Saturday, August 30, 2008

Today’s wonderful little yard sale in Pomfret

What a sweet and charming place!

Katie and I ventured out early this morning to hit a few yard sales before the rain. There were two great ones on Route 97 in Pomfret. One was held inside and out, by an old barn, and the other was at the home next door, held in this charming little out-building! The photo above shows the place... Signs by the road led visitors to a grassy area for parking, sunflowers in the back added to the charm. It was simply lovely!

Inside were lots of treasures of yesteryear. I purchased three unique items — a decorative wooden plate hand-painted with strawberries on it, a pretty lace window curtain, and a vintage kitchen utensil that I'm almost sure is an old potato masher -- which cost me a total of one whole dollar!

It's just the kind of atmosphere that makes the Quiet Corner a wonderful place to discover!


Friday, August 29, 2008

It's back-to-school time! What to know when buying a used musical instrument

It's that time of year again! With the costs of back-to-school clothes and classroom supplies having just hit us, parents of students interested in learning how to play a new musical instrument must consider if buying a brand new one is within their reach. Rentals are an option, but so is buying used. While some instruments being sold secondhand have surely seen better days, there are opportunities to buy gently used instruments in still-good condition for much less than new.

How to start:

-- Know your Prices
Check on what the instrument costs brand new. Look around at different shops, and make comparisons of prices and conditions of used instruments.

It's a good idea to research prices online.

Where to look:

  • Bulletin boards at your local food market or music store
  • eBay
  • Newspaper classifieds and Craigslist
  • Pick up one of those publications you might find at a convenience store specializing in selling used merchandise.
  • Go to flea markets and swap meets
  • Browse yard and garage sales

-- Ask Questions

Talk to the previous owner if you can. Find out how often the instrument was used and why it's being sold. Even if you're considering a purchase of a used instrument from a shop, it doesn't hurt to ask if you can speak with the original owner.

-- Borrow a Musician
Have someone with knowledge about musical instruments look over the instrument you are considering. A friend who plays or a music teacher may be willing to give you an honest assessment of the overall condition. That person will know by how it sounds and how it feels while playing it if there is reason for any concern.

Remember, there is always risk involved when buying anything previously owned. However, chances are better if you do a little homework first that you'll find something decent and save a bundle too!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Truth in advertising -- Let's have more of that!

“If you are fundamentally unhappy with your life, you will be more unhappy if you take this job.”

Earlier this month, a mother in New York posted an ad on Craigslist for a live-in nanny. Her ad was brutally honest about her expectations, her attitude, and her children. Her first sentence: “My kids are a pain.”

Now, that's something we could use more of in the classifieds!

Imagine the sense of comfort you'd have in knowing the ugly truth about the used car you're thinking about buying and that it will be at the repair shop in the very near future!

Oh... If you like exploring what's most unusual on Craigslist, check out these best-of-craigslist postings.


More on eBay's payment policy: No checks or money orders

Here's more detailed information about eBay's changes in their payment policy. Great article, as it really clarifies it all.

read more | digg story


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thefts of metals for scrap an increasing problem — here & everywhere!

Apparently, scrap metal continues to fetch top dollar at recycling facilities. Close to home and across the country, thefts of metal from homes and public areas has become a widespread problem.

Just yesterday, a neighbor was telling me of a home under construction nearby on Squaw Rock Road in Moosup that was broken into for the newly-installed copper piping inside.

Today, two news stories were released reporting thefts of unusual items you might never expect being stolen for scrap...

Thieves are grabbing stainless steel kegs in alleyways behind bars and breweries or not returning them after use to sell for scrap metal. Empty kegs are selling for $30 and up, according to the Beer Institute, an industry trade group.

And, then -- crazy as it may seem -- a couple of guys were caught in the act attempting to steal aluminum bleachers from a school in Massachusetts! Neighbors heard chainsaws and called police.

2 Charged With Stealing School Bleachers For Scrap

Kegs become one hot commodity

Manhole Covers Stolen For Scrap Metal


Colchester Rotary Club hosts Saturday auction

Here's your chance to bid on Yankees tickets or a vacation in to Aruba or Acapulco!

The Rotary Club of Colchester is holding a goods and services auction Saturday evening at 8 p.m. It will be held at Saturday at St. Andrew's Church.

