Tuesday, September 30, 2008

State of RI to hold an unclaimed property auction Saturday

You may be familiar with the list of names that comes out periodically through state treasurers for unclaimed funds. Here’s something different. For the first time in nine years, the state of Rhode Island is holding a public auction of unclaimed property.

Unclaimed property consists of money and other assets that are considered lost or abandoned after an owner cannot be located for a specific period of time. This auction includes gold and silver coins, old paper money, and gold and sterling silver rings, bracelets, necklaces and pins. There will be sports cards and stamp collections. But the highlight of the event is expected to be a three-handle sterling silver Tiffany Trophy Cup from 1898.

These items will be displayed in the conference room on the 2nd floor of the Administration building, located at One Capitol Hill, Smith Street in Providence. Public viewing of the auction items is scheduled for Thursday and Friday evenings from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, October 4th from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

The auction will take place on Saturday, October 4th at 10 a.m. and it’s all over when everything has been sold.

Treasurer Caprio Announces State's First Unclaimed Property Auction in 9 Years


A shoreline landmark: Saybrook Lighthouse may be auctioned

Because of the high costs involved for maintenance and upkeep of historic lighthouses, an amendment to the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act in 2000 makes it possible for private citizens to bid for eligible lighthouses at auction. As part of the amendment, lighthouses are offered first to to state or local governments or non-profits for free. But if no group or agency comes forward to take over ownership, public auctions have become an option.

Now there is news that a Connecticut shoreline landmark, the Saybrook Outer Light, may be auctioned.

Apparently, maintenance on the 122-year-old lighthouse (located at the end of a half-mile-long jetty at the entrance to Old Saybrook Harbor) has become too costly for the Coast Guard. With no takers, the lighthouse will be likely be auctioned online.

In Rhode Island, the Hog Island Shoal Lighthouse was sold at auction to private buyers. The lighthouse was placed on the auction block on May 23, 2006. The winning bidders, Jon and Juli Chytka of South Dakota, paid $165,000 and were required to negotiate a "submerged lands" lease with the state Coastal Resources Management Council.

Juli placed the winning bid from a cafe in Paris, France. Her husband, a lieutenant colonel in the Army was deployed in Iraq at the time. As the property is on the National Register of Historic Places, the new owners must adhere to strict guidelines in any restorative work. That lighthouse is located near Bristol and Portsmouth and can be viewed from the Mount Hope Bridge.

National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000

New England Lighthouse Wallpaper

Coast Guard auctions off lighthouses

Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse an auction item?


Friday, September 26, 2008

It’s the season for yard sales!

Warm sunshine and crisp breezes, colorful surroundings and the crinkle of leaves underfoot, Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. What better way to spend a weekend morning to enjoy it all than to hit up a few yard sales around town?

This weekend is packed with great opportunities to hunt out bargains. My pick for the Plainfield area is the Sunny Brook Neighborhood Yard Sale. Streets included are: Park Avenues, Easy Street, Spring Street, James Street, Robin Road, Linda Lane, Ann Street, Birch Street and South Pine Street. It takes place September 27th and 28th from 8 am to 2 pm.

While you’re out and about, why not check out the Fall Festival at Plainfield Catholic School on Railroad Avenue? There will be fun activities for the kids and raffles galore for everyone and proceeds support the school!

Other big yard sales will be happening this weekend in Danielson, East Killingly, Brooklyn, Pomfret, Woodstock and North Grosvenordale! You can explore the Quiet Corner and take in the best of features of the season too.


Friday, September 19, 2008

RI State Checks: Insufficient Funds!

Rhode Islanders: You can always "HOPE" for the best...

Signs reflecting the effects of a tightening economy are happening all around us. But here’s alarming news for state workers in Rhode Island... We have a family member employed with a Rhode Island state hospital. Last week, her pay check bounced. According to her, it happened to 43 others as well.

If you can’t count on a state issued pay check being honored, what’s coming next??

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hot selling Halloween costumes now on eBay

I took a small break from the blog to re-organize. Yes, everything that didn’t sell at the 4th annual Moosup neighborhood yard sale had to be put somewhere... It was tremendous work!

Today’s topic?
What’s hot on eBay right now...
Halloween costumes!!!

