Appraise your own junk

Learn how to find out what your junk is worth. Identify it and sell it!

Blog. I'm just sayin'

Why I do it

Posted by L Abbott on January 15, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Are you kidding me? If you read The Birth of a Junker you might already get it. It's about the thrill of the hunt! I know for a fact that if I hit the Mega Lottery I would still be digging for junk. There is a feeling you get when you find that lost treasure hiding in the bottom of trash that no money can replace.

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You might have felt that as a kid finding that old bottle filled with mud and leaves in the woods, or even a $20 dollar bill blowing along the sidewalk. It's expecting nothing on a normal day and finding gold!

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I've already told you my stuff isn't worth tons of money. That isn't to say I haven't found that item what is worth tons. The thing is it's not about MY stuff being worth tons; it's about finding that thing and turning it around to sell it for tons,or keeping it as your own treasure.

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Even then it's not about the money, although money is nice. There is a high finding a treasure that buying it on eBay can't replace. It's this feeling that keeps you digging for that next treasure.

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There are also lines I will not cross, and this I think is really important. I used to work at a consignment shop, or what you call a thrift store. This is where people bring in things and they get part of the money when it sells.

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Many times we would get older people in there trying to supplement their income by selling off their things. So many times they bring in items and have no idea what they are worth. They say the price they want having no clue they just handed me something worth a hundred times what it's worth.

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Hey I could let them put a buck on that piece of Heisey buy it and make a profit, but that's not me. I would show them the marks or how I know what it is, then tell them where to go to sell it for real money.

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There is NO joy in ripping people off, and those that do are crap in my book. I've seen it time and time again at yard sales. There are even people that know what they pick up is worth real money and ask the person to take less. I just do not get this AT all.

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Look I get making a profit, but if I see a piece of pottery at a yard sale and it's two bucks and I know it's worth a hundred or so, I grab that bad boy up and pay.

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I'm guilty of one thing however. Sometimes I will tell the person what items are so they don't sell it for nothing. In these cases I know its people that could really use the money. It feels like going into Tiffany's and switching tags, you are paying for the thing, but not what you should be paying.

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I found this really fantastic book in a free pile. I snatched that bad boy up cradling it like a baby. I knew what it was, and no one was getting that bad boy out of my hands. When I paid for my other things I handed them some money for the book. I can't explain why I do this other then I feel better knowing I didn't just take someone. After all it's about the hunt, not about hurting someone, even if they don't know they had been hurt. There is no thrill walking away from someone knowing you are making money off of their ignorance. Without that thrill it's no fun.

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I’m not saying that I go around paying what things are worth, I don’t. I don’t even mind getting that thing for a buck that is worth hundreds. With dealers they should of have done their own homework, and it’s not my fault they didn’t. Its people that I know for fact need the money more than I do. If you have never gone without you may not get this, but I have seen it. I have watched older people that want to save their homes have shady dealers come in and rip them off. I hate this more than anyone can know. There is a special place for people like this, and I hope it’s eternal. Making money off of others misfortune is simply soulless.

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When I was twelve and left at our parent’s antique store a man (and yes I remember you and still see you around town) switched tags on a rare cut Heisey bowl. My mother was so upset, and I felt horrible, but I also felt violated. You do, you were taken advantage of and it changes the way you feel about people. This is why I hate “wheelers and dealers.” Smooth talking jerk has his reputation now, and that my friends is Karma in the world of Junkers.

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There is a profit margin that good dealers get. They pay you a fair price, to make their fair profit when they negotiate. Sometimes you will deal not knowing what the thing is worth, but you try to be fair. This is a hard thing. See you might give too much because you don't know, and sometimes your profit is larger then you expected. This is just part of the game.

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The most important part is that people trust you. You want a name that is passed around so that when that person wants to sell, or they have that barn is going to be torn down, or first dibs at an estate sale, you are the one that is called. There is a pride in this that some dealers will never get. In my opinion if you will steal a candy bar, you will take a TV.  There are no gray area's here, either you are honest or you are not. Some may say I take my honesty too far. Well that can't be helped, and I'm sorry to hear it, but it works for me and for those that trust me.

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The second part of the thrill for me is doing the research. I know not everyone likes this part, but I love it. Part of the hunt for me is hunting for what the thing is, and how much it's worth. I like digging even if it's for information. Not only am I finding out about how much a thing is worth I am learning about all aspects of the antique or collectable. Next time I'll know enough to make an informed buy.

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Gathering information about as much as I can is a thrill. I use my knowledge to help people too. I have a few friends that own stores that call me for help on some things. I do it and I do it for free. Oh it pays off trust me. This is how I get my leads to my next adventure! I love that call. "So in so is emptying a barn. Are you interested?" Well hell yeah!

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Then the best part of being a Junker, and why I do it. The people! I love people, they are a hoot! I like teaching them what I know, or them teaching me. I like going through their things as they tell me the history, and yes their life. Many times they are so happy their things are going to someone that will love their stuff as much as they did the money doesn't even matter to them. I remember all of them.

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So the next time that idiot is stopped at trash on the curb, or you spot their head in a dumpster, or they come to your yard sale covered in dirt, don't look down at them, they are part of the world of the great American Junker. It might even be me!

 

Categories: Birth of a Junker

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6 Comments

Reply Chip Taylor
9:39 PM on March 18, 2011 
From another "junker" I totally relate to your "half of the fun is the chase" mentality!

Even more I respect and admire your honesty in dealing with those who would be ripped off by most.

You are a classy woman among thieves.

Chip Taylor (Mr.Majestic1 on eBay)
Sarasota, FL
Reply L Abbott
5:15 PM on May 21, 2011 
Thanks Chip!
Reply lundy
10:08 AM on September 22, 2011 
hi linda 1st time i love junking another mans trash is another mans treasures t y send me an email boston mass
Reply lundy
10:29 PM on September 24, 2011 
i agree
Reply Judite
7:38 AM on September 9, 2013 
Yes! Feelling and acting as you do could make all the doference in this world...
Stay the way you are.
Thank you.
Regards
Reply L Abbott
6:05 PM on October 15, 2013 
Thanks!