Preview begins at 7 p.m. and the live auction starts at 8 p.m. A silent auction will also run most of the night.

There is a $10 ticket price for admission. Appetizers will be served. Beer and wine are available for a donation.

Items to be auctioned include two tickets to a Yankees game, a page in the Norwich Bulletin, a room air conditioner and vacations to Aruba and Acapulco.

This event enables the Rotary Club to give back to the town.

For a complete list of where to purchase tickets, visit

For more information, call Fred Brown at (860) 608-6223.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More often than flea markets and pawn shops, stolen goods show up on eBay

Recently in the news, there have been a few cases where victims of theft have discovered their own missing belongings up for auction on eBay. That's a lucky find for them, because it's a lot more probable that those listings would have gone on undetected.

Criminals turn to Internet marketplaces as a venue to sell goods due to the anonymity of buyers and sellers online. Compared to a face-to-face transaction attempting to sell merchandise from the back of a truck or to a pawn shop, it's less risky for a thief to go online. Also, it's difficult to determine if items being sold online are stolen.

To counter this growing problem, there is proposed legislation in the works known as the E-fencing Enforcement Act of 2008 which would require an operator of an online marketplace (such as eBay or to retain and provide, upon request, contact information for high-volume sellers and remove listings whenever it has a "good reason to believe the goods or items were unlawfully acquired". The bill defines a high-volume seller as someone who offers a single batch of merchandise worth more than $5,000, or more than $12,000 in products over a year.

EBay officials say they already have policies aimed at verifying the legitimacy and safety of items sold on the site. The company readily provides seller information to law enforcement officials when requested, making the legislation unnecessary.

Another common scheme involves "returning" stolen goods to retail stores.

As part of the scam, merchandise is shoplifted/stolen and another identical item is purchased from a retail store. They scan the receipt into a computer to print counterfeits and later return to stores for credit in the form of gift cards. Those gift cards are then sold online.

A few warning signs for stolen goods on eBay:
  • Merchandise listed as NWT or "new with tags"
  • Priced below wholesale
  • Multiple items offered by one seller
  • Goods from a company's newest product line
  • Items that are not yet available in stores
  • Products matching descriptions of goods recently stolen in quantity
  • Sellers with zip codes in the same vicinity as recent thefts
  • Gift cards -- especially in large amounts -- from various retailers
  • Short auction durations
  • Sellers requesting money orders for payment (soon to be dis-allowed on eBay)
(Note that these conditions, when seen in combination, may be reason for caution -- not necessarily so when observed as a single condition alone.)

Further reading:
Technology opens new outlet for stolen goods
Thieves turn to online auction sites to move stolen goods

Monday, August 25, 2008

Forcing eBay buyers through Paypal just might backfire

What about eBay buyers who won't use paypal?
Where will they turn?

Although it's evident we're evolving into a paperless society, eBay's announcement last week that sellers will no longer be permitted to offer payment by checks or money orders as an option on their listings still took some by surprise.

EBay sellers are reporting that up to 20% of their transactions these days are completed using these methods. This is especially true with older folks who may enjoy the convenience of online shopping but hesitate to rely on electronic payment options.

Will the paper-lovers conform or flee?

Shoppers will be left with few options but to utilize eBay-owned Paypal (in most cases) to send and receive payments online. It looks as though eBay is counting on that, as they stand to benefit from the extra income in Paypal fees.

But what if most of those who currently take the time and extra effort required to purchase a money or write out a check, find an envelope and address it, apply postage and get it out to the post office actually don't want to do things an easier way?

Assuming they'll conform is certainly a risk. I'm guessing there’s a high probability many will simply shop elsewhere. There are some people who feel uneasy about putting their credit card or bank information on the Internet. If they should decide to abandon the eBay shopping cart, who stands to benefit?

Wouldn't it make more sense to allow sellers the flexibility to accept any payment method they're willing to handle? That would give sellers a way to appeal to a wider market and retain buyers who are stuck with old habits.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

"What’s It Worth” appraisal event in Pomfret

It was just before 9:00 a.m. on a bright Saturday morning and the cars were already parked beyond the lot of the Strong Field House and all along the side of the road within the property of Pomfret School. People hauled in bags and cardboard boxes stuffed with newspaper to cushion their treasures. A few others balanced oversized picture frames holding fine art carefully wrapped in towels.