Two years ago, I purchased a kids lobster costume at a tag sale that brought me $65 on eBay. There are retailers selling common costumes on eBay in bulk, so those aren’t as likely to fetch a bunch. But if you have something different, custom-made, something even just a little bit odd... Chances are you’ll have excellent results selling them NOW on eBay. Hey — my lobster costume even had a stain on it, clearly pointed out in the photos and description!

Here are a few recent sales:


This witch costume sold for $380!

This PREDATOR Costume sold for $400.


This is an adult "The Mask" costume, size medium. Included was a jacket with polka dot lining, pleat front pants, shirt dickie, printed polka dot tie, vinyl spats, and the fedora hat (no feather!) plus the green rubber mask. It sold for $355.

Or— How about this creepy Burger King guy costume???

It sold for $330.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Photos! What’s it like to sell at the 4th Annual Mammoth Moosup Neighborhood Yard Sale?

This was an experience! Yesterday was my first time selling at an event like this, the 4th Annual Mammoth Moosup Neighborhood Yard Sale. My sons helped for three straight days in preparation, setup and sales. We’re doing it today too!

I had more stuff out on the front lawn than I ever realized I had in storage! Because of the overnight rain, we waited to set up very early on Saturday. It was still dark outside.

I had three big tables and 4 shelving units for displays, plus numerous bins positioned throughout the selling zone. As expected, a few early birds showed up before we were really ready, and as the crowd came upon us, I wasn't even set up completely. And while I wasn’t able to leave my post for more than a minute here and there, a couple of runs back into the house, and I realized there were a few forgotten items that didn’t quite make it outside for starting time.

The crowd was heavy & steady up until 2:00 or so. I sent my boys out to get a pizza by early afternoon since we hadn’t a moment to eat earlier, and we were starving by then!

Here are a few photos of the day:

My three sons were great helpers!!

Some of my best sales for day 1 were a carnival glass footed bowl, a box lot of audio books on tape, and a new-in-the-box tire clock! Numerous shoppers browsed around and picked out an assortment of items, on which I am always eager to make a deal!

One disheartening discovery... At certain times, we were so busy that I wasn’t able to keep a careful eye on everybody. I realized later while cleaning up at the end of the day that an item was stolen: a gorgeous hand-blown art-glass garden ball. Sad.

However, today is a new day! Lots of great deals will be offered as I’m giving it another shot — just to clean up as much as possible of what’s left. C’mon by and say "hi"!!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wackiest photo from Saturday’s Mammoth Moosup Neighborhood Yard Sale

Well I’m totally exhausted from getting up in the dark this morning to set up for the 4th annual Mammoth Moosup Neighborhood Yard Sale! I’ll have more to say in greater detail later. But I just had to show off the most entertaining photo of the day... Here’s one way to transport a sofa! Check it out!!


Friday, September 12, 2008

Some of what's coming for Saturday's 4th Annual Mammoth Moosup Neighborhood Yard Sale

Getting ready for the 4th Annual Mammoth Moosup Neighborhood Yard Sale to be held Saturday!! Here’s a list of some of the items I’ll have on my front lawn for sale.

There will be a lot of sporting goods and sneakers! I purchased a huge lot from a dealer at the auction who had bought the contents of a sporting goods store that was closing. What I have left — after putting the bulk of it on eBay — are Nike cleats for adults and kids, Pony sneakers for boys in sizes 1 — 3, close to a dozen football helmets with the face masks, new in the box hockey helmets, football and hockey shoulder pads, padded hockey pants, shin pads, shoulder & elbow pads for kids, and lots of hockey skate laces. I also have a new pair of men’s roller blades. Then I have a few collectable bobblehead figures for baseball lovers and a couple of Disney Mickey Mouse football bobble-heads for different teams. For clothing, there are a few shirts and shorts by Reebok — new with tags!! These look like they’d be great for bicyclists, snug fitting Play-Dry fabric. Finally, for sports fans there are some men’s Patriots Super Bowl winners T-shirts available in size XXL. These are heavy-weight and of great quality — offered at bargain prices!!

