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Collector Tales Part 3 - What’s the price you won’t walk away from?


For my birthday this year I decided I wanted to make a trip up to a flea market that I hadn’t been to in a few years. This is a great flea market because it is nothing but antique dealers and people selling their junk. There are no stalls selling bootleg purses, no Avon dealers – Just old junk.

I spy my first find just minutes into my trip. Sitting on a table is  a Styrofoam tray with a complete Gobots Puzzler set. I ask how much for the Gobots.

“$100” he says. “It’s unused”

“Woah, that’s way out of my range” I said. “Even with the outer box, that’s too much”

He says he has the box, and the instructions. Still, I feel that at $100 I would be insulting him with what I would be willing to pay. We’re just too far off. I tell him that I just got here and need to walk around.

He then asks “What’s the price you won’t walk away from?”

I tell him “$40.” He counters with $45 and I tell him it’s a deal. He then pulls out the box and turns out it’s the mail-away packaging, not the retail packaging. Neat. I have no idea if it’s more or less valuable, but this isn’t for resale so I really don’t care.

The next thing I find at the show is a bin of early Power Rangers Megazord parts. There are a ton of parts in there but I have no idea if they are complete. The seller is asking $50 for the bin. I tell him that I need to think about it and walk away. I don’t collect Megazords anymore, and all the ones here have been covered on CDX already. These would be purely for resale if I bought them. I decided to save my money in case I saw something else later on the show.

Sure enough, I find this guy with a bunch of cardboard boxes on tables made of sawhorses and plywood. There are toys everywhere – mostly carded Star Wars and Star Trek figures from the 90s, but as I dig deeper in the boxes I begin to find some interesting things.

I begin to find hints of a Japanese toy collection. I find a broken Shogun Combattler, a broken Dougram, and then I find Ultraman stuff, Robocon stuff and other assorted J-Toy debris. I find the boot to a Medicom RAH Giant Robo suit. I make my way over to the seller and ask him where these came from.

The seller is a man in his mid fifties. He tells me that he and his son bought this collection in an estate sale. They culled through it and sold all the nice robots on ebay. “One went over two thousand dollars!” he said. Each week he brings in more toys from the collection that didn’t go on-line. I wonder who this person was? Did someone die, or just lose their house? Did I miss all the good stuff, or is more to come?

I grabbed a box and started to fill it with whatever I could find that seemed interesting. Nothing rare, but I felt I couldn’t leave these things here. Eventually I brought the box over to him and asked how much.

“$50 for the box” he said. “Ouch” I replied. “I was thinking $20!”. He said there’s no way he could do $20. I decided to take some items out of the box to make it cost less. He stops me and asks what I can do on the box so I tell him $30. We settle at $35 and I take the box.

I filled the box in a hurry – did I just buy a bunch of junk that I can’t get rid of? Only time would tell. But with my luck going well I decided to go back to the lot of Power Rangers and see if they are still there. They are.

Turns out that they belonged to the seller’s son, who was there. He supposedly took good care of them and had all the parts, and had checked them again  when he took them down from the attic. If these are complete, $50 is a good deal, but I just can’t be sure. I ask the woman there what’s the best they can do, and they say they are firm on the price. Maybe I am feeling cocky from my other deals today, but I have to counter offer. I offer $40 and she comes back with $45. That little concession was all I needed to take the chance and I walk away with the bin.

At home, I had a chance to go through my take for the day. The random toys bought in the box were mostly good with some interesting items I don’t have. The Power Ranger lot resulted in SEVEN complete Megazords from season 2-4 of Power Rangers.  That gamble paid off.

Normally I won’t talk about what I paid for things, but in this case I felt it was important to talk about the deal, and the thrill of it all. From finding items, to haggling, to seeing the results of the gamble, that’s what makes going to Flea Markets fun for me. 

Posted 25 May, 2012 - 10:18 by JoshB


3 comments posted
Wow. That is a steal for that

Wow. That is a steal for that many Megazords!
Make me want to hit up my local flea market

SentaiSeiya's picture
Posted by SentaiSeiya on 25 May, 2012 - 13:42
I love flea markets....

I picked up 3 Pre-History Dinobots, complete in the box for $5 each. The Grimlock was reviewed here by Sanjee a while back. Still find deals to this day.

Robonurse's picture
Posted by Robonurse on 25 May, 2012 - 22:25
WOW! I would've paid TWICE

WOW! I would've paid TWICE that for those Megazords! Excellent haul!!

I'm insanely jealous.

Jmann's picture
Posted by Jmann on 12 June, 2012 - 14:08