Monday, October 11, 2010

You Snooze, You Lose...

All too often, I've been taught this lesson.  I can't count the number of times I've arrived at a garage sale, just to have the person immediately in front of me scarf up the good stuff.  Vintage beer signs, vintage toys, you name it.

Saturday I slept in.  People are opening later, I justified as I layed in bed enjoying an extra hour's sleep.  Finally crawling out of bed, I sat and had some breakfast, read the paper, waited for the kids to wake up to see if they wanted to go garage saling with me.

I left the house at 9:30.  Becker Road in South St. Louis County is generally a bounty of garage sales and that morning was no exception.  Looking around at one sale, nothing in particular was catching my eye until I saw these two:

Now, I'm not a baseball fan, or even a sports fan, but I do like vintage sports.  I think I would have been a fan 50 years ago or more.  Plus, the toy factor had me.  I could imagine some kid lining these guys up for an imaginary inning.  They were obviously flawed, one missing a bat, the other missing his arms, but I asked how much.  50 cents for both.  Then the seller said, "Yeah, I had three others in perfect condition, but someone bought them earlier."  Oh well, would have been nice I thought.  I bought these two and brought them home.  The kids have been playing with them since.

Tonight I did a little research.  These were made by Hartland Plastics from 1958 to 1962 and were sold in Woolworth's stores.  I also found out who these guys were.  The player in the Braves uniform is Hank Aaron.  In the Giants uniform is Willie Mays.  In mint condition, they sell for $300 a piece.  Even missing a bat, Hank draws $150.  I couldn't find an example where a player was missing their arms, but I'm guessing that seriously lowers the value.  There was a 25th anniversary reissue in 1988, however, I learned those are marked 25th anniversary on their belt buckles which these definitely do not have.  Also, the cream-colored jersey is a giveaway, the new ones being much whiter.

To think about those 3 that got away, I see dollar signs flying out the window.  I know, it's kind of a glass half empty/half full situation.  I paid 50 cents for the two, and I might be able to sell one for $150.  Not a bad profit.  But I can't help but think about the one (or 3) that got away.


  1. don't beat yourself up over the ones that got away. it isn't worth it. i'll add a corollary to this lesson: if you see something, and you're torn about getting it -- REALLY torn -- just get it. if you put it down even for a minute while you think about it, or think you can come back later to get it, it will be gone when you do so. if you get it right away, you can always send it to the great River of Thrift later if you decide it wasn't what you really wanted.

  2. >if you see something, and you're torn about >getting it -- REALLY torn -- just get it.

    Yeah, I've learned that lesson. And generally, the item is a buck or less, so it's not worth the ruminating not getting it. However, I have to admit to not following this rule at sale a few weeks ago. There was a *huge* funky late 60's/early 70's plastic giraffe (psychodelic spots) with a hat/coat rack built into its neck. It was for a kid's room. It was $3 and it wasn't the dollars that put me off, it was the size. I'll admit to regretting passing on it several times since then.


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