Pickers

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by thaiturkey, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We get Pickers out here and I watch the episodes as much as I watch Pawn Stars. Two very well made series'.

    Perhaps, though, someone can explain something to me. There seems to be a limitless supply of country spreads with barns full of old junk bursting out of them. Some owners seem reluctant to sell much despite having around 30 years accumulation and saying that it's for sale. Some of the characters are great eccentrics and some seem to me to me a bit weird.

    Are there really as many as there seem to be? Is there really a thriving culture of collecting on a huge scale?
     
  2. JD4570

    JD4570 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thai, yes. There are that many people and places. I myself occasionally go picking, more of a hobby, but it's quite easy to turn a profit. I think the collecting thing came out of the Great Depression when nobody wanted to throw anything away that might still be good for something, so people hung on to stuff and passed the habit on to their children. Also in rural areas, agricultural equipment was used far beyond what manufacturers expected the useful life span to be, so some tractors have been used 30, 40 even 50 years! I know one farmer that is still using a 1944 John Deere model A for cultivation and cutting hay.
     
  3. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    Oh, yes, there are lots of those places, which are often referred to as flea markets. There uses to be more of them around here, with names like "Trash and Treasures" or "Junktiques". There even used to be an auction down the road from us. My husband isn't a picker - nor really a collector, come to that, but he loves plundering through those dusty piles of Heaven-knows-what.

    If the PBS shows "The Collectors" and "Antiques Road Show" are anything to go by, there is almost an obsession with collecting in this country. Some do it for fun and profit, but most do it just because something about the item appeals to them. (I suspect a lot really fall under the classification of "hoarders," but that's another show!)[​IMG]
     
  4. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the insight, folks. I enjoyed looking around some flea market in Florida and would have bought quite a few rhings but I could never have got it all back to England.
     
  5. oldrooster

    oldrooster One Crazy Nut

    Yes it's old but the TV shows about hording and pickers and such are even getting more people going into the junk business/flea markets.... but they have been around for years in some areas, sometimes it disguised as an antique store or a used furniture or clothing store that did alot of "sideline" work (some gas stations had a garage as a sideline because they barely had enough work to keep 1 mechanic working plus a couple of "helpers" (the ones who did simple chores like oil changes and patched flat tires) because there was no one else in the area doing it and they needed something to draw customers in, it might be the used car dealer that advertises car washes and oil changes for a cheap prices because he can pass along the cost of a helper that way. My dad had a cousin who sold junk, and unless you knew him or asked the right person you'd never know where to go for some items, or you'd pay threw the nose. he took stuff in on trade and went to auctions to get items at a cheap price that was stuff people needed or wanted (hand tools and lawn care stuff, old wagon wheels etc etc etc..) fortunately he was able to get the word out from customers and auctioneers where some younger guys who needed extra work or unemployed men who did handyman work before finding a steady job that he bought junk so they would go around getting paid to clean out buildings or clean up yards and stop by his house before going to the dump or scrap yard with the stuff they got paid to haul off and sometimes got a little more cash before they unloaded their truck load of trash....
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I drive a lot in rural southern Oregon and yes, there are a lot of barns and properties full of junk. Some I'd love to go looking through to see what they have, some I'm just skeered of and hope that's not where my patient lives! And yes, most of the folks who have all this crap have won't get rid of it. Why on earth they want to hold onto things like that, I have no idea.
     
  7. thaiturkey

    thaiturkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Perhaps some are preserving similar to what was around them during childhood. In a couple of decades, people may be collecting cell phones!

    Watching some of the collectors, I wonder whether they may have a mild psychological issue. 'Retentive', as Freud might have said.
     
  8. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Husband and I will pick for profit. My parents did it, fine antiques found in basements covered in 5 layers of paint, bought for $25, refinished, sold for $350. Collectable glassware, vintage toys, kitchenware, all kinds of stuff. There are trends you have to follow, milk glass one year, depression glass the next, pieces of Japan, or whatever else. The trends and the economy drive the prices. Recently, stoneware crocks are hot items, unless chipped. Native American items too. Furniture has bottomed out, lucky to get $150 for a solid oak dresser unless it's a fancy piece by Eastlake or something. A no name solid wood dresser used to bring $350 on average. You can get them at auction all refinished for $75.

    This hobby has an incredible learning curve. You need to find your market, and your market will determine what you pay. The pickers on TV, they use the internet, they have a network and contacts with collectors. Most collectors will pay retail. The prices they get are different than what someone else may get for the same item.

    For example, I bought a WWII dagger. The seller thought it a fake. I fancied it to be real. Paid $100. Retail, for a knock off. Paying too much. But I had a feeling. Contacted a collector in Illinois. Sent photos. He decided it may be real. I drove out there, if it was indeed real, he was going to pay $3200. It was real. Worth the 8 hour drive. If it had been a fake, I would have been out the $100 I paid, plus the expenses to get it sold. It was the tarnish on the blade, the engraving on the blade, the wood of the handle, and the patina on the tang. Could have sold it locally for $2500 tops, and been met with skepticism. WWII stuff... if it's not American... more often than not it's fake. Most of the fakes come from Europe.

    An item is only worth what someone will pay for it. What you see in pricing books is only a guideline, those prices are useless without a buyer. Something listed in a book somewhere for $500 may only bring $50 at an auction if the right buyer isn't there.

    Different types of knock offs have their own pricing too. Some can be valuable for whatever reason.

    With prices the way they are right now, we're only selling smalls, and keeping furniture for the house. If furniture turns around, we'll have a whole house full of stuff we can triple our money on. Not like the new junk you buy at the store that depreciates. The longer that buffet sits there, the better.

    Even better if you have some refinishing abilities. Practice on junk. I have an uncle that can repair anything. Take a chair and break it to pieces. He'll give it back perfect. Missing a piece? He'll carve a new one from reclaimed 100+ year old wood. He has a hoard of stuff just waiting for a use.

    A lot of hoards, it's because you can't go buy it anymore. Need a piece? Check the barn.

    There is a store here, it sells old house parts. New owner of a grand Victorian? They'll have your crystal door knobs and the perfect brass hinges. Weird old toilet? They have the guts for the tank. Looks like a pile of rubble from the road. But really, it has all the replacement parts for an old house that you just can't get, from window glass to porch pillars.

    What sucks is when you go to an estate auction. Entire contents for sale, someone who had been collecting for 75 years. But they smoked, never cleaned, and all that stuff was destroyed. Only glass and hard objects salvageable. All the hand made quilts? Ruined. Hook rugs? Ruined. Thousands of dollars worth of stuff.

    Worse yet? Major score of a rare Roseville vase for $15. Valued at $200. You drop it on the way to the car. Always bring boxes and wrapping paper to an auction!
     

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