Yesterday’s event was the 2nd annual “What’s It Worth” appraisal fair where for $5 per item, people came to find out if their antique, fine art, or collectible might possibly be valuable.

Held coincidentally on the same day Hartford hosted The Antiques Road Show, Pomfret’s event allowed for walk-in traffic.

According to Louisa Jones who helped organize the event, by opening time they already had 40 people assigned numbers. At last year’s event over 300 items were appraised and it ran 2 hours past ending time. This year, to alleviate the waiting, people were allowed to register an hour prior to the actual opening and seating was provided.

With various local businesses showcasing their wares, the event also offered an opportunity to experience the products and services that make Pomfret special.

Food from the local Lions Club was sold as well.

Michael Grogran of Grogan & Company Auctioneers in Dedham, Mass., whose son is a student at Pomfret School, handled the actual appraisals. Three employees of the company lent assistance, each with a specific area of expertise.

Michael Grogan speaks with Susan Parrow of Hampton.
She received an appraisal on some silver coins. Her $1 coins were appraised at $10 each.

Eva Aubert and Dawn Abelin from Chaplin brought in a most unusual item, a Captain’s Whaling Log from New Bedford. Excited to the point of near-tears, the mother and daughter duo were given an approximate value of $5,000 for the book. They hadn’t told the appraiser that it was previously appraised at $35, 000 elsewhere. Still, they were quite excited.

Charlie and Paige Combs of Pomfret brought in a few items, including an antique chair. They were given an approximate value of $300 to $400 given that the legs had been shortened. Otherwise, it could have been much higher. Another item they had appraised was a small blue book — Hanley’s Baseball Rules from 1867.

Not being an expert in sports memorabilia, Bob Carrol of Grogan & Company wasn’t sure of an actual value. However, during the appraisal, he elaborated, saying, “If I were at a yard sale, I wouldn’t hesitate to pay $500 for it.”

The couple was given a wide rage of possible values on the book.

Carrol continued, “At a local auction, it might bring $150 and you’d be happy for that, but given the right situation, perhaps at a sports collector auction, it could realize as much as $7,500”.

The appraisal event benefits The Pomfret Proprietors Scholarship Fund.

Suzanne Ranhoff of Pomfret brought in a Russian icon for which she was given a verbal appraisal of $500.


Failee Latawick and her husband, John Bergeron of East Windsor brought in a mourning portrait of John’s great-great grandmother that had been in their family for generations. Although beautiful, it was valued at just $100.


Bevely Bostwick of Thompson had perhaps the most unusual item
— a crucifix in a bottle — that is approximately 110 years old and valued at $100.

See my article on this event on

What's It Worth? Treasured items given their due

There is also an online photo gallery there!

PHOTO GALLERY: Pomfret Proprietor’s 2nd Annual “What’s It Worth?” appraisal event


Friday, August 22, 2008

Tonight: Doll auction in Jewett City

If you're a doll collector with a free evening today, you're in luck!

Jason's Auction Service in Jewett City is hosting a Doll Auction tonight starting at 6:30 p.m.

What's being sold? Composition dolls, porcelain dolls, bisque dolls, doll clothes, bodies & parts, fashion dolls in cases, teddy bears, wicker baby carriage, and books on dolls. Some of these include: Effanbee, Ideal, Goebel, Arranbee, Jan Goodyear, Simon Halbig, Jean Palmer, Armand Marseille, and more.

New consignees are always welcome, for more information please call 1-860-376-3102 or 1-860-376-9808.

Terms: 10% buyer's premium. MasterCard, Visa, personal checks with proper ID and cash.

Jason's Auction Service
65 South Main Street
Jewett City, CT

Tel: 860-376-3102

Friday, Aug 22nd at 6:30 pm

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Auto auctions attract deal seekers

Want to buy a car? Don't have much cash? No problem. Grab a few hundred dollars and go to an auto auction that is open to the public.

Although based in Alabama, blogger Jody Potter of Birmingham News has posted an insightful view of a public auto auction of U.S. Marshals-seized vehicles that's typical of similar car/truck auctions I've seen locally. If you're new to events like this, it's jammed with great photos and video and may be well worth checking out if you've ever considered purchasing a vehicle this way.

