ISSUE 72: Yard Salers Issue 72: May 2011: Spring Sales, Profiting from Sky-High Metals, Best Flips Contest Prizes Ever
Please forward to a friend!
Is everyone excited about the new Spring yard sale season? I know I am! This, despite the relatively crappy weather we've had lately in the Washington, D.C. metro area.
But despite the drizzly, dreary weather last weekend, I was determined to get out, and in fact found some good scores. One of them was a collectible David Winter English cottage that normally sells for between $50-$400. (It was actually called "Falstaff's Manor," and gave me flashbacks to reading Henry IV in sophomore English class).
We have lots of great tips for you in this issue. The feature article is about a type of item that I think we should all be "keeping our eyes peeled" for (my mother used to use that expression and it always struck me as kinda freaky): metals. As you've probably heard unless you've been living under a rock, gold has been at an all-time high lately. So much so that in fact many fear it is due for a fall. But that's all the more reason you should look out for it, and even think about selling gold, as well as gold-filled or part-gold items you may have festering in your own home...perhaps in the bottom of a jewelry box.
And it's not just gold, but silver and other metals, too. In fact, we have a metal "flip" in this month's Flips contest.
Indeed, we have many great entries in the latest Flips contest...which has some of the best prizes I've ever given out...including an eBay backpack, convention tote bag, and an original Chumby (I'll explain what a Chumby is later). ;)
Another thing we have that I think is especially fun..."Flops" are back. That's right; while we love our money-making flips, we're going to kick back a little and laugh at some of our total dogs. Y'know...the stuff you listed that just would not sell or sold for a disappointingly small amount and made you curse the time you spent having to pack the thing in a box.
I was also discuss more about how you can make money affiliate marketing in this issue, but it will have to wait until next issue, as this issue is just getting too darned long.
I am recommending Suzanne Arant Wells's new ebook, The Golf Shirt Bible. I read it myself and found-it jam-packed with info on the best shirts to sell and where to find them. I thought I knew my stuff about golf shirts, but I didn't know about all the types of shirts to look for and why, how to get them (including a places I never would have guessed), and why people offload brand new ones for a song. It's only $19.95. Check it out, if you want, via my affiliate link below:
If the above link does not work, try copying the following into your browser:
Quick golf shirt tip from Julia: So far for me, the best-selling brand has been "Fairway and Greene." And Suzanne is right..the color grey really does not sell well. For more of her great tips on what sells and doesn't sell, how to present it, and more, buy the ebook. :-)
This is now our second issue in the new email system, AWeber. If you have any problems or questions about links in the newsletter, or other issues, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OK, now without further ado, let's get to it!
Feature Article: Profiting from Sky-High Metals
Affiliate Marketing for Morons - Coming Next Issue!
Flips/Flops Contest: Brass Yields Gold, a Delft Tile Cleans Up, Muppets Christmas Video Brings No Cheer, and More
Reader Mail: Great Site for Book Sellers, SimpleBooklet, Alll My eBooks, and More
Feature Article: Profiting from Sky-High Metals
Remember that scene from the movie "The Graduate" when the older adult takes the young Dustin Hoffman aside and imparts to him the secret of business success in the coming years in one word? "Plastics."
Today if someone were to give you a similar hot tip it would be "metals."
Yeah, we've all heard about gold being at record highs: Gordon Liddy and Glenn Beck hawking gold in their portfolios, radio ads for Goldline, and I even heard one guy on the radio prophesizing the economical four horsemen of the apocalypse in the coming years. The American economy is going to totally implode, and bands of roving hominids will scratch at our door.
Our defense? You guessed it..we should all be stockpiling metals. But all kidding aside, I am seriously considering putting some gold in my portfolio. In this issue, however, we're going to look at metals at a more micro-economic level: specifically, how you can get cold hard cash by selling metallic junk around your house and at yard and estate sales: unmatched earrings, broken necklaces, ugly plates, and the like. Or heck, you could even sell some of your nicer stuff if you aren't too sentimentally attached to it, and you really need the dough.