Here’s a list of other great items, mostly for kids and around the home:

  • New with tags children & infants Plush Halloween Costumes: ladybug, pink poodle, monkey with a fat belly, lavender winged Pegasus unicorn, dragon $3 ea.
  • Batman & Star Ward Darth Vader Costumes for older kids $7
  • Ride-a-Horse Halloween costumes (looks like you’re riding it!) $10
  • Antique Doll — 36” large size
  • Bridal Doll
  • Lots of beautiful quality womens’ clothing (Talbots, Anne Klein, Gap, Izod...) : Sizes XS thru XL and many plus sizes too. $2 ea.
  • Various Ladies shoes: Many in size 6 but some larger... Many new in the box!!
  • A few pairs of New in the Box Keds sneakers / Mules (open back) for women in all sizes (blue denim or white colors) $5 ea.
  • Weekly outfit organizer to hang in closet for kids $3
  • Vintage dishware
  • Depression Glass
  • Santa cookie plates
  • Large display Santa
  • Gorham Crystal (rose colored) serving platter
  • Campbell Soup Kids Mug Set
  • Wooden Salad Bowl Set
  • Many antique& new books
  • Country Santa Tree Toppers
  • Mikasa Photo Frames
  • Hallmark Albums (Wedding, Baby, Anniversary, Photo)
  • Hallmark Card Packages (All occasion, invitations, etc.)
  • Chilton Auto & Truck Service & Repair Manuals $4 ea.
  • Tire Wall Clocks w/ small Alarm Clock, new in the box: $19 ea.
  • Miniature Texaco Gas Pumps, scale: $4 ea.
  • Train cars, HO scale: $5 ea.
  • Many other old & newer clocks by Linden: various prices
  • Desktop Brass Weathervanes: $5
  • Oil Painting, signed, $10
  • Antique Oversized Game Boards (2) @ $15 ea.
  • Jewelry – old costume & some new sterling silver bracelets
  • Barbie Collector Plates & some Barbie dolls and school accessories (desks, etc.)

PLUS!!! There will be more... I’m still digging through things!

Come on down! The prices will be at bargain levels!!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Mammoth Moosup Neighborhood Yard Sale! It's Saturday for bargains and family fun

A most anticipated event for bargain hunters throughout eastern Connecticut is happening THIS Saturday!! The 4th Annual Mammoth Moosup Neighborhood Yard Sale.

I’ve recently become a resident of this area, so guess what? I’ll be selling.

That means I’ve been scoping out items around my home to be included in the yard sale. Beyond that, I have a ton of leftover merchandise I purchased in lots over the last two years to sell on eBay! As it turns out, not everything you might guess will sell well online, does.

For me and all of my neighbors in Moosup, it’s a great time to combat Pack Rat Disease — and for anyone else who may be planning a yard sale, it’s time to get organized! Gather anything in your home that hasn’t been used within the past year. Items may be “still good” or “worth keeping”, but not if you’re not going to use it! No more “saving it for someday” while you struggle to find what you need in over-packed closets. If you have children, think about toys that aren’t being used and any clothing that may have been outgrown. Consider selling old dishes, duplicate items you don't really need, unused Christmas gifts, and really "clean house". Take this opportunity to clear out and make better use of the space you have!

If you need some help in uncluttering and simplifying the flow of your home, visit this neat blog! It's packed with ideas on how to organize your home and office.

For additional tips on how to prepare for a yard sale, check out this video:

Read last year’s news story on this huge neighborhood event!
Buyers find bargains throughout Moosup at townwide yard sale

The Moosup neighborhood yard sale is located just off exit 89 on Rt. 395. Follow the signs.

FYI: For those interested in attending, there’s also a book sale in the area at the Moosup United Methodist Church at 11 S. Main St. Current authors, old favorites, cookbooks, puzzles, tapes and more will be sold form 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

PLUS! Fun times to be had by all just down the road a way, in Sterling:

This should be a fantastic event with a live band, a children’s pageant, face painting, a martial arts demonstration, antique motorcycles, a hula-hoop lady, veggie races, a fishing derby, and more! Oh! Don’t forget the fireworks at 8:30 p.m.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Collectibles: With younger generations, it's just not the same

What’s collectible these days?

Certainly not Avon bottles, Bradford Exchange plates, or Beanie Babies! These items are easily found at yard sales and flea markets. There’s hardly a hand up to bid at auctions — even when offered in lots at dirt cheap prices.

There was a time when it was popular to collect by theme. Typical subject matter included animals, fairies, wizards, and nautical items such as lighthouses. Not so much anymore.