To bid on these vehicles, you are asked to place a deposit of $500 to cover storage fees -- should you win the bid and be unable to pay.

Weil Wrecker auto auction 2

Listing of auto auctions open to dealers and the public. Call for details.
  1. Ocean State Auto Auction
  2. Danny's Auction Barn in Foster, RI every Wednesday night

Also, check your local classifieds for government & police auctions.

Which brings to mind...
An unusual classified ad I spotted in The Norwich Bulletin this week:

For 1 week
on an abandoned 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse at:
Kleeman Towing Service, LLC.
49 Long Society Road
Preston, Connecticut, 6365
Phone: (860)889-0045
You must come in person to bid, by August 25th!


Reader's find: Any value in a Mersman game table?

Sent to me by Lynn in Rhode Island, this table seemed well suited for her purpose. With little space available in an open corner, she was browsing around to find a small table on which to use her laptop.

She and her husband were looking in a consignment store when they spotted this table lost over in a corner with stuff piled all around and on top of it.

She says, "What caught my eye was the legs are not straight, they curl outwards. I thought the style of the legs was called "lion feet", but the person at the store referred to them as "crow feet". The feet tips are brass, and the top folds in half. The expandable top is great!"

She remembered her grandmother having one like it that was placed against a wall with a lamp set upon it. As a child, she wasn't allowed near it. Her grandmother told her it had belonged to her mother.

After clearing the stuff away from the table at the consignment store, she noticed that the draw pulled out, and the top folded out to be completely open. On the underside, there's a tag which reads, "Mersman 7380" inside a triangle. (The marking pictured to the right is not from Lynn's table, but for those interested, it offers an idea of what it looks like.)

In doing research online later, she found that the maker most likely designed it as a game table. Similar tables were used as decorative accent tables.

In reading further, she learned:

In the 1920's the company was producing an extraordinary line of dining and occasional tables. One of its strongest sellers was the "davenport" table, the company name for what is now known as a sofa table. In 1928 alone it offered 139 varieties of davenport tables ranging in price from $12.00 to $80.00, a princely sum in 1928.

Based in Celina, Ohio, The Mersman Bros. Corporation had warehouses located in major metropolitan areas including New York, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles and Minneapolis.

The product offerings in the 1920's and 1930's included a number of lines of dining tables and bedroom furnishings, but the concentration was clearly on occasional and special purpose tables. A sample product listing in 1929 includes library tables, davenport tables, davenport extension tables, console tables with or without mirrors, gateleg tables, coffee tables (among the very first) and radio table cabinets. The construction techniques and materials used by Mersman during the 20's, 30's and 40's were typical of the period.

What Lynn is curious about is the value of the table. From what I've found online, although known for excellent construction and innovative styling, Mersman tables may have little collector value today due to their overwhelming availability. She paid $125.00 for hers.

To


Visit Fred Taylor's website:

Fred's book "HOW TO BE A FURNITURE DETECTIVE" is available for $18.95 plus $2.00 S & H. Send check or money order for $20.95 to Fred Taylor, PO Box 215, Crystal River, FL 34423.

Fred and Gail Taylor's video, "IDENTIFICATION OF OLDER & ANTIQUE FURNITURE", ($29.95 includes S & H) is also available at the same address. For more information call (800) 387-6377, fax (352) 563-2916, or e-mail


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Reminder: Saturday's appraisal event in Pomfret

Here's a reminder for this weekend's special event for antique enthusiasts in the Quiet Corner...

An Antique Appraisal will be held on Saturday, August 23rd at Pomfret School Strong Field House, in Pomfret. Sponsored by the Pomfret Proprietors, Grogan & Co. Fine Art Auctioneers & Appraisers of Boston will offer verbal appraisals for $5 per item. There is a limit of two items per person. Items should be easily carried by hand.

Refreshments will be available, and local businesses and organizations will have booths to acquaint people with Pomfret’s numerous assets, including services, shops and community groups. Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Profit will benefit the Pomfret Proprietors Scholarship Fund. For more information, check out


More changes on the horizon for eBay sellers

eBay reduces some listing fees, implements changes in search, and bans checks & money orders as payment options

EBay's announcement came out today.