(OK, so maybe I've watched one too many episodes of "Pawn Stars" where sheepish sellers trudge in with grandma's gold whatchamajigit, shrugging and saying "It's time for someone else to enjoy it, and I could really use the money." In today's economy, truthfully, many of us could "really use the money," and what's wrong with "selling high" as it were? Isn't the smart thing to do to sell things -- be they stocks or bent-up silver salt cellars -- at high points along the rocky road of life?)
Anyway..selling metals. The first point I want to make is that the silver market is now as hot or hotter than gold. At this writing, yesterday's Wall Street Journal tells us silver is at "new 31-year highs and approached $50 an ounce." It's up 46% this year, "part of a nine-month rally."
And what about brass and copper? We have a very enterprising lady, Marilyn, in this month's Flips contest who has been making money off scrapping brass items. And she says copper is even better. (Now I wish I had picked up all those homely copper pails and pots I saw priced low and going unloved at various estate sales recently!).
And one of my pen pals, reader Susan, has been sending me regular tips on silver -- she sold some silver utensils for her father which commanded a healthy price. She and I emailed back and forth about selling silver and other metal items for clients as consignments. (You can check out Susan's current and past auctions at http://shop.ebay.com/susanc7818/m.html?_nkw&_armrs=1&_from&_ipg=25
). While I have not sold silver on consignment recently, I did sell a lot of silver last Christmas for a client who runs an estate sale company. You could ask around in your group of friends or even post fliers.
Another good source of consignment clients is local real estate agents. I found my last consignment client from a DC-area real estate agent who found me through my web site. But you could mail your card and a note around to local agents, drop off cards at real estate companies, or again, simply post a flier at your local grocery store or other community bulletin board.
A word of caution about taking on consignment clients: be sure your seller consignment percentage is enough to make selling the item worth your while. A lot of consignees charge 30-40%. So if you charge 30% and sell an item you estimate will sell for $200, that's $60 for your take..not too bad for the listing, packing, etc.
But if you're selling a bunch of stuff that will only sell for $50 each? That's a heck of a lot of running around for 15 bucks. Or, take five or more items that you estimate will sell for $50 each and group them in a lot, so you're making $75 on the one transaction, not $15 per five frenzied photographing, listing, packing and shipping sessions.
OK, so now we are going to keep our eyes out for metals at estate and yard sales, and maybe even mine our own home and ask around for friends or let them know we sell on consignment.
What else will you need? I recommend the following:
- a metals testing kit - this is essential and will much more than return its cost. (Plus, you can deduct it on your taxes). I found mine on -- where else -- eBay. Right now in eBay you can get a kit for a Buy It Now of only $16.89, and $37.95 for a kit with a set of files. (Both kits contain a small square stone that you gently scrape a side of your metal item so you have a thin line to test with the various liquids..you watch the reaction of the metal with the liquid for the appropriate reaction so you can know what the metal is).
The kit I got allows me to test for silver as well as 10 kt, 14 kt, 18kt and 22 kt gold...and also platinum.
- a sensitive scale. You will most likely get questions from prospective bidders about the weight of your metal items, especially if they're planning to scrap them. The one I have is the AMW-100 and weighs in 0.01 gram increments, and also reads in oz, ct (carats), and gn (grain, or 50 micrograms, sometimes used in the weighing of precious stones or gunpowder). I bought this on eBay too.
- a jeweler's loupe - for reading marks on the back of items at yard and estate sales. I keep one in a zippered pouch in my purse at all times. Many times I have whipped it out at sales. I bought mine on...well, you know the drill. ;)
You may also want to consider a flashlight, in case the light is bad where you are shopping. In fact, I have seen some people at one of the basements in an estate clearout sale with those mounted-light-on-the head hat things, as in spelunking gear. (I jokingly asked the guy if he was caving, and he cast me an irritated sidelong glance and said that yes, it was not far from it).
