A chancer with a fondness for small wooden things and decent threads sets out to make his fortune in the world of antique dealing.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Well, after a medium-sized hiatus and still with the monkey of those confounded ciggy cards on my back, it's time for an update. I've finally made it along to a proper car boot sale and sold stuff that I found there. Not a raging success but a big step on the road to recovery nonetheless. Here's how it went.
The idea of a) buying quality and b)sticking with what you know was ignored when buying up that lot of what was, essentially, paper on my last outing. So, with this in mind, I ventured out with my available funds withered to £35 and was determined to follow the more feasible maxim, namely b).

I'm planning to try and shift my dumpy, recalcitrant stock (many items of which have alredy occupied ebay in several iterations) via a car-boot stall of my own soon, so I'll just whip through what I have managed to shift so far. There are two things in this category, of which the first is a) and the second is b).

The first was a brass box. A bit shabby but nowt a good polish couldn't solve. I gave it a good polish and it came out like this:
Nice, no? I thought so. The woman on the stall wanted £2 for it, so I said £1.50 and she says, no it's got to be £2. The reason for that was that it was 'heavy'. She was right. It had a good heft in my hand. So much so that among the pictures that I took of it for the ebay listing was a snap of it being held in said hand, in an attempt to visually convey said heft. As my bargain synapses fired, it occured to me that a heavy metal box is better than a light metal box in almost every context that I could imagine.

 Once I'd got it home and spruced it, I settled on the vague declaration that it was 'mid twentieth century' and stuck it up there. Some chap seized the bugger for £20 would you believe. This had led me to alter maxim a) to state that if you can't afford quality, buy something that looks like quality. Check out this close-up of the box lid.

See? The actual craftsmanship isn't going to re-write any history books, but if you half-close your eyes, it does look 'beautiful'. That's why I put 'beautiful' in the item title on Ebay. I also described it as a 'cigar box', because they're probably more collectible, and people like to be told what to do with boxes. I firmly believe that these two factors added a few chunky pounds to the price it fetched.
Bought for: £2
Profit after fees: £12.99
Verdict: beautiful Ebay craftsmanship

The second things that I went for have opened up an exciting new line in my embryonic specialisms. They tap into a deep psychic wound that most of us who have endured the misfortune of having grown up will share. I'm forever lamenting the decision to throw/give away or sell for peanuts my childhood toys. Who wouldn't? Some of them were quite good. In recent years, the refrain has moved subtly to include further regret upon realising how much those toys would fetch on today's market. This has stemmed of late from the prices that Monster in my Pocket figures can fetch. So I set out to look for some of those. What I found was this little bunch:

Eyy! It's the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, a Foot Clan footsoldier, and Nelson Muntz. They were 20p each! I got them out of a big box of random toys. These boxes are gold dust if they're being sold by anyone over the age of 30 because it means they may well be selling toys of a similar age.

Now, Nelson there is from the third series of Simpsons toys. They came with a little hole in their heads where you could plug one of the speech bubbles that came with them. A baffling idea, that kids would rather choose from a set of prescribed phrases for their toys than come up with them themselves in an appropriate voice. Anyway, because he's without those speech bubble, and also the bin accessory that he also came with, he went for only 50p. That was a tiny bit heartbreaking because I was hoping he'd not be taken and that I could keep him. Nelson's my favourite character from The Simpsons and I wanted to put him on my desk next to Dr Octopus.

Also without his accessories was the foot soldier. Despite, or actually probably because of, the variety of bizarre creations in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line, the foot soldiers stood out as one of the more iconic creations in that line-up. They look awesome, like ninja zombie chimps, don't they? Well someone agreed with me, because they snapped this one up, accessories or none. He went for £2.42.

However, the finest of my televisual tie-in toy trove was old Mallows himself. He fetched a corpulent £10.50 would you believe? Even though he was still a bit grubby after I cleaned him and had suspect pink stains around his mouth. What a lad. That's a huge return on a 20p outlay.

Bought for: 60p
Profit after fees: £11.38
Verdict: Cowabunga/Turtle Power/Radical...etc.. 

 So this modest but devastatingly exciting success with the trophies of my youth has encouraged me to invest further. This morning I got out to another car boot and bought a pair of foot soldiers with their grabber stick accessories for £2.50, a Splinter figure with his cloak and sword stick for £1.25, and a bag of five Mighty Max mini-playsets for a fiver. Remember those? They were basically Polly Pocket: Man. I'll stick those up and see what they make. The car boot was in Eastbourne, where they seem to be really into their toys, because the aforementioned boxes of 20p toys were on every other stall. So, in the hope of one day getting back to the point where I might afford actual antiques to trade, the time being will be full of action figures and small but reliable profits. Just don't get me started on the search for a Pine Green series 1 Tengu figure.