7 Places to find Treasure

October 7, 2015 by  
Filed under Spotlight, Treasure

7 places to find treasure

In this article I’ll go through some of the best 7 places to find treasure that I have found.

These are the type of locations that you may pass by everyday. This is a category that I live-and-breathe. We’re lucky to live in arguably one of the most affluent periods in the last 100 years. And it shows in the rate of spending taking place. The opportunities for gain are huge.

Something I’ve noticed about consumerism in general: when people find their lives on the upswing, when they’re doing well, they tend to cast aside their older items. Items they feel are out of sync with their needs. Or maybe they feel those items no longer reflect their status. Or they need to make room for new brand-name items. Items that they feel are more in line with their new position.

“These 7 places to find treasure have been distilled down over the years”.

When those same people find their situation in decline they also give-up items. Though this time it’s for reasons of practicality. They need the money, or space or both. It may even be the same brand-name items they purchased when they were on the up-swing. I’ve watched this repeat itself over and over no matter what the economy is doing.

Plain and simple.
Once you can read those two realities you will spot opportunity from a mile away. Keep in mind that all of us are in one or the other. Rarely are we in a ‘holding-pattern.’ Watch for tell-tale signs to appear.

Some are more obvious than others. If one works for you directly that’s great. And if not, examine your current situation. Think of everything you have access to. It may be an industrial site, a fairground, a zoo… or whatever. Make a note of it.

Think of your contacts, your friends and neighbours. I can guarantee you there is a golden opportunity waiting in there. It’s disguised as routine and mundane. Something you see so often that you don’t notice it anymore. Let’s see if any of this can jog your thinking.

1. Renovation Site Dumpster
A renovation site means someone is renovating their home. Whether building an addition or replacing a bathroom or maybe a kitchen. These are gold. The renovation team starts on ‘day-one’ by gutting the location.

That’s where you come in. After they leave for the day, and before the dumpster gets hauled away, you carefully check out the contents. I have found crystal doorknobs, antique door hardware, antique plaster moldings, vintage light fixtures, one-of-a-kind drawer pulls and on and on. My point here is that objects are usually small, light to carry and FREE!

NOTE:  I do not advise trespassing or outright theft. If the dumpster is fenced off you may have to apply a different strategy. My strategy is to walk up with a tray of coffees for the guys working…you can figure out the rest.

2. Industrial Dumpster
If you have an industrial area nearby chances are they use bins or dumpsters. Every business has machinery breakdowns or building repairs. Those throw-away parts end up in the dumpster, or their scrap pile. As in the first example, do your field work and go at the appropriate time.

Things like scrap machinery parts and worn gears are hugely popular. I have sold a ton of those.. literally. Most buyers want them for garden art or theme decor. Do not trespass. A lock and chain on the bin means this is off-limits. They may be selling the contents as scrap metal. Do NOT break-in.

3. Swap Meets and Flea Markets
Usually reserved for vintage auto or motorcycles but it’s possible to find tools and related gear. These can be hit-or-miss but they’re always a learning experience. Since no one is giving it away for free here you’re going to have to use common sense. Know what you are looking for and be prepared to compare prices.

The one upside to these places is that all the sellers are generally selling things from the same niche. This means competition for sales which gives you some leverage.

4. Storage Auctions
I think most of us have heard of these by now. I have never seen the huge jackpots depicted on shows like Storage Wars, but there are profits to be made. I have had a storage unit for almost as long as I can remember. Storage auctions might be something you will love.

“The most unexpected places to find treasure – don’t miss reading number 5 just below”.

If you are in the same situation give this a try – post a small notice in the common area (lobby or hallway) that let’s other tenants know you are interested in buying or trading with them. Someone on the brink of defaulting on their rent will gladly roll up their door and let you ‘cherry pick’ the best they have.

5. Offer To Remove Junk
If you have older neighbours, why not approach them with an offer to clean out their junk. Many people are thrilled at this. Years back I was cutting the lawn of an elderly neighbour whose husband had just passed.

After sweeping and putting everything away she asked if I’d mind dragging some of her late husband’s items to the curb for trash day. No problem, I thought.

When she swung open his shop door I was stunned. I was staring at some of the coolest pieces of vintage gas station memorabilia I had ever seen. I swear I briefly heard choir music – surely this was Karma rewarding me for being a thoughtful neighbour. The rest is history.

6. Second Hand Store
This is kind of like a watered-down antique store. Where an antique store is focused mainly on profits the second hand store is a little more casual. They may have a wider range of stock but at a lower profit margin – good news for you.