With the flood of cheap goods from China having been brought into the US to target those markets in recent years, it’s hardly a challenge to come across common “themed” gift items, such as figurines, ornaments, and “collectible” boxes for display in the home.

Scented candles? Certainly popular, there’s a lot more out there besides Yankee — and they’re in every store at every price range.

Older generations collected and proudly showed off their treasures inside locked curio cabinets. What was “collectible” back then was hard-to-find and something to save your money for.

My grandmother had a wonderful passion for Waterford crystal. Displayed lovingly in her home were intricate bowls and cherished glassware. As children, we were told not to touch it. No longer in demand, I’ve come across boxes of Waterford crystal at auctions, loose and sometimes even unwrapped! You’re lucky to see an entire lot of it bring more than $10 now.

High-end collectibles of yesteryear like Hummels and Lladro Figurines are all over eBay. These can often be purchased today for less then the original cost. Has the ease in finding whatever your heart desires lessened the desire?

Younger generations want instant satisfaction. When a demand exists, items are made in quantity. And while these things may be cute and appealing, or feature a popular character or brand name (e.g., Coca-Cola), etc... They aren’t made with the same quality of years go. If it’s popular, you’ll find a lot of it.

Today’s world is a throw-away society. Once the trend is over or our interest has waned, it’s not worth keeping. Plus, lifestyles have changed. People today are super-busy and often on-the-run. Most of us don’t want the clutter in our homes. There’s no time to dust!


Friday, September 5, 2008

In difficult times, treasure what’s most valuable

Things haven’t been easy for me in recent months. Last Spring, my husband and I separated. For the first time in my adult life, I’m on my own -- with three children at home. In August, my car was hit in the rear by an uninsured driver. Then as of yesterday, my position with the newspaper was eliminated, and I am now without a job.

That’s a lot to handle within a few months’ time.

While it’s been difficult for sure, there’s one thing I’ve found that’s been truly wonderful and amazing. It’s family. And those people who care, they've really come through!

When I first moved into my own place, funds were short and the oil tank was empty. My elderly grandfather and my mother both helped to get me a delivery.

When after splitting up a household, I didn’t have a few basics... Some of those things came from the most unexpected sources. (Thank you!!)

My oldest daughter is 17. I’m very proud of her. She goes to school, cheerleads, and holds a job. With my work schedule, I wasn’t always available to drive her where she needed to go, when she needed to get there. She has her driver’s license, but there was no way in my situation that I could have bought her a car.

Kayla had been estranged from her father. They hadn’t spoken in a very long time. But he spotted a decent car with a sign on it on the side of the road and checked it out. With some of Kayla’s savings and help and contributions from various relatives (along with a bit of haggling to get the price down as low as possible!) — through a true combination of efforts — Kayla now has a car and she drives herself to school and work.

Especially wonderful: Her older brother, who at 22 is now living on his own and struggling to make ends meet himself, contributed towards the cost of Kayla’s car. And her step-father — he generously put four new tires on it to ensure her safety.

The added plus — Kayla and her father are speaking again.

Certainly, smart shopping your “Bargain Avenues” can make things easier for those on tight budgets. Finding quality second-hand clothing at thrift stores, searching out great deals on eBay, and knowing how to identify sellable collectibles at garage & yard sales can help to stretch dollars.

And while finding a great price on gas today in RI was terrific...

KEEP IN MIND: Our most precious assets are not likely to be found at a gas pump or hidden inside a plastic storage bin at the flea market...

My mom and my kids

What is most valuable in our lives is all around us. It’s there, in the people we interact with every day. Kayla’s 17 year-old boyfriend, David, who changed her oil and cleaned her car inside and out, expecting nothing in return. (And let’s not forget how many times he drove her to work when I couldn’t!) My mother who calls me regularly, just to see how I’m feeling, and if there’s anything she can help me with... My 19 year-old son, Ryan, who comes over in a heartbeat from RI to cut my grass and also tackles my household to-do list! The people who hugged me when I lost my job. There’s so much more...

Some things are just simple joys.

The smile on my youngest daughter’s
face on her first day of pre-school!

Sure, this economy will test us and stress us...
Just remember to treasure what’s most valuable in YOUR life!


