Selling My Special Finds Here

It’s funny that it’s taken me this long to come to this decision – but finally, here it is. I’ve decided to start selling those things I consider special finds – here – on my personal website. I’ve had an antique shop for years now and been selling on Ebay, through auction houses like Bonhams, … Continue reading “Selling My Special Finds Here”

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It’s funny that it’s taken me this long to come to this decision – but finally, here it is. I’ve decided to start selling those things I consider special finds – here – on my personal website.

I’ve had an antique shop for years now and been selling on Ebay, through auction houses like Bonhams, Sothebys, and Skinner and at flea markets and antique shows – and for some reason – I’ve been hesitant to sell here. No more.

I will be listing art, ethnographic, toys, advertising, books, and more here. I hope you enjoy these things as much as I do – at the very least – this creates a record of some of the beautiful, interesting, and bizarre items I enjoy the most.

Archaeologists Find Rare Bronze Mask of Pan | Archaeology | Sci-News.com

Israeli archaeologists from the University of Haifa have uncovered an enormous bronze mask of Pan (Faunus, Satyr) – the Greek/Roman god of the woods, shepherds, and fertility – at the archaeological site of Hippos-Sussita, located on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee.

Archaeologists Find Rare Bronze Mask of Pan | Archaeology | Sci-News.com.

One Of The World’s Top Aging Researchers Has A Pill To Keep You Feeling Young | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

Say someone came up to you selling a dietary supplement—a pill that you take once a day—that could boost your energy, improve your body’s ability to repair its DNA, and keep you healthier as you get older.

It might sound like a scam, or more likely just another in a sea of confusing, undifferentiated claims that make up the $20 billion dollar supplement industry.

But let’s say that someone is MIT’s Lenny Guarente, one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of aging research. And he’s being advised by five Nobel Prize winners and two dozen other top researchers in their fields. You might pay a little more attention.

via One Of The World's Top Aging Researchers Has A Pill To Keep You Feeling Young | Co.Exist | ideas + impact.

Creation, Thoughts, and Ideas from a Creator

Without a doubt, the greatest impediment to innovation or creation is not inspiration, but procrastination – most specifically , waiting for the right time, right materials, right circumstance, or right something – if Leonardo or Michelangelo had waited the world would be a poorer place – if Steve Jobs had waited, the world would certainly be different – if Henry Ford or countless others had waited – the world would be unrecognizable – which may or may not be a good thing – I haven’t seen that other world, so I don’t really know.

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I only know that our world makes it harder than ever to get started – gone are the days when a poor immigrant can make aprons from cloth bought with his last few dollars and start a grand enterprise – today – to do so legally he needs to have a license, a premisis, a tax ID number, and countless other sanctioned impediments to doing business. Our system is seemingly, a system which does to great length to encourage inertia and to discourage innovation and forward movement.

I, like many others, am a man of ideas. My whole life has been a complex system of coming up with ideas and then working to make them reality – often the only canvas I have had to work with is myself, who I am – and I’ve painted several different me’s through these four decades. My antique shop was born in three days – I spoke with the landlords, I signed the rental agreement, I moved what I had in, and I opened – meanwhile – two shops down the street prepared for months to open their doors – one of them to much better effect than me and the other to about the same lukewarm welcome and success.

My desire is to create, to make new things, to innovate, to paint, to write, to play music, to make art, to start business – that is what I do. I am a creator – not a creative – a creator. I create things. I create books, stories, worlds, websites, magazines, businesses, people (characters and children), and more. I would create far more if I were not stymied by process, procedure, start up costs, regulations, and other artificial impediments to my creative genius. I find it funny, by the way that art is contained in the word artificial – when I find true art to be the most genuine products of humanity…I also find it incredibly annoying to have creators like myself labeled as ‘creatives’ by those who are not. We are not creatives, we are creators. We are not makers, we are creators. We create!

If God did create us in his image, we creators are the ones he must love the most. We create! We understand! And, we also understand how a creation can turn south or end up being disappointing, or not work out the way that we intended.

In the beginning, God created Man and then Man (and woman) started doing all kinds of things God hadn’t intended or thought about – yeah, I get that – the characters in the books I write usually take over at some point and deviate wholly from my preconcieved plotlines – when I paint – it often ends up something completely different from what I started thinking I was painting – even my antique shop is not quite what I had expected it would be – it has been filled with stuff people walked through the door with to sell me – I had no idea this stuff would come here – and so it goes. The stuff I thought would sell has been gathering dust while the stuff I didn’t plan on has paid the rent, I sure hope that continues…

It’s enough for now – although one more thing – I think that perhaps the internet and its offer of allowing me to create whatever I want for the world to see may have dragged me off a path where I would have made more real world things – stuff you can touch and hold.  As a matter of regret – I regret that – all this website crap – it disappears when the power goes out – if I had been making furniture or gardens – they wouldn’t be so ephemeral – or maybe they would. I don’t know. What do you think?