[UPDATE as of Sat. Apr. 30: at a yard sale today a guy suggested I get a cheap metal detector, which he said you can get for around $200. I'll think on it. ]
So enjoy your expeditions mining for metals. And I'd love to hear any of your metal-selling stories -- as always, email me at email@example.com.
Flips/Flops Contest: Brass Yields Gold, a Delft Tile Cleans Up, Muppets Christmas Video Brings No Cheer, and More
First, the Flips:
The first flip is from reader Marilyn, and ties in perfectly with our Metals issue.
Getting Down to Brass Scraps: A Brass Lyre
Just wanted to tell you about a recent flip.
I arrived at a small estate sale that was being held by the family. As I entered the back porch I spotted a large brass lyre, about 12 inches by 12 inches. It was very heavy. When I looked closer I realized that there was a stack of 7 or 8. I asked the man in charge the price & was told that they were $1 ea. I took them all. He told me that they were part of music stands.
I loaded my brass lyres after I checked out the rest of the sale & drove to the nearest scrap metal buyer where I sold the lot for $35 dollars. I then used the $35 to fill my gas tank.
Wish that I could flip my finds that quick every week.
[Above: a couple of the "brass lyre" items that came up when I did a search on those terms on eBay; those are *not* Gail's flips].
I would like to also give my fellow yardsalers a tip about brass & copper. A friend & I could not sell brass decorator items in our yard sales. I mean candle sticks, figurines, etc. We finally started throwing the brass in a box. When it was full it weighted about 30 pounds. Brass in this area is selling for about $1.50. Do the math. I now pick up brass at yard sales, if it is cheap enough. when I get a box full, I sell it.
What a wonderful flip...I love that you did something with metal, esp. as metal prices (esp gold and silver as we all know!) are going thru the roof! But brass..I wouldn't have thought of that.
Love it. Have you have any success w/ other metals? I feel like i see copper around a lot at yard and estate sales..going to start looking for that and a crap metal dealer around here. Does anyone pick the stuff up for you, or do you always have to drop it off?
Thanks so much for the super flip! You are entered into the next contest. :)
Copper is bringing a much higher price than brass. If you sell any copper, be sure to separate it from the brass. So far, I have sold only brass because I can find it easily. The scrap yards will expect you to bring to bring the metal to them. I usually use a box small enough to manage. If you can get it in your vehicle, the scrap dealer will get it out for you. In this area the scrap yards require a photo ID.
Hope that I have been helpful,
Last Month's Flips Winner Finds Special Tile with a Back Story
I am so excited to be a winner! I have another flip to send you once I get it written - a tile picked up for $6 and sold for...$267 (will double-check could have been $287). You wil love seeing this tile and the auction story behind it.
I just love your newsletter...it is so...newsy! And fun and informative and friendly.
I of course asked Gail right away for the new flip story...here it is:
Oh I am excited!
Here is the tile story...feel free to edit!!
In the fall auctions start to pop up like pumpkins... an exciting time for the seriously addicted yard sale lady as yard sales are slowing down. The lady attended an auction a few weeks ago.
While previewing the items...in the house, two barns, 3 sheds and two garages, she came upon a tile made by Delft a company in Holland dated 1945. The tile was very decorative with a lady and a little boy waiving a flag or handkerchief at three large airplanes flying in the clouds above them. In the background you could see windmills and at the base of the tile in raised letters were the words: Food - Peace - Freedom - May 1945.
On the back was a note taped to the tile. It explained that this tile was one of very few made to commemorate the allies dropping food to the people of Holland at the end of WWII. It expressed how grateful they were, and that the tile was given to an American family as a token of thanks. The letter was signed by the person giving the tile. The seriously addicted to auctions and yard sales lady was touched. She knew how important this tile was and if she could afford it she would buy it. The auction started at 10:00 a.m.....at 5:30 p.m. the auctioneer finally made it back to the place where the tile was waiting. The seriously addicted lady was able to buy the tile for $6.00.
She lovingly took it home and posted it on eBay, knowing that someone would give it the home and honor it deserved. The winning bidder paid $267.00 for the tile.