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Attention toy collectors: Info needed for vintage Matchbox doctor and nurse pair


Lesney Products & Co. • 1978

Here is a pair of diecast Matchbox figures -- looks like a doctor and a nurse. Each stands three inches tall and has large feet with metal ball bearings (rollers) underneath. On both, the left thumb is pointing upwards... or maybe they're holding something no longer with them? Marked on the bottom, with the words, "MATCHBOX and Lesney Products & Co 1978... pat app 15147/78".

I just posted this cute Matchbox / Lesney doctor and nurse pair on eBay for a friend. What's unusual is that I've been unable to locate another pair like them online anywhere! That leaves me with no clue for a starting price. I'm guessing they may be part of a larger toy set.

If anyone reading this has information to offer, it would be greatly appreciated! Email me at karen@avenuestosold.com.


Man caught selling stolen bras on eBay

Okay. So I’ve recently blogged about a stolen Harley-Davidson motorcycle that was discovered on eBay 34 years later, a guy who tried to sell “borrowed” library books, another illegally copying movies & television shows onto DVDs and posting those on eBay... Interested in hearing about another creative criminal with an idea for making money on eBay? Here’s a new one!

A 41 year-old New York man has been caught selling stolen Victoria Secret bras on eBay. Normally sold anywhere between $40 to $80 a piece, he offered eBayers bargain bra prices at just $25 each.

Records found in his home link him to the sale of more than 2,000 bras. And, another 650 stolen bras were discovered there!



Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Did you know? The Brimfield Antique & Collectible Show is THIS week!

The Brimfield Antiques Show in Massachusetts has been a most popular attraction for antiques enthusiasts since the 1950’s. Brimfield is a quaint, picturesque rural New England town. The the town's 35 square miles are surrounded by apple orchards and wooded hills in the foothills of the Berkshires.

The shows runs three times a year, this week it's from September 2-7.


  • Get there early to secure a good parking location. Spots fill quickly. Keep in mind how often you might need to haul items back to your car.

  • Be prepared for changes in the weather. Dress appropriately in layers. Don't forget comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, and a hat. When the weather is bad, the crowd is smaller, and so you’ll have more bargaining power if you hang in there!

  • Bring cash. It’s the preferred method of payment for most dealers, and using it will give you an advantage when haggling.

  • Bring a backpack, wagon, or cart to help in transporting whatever you buy. Some things can be awkward to carry.

  • Carry your own water. It’s not always easy to find a drink at the show.

  • Dealers expect you to bargain. Don’t hesitate to ask, "What’s your best price?".

  • If you see something you want, don’t wait to return later, it may be gone. Pay for it and ask the dealer if they’ll hold it for you. That way, you can pick it up on your way back to your vehicle. Remember where the dealer is located, and don’t forget to find out when they’ll be closing up!

  • If you plan on returning to a specific booth, be sure to write down the name of the show venue/field and the booth number. It may not be so easy to locate later in the day!

  • If you’re looking for something in particular, ask a dealer who is displaying similar items. Even if they don’t have it, you can get great recommendations.

  • If you’re a collector, it’s a good idea to hand out business cards printed with what items you’re looking for, your name and contact information. (VistaPrint is a great resource for these! Simple cards can be created online at a very reasonable cost. )

Some of the shows charge admission, typically $5.00. You can purchase tickets at those fields on the days and morning prior to their opening.

For more information, check out:



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Used Apple iPhones are hot sellers on eBay

After the iPhone 3G launch, consumers want the original, hackable iPhone, and vendors are springing up to sell them — for a premium.

On eBay, a 16-GB version of the first-generation iPhone isn going for about $600, and an 8-GB model in good condition commands $500. When it was new, the 16-GB phone sold for $499. The 8-GB model went for $399. Today, AT&T's most expensive iPhone 3G model sells for $300 with a two-year service contract. "The old iPhone (in mint condition) is very hard to find," says Shawn Zade, who sells mobile phones through New York-based WirelessImports.com. "There's a lot of demand."

Why will buyers pay a premium for an older, less advanced model? Some users don't want to be tied to a long-term contract with AT&T -- the only authorized iPhone carrier in the U.S. The old phones can be unlocked fairly easily, making it possible for people to choose another carrier or to simply use the device with no charge at Wi-Fi hot spots. Currently, there's no way to reliably unlock the iPhone 3G.

What's Hot: Used Apple iPhones

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