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ISSUE 10: August 03, 2003

Yard Salers and eBayers: Issue 10! 1.10 – Aug. 3, 2003


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Greetings all!

My family and I went on our annual beach vacation to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware two weeks ago, so this past week has been dig-out-from under work and email week.

It was a wonderful, fun week with great weather, and lots of down time. But does that mean this yardsaler and eBayer didn’t have time to check out some bargains along the way? Not at all!

One thing to keep an eye out for now is summer clearance sales. (I’m talking the ones with rock-bottom prices). I took advantage of some of these while at the beach, during those wonderful moments when I could take walks down to the boardwalk and shops all by my lil’ self, with no adorable little critters to slow me down.

(Speaking of which, I’m convinced I could have won the $10,000 prize from America’s Funniest Home Videos had I just thought to videotape my son, ice cream dripping down his cone, chin, neck, hand, arm, and all over the cheap $3 raincoats we all bought which made us look like a bag family. It was like the ice cream was eating him. But even covered in ice cream, he’s my sweet little dumpling).

My only regret is that, traveling with kids, I couldn’t pop out at leisure whenever we passed a wonderful little country antique store, of which there were many. I’ve always wanted to do that on one of my many trips to Rehoboth, but alas, it has never been. My husband gets a “don’t even THINK about it” look on this face if I make a wistful little comment like, “that looks like such a cute little antique store.”

I envision the perfect sale lurking within…perhaps a rare coin, unbeknownst to the shop owner, or a bobblehead Beatle. OK, make that some other rare bobblehead…even I can’t dream about a bobblehead Beatle).

Because the other scenario is:

“What’s this, Mom?”



“What was that? A rare bobblehead Beatle? We now owe the store owner $10,000?”

Ah, well. Something to put on my life “to do” list.

Well, it was a restful vacation, and that’s what they’re there for, right?

Before we get to the meat of the newsletter, I want to thank reader Kimberly Stasa for her article about the “World’s Longest Yard Sale”! I couldn’t be there myself, but Kim is going and will have tales from the front! And, if you are going yourself, please let me know about your finds and I can put them in the next issue.

Now let’s get to it!

**Don’t have five minutes to read the newsletter now? Print it out; take it to bed with you! (That’s my favorite place to read my newsletters!). **


In This Issue:

1) Closing in on Summer Closeouts

2) The World’s Longest Yard Sale by Kimberly Stasa

3) The Mother Load and other Gems/Completing Your Sets

4) Yardsaling and the Great Outdoors

5) A Million Dollar Nickel



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{This is something of an experiment for this newsletter; my first time to insert a Paypal icon into it -- so let's see how it goes! If you for any reason are not able to get the link, and want the book, or have any other problems, email me at juliawilk@aol.com.}


Closing in on Summer Closeouts


It’s August. And you know what that means.

Lemonade. Hide ‘n’ go seek. Lazy, late summer afternoons on the front porch, swaying in a wicker hammock or porch swing as you survey the landscape. Fireflies.

Wool sweaters in the stores.


Yeah…those retailers bring in all their Fall merchandise! So, now is the time to watch for those summer markdowns.

(Actually, wait, I take back hide ‘n’ go seek, as these days it seems like kids aren’t actually allowed outside unless wearing helmets and knee pads, accompanied by a babysitter, and tied to a long leash attached to a beeper).

Anyway. Summer markdowns…I mean deep markdowns. I wasn’t swayed by the discounts I saw at one popular bathing suit store in Rehoboth until I got to their two big clearance bins in the back. They were just stuffed with bikini tops and bottoms. Some were marked down to $9.99, and many…get this…were just $1 for a top or bottom! So, I couldn’t pass up that kind of bargain. I bought three suits for experimental purposes. I think I’ll make a tidy profit, given what I spent.

But, do approach these clearances with caution. Don’t buy something ugly just because it’s rock-bottom. If it’s that ugly, it may not even sell so cheap!

So, I plan on posting my clearance suits soon on eBay, and reporting back to you in an upcoming newsletter on how it went.


The World’s Longest Yard Sale


By Kimberly Stasa

(piderman40 on eBay)

Does your heart skip a beat when you see a large cardboard sign indicating a garage sale one mile down the road? Does your car suddenly come to a complete stop in the middle of traffic because there’s a big block sale around the corner? Well, if your answer is “yes” then I have a sale for you.

It’s the annual “World’s Longest Yard Sale.” This sale covers more than 450 miles from Gadsen, Alabama to Covington, Kentucky. It began in 1987 as a way to bring travelers from the busy Interstate System to the less traveled highways of Tennessee and Kentucky. This sale covers two roadways -- The Lookout Mountain Parkway and then U.S Highway 127. The change in roads takes place in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A map and more information can be found on the website www.127sale.com. It has gotten bigger and better each year. This year the sale takes place from August 2-10, 2003.

