(Little) Folks in Uniform

Category: What on Earth!?

We haven't had a "what on earth" entry for awhile because we've been doing (oh my gosh!) REAL WORK on the house.

So it's the best time to do another What on Earth? Tonight's theme: little folks in uniform.

One of the previous owners was in WWII and he was a Boy Scout Leader for 20 years. And his wife was a Girl Scout leader for about 10+ years. Which makes things SUPER interesting. I mean, BIG merit badge flashbacks for me all of the time.

We've posted a few things already and I can't post the rest of EVERYTHING tonight, but here are a few new things:

Thin Mint Wrappers...no cookies

Mug from camp...

An issue of "Speideren", a Norwegian magazine from 1930. This one IS pretty unusual considering Scouting was banned from Norway by the Nazi Partyin 1940 and everything related to scouting was burned. Very few things exist from there today that weren't mailed out of the country before that time (such as postcards).

Join the Boy Scouts!

Small world! A used to live in Colorado Springs!

And finally, because I found the pictures, Ryan models the tent backpack that he was picked up from us this fall. Looking good, RJ!

And yes, ladies, he's single :)

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single AND sexy

I'd be willing to bet there's somebody out there who would LOVE to buy that Norwegian scouting stuff from you. It might be worth big bucks!

It's so interesting to hear that and we hear it all of the time. I WISH it were true. But finding the right venue in which to sell these things is very hard when we have so many diverse things. eBay is not the place for the higher end stuff. I hate to say it because I actually like to buy on eBay. But for sellers, it is very difficult to like for so many reasons. And I have really delved into researching them at 2:00 am. I've read and watched and put my toe in the water. It's hard. And shipping things is expensive...but buyers want wholesale shipping pricing. It's a tough biz. We've lost money on a few things (paid to sell them...my dad would call that tuition.) My heart goes out to folks who depend on eBay for a living.

Our few meetings with dealers have been strange and a little icky. I do research and I usually have an idea of something's worth (Eight out of ten times I can find similar items being sold/history of a sale in the same or worse condition). I also used to be in business and I don't want to begrudge a businessperson their costs and profit. After all, they are spending money on inventory, marketing and sales. I usually find that I am happy to recoup 1/3 to 1/4 of my investment if we sell through a dealer. But we've been offered 1/12 to an 1/8 of something's appraised value. Even that might be fine in some cases except they TELL us that their offer is 1/3 of the value and we know they are lying and they do it so smoooooothly...that we don't have the stomach to let these things go to a person like that. When confronted with the data, they haven't even blinked..."oh well, that's the business."


So, I'm going to search out some specialty auction houses in the spring, I think. And a few things are in the Shops here for less than full value if we can sell them directly. The problem there is that full value changes like the stock market sometimes and we have our hands full with the house and can't always keep an eye out. We've sold some things that we couldn't identify and found out later they were worth much much more. And we've changed prices on others when the market has dropped.

SO there you have it. I would love to finance a bathroom with these things. (Otherwise this house is going to take a LONG time to finish...) But the business of selling old goods is MUCH harder than folks think. In the end, sometimes it is much more fun to just involve friends and family and call it a day. Then everyone goes away happy :)

My advice to everyone would be NOT to depend on the sale of these little things for your retirement or to finance an education or house. Enjoy them for what they are...amazing and fabulous little pieces of the past. Have fun with them. Use them to recall those you've loved and memorable moments. Get them if seeing them makes you smile or if you enjoy collecting them. Hand them down. Sometimes the rarity of them is a wonder and creates stories and shared moments with others. Take them to schools and show them to children. Don't leave behind too many of them for others. And make sure you are investing in other ways for your golden years...stocks, bonds, real estate...that kind of thing.


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