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Yard Salers Issue 78: Aug. 2013: A Hoarder's Sale; Clues that Help at an Estate Sale; Flips and Flops Contest.

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Hello, all!

Rumors of our death has been greatly exaggerated. Or, at least exaggerated. Actually, there were no such reports, but it's been a while since I put out a newsletter, so I want to say I'm sorry to all our loyal readers! Plus, we have quite a few new readers, so welcome aboard for all the yard sale-ing and online selling fun!

As some of you know, one of the things that has kept me so busy has been writing and editing the AuctionBytes Blog, a great opportunity given to me by Ina Steiner of eCommerceBytes.com. So if you've been missing my deep thoughts on online selling, check that out to find many of them. Here's the url: http://www.ecommercebytes.com/C/abblog/blog.pl.

This of course has not kept me from trolling my area for sales...more specifically, estate sales, even through the Dead of Winter. Recently I had a chance to go to a "hoarder's" estate sale before it was open to the public. The sale workers were still wearing face masks to protect themselves from mildew, etc. It was a cornucopia of mainly books and art, and one of the things I grabbed, an early paperback copy of "I, Robot" by Isaac Asimov, wound up being signed by Asimov himself! I wound up going back later, and found several more Asimovs that were also signed! Each sold for around $50-$60.

Read on for more about that sale, as well as our feature on how selling on Amazon and eBay has changed, and how to stay competitive on there. And I'm working on a new ebook: How can skinny things lead to fat profits? You'll see.

Plus: let's stir up some controversy! (Hopefully all in good fun). Who is easier to sell to, men or women? There may be no definitive answer, but I'd be interested to get your thoughts. Then of course we have the Flips and Flops contest. Despite our lack of recent issues we've had a faithful reader and contest entrant who has had some amazing success and also a "Flop"; and I will be sharing both with you.

And oh yes...the Faceboook Yard Salers group has now largely migrated to a closed group, because the regulars did not necessarily want their best tips going to the whole Facebook world. Which I can totally understand. But this new group is a little hard to find, so here's a direct link to it if you want to join it (I'll need to approve you, but I try to do that asap): https://www.facebook.com/groups/219812014811564/

Follow me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/juliawww

Can you really find Masters Augusta National green golf shirts to sell? You can! I have already found two. For more insider info on which golf shirts sell the best and the best places to find them, I recommend Suzanne Arant Wells's ebook, The Golf Shirt Bible. Only $19.95: How to Sell Golf Shirts on eBay If the link does not work, try copying this into your browser:

Yard Salers uses the automated email system, AWeber. If you received a link to this issue in email, you should have requested this newsletter, and should not be receiving it unless you opted in. If you have any problems or questions about links in the newsletter, or other issues, feel free to email me at juliawilk@aol.com.

OK, now without further ado, let's get to the rest of this issue! *********************************************************************
1) A Hoarder's Sale Bonanza; and Clues that Help at an Estate Sale
2) Selling on Amazon: What's Changed, Where to Focus Your Energies
3) Poll: Who is Easier to Sell to, Men or Women?
4) Latest Flips & Flops, and Next Flips Contest
********************************************************************* Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=27871336031 ***********************************
Next Flips Contest: We'll be doing another cash prize of $50 for the next contest, and runnerups winning free copies of my new ebook, which I really think is my best: Flip It Again, http://www.yardsalers.net/frequent_flips_sales.asp. Plus, the updated version of Big Bucks Flips is out!

You can email them directly to me at juliawilk@aol.com.
As a reminder, the Yard Salers' Facebook group is at http://www.facebook.com/groups/27871336031.

News for Non-Facebookers! Some new message boards are coming to the Yardsalers.net site soon, so keep your eye out for them!
Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=27871336031
BIG BUCKS FLIPS version 3.0 is out! 159 pages of fabulous flips, plus "Julia's Favorite Flips" Bonus. Flip it for big bucks: http://bigbucksflips.com/

1) Hoarders! One Woman Goes In without a Mask; and Clues that Help at an Estate Sale

As I mentioned in the Editorial, I recently hit up a hoarder's estate sale with a good friend of mine who knows art (which makes sense because she is a professional artist).

