After a pretty busy January and February, March has afforded me the opportunity to get out and do some long-overdue junk shopping. Spending next to nothing on all of what is shared in this post, I've been reaffirmed of something I've known for a long time.
I like stuff.
I got back to the flea market for the first time in several months and came home with a carded John Starks Starting LineUp. I already had this figure loose -- one that I bought on eBay several years ago because, well, John Starks is the greatest player of all time.
Too bad the old masking tape price tag wouldn't come off without ripping the card. Still, totally worth the buck or so I paid for it.
This same vendor had a ton of SLU figures -- both loose and carded. Patrick Ewing came home with me, too.
For a few bucks, I couldn't pass up an unopened box of Yo! MTV Raps trading cards.
There was no doubt I was tearing into these packs as soon as I got home and by the looks of the first pack I opened, I wasn't going to be disappointed.
Turns out I was able to compile one full set (minus one card) as well as two more sets about two-thirds complete. My pal Wayne happened to have the one card I was missing so I swapped him one of the 2/3 sets for the missing EPMD card.
Lastly, as always, a handful of Fisher Price Little People and a random record were also calling my name.
Respect yourself. Bruno says so.
. . . . . . . . . . .
Now let me tell you about this used book store in my town. Most of what they sell is sold online but they do have a brick-and-mortar "outlet" where they sell books that they don't feel would be worth their while to try and unload online. As someone who regularly buys things for dirt-cheap prices that I would never consider buying at full price (for example, the flea market purchases above), this book store outlet draws me in with their prices. Everything is a quarter. Everything.
Profits from this store (online and through the outlet) benefit needy children in our community and beyond. Funny thing is, my church is currently holding a book drive where people can bring in their old books to be donated to this store. I hesitate to think about how many of these donations will ultimately end up in my house.
On my first trip to this store, I came across a couple of early Sesame Street books that attracted me with some pretty cool artwork.
Look closely at that second book and you may notice that this comes from the earliest days of Sesame Street -- the days when Oscar the Grouch was orange! I love these rough sketches of Mr. Hooper, Bert, and Ernie, too...
With my set of original Hardy Boys books complete, I've since moved on to piecing together a set of the Casefiles books as I find them for cheap out in the wild. Additionally, I'm a sucker for Little Golden Books any time I see them. I was happy to find a few of each.
Not only am I a sucker for Little Golden Books, any of the vintage Golden Shape Books are always a draw, too. And, of course, E.T. Who could pass up E.T.?
Clearly, this was the kind of store I would be returning to often. And a week later, I did. Only this time, kids books and trade paperbacks were on sale -- six for a dollar.
Some fun stuff for just over a buck. But then...there were the Golden Books...
...and the paperback movie novelizations.
. . . . . . . . . . .
As if that wasn't enough, my whole family has been on spring break this week. My wife and I took our kids on a trip up the interstate to a children's museum we hadn't been to before and I convinced them to let me stop in a nearby town on the way -- a town I knew to have some pretty solid junk shops.
At the first stop -- a place I visited last fall -- my wife quickly told me that I would be going in alone as she didn't care for the fact that the entrance to the place was a side door off an alley roughly spray-painted with the words "ENTER HERE." Nevertheless, this is my kind of place. Piles of boxes and shelves of junk -- all without price tags. If you see something you like, you ask the owner and he throws out a random price.
You may recall my account of this shop from last fall when the owner sold me a bunch of Little People for a buck. I knew I could get a deal here and went in wondering if that Little People Main Street from last fall was still there.
It was. And so was that "box of random blocks and baby toys."
Looking closely, the box was full of stuff that I wouldn't want for myself, but I knew that if I could get the lot for next to nothing, I could easily make a small profit by piecing it all out and selling it online. It'd have to be for the right price, though.
Moving on through the shop, when I found one of the cars from the Little People train set and an All in the Family LP from the early 70s, it was time to work out a deal. There was no need to negotiate as the owner came out of the gate with an offer similar to his "one dollar for a bunch of Little People" from the fall:
"Two bucks for the record. How 'bout three for the rest of it?"
Five bucks for everything? Sold.
So far, I've cleaned up and pieced out the toys from the box. I put together and have already sold a set of replacement pieces for a Tupperware Shape-O ball at a price that has more than covered the five bucks in spent in this store. Still plenty more in this box to be cleaned and sold so I'm sure to come out ahead.
We stopped at one more place before leaving town -- the resale shop where I had picked up a pair of Atari 2600 paddles on that same day last fall. It should come as no surprise that I didn't leave here empty handed either.
An Atari 2600 Space Age Joystick? Yep.
A Fisher Price Little People Play Family Airport? Sure.
A stack of Hardy Boys Casefiles books to add to my growing collection? Uh huh.
Not a bad stretch over the past few weeks -- especially considering this year's yard sale season hasn't even begun.
Earlier this year, an episode of American Pickers aired which featured a collector called "Mike the Junk Man." It really hit home when Mike spoke of the collection he had amassed throughout many years as a trash collector:
"I just love stuff...I light some incense, turn on some music, and just look at all the stuff. It brings joy to me."
Me, too, Junk Man.