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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Guys,

I've only been to a couple of estate sales. The first one was a home run - original tjets and AFX cars (a ton of them) in mint condition for $5 or so each. The second one today everything was priced above typical ebay prices - garden variety Cigar Box cars were going for $8 each (not too bad but no deal) and some matchbox stuff looked to be going for 2x ebay prices.

I've been using http://www.estatesales.net/ to preview the local sales. Since it takes an investment in time to get to them (especially on the first day of the sale) I'm trying to figure out how much effort to make.

What has been your experience on prices on average at estate sales? Are 50% of them good deals or only 10% good deals? Just trying to figure out if I just was exceptionally lucky the first time or the second sale was more the norm.

Thanks! Tom
 

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Most estate sales these days seem to be run by professionals hired to dispense and liquidate the assets of the estate. It's not so much the family selling off Pop's stuff. The pros are much more "E-bay asking price" savvy, even going a bit overboard to help pad their commission. The last estate sale I went to had a card table with several vintage TJets, ones that I've been searching for over the years and in good shape. My pulse must have jumped by 25 beats when I spied them from across the room. Then I saw a the price tags and ... poof, there goes all the air out of the balloon. I tried to negotiate but to no avail.

Unfortunately, or fortuitously depending on what side of the transaction you are on, e-bay too often serves as a price guide and the high water mark on any online product auction becomes the next base price for subsequent sales of the same product. So everything ends up being priced at the "One Guy Dumb Enough" (OGDE) price. But this is no better or worse than people setting prices based on "Pricing Guide" books, which tend to be driven by people who have already cornered a huge part of the market for the items they are writing about and use the pricing guide books to inflate the "value" of their own collections. Yeah, I know everything comes down to what someone is willing to pay, but whether it's an MSRP or OGDE based model or some other variation, it ultimately ends up interfering with our fantasy of stumbling across a super sweet bucket full of TJets deal that would otherwise result from "Totally Clueless Seller Price" (TCSP) model that we so crave.
 

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From my experience Estate Sales, Auctions and Antique stores are usually expensive. Where you find the deals is at Flea Merkets and garage sales. Although ebay has pretty much ruined the flea markets too. I here all the time at flea markets "I can get bla bla bla for it on ebay". And if a vendor says this to me I reply with "Then why don't you" and walk away.:cool:
hojoe
 

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I love estate sales

It's true some are on the high side, but by the 2nd or 3rd hour of the sale, you can usually bargain for a lower price. I've had very good luck at estate sales. Most recent finds were a 1961 Scalextric F1 set for $45, Aurora vibe set with 2 Mercedes hardtops for $40, and 9 mint tjets for $45. (all of those in the last 2 months.)
I show up at every sale and ask, "Any slot cars?" It took a few months of doing that every week and now they answer "yes" or "no" when I walk in the door before I can even ask the question.
I always buy something to show them some loyalty. I make friends with those running the show and ask if I can preview the items in the next sale. Some even let me help price them. Let's face it, most of the guys on this list know the values better than the people running the sales. You can help them set the price. It saves time for them.
I was at an estate sale today and the people running it told me about a sale coming up in January that has three sets and 30-40 cars. I told them I wanted to be first on the sign up sheet and they started one right then and there! I'll let you know how that one turns out.
I even volunteer to help out at the setup of the sales if I have time. You know, do some dirty work like cleaning the attic or garage out. Some say no, but the ones who say yes give me first crack at the good stuff. You know what they say, Kill them with kindness, more flies with honey than s***!
At the sales, I haven't paid more than $10-20 for any slot car, ever. It's all in how you work it. While it's getting harder and harder to find cars in big numbers, there are still lots of cars sitting in closets, basements and attics out there. With a little time and effort, you can be the "local expert" on slot cars in your neighborhood.
-Joe
 

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I had luck last night on Craigslist. I bought a big AFX set with 4 G+ cars for $10.00. I think the key is to look everywhere.


Old Blue
 

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You just never know where that "big score" will show up. I go to a lot of garage sales, stop at the thrift stores, and check out local auction sales. Most of the time I come home empty handed, but have managed some very nice scores.
It also helps if you're not just focused on particular items. If you can spot good deals to make a few bucks on reselling, it makes for better bragging. This summer I got a huge box of model cars for cheap and made a good profit on ebay.
I'm still anticipating the day when an old tubtrack will show up at an auction and I'm the only bidder...
 

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Depending on the area you live in and how many other collectors are around, you can get some good deals at estate sales. I live in central Ohio and there are a whole bunch of slot car guys here.

Keep diggin'!! Deals do pop up!!

Marty
 

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For Estate Sales, Flea Markets, Garage Sales. Thrift Stores, my rule is the same: Cheep, cheep, cheep. If the seller wants eBay prices, they can place the listings and roll the dice.

If you spot something overpriced at an Estate sale, come back on the final day of the sale and make a lowball offer if the item is still there.

Flea Markets are strange. Examine an item and the vendor will usually offer you a lower price. I've never had any luck getting them to come down by asking. Hauling the same pile of crap from market to market week after week is some folks idea of a hobby I suppose.

Garage sales are where you'll find Life-Like stuff for a pittance. My wife and Mother-In-Law have standing orders to just purchase any slot cars priced under $10 and phone me for anything higher. It's like being a "phone bidder" at the auto auction :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks guys. Like I said I had great luck one time with an Estate sale. The local auctions I've attended have been really bad, worse than ebay by a fair bit and the last estate sale was a joke. I'll keep searching!

Tom
 

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It USED to be that the first garage sales in the spring were great for slot cars. Kids would get a set for Christmas, play with it once, and pack it away. Mom would sell it in after spring cleaning.

Marty
 
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