By the way, if you know an artist, or have an interest in buying and selling art, bring that friend along with you to sales and/or educate yourself about the differences between an oil or watercolor painting, how to identify an etching, how to tell if something is computer-generated (look for the computer "dots" under a jeweler's loupe). It can really pay off in the long run.

So, back to the hoarder's sale. First of all, how did I find out about it? Well, there's a funny story there, but in a nutshell, let's just say it pays to make conversation with the person doing checkout at an estate sale. (Or with anyone working the sale, for that matter).

I found out about the sale while chit-chatting with the estate sale company's owner at the checkout of another sale. We were asking about what upcoming sales she had, and she mentioned that she had a "hoarder's sale" that was not currently open to the public, but she would allow us to come look through it and pick things out to buy.

So what was particularly great about this experience was I was there as the workers were doing setup; not at the actual sale.

It had all come about because a reporter for the BBC Persian service was doing a piece on American life, and wanted to cover yard sales. He found my eBay book and contacted me, and we headed out to an estate sale (as it was winter and there were no yard sales per se) so he could film me looking thru stuff. (You can see that piece on the BBC Persian site at this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/world/2013/04/130416_u10_yengeh_donya_sales.shtml.) Hey, it's kinda fun if for nothing else than to hear me dubbed over in Farsi! ;)

That sale led to the hoarder's sale, where the BBC reporter accompanied me as well. I don't know if he used any footage from that, though. On another day, I went back with my artist friend. There we were, tromping through rooms and rooms crammed with books, clothes, art, and of course I suppose there was furniture under it all. I'd seen (and smelled) worse, but I think at least one cat had lived there.

Also, later, the estate sale company owner invited me to another early "preview" of a sale..his one at the home of a doctor, where I got first crack at the books before other dealers. So it can pay to talk to the estate sale managers and employees. And, just keeping your ears open and chatting with other attendees can help too. I've overheard other people at a sale or in line for a sale talking about other sales nearby which I hadn't known about.

More About Hoarders' Sales

Many of you are no doubt familiar with the cable reality show "Hoarders," which of late seems to have turned into more of a freak show, with flattened cats and things I can't even think about now because I just ate. So every once in a while you get the estate sale of someone who was a hoarder.

Well, these kinds of sales are not always disgusting to tromp through: sometimes it's someone who had a shopping addiction or collected a jillion dolls or just had waaaay too much stuff. But they can also be somewhere in between, and if you get the sale of a true hoarder/collector, they can be a goldmine. Take the one I just attended. As I mentioned in the intro, I picked up several signed Isaac Asimovs at this house, which was owned by a lady who evidently was a huge sci-fi fan. I didn't see too many of the classics or boxed sets that I would have liked, but there was the Asimov "I, Robot" paperback, and also a lot of the sci-fi short story collection magazines, which I planned to take a closer look at when I got back.

When I got to the sale, I saw shelves upon shelves of books, some stacked two or three rows deep, on just about every available wall and in every room. The wall space was almost completely covered with art, mostly modern-looking, some sci-fi-ish, and a lot of it harkening back to the 1970s or 1960s.

Who Is This Person?

On a tabletop in the kitchen, and strewn throughout boxes below, were letters, cards, and other ephemera. I picked up one letter so I could know the name of this person who had this great love of books. I have also found that by finding out more about the life of the person whose estate is for sale, it can lead to valuable clues as to what to look for to buy.

For example, after looking at this letter, and some inscriptions in art, and then in general seeing all the mountains of books for sale, mostly science fiction, my friend and I deduced that this woman worked in publishing. And, more likely, science fiction. Now how would knowing that help us buy? Well, suddenly some of the more bizarre-looking acrylic sci-fi paintings could be viewed in another light: these could be the original art of the covers of science fiction books!

And when we took a closer look at the paintings, we found that several had inscriptions to this woman. So we knew they had meaning and likely would have some value for collectors of these books or authors. My friend looked at the paintings in the sunlight, which entailed walking with them over to the window, because the place wasn't very well-lit. Sure enough, she could see the brush strokes, and in some cases, where the paint lapped over the edge of the canvas. (In some cases you need to take the artwork out of its frame, but this isn't always possible at estate sales).

