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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How to collect Pewter Figurines

October 6, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, Spotlight

How to collect Pewter Figurines

Children certainly enjoy collecting just as much as the adults do.
They may even want to participate in collecting figurines. Parents are often reluctant which is not entirely surprising. This is likely due to the risk of the items being broken or the children being hurt.

One solution might be to collect figurines cast from pewter. They are durable and generally inexpensive to collect. They are also available in a range of subject matter. Through this article I’ll delve into not only how to collect pewter figurines but answer why they are a great choice of collectible.

A few facts about pewter.
Pewter is a workable metal alloy comprised of approximately 85–99% tin. The remaining portion could include any combined mix of copper, bismuth and antimony. Silver may also be present in varying amounts. The copper and antimony are added for durability and hardening. Be aware that in some situations figurines may contain lead. For more about lead content keep reading.

It goes without saying that any figurines containing lead are to be avoided. This should generally not be an issue with figurines being produced nowadays. Now, keep in mind I say ‘generally’. There will always be producers that try and save costs by reworking the raw materials.

This is not so much an effort to knowingly harm the consumer as it is to cut costs. Because lead has such a low melt point it is much cheaper to utilize.

NOTE: Learn how to collect pewter figurines responsibly.

Figurines dating back several years may also be suspect. Some figurines could have been produced prior to the findings on lead toxicity. And since this article is all about collectability it’s worth mentioning. If there is any question at all it’s best to avoid that figurine.

The lower grades of pewter contain lead which gives it the recognizable bluish tint. If you notice a tint or cannot certify the metal content avoid any contact. An easy way to do that is to buy only from a dealer that will certify the figurine content or their source.

Does this mean you should throw away any old figurines you may have?

Not necessarily. Remember your figurines are likely behind glass or at least displayed out of reach. The findings on lead toxicity are more to do with skin contact or ingesting.

But make sure to always research current findings as this can always change. And who knows? The presence of lead traces may actually cause them to be even more rare therefore more collectible.

If at all concerned simply pass them on to another dealer. But fully disclose everything you know and that includes your concerns. In all cases follow with due diligence and act responsibly as a collector.

This is a perfect chance to instill responsible collecting within your children as well. Safety for our fellow collectors should be paramount because we are all part of the same community.

Some of you may have a small shop or hobby foundry. Or for those with an interest in mould making or even sculpting. For those interested in casting their own figurines it’s worthy to mention some specs.

Pewter has a very low melting point of around 338-446 degrees F or 170-230 degrees C. This makes DIY casting a real possibility. This could add to the attraction and options of experimenting with pewter. This may even be an opportune time to create a small cottage industry for yourself. Especially if you’re an artist, craftsperson or mould maker etc.

Some ideas for new pewter castings would be doll house pieces, game board player pieces, novelties, costume jewelry, film and stage props…and it goes on from there.

And if you do decide to pursue the casting route why not create (re-issue) new moulds from original lead-models. You could recast them in safer materials. I’m just rattling ideas off the top of my head now but you can see the possibilities.

The obvious upside to all of this is more money for you …more cash for collecting figurines.

Any more good reasons?
They are durable and inexpensive. Your child can be rough with little risk of injury in the process. There are many subjects for these figurines that your child can choose from. They can portray favorite pastimes and hobbies for both boys and girls.

There are also common items from different manufacturers including dinosaurs, clowns, animals and angels. Once your child has chosen a theme they want to collect it’s best to look at the variety of figurines that are available.

To help the child grow their figurine collection they could share their interest with family and friends. When an occasion, such as birthdays or Christmas, arrives they may get some great new pieces as gifts. They may even find that they will be able to purchase them with their own money as their knowledge and interest grows.

“Why not teach the child how to collect pewter figurines as well.”

The price of a pewter collectible is quite reasonable when compared to other types of materials.

The fact that they are also durable makes them well worth the price. The more weight to the pewter collectible – the more expensive it will be. Size sometimes plays a role in the price but generally it has to do with the overall weight of the object.

Many pewter figurines also increase in value over time.

If your child keeps the collection for years they may end up increasing in value. Of course, as with adult collectors, many children would rather have their collectibles than the money they are worth.  It is still something to consider when building a collection.

Since pewter is so durable these types of figurines can easily become family heirlooms. Many have been passed down within the family. You could start a new tradition by purchasing a few figurines to get your child’s collection started.

For adults that enjoy collecting items pewter figurines are a good option for them as well. They don’t have to worry about their collectibles being broken if they have small curious children.

Pewter is a great looking material and you can’t go wrong buying children collectibles made from it.

Many of them are amazingly detailed and they will be cherished by any child.

You can find them online, at retail stores,  flea markets or yard sales from time to time. Help your child find something they are interested in and start collecting together.

And if you do decide to teach your child how to collect pewter figurines you may very well be building some cherished bonding memories. Feel free to drop me a comment.

Best of luck and collect well.


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