As of September 16th, sellers will be able to list an unlimited number of fixed-price items at a set price of 35 cents each for a month at a time. Previously, those fees ran as high as $4 per item, and lasted for only a week.

As of late October, eBay will be using an electronic checkout system, and sellers will no longer have the capability of offering checks and money orders as a payment option. Accepted methods of payment will be merchant credit card accounts, ProPay, and PayPal.

Limits on shipping charges will apply in the media categories. Incentives will be provided to sellers who offer free shipping in all categories. Listings with free shipping will get more exposure in searches and discounts on final value fees.

Minimum Seller Standards
Beginning on November 1st, eBay will require sellers to have a minimum DSR (Detailed Seller Rating) of 4.3 to be active on the site.

Interested in learning more about DSRs? Read one blogger's opinion on why the system fails... Check out: The failure of the eBay DSR system

Further details on today's announcement:

eBay Seeking to Abandon Auction Format

eBay changes search, bans checks & money orders

Some eBay sellers frustrated with rule changes


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Can't beat this deal! Show off your best bargain finds!

A couple emailed me a few photos of a terrific bargain in used furniture they just picked up. They completed their bedroom with these pieces for just $50 and were given a free nightstand as well!

Almost as interesting as the deal itself is the unusual source for this bargain lot... They found someone advertising on Craigslist who sells house contents for attorneys handling foreclosures. While this may seem extraordinary, bargains in secondhand furniture are surprisingly common now.

With the popularity of furniture discount stores offering new pieces at very reasonable prices, not too many of us have been investing in high-end, quality furniture meant to last a lifetime. The advantage of that in our modern lives is that as tastes change, it's simply time throw away and buy new again.

However, this trend has resulted in fewer buyers competing for used furniture buys, and today's prices are steals! You're likely to discover that secondhand furniture you might find at garage sales, flea markets, and estate sales is often of higher quality than today's new.

Tips for buying used furniture:
  • Carefully inspect the piece. Is it made of quality wood? Check the underside. Does it have good joints and bonding glue? Is the upholstery soiled or have unpleasant odors from smoking or pets? You can reupholster, but is the piece worth the cost and effort?

  • Try it before you buy it. Be sure it's sturdy and comfortable. Be sure it's functional. Has the piece been altered or repaired? Does a recliner extend and retract properly? If a table includes a leaf, does it fit and stay in place?

  • Measure your space - The size of the rooms and the dimensions of doorways are important to know. You can't use what won't fit into the intended space. Will this piece complement existing furniture in your home? Consider spatial balance, overall design, and color tones. You don't want a single piece to overpower others. Certainly, an eclectic approach can work so long as there is a theme in the overall design, tying it all together.

  • Know your budget. Don't buy under pressure. There are lots of resources out there, so keep on looking! Search out garage and estate sales, flea markets, Craigslist and classified ads, online auctions, consignment stores, junk shops, rental furniture outlets, salvage yards, warehouse outlet sales, local real estate auctions, and storage unit auctions. Watch the prices and negotiate to get the best deal.

Show me what you bought!

Have you been lucky at weekend yard sales or snagged any unbelievable deals at the flea market lately? Tell me what you bought and email photos to


Monday, August 18, 2008

Looking for an easy source for products to sell online?

Surprising as it might seem, there's an opportunity to source out products for resale on eBay from closeout stores in your area that are probably nearby.

Because not everyone has access to the same merchandise and much-loved products sometimes become unavailable, there's an opportunity to find items that could do great on eBay only as far as your neighborhood Big Lots, Building 19, or Ocean State Job Lot store!

There could be a variety of reasons people search out what just may be today's closeout stock on eBay. Some people live in remote areas and it's easier to purchase online. Others may have physical limitations or transportation issues. Stores in different locations may carry particular products according to local demand.

Check out this eshopowner blog entry for more details, including a few useful buying strategies and tips.

Local store locations:
Also, you can try out wholesale merchandise auctions where lots of closeout merchandise are often sold.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bargain Avenues Blog: Offering honest opinions about area auctions

Geez... Seems I’ve stirred up a bit of talk in the community for those in the local auction biz!

It’s clear to me that these concerns are based upon blind reactions by those who have little understanding of what a blog actually is...


What’s a blog?