It’s not free but they know they have rent to pay so are more than willing to part with something quickly. Many of their items may also be consignment items. There is no gain in letting a prospect walk out without buying.

7. Garbage Night Crawl
I started doing this after the experience I detailed above in No.5. I began to wonder what was actually making it to the curb at some of these homes. So I searched out a somewhat middle to upper class neighbourhood and did my field work. It was easy enough to figure out their garbage pickup schedule.

I began to cruise their streets on the night before. Some items being put out as trash looked new. And before you say there is a stigma attached to this activity; as I drove those streets I saw a Range Rover stop ahead of me.

The driver climbed out and loaded a curbside BBQ into the back of his vehicle. He was doing the same thing as me – just with a nicer truck.

Some items I have found include tools, boxes of vintage magazines, a large record collection, retro furniture and oil paintings to name a few. And don’t assume that everything needs to be of impeccable taste. I recovered a pair of mint-condition table lamps.

They were placed curbside, both wrapped neatly in plastic. When I unwrapped them they were so hideous…they were actually hard to NOT stare at. I dusted them off and put them online. It took about 3 weeks but they recently netted a cool $160.

Pay attention to and obey all local laws and by-laws.
Remember to wear work gloves, a dust mask and safety eyewear. I also use a headband style lamp after dark. Do not trespass where it’s clearly marked as private property. If you decide to utilize any of the above strategies please do so safely.

Can you add to the 7 places to find treasure?

And if you have any additional tips or know of more than 7 places to find treasure then feel free to leave a comment.

Best of luck and collect well.


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What is OOP?

October 6, 2015 by  
Filed under Spotlight, Treasure

What is OOP

Have you ever wondered exactly what is OOP?
Almost everyone is aware that books go “out of print” and become desirable as collectors items. Few of us stop to consider that the same is also true for movies, in both VHS and DVD format.

For example, you may have come across an old re-release of a movie but notice the cover art looks strange. The original missing cover art is likely out-of-print. Also known OOP. The DVD is probably a genuine re-release but the cover art had to be redone, and usually not as well. A perfect example that may also be highly collectible.

New collectors sometimes ask what is OOP?

They frequently use this term to advertise their products. It’s used frequently in title bars where space is at a premium, or limited to 30-60 characters. Simply put, the abbreviation evolved from a need to optimize expensive advertising space.

The OOP expression is often used in conjunction with a date and the word “cover.” These terms mean the product and the package artwork are no longer being produced.

What is OOP and what isn’t, can make a difference on the final comparison value.

When distributors sell out their stock of a particular item they become difficult to find. Hard-core collectors and sellers usually know where to find items, but it’s more difficult for the average collector.

Brand new and factory sealed OOP movies can quickly become highly prized collectables, just as OOP books and music.

There has been a surge in auctions and e-stores offering OOP titles.
Items are usually listed in the seller’s inventory or are available through some indirect source.

A word of caution, most collectors have learned to pay close attention to an items catalog number. This important piece of information is the number listed on the items cover jacket or box. The catalog number is an easy way for collector’s to identify the studio’s authenticity.

This also proves that the item is genuine and in fact is out of print. This is especially important where foreign items are offered because some versions are not OOP at all. These could be intended to fool the average collector.

Some collectors who bid at auctions are not collecting for financial gain, but just want an item for the pure enjoyment of owning the item itself.

They can settle in with their favorite book or watch their favorite movie knowing the experience with their OOP item will be a truly unique experience.

What is OOP and what is not should only be considered if your endeavour is profit based. Whatever your motivation for deciding on an OOP purchase, be it as an investment or just for the pure enjoyment of watching one of your favorite movies, you are sure to find collecting of OOP movies both interesting and rewarding.

Best of luck and collect well.


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What You need to know about Antiques

October 3, 2015 by  
Filed under Spotlight, Treasure

What you need to know about antiques
We’re bombarded with television programs pitching what you need to know about antiques.
Whether it’s a show about a pawn shop dealing in unusual antiques or an appraisal show for those with antiques at home. The antique world is giving some love to those who love their antiques.

Does it give you a buzz when you see a mint condition toy that could be possibly decades-old? Maybe you feel that owning something like that will give you back something nostalgic.

Are you just  a little amazed knowing that the first person to quite possibly ever hold this tin toy or utensil is long gone? And because you are now enjoying the same item you have forged a link across time.

I can relate.
And even though I still sell some of my antiques from time to time I hold on to many others. It’s no secret that most antique lovers will have to sell-off a few things here and there. We all need to find new space and turning over individual pieces occasionally accomplishes that.