I am attaching a picture of the tile...as you can see it truly is beautiful.
Our last flip comes to us courtesy of Joanne, who originally suggested I have a "Flops" contest as well as a "Flips" contest. She wrote me recently with her flip, and I decided to revive the Flops contest, which follows her flip, below.
Hermes Wallet Leads to Herculean Flip
While attending an yard sale/ auction combo estate sale I was at the check out paying for a large item my son was picking up for me. They started selling the jewelry etc. just to the side, and as I stood in line I was watching.
I stepped up and paid and stood watching the coins, etc. just to get an idea price-wise, as they are usually not my interest.
The auctioneer held up a box and said, "Who will give me $50 for this Herman Wallet?" No one said anything, and he then said, "Well, anyone $20?" I put up my hand and it was mine.
I flipped the Hermes in box with all docs for $1650.00 quick sale.
I flipped the Gucci checkbook cover with all docs for $125.00 quick sale.
I flipped the fancy crystal purse for $35 as it was unmarked band wise.
I suggested a year or so ago you should have the flip flop awards and paint them gold sliver and bronze - I think people would love it.....................thanks for the newsletter.
Hey Joanne! Yes I remember you writing about the Flips/Flops awards! As you can see in this issue, I have indeed decided to revive them. (More about the flops, below).
What amazing flips, though! Did the auctioneer actually say "Herman," or was that just a typo? You made an excellent score. I'm kind of amazed no one else jumped at the wallet. But then some folks don't dabble in that high-end luxury market and may not be able to tell a Gucci from a gekko.
That letter makes me want to get back to an offline auction as soon as I can. Thanks again for entering, and suggesting the flops! I don't know if I'll go with flip/flops spray painted as a prize..but I could certainly buy a pair and get them all painted for a good graphic to go along with the contest.
Readers, what do you think? Would you want some gold and silver (and/or bronze) flip flops as a...er, trophy? ;)
To recap, the thing came about when Reader Joanne said:
"I suggested a year or so ago you should have the flip flop awards and paint them gold sliver and bronze - I think people would love it.....................thanks for the newsletter."
to which I replied:
Great to hear from u again! I do remember the flip flops thing..that's funny you say that because I was just thinking of that and how we should do it again. I shall do it..maybe the next issue, or the one after that..I''d have to send out a special note in the next issue. Will post about it in the facebook group."
OK, so here's what we got in the facebook group so far:
"I do have a flop from last Fall sales - I bought a box of comic books from the mid 1990s - more than 175 books in great condition for $40. I have just listed them for the 3rd time on Ebay - been on 2 days and only 5 people have even looked at them!! I keep making my lots bigger and bigger. Right now - 40+ for only 9.99!! And no interest - UGH!"
I joined in the Flop fun and share this failure:
"Dogs of the Yard Sale Dow..anyone had any clunkers this weekend? Share it in our resurrected Flops contest. My flops..I was dumb and didn't check the prices via my iPhone of some textbooks I bought..they were cheap but worth bupkis. :/"
...to which Lisa chimed in:
"Bought The Muppet Christmas Carol VHS. Got home & realized it was Muppet Family Christmas I SHOULD be looking for and the item I bought was worth . . what's the word you used? Bupkus."
I shared another:
"My recent flop: A Kasper suit that just wouldn't sell. It was too dated, methinks. Have never had much luck with Kasper."
(In fact, if a client comes at me with another Kasper suit, remind me to run screaming).
And the rest:
- Here's a big flop. I bought a 1970's Pachinko machine at a flea market. Paid $35. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Flashing lights, lots of action and as I dragged it to the car I was mentally thinking hundreds of dollars in prof... - Susan
- Along the lines of Susan's flop..I bought this ginormous art glass bowl at a yard sale for $20. Was also thinking it would be great for a collector or restaurant..but shipping too high on eBay, and no takers on craigslist yet. :/ http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll - Julia/Me (It's not listed anymore)
- Julia, not the first time I bought some stupid heavy thing where the shipping would cost more than the item. I have learned my lesson.....one I think of every time I walk by the evil Pachinko machine (yes, pretty much like the one in your link). - Susan
Rebecca chimed in with a tip for Craigslist:
"...a trick I've learned to use on Craigslist is to list the item in a nearby metropolitan area with a healthy university - college kids will pay big bucks for pachinko machines and furniture- and they're young enough to WANT the advent..."