Here’s what says:
A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world.

In response to those who may believe I am hurting their auction business by posting information... for example, news about the lack of bidding on the part of buyers in a tighter economy, please understand that as a blogger, I do not make the news. I simply post my opinions on current happenings in this public forum.

This is a personal blog. Simply put, it’s my personal platform online serving eastern Connecticut bargain hunters.

As a whole, this blog is a collection of my own impressions on alternative shopping venues and bargain shopping in general. Realizing that most of us who buy secondhand tend to regularly resell for profit, I discuss selling opportunities as well. Although my focus area is eastern Connecticut, because those who read my postings are obviously online, it can’t be overlooked that the Internet plays a huge part for opportunities available. For that reason, I include commentary on what’s happening on eBay and other online venues too. Positive or negative.

Here’s the important part: I have no agenda. I receive no benefit for endorsements. I have nothing to do with paid advertising what-so-ever. I have no preference for one venue over another. Anyone in the business or anyone who dabbles as a hobby is invited to send me their news, information, photos and updates anytime. If you send me more information, your business is likely to get more exposure. My writing here consists of reflections of personal experiences, what I see and hear about town, and what I have learned from reading and research. I also cover current news topics and reactions related to the subject matter as well.

So, just as a restaurant reviewer may write publically about their own impressions of a meal served at any particular establishment (positive and negative), if I attend an auction and it’s evident that the quality of merchandise isn’t all that great, I might discuss it here. If I think people aren’t buying or sellers aren’t making enough, I’m likely to ask a few others in attendance for their views, gather my own thoughts, and write about why that might be.

While oftentimes my announcements of upcoming events and reporting of positive experiences are likely to be highly beneficial for these businesses, I do not put out positive or negative information as a favor to anyone. It's simply a service to the community.

My blogging is NOT for any kind of personal gain. I blog because I enjoy the hobby of secondhand buying and selling myself, AND I love to write! Putting out my honest reflections should demonstrate to readers that my opinions are useful and have merit.

The result should be favorable in the long run... Quite possibly, the next time I blog about an auction that’s coming up with lots of great, high quality merchandise, my readers will trust my opinion and want to show up!


Friday, August 15, 2008

This weekend offers a famous field auction in Sterling

On Sunday, the monthly Glass Famous Field Auction will be held in Sterling, Connecticut.

All items will be sold to the highest bidder, and much of what's offered will be in lots. There is a minimum starting bid of $5.00, with no reserves.

Some of the items expected to be sold include antiques, collectibles, furniture, cars, estate goods, china, glass, old toys, books, jewelry, vintage clothing, tools, farm equipment, tractors, and motorcycles – from one item to one thousand at a time!

Once you've won and paid, immediate removal is expected. There is help to haul your purchases to your car. Field gophers are available: These are young adults who work for tips, not for the auction.

Preview is at 8 a.m. No absentee bids are allowed. Buyers pay cash on the spot. No credit cards or checks accepted. There is a 10% buyer’s premium added and .06% CT state sales tax will apply unless you register as a dealer. Dealers must wear a tax exempt label visible to the auctioneer.

Glass’s Famous Field Auctions
August 17, 2008 @ 10:00 A.M.

Route 14, 289 Sterling Road, Sterling, CT

These auctions happen every third Sunday of the month, from April through November. Starting time is 10 am with preview at 8 am. Rain or Shine.


Something for the weird

I stumbled across a fun blog this morning where weird eBay listings are highlighted. Claiming to be authentic, today's weird item is a "Small Dead Faerie found in Woods". (Odd way to spell "fairy", isn't it?)

" An authentic Faerie found dead in Florida woods. The winner to this auction will receive the Faerie shown in the photos below. The body is 7 inches long from head to toe. The skin is authentic once living organic skin... not paper, plastic or rubber. Withered, dusty and dried out. To this day I believe it to be a Leaf Faerie! It was all so magical that it's hard for others to believe... I'm sure you think I am crazy.... but I can assure you.... it's true! Faeries will come to you if you are sincere. Try leaving them a gift in a place you believe faeries reside and show them your love for nature."

Currently, the bidding is up to $76

Click here to view the "dead faerie" listing on eBay.

Check out the Weird eBay Listings Blog.

