December was a slow month. I found myself busy with other things and faced with a general shortage of good auctions; a common issue around the major holidays. I managed to hit only two auctions all month long and did not have high expectations for picking up a decent unit.
At the second auction, about a week before Christmas, I found myself surrounded by another enormous crowd of around seventy people, consisting mostly of noobs who had been watching one of the new tv shows on storage auctions. I’ve found that most of these folks are here to just check things out and are not going to bid. Even with the big turnouts, I have not seen our regulars encounter much difficulty in obtaining quality units at decent prices.
I had no intention of buying anything that day unless a premium unit presented itself. There were six units available at this auction, and I noticed they all seemed to be bringing lower bids than usual. Even with the big crowd, we apparently had few buyers. I only noticed five regulars in attendance. I watched as two unfamiliar faces bid up to about $200 a small unit that appeared to have contractors’ tools and supplies.
I really had no interest in that unit, but $200 seemed quite low. I couldn’t let some novice have a good unit for cheap…so I threw in my hat and ran with him until $275, at which time he conceded. I got some of the usual “you’re crazy” looks and comments from a few people who probably have yet to purchase their first unit. These don’t bother me at all, and I’ve noticed the more comments and looks I get, the better the unit usually is.
I put my lock on and called it a day without going through anything. I came back two days later with my guys and loaded it up. It was an easy unit to process; I went through everything myself in a couple days. I found a few inexpensive power tools, a drill and a sander and some new-in-box household items, like crock pots and a food processor. I welcome pretty much anything new-in-box as it will sell easily on eBay. However, I wasn’t making back my time or money on these items.
This unit appeared to be a bust as I was going through the last few boxes when I found a big surprise…lots of old baseball cards and other sports memorabilia. Having collected baseball cards myself since childhood, I was stunned as I pulled stacks of 1950’s era Topps cards in excellent condition. There were also boxes and boxes of unopened packs of baseball and football cards from the 1980’s. I could not believe these items were hidden in the last few boxes I had to open.
There were many older single football and baseball cards housed in the thick plastic sleeves that were valued anywhere from $100 to $500 a card, even at today’s depressed sports card market prices. The best items that came out of this collection were autographed photos of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens and a few others.
This unit was a real testament to the “treasure hunting” aspect of storage auctions. I would not have profiled this unit to contain anything like this, yet there they were. Sometimes your judgment is wrong to your benefit, and those are the most exciting storage auction experiences.
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