I wound up with about six signed Isaac Asimovs, several sci-fi first editions, and my friend and I shared the profits of the art, which amounted to about $420.

But, without knowing this lady worked in publishing, and sci-fi in particular, we wouldn't have known as much what to look for, and how seriously to take some of this spacey art that many others had passed over (this sale had already been open to the public once, but some of the items may not have been unpacked then because there was just so much stuff).

I think the main lesson is to take each sale and person seriously...I have seen some people scoff at a sale in a run-down neighborhood, or of a messy house...or even one that didn't smelll quite so good. I try to be compassionate and remember all these people led lives and had interests, and just because they fell upon hard times or, say got old and/or sick, doesn't mean their things weren't valuable.

In fact, more recently I hit upon yet another "hoarder's" sale. This lady was a massive Avon collector and also a dealer. So knowing she was a dealer, I looked for the highly collectible "Mrs. Albee" figurines that are among the most valuable of all Avon products. Alas, I saw none of those, but she had plenty of the Ruby Red "Cape Cod" Avon pieces, which are also quite collectible and fetch good prices.

One of my mantras in going to yard sales is, "you never know."

2) Selling on Amazon: What's Changed, Where to Focus Your Energies

Since it's been a while since our last issue, as it were, I've seen Amazon.com go through some changes. Most of these weren't easy to notice unless you'd been selling for a long time.

One thing I've noticed is there are more books, and more varieties of publishings and editions of these books, on the site. In some cases there are duplicate listings. In many cases, if I had listed a book a long time ago in Amazon time, say two years, some numnut has come along and listed a version of the book at a disturbingly low price. (I recently blogged about this, too: http://www.ecommercebytes.com/C/abblog/blog.pl?/pl/2013/8/1376598450.html).

But that's what happens in marketplaces, and as some of the only copies of products listed on Amazon now have "friends," their prices are being driven down. What does this mean for you and me?

In my case, and I advise you to do this too -- is to do three things:

1. I try to list more obscure and harder-to-find books that won't have competition.

Example of the obscure/the niche? COMBAT-FIGHTING KNIVES [Paperback] [1987] Smith, J. E., Jr.; recently sold by me on Amazon for $39.50; bought by me for about $1 at a library or yard sale; I don't remember which.

2. I list more periodicals, as I have found these have good demand and a lot of people don't take the trouble to list them.

Example: Cosmopolitan Magazine April 1971 [Unknown Binding] [1971] Cosmopolitan Magazine, sold on Amazon for $39.95.

Another: Vogue Magazine February 1978 Patti Hansen Cover [Paperback] [1978] Grace Mirabella, sold on Amazon for $24.95.

3. I ship more items to FBA. This qualifies them for free shipping for people who have "Prime" Amazon memberships. And there seem to be enough people with Prime memberships that just about any item that qualifies for Prime where its competitor doesn't, has a much higher chance of selling.

This does not mean you have to use Amazon FBA to sell stuff on there. But I've found it pays off for just about anything I send in, even the more obscure stuff. Especially since the more obscure stuff often now has more competition.

3) Poll: Who is easier to sell to, men or women?

This poll will be completely unscientific. Simply email your answers and other thoughts about "Who is easier to sell to, men or women?" to me at juliawilk@aol.com. (Sorry, surveymonkey, no monkey this time).

Oh, and this is *not* meant to be sexist, and I realize it will often depend on *what* you sell. So, let's have fun with it if we can. :-)

4) Latest Flips and Flops, and Next Flips Contest

Because I haven't published a newsletter in about forever, I don't have many Flips entries. In fact, weeding thru my old emails, there were only a couple. I am using one as the winner and the other will enter in the next contest.



Bolo Tie is a "Buy Low" - Sell High! ;)

Hi Julia,

My recent flip was for a silver and turquoise bolo tie. I bought it for $1 at a yard sale and after getting It home realized it was signed. The signing was by a famous Navajo silversmith, Tommy Singer (this of course was learned after the purchase).

