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 🙂

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 😉

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.

Fake it till you make it

It is just about my 4th anniversary of being totally on my own.  It almost seems like a lifetime away, and such a difference in my life.

The first week in December in 2014, I decided to “fire” all my employees.  I technically can’t call them employees, and because I am still being sued, but I have no other vocabulary to use with the guy who used to work at my shop.

I can remember how scared I was the first day, week, and month when I was out on my own.  I had no idea if I could make it on my own.  I still have moments, but there is nothing like walking into your shop, having your own business.

My friend Nick just did this profile on me and he sent it to me on a day that was sorta slow.  I day I  made no money.  Watching this made me feel proud again.  It didn’t matter that I made zero that day, some days you  make nothing, but there is always potential.

I watch this and think about how far I have come.  The day I opened the shop myself, I was petrified.  I was afraid of failure, but failure was not an option.  I wouldn’t exactly say today that  I made it * but I can guarantee I won’t quit until I do.

 

**Making it to me would be having a car with heated seats.  I don’t know why I feel that is so luxurious, but I do.

Daily Texts…

I see so many people writing each day in November about what they are thankful for.  I have so much to be thankful for, #1 being a healthy and happy family.  I hustle, I make enough to get by.  My wife gets to stay home with our girls, and most days she sends me a text with pictures of the girls and what they are doing.

This morning when I was leaving for work, Sidney said “Don’t leave MaTaya” and she blocked the door with some toys.  I said “Baby, I love you sooooo much, but I have to do some stuff to pay the bills. I’ll be back.”

Just a few minutes ago, April sent me a pic of them doing Christmas Ornaments.

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I am so thankful for text messaging!  Some days work is tough, but when I get to see these pics of the girls it makes it all worth it. I am a better provider than a nurturer, so I am happy that April gets to stay home and nurture these girls.  We really do make a good team.

I looked back at the past messages and here are some of my favorite shots 🙂

Here is one, just after Halloween with some face paint.

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This summer was full of walks, and I loved getting these texts 🙂

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Lots of playing in the dirt 🙂

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This one made me laugh out loud!  It is meme ready….

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I have sooooo much to be thankful for, and getting these texts are great reminders of what a great life I have been gifted.

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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The agony of defeat!

Ok, maybe I’m not impartial, but I think I got robbed.

A few weeks ago, I blogged about how I entered the “Cumberland Farms #1 Fan” contest.

Here is my video to refresh your memory :

At the time, I believed I was only one of 2 entries.  I checked all the hash tags that were required to enter the contest on instagram and youtube.

Well I was surprised to learn that I lost to this guy, who only posted his video yesterday (October 17th)!  In the contest rules all videos had to be posted by October 4th, 2017.

Here is the guy I lost to:

What? Really?

Maybe I am partial, but come on! I had a least a little bit of production value in my video.  Of course being from Rhode Island, I have to believe this guy is related to the judge. Maybe he is splitting MY coffees with one of the judges.

That is the thing with competitions where there is judging.  If it was running, the fastest time wins. (People who know me, know I will never be winning or entering a race)  So you are subjected to personal preference.  And the judges preferred this two note song with words you can’t hear over my submission.  Total bummer.  I know in my heart I am Cumby’s #1 fan, I still am even after this horrific miscarriage of justice.

As far as competitions, I am one win and one loss on the year.  I won the PVDonut Hascon tickets and lost the Cumby’s #1 Fan competition.  The sad thing is I can’t even support PVDonuts for the next eight weeks because my wife is doing a 8 week diet and exercise program, and donuts aren’t exactly “clean eating”. But, the competition I lost…I will still be going to Cumby’s two times a day, supporting them.  That coffee is my crack.

My love for Cumby’s

I work for myself. I spend quite a few hours a day in my store, by myself.  I like it, not having a boss and stuff, but I do miss having “fellow employees”.  I have a pretty strict routine.  Everyday (weekday that is) I get up, go to the gym, go home, then go to work stopping at cumberland farms on my way.  I also go to the post office everyday to ship my orders from ebay, etsy, amazon, etc. You name it I probably sell on it.  So these people are basically like my co workers, only I don’t tell them what to do, and they don’t tell me what to do.  Almost like “single serving friends” as the term coined by Fight Club.

But these are my daily single servings.  I see the same people all the time.  The people who work for the post office and the ones who work at Cumberland farms.  Everyday, the same people at the same time.

So these single serving friends have become a part of my routine, and I actually look forward to seeing them every day.

It is strange, because every Cumberland Farms I have been in, all the employees are friendly.  I only ran into one Cumbys where the one employee was a bit rude, but she was old and I felt bad she was still working at her age.  Every other Cumberland farms I visit, they are all so friendly.  I have been to some so many times they know my name.  It is like the tv show Cheers 🙂

So Cumby’s had a competition to see who the #1 fan was.  Of course I entered the competition because I actually think I am perfect for the title.  Here is my submission:

I don’t have much of a singing voice, so I went with the filter.  There is only one other submission I can find, and that is this guy:

I love his video too 🙂 I can relate to this guy, we both love cumby’s, and we both have great spelling skills. This guy could be my single serving friend anytime. (Also, I still don’t know if it is Cumby’s or Cumbies)

So hopefully I won, I love free stuff and can use the gift card 🙂