Whatever you may be looking for, I’m sure you’ll find it somewhere along the way. There are baked goods, fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, bird feeders, antiques, old books and magazines, fishing lures, rare china, vintage jewelry, tools to keep your husband happy, toys for your kids, and of course, trinkets and treasures for the entire family. I think the best bargains are to be found away from the big cities where major vendors set up shop and charge top dollar. Keep your eye out for the little out of the way places and old farmhouses.

A few years ago we traveled Interstate 127 in Kentucky for part of this bargain hunter’s paradise, and it provided a lot of enjoyment and good entertainment. Especially when Mom would yell out, “Hey, stop -- I see something I want! Stop NOW!” My husband would slam on the breaks and the kids, clothes, and Krispy Kremes all went flying to the front. He claimed it was difficult driving the r.v. with jelly doughnut dripping from the overhead storage compartment, but I’ve never seen this as a major problem. I remember buying some old Coca-Cola bottles, a few LIFE magazines from the 1950’s ($1.00 each), and some vintage tins. I wanted this BIG, metal sign that probably came from a storefront. It said: “Drink Coca-Cola.” This thing was huge. My husband said we had no way to bring it back home unless we left something behind, and I needed him to drive. So I had to miserably acknowledge the fact I could not bring this piece of history with me.

This year we’re planning on seeing more of the sales. We also have a bigger motor home -- so I’ll have room for more stuff!! My husband keeps joking that we’ll have to rent a U-Haul to bring all of my valuables back to Michigan. Maybe that’s not a joke.

Special Note:

I’ll be away from eBay for a few weeks when we travel down South. Look for me when when we get back in the middle of August.


Thanks for a great article, Kim! Oh man, having to give up the Coca-Cola sign; that hurts! But hopefully you’ll find even better stuff this year!

Note: I am always open to reader articles, so if you want to write about something relating to yard sale-ing and eBaying, just flag me down! I will of course give you credit, using your eBay ID, web site, or any other contact info.


The Mother Lode and other Gems


I’d been away from yard sales for a loooong time (or what felt like it), first due to all the rain, and then back-to-back trips for a month, starting with my trip to eBay Live and then our aforementioned trip to Rehoboth.

But last weekend I got back into the swing big time. I must have hit seven or eight sales, all with record efficiency.

Among my best finds is what I like to call “the mother load,” a big bag of quality maternity clothes (brands like Mimi and Pea in the Pod, which cost an arm and a leg!). I got some 12 pieces for $10, so that’s less than $1 each (good math, Julia).

I decided to put them up as one or two big lots, rather than sell them piecemeal, because I am trying to cut back on the time I spend with little auctions.

So I wound up putting up two auctions: one, a small lot which was a maternity dress and matching pants by hip maternity wear makers Japanese Weekend (this one just closed at $13 on eBay, not too bad for a less than $1 cost to me), and other other, a large mixed lot of the blouses, tops, and dresses, by Mimi, Pea in the Pod, and other brands.

However, I didn’t wind up having enough space to list all the pictures I’d taken of the individual items in the nine-piece lot. I’d forgotten that eBay only allows you to post six pictures. I don’t currently use any photo listing service. So at this writing, my big maternity lot has only one opening bid for $9.95.

However again..with big lots, I’ve noticed they often don’t receive much bidding until they turn “red”…that is, when there is a day or less time left in the auction. My theory is that:

1) there are now so many auctions on eBay competing for buyers, that buyers don’t often notice auctions until they do turn red, and

2) buyers may see an item they like, but not bid on it at all until near the end, in an effort to avoid bidding that item up too high.

I’ll report in the next issue hw the “mother lode” lot did.

Completing Your Sets

I wanted to say a word about something I noticed is an especially nice benefit of being a regular yard-saler. You may have noticed this too. That is, if you go often enough, you can wind up finding just the right thing to complete or complement items you already own.

Here are a couple examples of this:

1) My husband and I were given a complete set of Mikasa china for our wedding, in a beautiful green and purple pattern. (I know; don’t hate my plates because they’re beautiful.) One thing I needed more of over time, however, were bowls, particularly smallish bowls good for ice cream and other desserts. Well, I came across the perfect thing about a year ago: a set of six brand-new in box glass dessert bowls by Mikasa. They even had delicate pinkish/purplish flower flourishes on the sides, matching the lilac/green painting on our dishes. When I use them, people think they were part of our original set.

And oh yes, I got the whole box for $8.