- I bought an old doll that I should have looked at better and maybe I wouldn't have bought her at all. Her hair is matted and her eyes are "weird". She's been on ebay and in my garage sale but no takers. I'm having another garage sale next Wednesday so maybe someone like me will scoop her up, and then they can tell their flop story. :(
[ Wilma's weird-eyed doll, above, per her image on facebook. Hm..Wilma, maybe you could rent her to a movie prop guy for a "Sister of Chucky" horror film? ]
Winners and Almost-Winners
OK, the flips contest was a close call, but I'm giving the grand prize of Chumby and tote bags to Joanne for her cool $1650 Hermes flip. Plus, ya gotta appreciate that she was the one to suggest the Flops contest and its flip-flops! Gail's flip was awesome too, but I took into consideration she is still enjoying her fabulous prizes from last month..lol. And Marilyn's metals tips and brass flip is cool too. Ladies, please email me your choice of free ebooks. And Joanne, pls. email me your snail-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get your prizes shipped out.
Flops: it's really close, again, but I'm going with Wilma for the extra effort she made to include a photo of her scary doll. Wilma, you win a free ebook of your choice, or I give you the option of choosing any of my paperback books, too (see my complete list of books in the Reader Mail section, below).
Oh yes..I promised to tell you what a Chumby is. It's a...well, it's like an Internet radio thing...and you can move it easily around your house...and it looks like an oversized hacky sack with a tv screen...oh heck, you're going to just have to google it. The one Joanne is receiving is the version 1, very-first Chumby made. I fooled with it for about a week and then never played with it again. Hopefully you'll have more luck, Joanne..haha! (OK, so there is a backpack and tote bag prize as well if you decide to abandon the Chumby).
Send in your entries to the next contest to me at email@example.com. Prizes will include more eBay collectibles and free merchandise to be announced soon on the facebook site and in email. I will announce more specifics soon. :)
Reader Mail: SimpleBooklet and More
I just thought you might like to pass on our tool to your yard sale readers. We've built a tool which I think helps people who are doing yard sales to promote themselves in the digital age.
A garage seller can create a digital flyer for free containing samples of some of the stuff they want to sell. It's all drag, drop, and format easy, no coding required.
Then, they can promote their yard sale through a rich html email, on their favorite social network, and even embed it in their own blog or website. We do all the hosting as well so they can even just pass on a short URL to anyone they want.
Here's an example of a garage sale flyer.
Hope you like it and find its worth passing onto your readers.
Thanks...cool! Plan to blog about it. Just a thought..make a page that has a bunch of thumnail images so people who are in a rush don't have to flip thru all of the,
Be a Better Bookseller
Working on a little self-promotion that may help your readers as well. I
assume many yard salers are part time book sellers, be it on eBay or
Amazon. We run a completely free blog giving out heeps of information on
how to be a better bookseller. If you think we could help your readers I
would love to be included on your link list.
The site is The Bookshop Blog www.BookshopBlog.com
Thanks for your consideration.
The Bookshop Blog
Your wish is my command! Readers, check out this cool site..I just looked at it, and it looks really fun and helpful. Here's just a smattering of the topics I saw:
Can We Turn a Bookstore Downsize into an Upgrade?
A Very Small Tip for Booksellers and Owners
Wonderful Online/Brick and Mortar Antique Bookshops
Masquerade-A Treasure of a Book
The Mystery League: Great Crime Fiction or Only Super Deco Dust Jackets?
Murder In Retrospect: Review of Murder With Your Malted
Jack Kerouac Quotes Books and Bio with some thoughts by Corso
The Mysterious Workings of an Independent Bookshop
A second act for old books
How One Bookseller Stays in Business After 20 Years
Should a Bookshop Entertain the Idea of Self Publishing Books?
