me constantly.

A few months ago I bought a diamond ring. ¬†The ring was ok, just about a carat. ¬†To be honest, I don’t like buying diamonds. ¬†I get a little intimidated because I don’t have the grading skills needed to be the diamond business. ¬†Diamonds are a very competitive business, I would rather just grab the low hanging fruit on the tree and stick to silver. ¬†I find the return on smaller items better than that on the high end items…but that is just me.

A woman came in to the shop with her grandmothers diamond. ¬†I knew this woman’s husband who passed away last year. ¬†I let emotions get involved and I ended up paying too much for the stone. ¬†She said she wanted $500, but I thought I could get more, so I paid her $700. ¬†I never talk a customer up on price, but I let my feelings get to me, and I wanted to help her out.

When I went to my diamond guy, he said the most he could pay was $500 cash. ¬†It was not like he was low balling me, it was my fault that I didn’t notice the stone had a small chip on one side. (LESSON ONE: For future reference, many jewelers will hide chips under the setting prongs) ¬†Of course I didn’t want to take a loss, so I negotiated $700 in store credit instead of $500 cash. ¬†With the store credit I purchased more silver out of his scrap bin. I figure this would be the way to turn the loss into a break even and then into a profit.

I ended up getting lucky.

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I pulled this Historic Navajo Arts & Crafts Guild cuff out of the scrap for about $40 from the credit.  I was going to put it up for $125, but I did the research and saw people asking crazy prices for it, so I figured why not ask something crazy myself!  I put it up for $999 or best offer, and within a day I got offered $700,  Ca-Ching!  I ended up turning the loss on the diamond into a profit.

I was proud of myself for the score, but I ended up not doing enough research on all the items I pulled out of scrap. ¬†(LESSON TWO: ¬†DO YOUR RESEARCH EVERY TIME!!) ¬†Just like I didn’t do enough research on the comic book score a few months back, this time I let a signed silver piece of jewelry slip by.

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I listed this yesterday, a Sterling Silver shetland sheep dog brooch. ¬†Even though I saw it had an unusual hallmark, I didn’t bother to research and I put it up for $35. ¬†It sold quick, and to another dealer. ¬†The hallmark I didn’t bother to research is Thomae & Co. ¬†The person who bought it from me has similar brooches (Dogs from different breeds) up in their store for $250. ¬†So, while I am happy I turned $4.50 into $30, I would have been happier turning it into $200. ¬†I still sent it out to the woman who bought it. ¬†She will make 6 times her original investment. ¬†I can’t hate on that, it is the game we play as hustlers. I usually get to be the one turning the better profit, but lesson learned.

Darn you Harlequin!

Two weeks ago I went to a hoarders house and got a ton of books and comics. (See that blog here) It was a bit overwhelming, I drove around with my car full of comic book boxes for over a week.

I tried to go through the boxes, but there were soooo many. I couldn’t fit them in my shop, so I tried to go through them in my parking lot. It was very cold, so I ran through the boxes looking for 10 and 15 cent covers and any Cool looking Wonder Woman covers. (Eventually my goal is to frame some cool covers and decorate my daughters’ room with powerful images.)

These boxes took up so much room. I couldn’t even see out of the back window of my car, so I decided to do a quick flip.

One of my regulars, Randy, wanted 2 boxes. Then he called John, who sells at the flea market, to buy the rest. Somehow one of Randy’s boxes got switched and he called to ask if he could get it back. I had already loaded Johns van, so we unloaded and found the box of Batman comics that Randy left behind.

While we waited for Randy, John went through the box. I have very limited knowledge of comics, I usually only look for first runs or low cover prices. John started going through the box full of mostly Batman, and says “If you have #12 of Batman’s Adventures, that is the first appearance of Harlequin. That is good money”. Not even 20 seconds later he says “Bingo, here it is!”

This comic is from 1993, for some reason I figured most first appearances would have happened in the eighties or before.

Unfortunately, I had already made the deal. I looked up past auctions on eBay and saw it sell from between $250-$700. I had just sold it for probably less that 10 cents. OUCH!

Randy came in and John says “Did you see this one?” And Randy said “what is it? I just grabbed the Batman box because I know that title sells”

Randy kept saying he didn’t know there was such a valuable comic in the box, he was sorry, and he would cut me in on it when he sells it. I actually believe him, he is one of the few nice and honest guys I know in this business.

I have heard in life there are no loses, just lessons. I learned I need to take my time and do research. I do blame myself, but I will say if it was summer I would have taken my time to go through the lot…and probably not found it anyway

Hoarders House

This week I got to buy out a hoarders house.  I go into many houses, but this was one of the most impressive collections I have ever seen.

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There was not one spot on any walls that were uncovered. The man who owned the home was placed in a nursing home because he had started to show signs of dementia.

I have gone to the home two times, filled up a pickup truck both times and my SUV one time, and still haven’t made a dent in the collection.

I deal with a good amount of collectors, and it is interesting to see how people display the items they collect. ¬†One toy dealer who visits my store weekly, puts everything in plastic bins and keeps them hermetically sealed in storage. ¬†Not much fun if you ask me. Sure, his collection will hold value, but I don’t think you get much enjoyment out of your items if you are hiding them away.

The man who owned this home, he displayed everything.  Sure, his items lost value not being in the original packing, but he got to enjoy them.  By the time it came to sell the stuff, he was in a nursing home any way, so did it really matter?

I got a ton of books for Amazon, and 13 boxes of comics.  It is going to take forever to go through everything.  What is interesting was when I got the house, within 5 minutes I thought there was no chance I was going to buy anything because it was so overwhelming.  But after spending a while going through things, I was able to buy some stuff.  It was hard, back breaking work, carrying 200 pounds of books out, but my father alway told me you can make money doing what others refuse to do.  I think the majority of people who would walk into the house would have walked out just due to the smell.  Hopefully the patience will pay off, I am sure it will.

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These pictures are from the cleanest and most organized part of the home, the owners office, where he would customize many of the action figures.

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Jewelry Trends….

I just got back from Brimfield.  I usually go to all the shows, May, July, and September to shop at least one day per show, sometimes two days.  I have worked many shows, for a few different dealers until I set up myself.  What is interesting about Brimfield is how you get to see trends.

I can remember a few years ago, everyone was looking for goldfilled watch fobs and chains.  Then there was the year everyone was looking for garnets.  Then mourning jewelry.  Amber and bakelite was very popular a few years ago too.

It is a strange phenomenon, you will have 10 different people come to your booth from 10 different parts of the world (you can tell by the accents) and all will ask for the same items..verbatim! ¬†“Do you have watch fobs” ¬†“Do you have articulating charms” etcetera. ¬†After every show, I would run back to the shop and list anything I might have in the shop that matched what trends I saw.

This show I didn’t set up, I only went to shop, so I don’t know what people are asking for. ¬†It is strange that when I returned home, I had two very similar items on two different platforms sell. ¬†Both were mosaic style earrings.

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This pair of earrings (above) sold on etsy, after initially getting listed in 2013.  This was relisted 11 times!!! Today it was purchased.  (On a side note etsy gives you some great stats to look at)

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This pair of earrings also sold, but on eBay. Unfortunately eBay doesn’t give you the great stats that etsy does, but I know these were most likely listed for as long as the other pair that sold on etsy.

Both sold for around $30. ¬†It is just strange that they are both “mosaic” earrings that had been listed for such a long time, and they both sold on the same day. ¬†Maybe this style is the new / next trend?