2) I found a table cloth at a yard sale the last time I went out (same day I got the Mother Lode). It looks like it was made of almost the exact same fabric as the window treatments in our family room…or at least made by the same manufacturer, with hues of green, gold, rust, and red. I put it on our family room table, a sort of casual table we use to eat dinner when we are not on the screen porch or in our more formal dining room, and lo and behold, that thing fit perfectly. It’s rectangular with rounded ends, and the rounded ends drape nicely over each end of the rectangular table.

So it’s those moments of serendipity which make yardsale-ing pay off so handsomely, doncha think? Plus, you get bragging rights when people compliment it, “Oh that? I got that for three bucks!”


4) Yardsaling and the Great Outdoors


I read a “My Turn” essay in Newsweek the other day about how much of our lives are lived indoors these days.

(“My Turn,” if you’re not familiar with it, is the feature toward the front of the magazine where individual readers can have page-long essays on the topic of their choice published. They are often very thought-provoking, and sometimes controversial).

At any rate, this man was lamenting how little we all get outside and mingle with our neighbors these days. Office windows are often glued shut. Front-porches, where, in kinder and gentler times, neighbors would often call out to each other and get caught up, seem to be used (and even built) less and less.

That’s one reason I love yard-sale-ing so much. It gets you outside, communing with people, and in some cases, with me, anyway, meeting neighbors I wouldn’t otherwise have met.


I’m not doing Reader Mail in this issue…but it will return next issue.


5) A Missing Million-Dollar Nickel Surfaces


I was skimming the front section of the paper the other day and came across this tidbit..I’m gonna paraphrase the whole story from a couple different news items here:

U.S. nickels from 1883 to 1912 were “Liberty Head.” In 1913 they were replaced by the Indian/Buffalo nickel. But shady U.S. Mint official Samuel K. Brown illegally minted five Liberty Head nickels with the 1913 date, in the hopes of creating a collector’s market.

That he appears to have done. He took out ads in magazines for coin collectors, and eventually, all five coins were sold.

For a long time, the Liberties were held in private collections, bought and sold by collectors. Today, two of them are in private hands, one is in the Smithsonian, and one is in the ANA's museum. In 2001, one sold for $1.9 million.

The whereabouts of the fifth nickel, however, was mystery until recent days. The story was, it was lost when the North Carolina dealer holding it died in a car crash in 1962. Police on the scene didn't recover it, nor was it found in a number of subsequent accident-site searches.

In any event, Bowers and Merena Galleries of New Hampshire offered a $1 million reward for the discovery and purchase of the famous coin, and had offered an additional $10,000 to be the first to view it.

The missing fifth 1913 Liberty Head nickel finally surfaced when relatives of the late North Carolina coin dealer George Walton decided to bring the coin for inspection after learning of the reward. The owners (who had apparently been uncertain of the coin’s authenticity) accepted the $10,000 reward for first viewing and are consulting with Bowers and Merena about the possible disposition of the rare coin.

Kinda makes me think about that old expression, “don’t take any wooden nickels.” Though I’m not exactly sure why. Hmm…maybe I better sort through Nick’s coin collection again.


I’m still looking for feedback on the following (from the last issue):

- Are you using online auctions other than eBay, and how are they working for you? Let me know!

- Going back to the first article, what is the silliest, or even most useless, item you bought? What were you inexplicably drawn to?


6) YOUR FEEDBACK WANTED: An Update to “What Sells on eBay”: Secrets of the (High-Margin!) Powersellers; The Real Deal on Wholesalers, and What Else Do You Want to See?


The following is a repeat from previous issues but still valid: In future issues, I plan to carefully examine powersellers, especially the high-margin powersellers who make tidy profits per item (not the ones who spend all day and night listing penny items, since I don’t want you or me to have to live like that!). I’m going to see if any of them will share their secrets, and if not, well, we’ll just see what we can learn from their listings as to how they do it.

I’d love your feedback on this topic, as well as other topics you’d like to see me address.


That’s it for this issue. Until next time, happy yardsale-ing and eBaying!



eBooks by Julia L. Wilkinson: [all my ebooks are offered at substantial discounts from their regular price of $8.95 to the subscribers of this newsletter. Only $4.95 each! If interested in any of them, please email me at juliawilk@aol.com.]

New eBooks:

- Making Big Bucks off Catalogs on eBay: http://www.aolmemorabilia.com/clkslcat.html

- Over 100 Books that Sell for $50-$100 on eBay: email me!

- Selling Kids Clothes on eBay: email me! (these last two will be available for purchase via my site soon).

Julia Classic:

What Sells on eBay for What:


My Life at AOL (available at amazon.com, booklocker.com, and 1stbooks.com)


Copyright 2003 Julia L. Wilkinson


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