Allllll My eBooks
My name is Brandon. I am a subscriber to the Yard Salers e-mail. I was just wondering if you could give me a list of your e-books and the prices for them. I think I am going to order the "The Golf Shirt Bible" e-book by Suzanne Arant Wells. I could use some pointers on where to find more golf shirts. Thanks! Hope you have a great day!
Thanks so much for subscribing! So glad u like it. Most of my books are listed on the bookstore at the yardsalers.net site. I will past a more complete list, below..this will have to do until the web site gets redesigned. [In terms of golf shirts] I have had best luck at a local thrift store that has the largest selection of mens' shirts in our area.
The best thing for me is to look for the new w tags shirts..if u can find a bunch the same that all came from for example from a charity event (this was one of Suzanne's many great tips in the ebook), u can snap them all up and they are easy relists.
Once yard sale season starts (soon!) I think we can find some good and interesting ones out there. Also look for nice golf sweaters and those Tommy Bahamas type silk island shirts. :)
Thx again and I'll get u a list soon. [See below for the list I later sent him].
Here's the list! I just put this together..I should put it up on my site, too. I even added one on there I haven't started selling officially yet..in case you're interested, it's near the bottom.."A Book that Looks Like Nothing."
Just paypal me (to firstname.lastname@example.org) the 1/2 price amt. for any of them, specifying which one you want, and I'll email them to you. Thanks so much! - Julia
Books/EBooks by Julia L. Wilkinson - Complete List
Note to Yard Salers subscribers: you can get any of these ebook for 1/2 price, either by following
links for them within the newsletters, or by paypaling me 1/2 the amount for the ebook,
specifing which ebook you want, and I will email it to you directly.
BIG BUCKS FLIPS - $19.95
YARD SALERS BOOK STORE
What $ells on eBay for What - $24.98
Chanel on eBay Price Guide - $9.95
Make Big Bucks Selling Albums on eBay - $19.95
Make Big Bucks off Catalogs on eBay - $12.49
http://www.yardsalers.net/bookstore.asp and scroll to "Make Big Bucks off Catalogs on eBay"
Making Money (and Getting a Life?) via Craigslist - $8.95
http://www.yardsalers.net/bookstore.asp and scroll to "Make Money (and Getting a Life?) via Craigslist"
Make Money Selling Kids' Clothes on eBay - $8.95
http://www.yardsalers.net/bookstore.asp and scroll to Make Money Selling Kids' Clothes on eBay
Nonfiction Books that Sell for $50-$250 on eBay (eBooks) - $4.50 (This is already half-price)
Over 500 Books that Sell for $50-$5000 on eBay - $8.95
http://www.yardsalers.net/bookstore.asp and scroll to http://www.yardsalers.net/500Books.asp
How to Spot Fakes: a Special Report - $4.50
(email me at email@example.com)
New Special Report: "A Book that Looks Like Nothing" - $4.50
16 - plus pages about "sleeper" books that look like nothing, but sell for "something" -- some up to
eBay: Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks, 3rd Edition - 45 new from $3.50 44 used from $1.24
My Life at AOL - $13.98
The eBay Price Guide - 8 new from $27.93 24 used from $0.65
EBOOKS I SELL AS AN AFFILIATE
How to Make Big Bucks with Garage & Yard Sales - $8.95 (only available by email; PayPal
me $8.95 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; this one not available at hald price)
Garage sale and wholesaler expert Pat Bateman has put together a fabulous ebook about making regular income with yard sales, finding wholesale goods to sell, using drop shippers, and more. Right now I'm offering it at a special preview price for $8.95. PayPal me at email@example.com and you will receive the ebook via email, usually within hours.
Books by Julia L. Wilkinson:
Copyright 2011 J.L. Wilkinson LLC
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Yard Salers, www.yardsalers.net
Publisher, Julia Wilkinson, author of the award-winning "eBay Price Guide." and "What Sells on eBay for What"
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