Monday, September 22, 2014

Oh, Pooh

It goes without saying that Disney stuff can be highly collectible, or at least highly sellable, and we routinely pick up items from the Magic Kingdom.  On Saturday, I found a huge framed Winnie the Pooh shirt that had been autographed not only by the bear himself, but also by assorted other characters from Hundred Acre Wood and other Disney realms.

Pooh - “Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?”
Now, I know that the less enlightened among you are saying to yourself that the autographs aren’t real.   I immediately thought the same thing when I saw the frame.  I mean, after all, everyone knows that Eeyore is illiterate, and that Mary Poppins stopped giving autographs after the nanny labor union had a contract dispute with Uncle Walt.

I pestered the owners for the identity of the signers, but they stood by their assertion that every autograph was authentic.   I waffled for a minute to “think it over, think it under,” as Pooh once said, before handing over my five dollar bill.

Whether the shirt actually was signed by costumed characters at the Disney parks, or signed by family members to create a one of a kind piece of wall art is immaterial.  It’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious as Ms. Poppins would say; was a steal at $5; and perfectly will complement our Disney display in Ella’s Eclectic Emporium over the fast approaching holiday season.

It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned Duc, our exchange student from Vietnam, who is now a freshman architecture major at Pratt Institute in New York.  He is doing well, as expected, and says that both his teachers and classmates are “awesome.”

He does, however, complain about his lack of a social life due apparently to the workload, and the fact that he “has never been challenged like this” in his life.  Deciding that he needed a little perspective, I decided to provoke him on Facebook:

Me: If architecture is proving too difficult, you can change to a liberal arts major, and work at McDonald's when you graduate.

Duc: I never said that.

Me: Say it with me, “You want fries with that?”

Duc:  I will not say it, but you said it, though.

Me:  True, but people who say it probably had a social life in college.

Duc: Yeah, but they don’t do great things.

Me: Exactly … so stop whining and do great things.

Duc: Whatever.

Like most first year college students, Duc is struggling with balancing his academics against being on his own in a big city full of temptations.  However, there is no doubt in my mind that Duc will do great things in the future.

Have a great week everyone.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Digger disappointment

Despite a last minute plethora of sales on Saturday, I had a feeling that the morning would be a waste of time.  We did find some good money CDs and DVDs at our second stop, but the pickings got slimmer and slimmer as the morning progressed, and even the pseudo church sale (a sale at a church, but with individual sellers) was a bust. 

I was thoroughly disillusioned, and almost missed this sit-on sandbox digger toy from Northern Industrial at our last sale of the day.

I really dug this cool toy
It was just quirky enough to warrant looking up on my phone, and imagine my surprise when the only listing came up as this:

At that price, it should dig up gold

I was at a loss to explain how/why this toy could warrant $500, but the listing said “29 sold” so obviously it had been selling robustly.  Still doubtful, but willing to take a chance, I negotiated the price to $20, and took my high-priced toy home.  Imagine my disappointment, though, when I got home, and actually read the rest of the listing:

“The Sale Includes ONE Northern Industrial Sandbox Digger for Kids. *We are temporarily out of stock...eta 30 Days* (We have increased the price so we can hold our ad)”

As Homer Simpson would say .. D’oh!

A more thorough search yielded sales ranging from $29 to around $60.  I was disappointed.  Obviously, I wouldn’t lose money on the deal, but it wasn’t the jackpot that I had been hoping for.

Later on Saturday, we headed to an out of town auction, something that has quickly become both a weekend ritual and an obsession.  If you haven’t been to an auction, I encourage you to do so because auctions are an excellent source of inventory.  We find items not only for our online stores, but also for our antique mall booths, and you never really know what treasures await until you walk into the auction house.

Saturday’s auction featured merchandise ranging from inexpensive antique furniture to cases of soda crackers and sweet tea.  The crackers, unsalted, didn’t interest me, but the sweet tea did, and I bought a case.  Here’s the deal, though, with food items.  You have to notice the expiration dates, and my tea had expired on September 1.  It tastes OK, though, and from what I read, expiration dates aren’t absolute anyway.  Still, it pays to be careful, and with auctions, it’s up to the buyer to examine the merchandise before purchasing.
Besides the tea, we bid on and won several beer signs, and 13 fancy well-stocked gift baskets that had price tags ranging from $15 to $35.  We paid $62 for all of them.  The gift basket themes included Over the Hill; Congratulations, It’s A Girl; Get Well Soon; Encouragement; and Wedding.

Next Saturday, local Mennonites (a group sort of like the Amish) will hold their annual “Peach Cobbler Relief Auction.” Items up for bid will include quilts, antiques, and hand-crafted wooden toys.  It should be fun.

Have a great week, everyone.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Antique booth update

August had me worried for a while.  It was our first month with two booths (Barry’s Bonanza and Ella’s Eclectic Emporium) at the local antique mall, and with nearly $500 in rent due on September 1, I was sure that I was going to have to swipe my debit card to make up the difference between sales and money owed.

Thankfully, though, there were five weekends in August, and by 6 p.m. Sunday evening, the mall’s closing time, we not only had surpassed our rent, but also we received a check for $301.  Granted, that’s only about $150 profit, but given that most of the month was spent bringing Ella’s booth up to speed, with one lost weekend due to my broken ribs, I’ll take it.

DVDs continue to sell well, and buyers loved the $1 cookbooks on our small library cart.  We picked up the cookbooks for free thanks to a local Craiglist ad.  Signs also are flying off the walls, with our best sale being this large Interstate Battery/Atlanta Falcons sign that sold for $60.

Speaking of football, on Saturday, I found several vintage sports posters, including this old-style Atlanta Falcons poster, for $4 each.  I put it in the booth early Monday afternoon, and it was gone before closing time to the tune of $20.  I've learned over the years that vintage sports items sell well. 

I also put this “Dawg House” sign on the wall; it’s a little beat up, but I hope Georgia’s big win this weekend will spur some Bulldog fan to decorate his wall with it.  I picked it up at an auction on Saturday.

In slightly more interesting news, at least to me, Ella and I walked (OK, I sort of limped … my back was hurting) into a thrift-type store in Macon last week, and I came face to face with a candid picture of Elvis Presley that I thought only I had. 

Back in the 1970s, Elvis performed in Macon frequently, and my father, who was on the police force, was friends with the local officer in charge of Elvis’ security.  After Elvis had left the building, so to speak, this particular officer made the mistake of telling my mom that dad could have brought her up to Elvis’ room at the Hilton for a meet and greet. Mom was furious at dad for a long time.

Realizing his faux pas, the officer later gave mom an 8X10 candid photo of Elvis wearing a Macon police badge.  It was this particular picture, in a cheap plastic frame, that I saw at the thrift shop.  It had a $10 price tag.

The owner of the shop, a long time local antiques dealer, saw me staring at the photo, and asked if it looked familiar.    Before answering, I asked him where he got the photo.  He said that he buys a lot of items from a gentleman who cleans out estates, and that the photo was one of the last pieces from a small collection that he recently acquired.  I then related the whole story about mom, dad, and the photo.  

Realizing the value of the photo, at least from a local perspective, he removed the photo, and said that he wasn’t going to sell it after all.    I really doubt that, though, and probably will see it in his shop in a nicer frame, with a heftier price tag, in the near future.

With September upon us, I really hope the weather cools down a bit.  I’m getting tired of yard sales in 95 degree heat. 

Have a good week. Work hard.  Sell something.