Also, if you find this kind of stuff entertaining, check out for a variety of unusual eBay listings.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back-to-school bargain-hunters seek second-hand stores

More teenagers are looking for ways to stretch their dollars while staying trendy with fashion. Secondhand shopping offers possibilities of picking up high-end, popular brands of clothing on the cheap.

While there are no national estimates of the size of the used-clothing industry -- most of the country's 20,000 resale shops are individually owned and many other sellers operate online -- Goodwill Industries reports having sold $1.8 billion worth of donated goods (mostly clothing) at their thrift shops in 2007. That's a significant increase up 67 percent from 2001.

read more | digg story

This story from just a few months ago, illustrates the start of a trend:
Teens turn to thrift as jobs vanish and prices rise

Advice: Shopping With Your Tween or Teen


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Saturday book sale in Central Village

The Central Village Library will hold a book sale on Saturday. Check out the event at the Central Village Fire Station where a wide selection -- including a special collection of quilting and military books -- will be offered for sale. Those will be among many other new and previously read donated titles.

Where to Go:

Central Village Fire Co.
53 Black Hill Road
Central Village, Connecticut

Jewelry crafters expand creativity by hitting up yard sales

One of a kind, collectible jewelry can be made made from vintage buttons, beads and components!

A good friend gave me a great tip. Have you ever considered reusing old costume and beaded jewelry to make new creations? Repurposing elements from vintage pieces can be a creative method of inspiring new designs!

Yard sales, flea markets and thrift stores are wonderful resources for picking up inexpensive jewelry -- often in lots!

Below are a few tips to keep in mind when hunting out secondhand jewelry treasures to repurpose:

  • Components: Look beyond the overall appearance of an out-dated piece and consider the individual components. Parts and pieces can be repurposed into something new.

  • Beauty in details: Look out for tiny charms, unique findings, and other decorative elements that can be mixed in with new for a fresh design approach!

  • Emphasize the positive: Watch out for potential in pieces. Consider if an item will clean up easily or could possibly be taken apart. Focus on those and pass on anything badly damaged or stiffly soldered designs.

  • Re-style: Creativity is the key. A single earring could become a pendant. Old buttons, computer parts, bottle caps — anything with a hole in it actually — can add whimsy when incorporated into new designs!

  • Negotiate: Bargaining at yard sales and flea markets is expected. Plus, if you see multiple pieces you like, buying in bulk can often yield fantastic deals!

  • Search Online: Check out "costume jewelry lot" or "vintage beads" searches on eBay.

Here's another video to check out to learn more about what to look for when buying costume jewelry at yard sales and flea markets:


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Alternative selling venues: It makes sense to look beyond eBay

Today a Wall Street Journal news story came out providing an overview of 'the whys' behind so many online retailers jumping off the eBay train.

With eBay's ever-changing policies -- in most cases, not favoring sellers -- more of us who dabble in online sales have been investigating alternate venues. I've been hearing individual stories of seller dissatisfaction with eBay and commenting on the resulting trend of many of them exploring other options for months now. In mounting frustration, some have simply closed their eBay stores.

While many sellers are optimistic for positive income streams passing through other online avenues, the quote below (from today's news story) puts it simply. There's an undeniable reality...

"Entrepreneurs have been trying to displace eBay for years and haven’t managed to do so, says Ms. Mulpuru of Forrester Research. She estimates that nearly one in every five dollars spent online goes to either eBay or Amazon."

It makes sense to experiment with alternate venues. However, it can't be overlooked that the higher exposure your items receive on eBay and Amazon is more promising for sales overall.

Certainly, there's money to be made online wherever there are potential buyers. The challenge for new sites popping up is utimately to attract buyers and keep them coming back. As an online destination, the environment offered will need to both ensure buyer satisfaction over the long haul AND create a worthwhile venue for sellers to invest their time and efforts as well.

Read the Wall Street Journal story for more details, including descriptions of alternative online selling venues.

Scot Wingo offers insights on eBay’s biggest issues on his blog, eBay Strategies.
Read Four Big Gripes of eBay Sellers.

Iris & Lily Insights is a blog written by Diane Falvey about the business of selling handmade crafts online. Today's entry offers a few thoughts specifically about artisians doing business on eBay.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Saturday's walk-about auction offered junk galore! Today should be different.