But every once in a while something reaches you just a little deeper. It may feel almost mystical. Whatever it is you know it’s its something you feel a stronger connection to. You know it’s something you want to hold on to.

A very popular niche in antiques is old toys.
Specifically the toys first produced when mass production was just being realized. Another popular niche is the hand crafted toys that date back even further. When shopping for antique toys it can be helpful to have a price guide in hand.

Many unscrupulous sellers are hoping to gain profit due to a buyer’s lack of knowledge.
Watching programs, such as Antiques Roadshow, can help educate you as a buyer. For a few dollars you can purchase an antique toy pricing guide.

Ever wondered what you need to know about antiques?

This may help you develop a firm understanding of how to find a bargain.
If you happen to have kept a number of your childhood toys and are now ready to sell them, there can be a great deal of money to be made. It won’t take long to find a toy collector.

Do your research on selling antiques and their respective prices. You could be pleasantly surprised regarding their current values.

An example of a popular antique toy would be the once-common wooden rocking horse. Wooden rocking horses are widely available at online antique stores and often cost well over $1,000 if they are in good condition. Some wear is expected but as long as it’s complete this is a consistent market value.

Surprisingly antique toys sought after by collectors typically include marbles.
While marbles may not be on your collectables list they regularly sell for notable amounts. Just have a quick visit onto EBAY to find auctions in the hundreds of dollars for single marbles.

“I have to be honest, the marble prices were a surprise to me. At least until I studied up on why they were so collectible. I’ll cover marbles in a future article. They are a fascinating item”.

If antiques is your passion and you want to learn more the internet is a great resource for information. What you need to know about antiques can be acquired more readily now with the internet.

“But what you need to know about antiques goes even further.”

The antiques market has been growing at a phenomenal rate since the internet started to catch on. People are quite comfortable presenting and trading antiques, whether on Ebay or other auction sites. There is always room for more people and more items in this market.

Best of luck and collect well.


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Native Pottery

October 3, 2015 by  
Filed under Treasure

Native Pottery
Native pottery is wonderful to admire and can be satisfying to collect as well.
For this article we’ll concern ourselves with the American south west. If a south western Native pottery collection is your goal then read on.

This form of pottery art has been practiced for thousands of years. There are so many different pueblos and each one has its own style of finished pottery. Yet it is constantly improving as modern artists are experimenting with combinations of new techniques and designs with traditional disciplines.

There are pros and cons to collecting both antique and the modern pottery.
While collecting the pottery you are also learning a lot about Native American art and culture.

This will help you get a feel for native pottery as well.

The older pottery is more expensive because of the added value as an antique especially if it’s in prime condition. Having said that, the newer pottery can be just as beautiful or even more so. It is important to collect what you like and can afford.

The first thing you should do is visit some websites and look at photos of Native American pottery. When you see enough quality pottery you will eventually train yourself to recognize what is desirable and collectible.

Be sure to take advantage of as many books on the subject, as you can find. It never hurts to be over-educated in what adds value to a collectible

If you can visit New Mexico or Arizona, be sure to visit some of the pueblos where the pottery is made. Often the pueblo will have a cultural center where they display works of the local artists, along with a lot of information about their history and crafts.

While you can purchase pottery at these cultural centers you would be better off buying the pottery directly from the artist if at all possible.
You can also purchase pueblo pottery online.

Good discounts can sometimes be had from sites online. Of course the drawback is that you can’t actually handle the pottery before deciding to purchase. Just be sure they have good photos of the pottery on the website.

“If possible avoid the native pottery in the expensive tourist shops of the southwest.”

Try to get the largest example of pottery you can afford.
It should not have any chips or cracks, as that will reduce the value. While pottery made from molds is just as acceptable the hand-made pottery is far more valuable. In any case even the pottery made from a mold should be hand painted beautifully by the potter.

It can be interesting to collect pottery from the different pueblos.
It is amazing how different they can be. The differences could be in the color of clay used, the shapes of the pottery, the subject matter of sculptures, the amount of carving on the piece, the style of painting, and so on.

Look for a qualified reference book detailing the various styles of Native pottery.
It will help you to distinguish individual pieces as well as levels of quality. There are many different types of pottery too. Some are ollas, bowls, seed pots, traditional wedding vases, story teller figurines, figures of animals, among many others.

Some of the Native American potters have become quite famous, so it follows their work can be very expensive. But it’s without a doubt extremely beautiful. The work of lesser known potters can also be lovely. If you are just beginning to collect pottery you’ll find these less-known artists are also more affordable.

You can always start out simply and purchase more expensive pottery as you get more familiar with it. Now go out and enjoy your new native pottery hobby.

Best of luck and collect well.


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