The bolo tie sold for $249.00 to someone in the UK. Great ROI.

Melynda Little
eBay name: littlemyn


Image Coming

Above: Some Singer silver boilo ties similar to the one Melynda found.


I'd call that a great ROI too! I don't even need to do the math..lol.

Melynda, you win the $50 prize...please email me at juliawilk@aol.com when you get a chance to work out details.



While we're waiting for you guys to send in your latest great flips, we have a Flop to look at.

But, it's a really fun flop, and longtime reader Marilyn sent it in, so that makes it all the better. (Marilyn was the one who also sent in a flip, and it was great, but Marilyn, I'm going to save that flip for the next issue if you don't mind). :-)

And, everyone, don't forget to submit those flips to win the $50 cash prize for the next issue! Just email me the story of your latest selling success - including what you bought the item for and what you sold it for - and you'll be entered into the next contest!

Now here is Marilyn's "Flop":


Marilyn's Bally Makes it to the Valley...of Profits

Well, Julia, I have a flop for you. A few weeks ago I got a heck of a deal on a vintage slot machine, $20. Some folks were emptying a storage building & needed it gone.

I did a little research online & found that my slot machine was made by Balley in 1983. Similar one-armed bandits were for sale online for $750 to $1250. KA-CHING sounded in my head.

My machine wasn't in working condition, but I figured that it would be worth spending the money to have it repaired. I even found a place about 50 miles away from my town that repaired slot machines & took it to them.

They charged an inspection fee of $85 to give an estimate of the repair cost. The lady called me in about a week with the news that my slot machine was not worth repairing. She had told her technician to stop when he reached $900. And when could I pick it up. I now have a tank of gas and $105 invested in a big, very heavy, useless, contraption. I'm sure that I will eventually find a home for it. In the meantime, it is still a big, very heavy useless contraption to have to deal with.



Below is what I wrote back to Marilyn when she first wrote. But, I just had a brainstorm. Marilyn, have you thought about selling it to a decorator? Maybe some rich dude would want it in his rec room just for the visual appeal? Well, it's a thought. ;)


Hey Marilyn! Great to hear from u again. :)

Oh my goodness! Thank you for the flop...but I really feel your pain on that one!

But..gosh I wonder if you could get a restaurant or bar maybe to buy it as a decoration? She charged you $85 total or she charged u the $900? Yikes!! Well I hope you find a home for it...hey do you want me to post on the Yard Salers facebook...maybe a friend of a friend will have an idea who might want to buy it? Thanks for the great flop...well, great in one sense..!

Hang in there and wishing you many flips, Julia

Reader Mail
No Reader Mail in this issue, but it will return in the next issue.


OK, everyone, that's it for this issue. Enjoy the coming yard sale season and nice weather! See you all next issue, and remember to email those flips and flops to me at juliawilk@aol.com!


That's it for this issue! Any questions, comments, compliments, rants or raves, send to juliawilk@aol.com. On second thought, send the rants to my gmail account, juliawgal@gmail.com...I don't check it as often. ;)



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 juliawilk@aol.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 
(email me at juliawilk@aol.com)

How to Make Big Bucks with Garage & Yard Sales - $8.95 (only available by email; PayPal 
me $8.95 or email me at juliawilk@aol.com; 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 juliawilk@aol.com and you will receive the ebook via email, usually within hours.

Paperback Books by Julia L. Wilkinson:

Copyright 2012 J.L. Wilkinson LLC 

Thank you for subscribing to Yard Salers. Yard Salers email newsletter may be freely distributed in its entirety, so please pass it on. You may reprint any of the articles in this newsletter for any purpose as long as no portion of the article is modified without permission, and this tagline is included:

Yard Salers, www.yardsalers.net

Publisher, Julia Wilkinson, author of the award-winning "eBay Price Guide." and "What Sells on eBay for What"

No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Yard Salers makes diligent efforts to obtain accurate and timely information. However, Yard Salers disclaims any liability to any party for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions in Yard Salers, whether or not such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident or any other cause.




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