One thing is always true when it comes to auctions... You never know what might show up!

Saturday's walk-about 'trailer unload' auction at Danny's Auction Barn in Foster looked more like stuff that should have been placed by the road sporting "free" signs...

I stopped by briefly just to check it out. Here are a few photos, including one extremely oversized and outdated medieval style -- maybe even made of cement?!? -- formal dining room set!

Reminder: Every day is different!!
Today's wholesale auction promises a whole lot more and includes a free buffet. Merchandise up for bid today is all brand new and sold in quantities. These once-a-month 'Big Monday' wholesale auctions are great for small store owners and flea marketers. It started at noon and runs well into the night. Stop by Danny's on Route 6 in Foster, RI to check it out!


Too early for Christmas? Not on eBay. Anticipating hot selling toys for 2008

Although it’s still summertime, it's certainly not too early to get ready for the holidays if you sell online. Anyone who does eBay knows sales are brisk from September right through to December, and one of the hottest niche market areas to target is toys.

No signs yet as to which toys will excel as hot sellers this year, but here are a few online resources for those who might want to jump into the mix.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

At auctions, bidders are scaling back

A slow economy and changing tastes are resulting in smaller crowds at auction houses and more conservative bids from buyers of antiques and collectibles, the operators of several facilities say.

Although high-end items such as rare paintings and furnishings still draw big bids — particularly from well-heeled European and Asian buyers — the auction house operators say interest in mid-level items is lagging.

Some attribute it to the weak housing market, competition from online sellers and higher prices for everything from food to fuel.

"People aren't out spending like they used to. Decorative items are selling for a fraction of what they have in the past," said Gary Braswell, owner of Stamford Auction Gallery in Norwalk.

An item that sold for $1,000 last year might fetch only $400 this year, he said.

Some auction houses in lower Fairfield County say they have cut back on their auctions, while others say they are offering incentives for bidders such as removing "reserves," or minimum acceptable bids.

As the economy improves and gasoline prices drop, though, auction houses should see improved business, said Nick Perna, economic adviser to Webster Bank and lecturer in economics at Yale University.

"The economy is going to affect your business if you sell stuff that's pretty discretionary, and your customers may have limited funds," Perna said. "People may ask, 'Can I afford to spend $200 on an antique wash basin when I just got my contract from my oil company?'"

In wealthy areas of lower Fairfield County, demographics also may be contributing to the auction house malaise.

"Young people aren't going to auctions to buy items to furnish their homes," said James Lipton, owner of Appraisers Associates of New York and Connecticut Inc., which has offices in New York City and Easton.

Instead, they are shopping at mainline retailers.

Travis Worrell, who runs Westport Auction with partner Kate Wanamaker, said summers usually are slow, but that gas prices have exacerbated it by cutting down on out-of-state visitors.

However, some items are commanding higher prices and attracting enthusiastic bidders, he said, particularly 1950s-era furniture and vintage industrial furniture.

"It's going up every day," Worrell said.

Christine Downing, who operates C. Downing Antiques in Norwalk, said not all items at antiques auctions are producing disappointing numbers.

"The art market is very strong. We sold a painting for $36,000 and another for $22,000," she said, adding that unusual items are finding buyers. "Things that are easy to find are suffering from globalization of our industry."

Information from: The Advocate,

Auction houses say bidders are scaling back from Associated Press


Friday, August 8, 2008

4 trailer loads of merchandise to be auctioned off Saturday

If you're an auction-goer in eastern Connecticut, when someone mentions a 'field auction,' you probably assume it's happening over at Glass Auctions in Sterling. However, on Saturday at noon, Danny's Auction Barn in Foster, RI is trying out the walk-about concept in his parking lot.

Four huge storage trailers will be unloaded outside the barn and sorted into lots. At auction time, bidders will move along with the auctioneer as he seeks bids going lot to lot.

What's in those trailers is somewhat of a mystery. Lots are expected to be comprised of oddball items leftover from various buy-outs. Typically, it's household goods. There may be a lot of "junk", but you never know... there could be a few prizes in the mix!

If you're curious, come on down tomorrow to Route 6 in Foster. The regular Saturday night General Merchandise auction will also be held at 7 pm, as usual!

Danny's Auction Barn, Foster, RI