Destroying Cool Things for a Profit

Here’s something sad that isn’t new – often, the parts are worth more than the whole. Case in point – I bought a couple of really cool old items recently – a 1940s National Cash Register and a 1920s RCA Victor 5 Band World Radio.

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I’ve tried to sell both at numerous prices – but with no luck. I tried to sell them high at the price that the pieces are worth when parted out and then, because I hate tearing cool things apart – I tried to sell them at just about the price I bought them for – which is roughly 25% of what they part out at.

They wouldn’t sell. Too big, too heavy, and folks just don’t have the room they used to have. All those McMansions are being sold as boomers realize they don’t want to climb stairs every night or mow an acre of grass in the front yard. They’re selling their furniture, selling their collections, and selling the collections they inherited from their parents.  The younger generation doesn’t have the money or the space.

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So, I’m going to destroy these cool old machines. I’ll sell the RCA Victor tubes for $20 each and the keys of the old cash register for $2 each – I’ll pull out the cool old dial from the radio and the bakelite knobs and then convert the cabinet into a bookshelf. I’ll scrap the guts of the register for about $30 more and paint the whole thing red and slap a coke label on it and sell it to someone for $35 which is the last price I tried to sell it for.

I’ll quadruple my investment even when you figure in the time spent pulling these cool old machines apart – but it sure seems like a shame to do it.

Jinxing Yourself – My Box of TR King Poker Chips – The Sleeper

A sleeper is an undervalued item at a sale, shop, or event.

I jinxed myself with my last post. I know it’s a bit superstitious to think that one actually can jinx one’s self – but I guess that bit of superstition provides a little bit of meaning and understanding to things we just don’t understand.

My last post titled You Don’t Make Money Selling – You Make Money Buying was a pretty good article. The information in it was solid and true except for one little bit of prediction I made which sort of ruins the whole thing for me – I said, right at the end –

“I found my sleeper and ended up paying $1 for an item that I would flip for over $2000 within a few days…I’ll tell you about that in the next article which will be all about sleepers….”

Man, I wish I hadn’t of said that. You see, I hadn’t actually flipped my sleeper yet but I was so sure that I would be able to – that I allowed hubris to grab me and let my fingers do the bragging that jinxed me. Truth be told – I’ve been waiting for my sleeper to sell so I could write my triumphant “I told you and here is the proof” post – but, like I said, I jinxed myself.

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I’ll tell you about my sleeper find later in the article, but first I want to fulfill my promise about explaining sleepers.

In the antiques and collectibles business, a sleeper is an item that the seller has overlooked – an item which is priced well below market value. You might think that sleepers are hard to come by, but they are everywhere -even in antique shops, flea markets, thrift stores, yard sales, or high end auctions by Sotheby’s, Christie’s or Bonham’s.. There is always a sleeper.

The reason is that unless the seller is only selling one thing that they are completely sure of and expert on -it is probable that there is something of value which they have overlooked. An example would be those very nice staplers I wrote about in a previous post, or maybe a vintage Barbie thrown in among the modern Barbie dolls, a broken dresser with valuable hardware on it, a pair of ruby earrings that has somehow found it’s way into a junk jewelry box, or a box of 75 clay poker chips from 1955 marked Commanche Club Poker Room that wound up in the dollar box of a hoarder sale.

Yup, that’s what I found. As soon as I saw that they were embossed, I knew they were special – even if they hadn’t of been embossed, they would have been a sleeper since a box of T.R. King small crown poker chips made of clay is worth $40-$60 by itself –

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These were special though. Every chip was marked $1 – Commanche Club. A bit of research showed me it was a Los Angeles card room that had closed in 1955. Further research showed me that individual chips sold for anywhere from $35 – $95 each.  I did the math and listed them on Ebay for a discounted price of $2250 with a “Make an offer” option. I was sure they would sell within a day or two and then I jinxed myself by writing that last post and including my bragging.

Still – it’s an awesome sleeper and is just waiting for the right butt to come along and fill the seat. I’ve left enough meat on the bone for a dealer to make a nice profit – the thing is – it’s a big investment – so it will take the right person coming along.

So, the sleeper is what you are looking for when you are picking. Whether it is the $100k piece of furniture which is for sale at only a few thousand dollars, the red line hot wheels inside the box with the modern ones, or the broken Turtle Timer watch from Zell Brothers of Seattle (which most people don’t know is actually a Rolex movement inside a watch with a silly name).

Here’s the thing though – don’t jinx yourself. One way to make sure you don’t make a sale is to brag about it before you do – I don’t know why the universe works that way – it just does.

Oh, I almost forgot – if you want to buy the T.R. King Chips from the Commanche Club – just click the link…