Saturday, January 22, 2011

Buying Stuff at auction and reselling it!

One Sunday at our favorite (only) local auction house we bid on a lot full of old papers. I was attracted to the vintage Christmas cards in the lot but he saw potential for the whole kit and caboodle. We won it for $15. After going through many thousands of newspaper clippings, letters, diaries and greeting cards, we came upon an envelope of 8 crisp series E war bonds with the original pay-stub. After researching we discovered the $10 bonds were issued only to U.S. servicemen during WWII as final payment for their service making them scarce. Unfortunately, the only way to cash them in is to prove that you inherited them. So, we listed one on eBay. It sold for over $80. It turns out that a pristine uncirculated $10 bond is very rare. Eventually, we sold the other 7 bonds for $75 each, for a total of $625, much better than their mature value of $10 each. Trying to sell them as lot on eBay was unsuccessful because each collector wanted one to finish their collection, not a full set.
Summary: Paid $15, Spent $0, Sold for $705. Total profit from bonds- $690
Lesson learned: Buy old papers when you can. They sell for little and you never know what treasure they could hold. We'll cover the other things we sold from the lot in a future post.