Have you ever gone to a live auction thinking you’re only going to bid on one specific item and you end up not getting that item, but something entirely different? Well that just happened to me a few weeks ago.
I went to this great local auction that has events going on at least once a month and they had this old ’65 Mustang convertible with my name on it. I set out that morning aboslutely positive that that Mustang would be in my garage by the end of the day. Now if you asked my wife, she would have told you a different story. She thinks I have too many projects going on already, and adding a Mustang to the mix was completely unnecessary. But I’ve always wanted a 1965 Mustang convertible…
So I showed up early that Saturday morning, as a matter of fact too early. I wound up having a couple of hours to kill before they auctioned off the vehicles so I decided to check out what else they had to offer. Most of the items didn’t interset me, but then a goldfish bowl of foreign change and paper money caught my eye. They started auctioning it off and I found myself wanting to bid. I took a good look at the bowl and was sure it would go for a lot higher than I was willing to pay.
As a side note- whenever you’re invovled in a live auction you want to set a ceilling for yourself so you don’t get caught up in a bidding war. In this instance, I thought they would not only bid over, but open over my ceilling. I’m by no means an expert on foreign currency, and typically when you bid on something you know nothing about, you’re going into the no-man’s land in the collectibles world – a dangerous place. I’ve written several times that with foreign coins and stamps, unless you’re an expert, you’re probably going to lose money. But on that particular day I was willing to throw caution to the wind.
They started the bidding at $20 and I couldn’t believe it. This bowl was jammed full of money from all over the world! I kept watching as the bids went upt to $30 and then $40. Then some clown offered $41.50 and the bidding started to stall. I saw my chance and jumped in.As soon as I jumped in, someone else followed suit. This is why I always suggest waiting until the last minute, which I mistakenly thought it was, to join in the bidding. So this guy and I went back and forth over this bowl that I had no business bidding on. I kept telling myself that if I could buy it for under $300 I could at the very least least break even or make a bit of money off of it. So we kept on with our back and forth while a hundred onlookers watched, wondering what would happen with this fishbowl filled with money. Most just wanted us to hurry up so they could get on to the next item, a double barrel shotgun, which would go for a lot more than this bowl of money.
So the bidding got up to $120 and the other guy finally dropped out. I was still nervous that someone else would jump in because $120 for this jar was still ridiculously cheap! I knew just from looking that it was worth way more than that! Fortunately for me, no one else jumped in and I won the fishbowl at $120 plus a 15% buyers premium.
I was elated! I went and paid for my prize, almost forgetting that I had come to the auction to bid on my Mustang! I still had an hour before the auction would start, so I went to my car to look over my spoils. This is what treasure hunting is all about, that feeling of discovery – and I truly did feel like Indiana Jones, discovering a hidden treasure in one of his movies. I spread everything out, looked it over and was thrilled. Some of the money was current foreign currency that could be traded in for US currency – an easy trade. But time was running out, and I had to stay focused. It was time to buy my dream car – a 1965 Mustang. So I packed up my money and headed back inside.
I made it back just as my car came up for auction. There was a lot of bidding, which can be really exciting, but in the back of my mind all I could hear was a voice saying “Don’t buy it, Aaron”. It was as if my wife were sitting on my shoulder, whispering in my ear. Not only was her miniature self telling me not to buy the car, but she had a twin on my other shoulder too – telling me I had too many projects and adding to my pile would be a mistake.
The bidding slowed down at $3200 and I was thinking it was still a great deal. But the voices in my head, my wife’s voice, just got louder and louder – “Don’t do it, Aaron. If you bring back that car, I won’t let you in the house!”
So…believe it or not, I didn’t put in another bid. Someone else won my car for $3200.
You would think this would be the end of the story, but I still had my fishbowl! So I returned home, spread out the money on my floor and started doing some research.
At the end of the day I only had time to look up about half of the coins/bills – the ones I thought for sure would be worth something. I did some calculations, and if I only sold the items I researched for the lowest price possible on eBay, I would have made over $2500 off of my $145 purchase! And I still had half the spoils to go!
So for everyone that thinks I don’t actually attend garage sales or auctions, I say I will never be able to give this up. It’s way too much fun! If you keep following my blog, I’ll keep updating you on my newest aquisitions.
Aaron LaPedis is the Author of the award winning book, “The Garage Sale Millionaire.” You can learn more about Aaron by checking out his website, www.thegaragesalemillionaire.com.