Odd Yard Sale Finds


March 2014

Perhaps the Bee Gees can help too.


Let’s get reel.


Believe it or not, vintage trophies can be worth a lot of money. Some can sell in the hundreds of dollars, depending on the subject matter. Fishing, unfortunately, is not one of those subjects; so if you had something like this, and you tossed it out, you can be pretty sure it is not “the one that got away.”

Trying building a house with these.


It is estimated that 70 million decks of playing cards are sold in the United States each year. I couldn’t find the breakdown by shape, but it is probably safe to assume that the rounds are very much in the minority.

Free Enterprise at its worst?

One of the greatest things about America is that, unlike many countries of the world, we have almost unlimited freedom of expression. Unfortunately, that freedom sometimes crosses the moral line, in my humble opinion. This “humorous” deck of playing cards shows a “who’s who” of Iraq’s “Most Wanted.” Making light of such a serious situation as the “war” in Iraq strikes me as more than just a bit unseemly. Does having the right to do something, mean we automatically should do it?


The theme song has words?


I’m not sure there would have been anyone in America in the 1960s who couldn’t identify the Cartwrights, father Ben and sons Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe. Their TV western, BONANZA, debuted in 1959, and was a fixture on NBC television until 1973. The series became so popular that even its instrumental theme song was a chart hit on its own, in 1961. I am sure every BONANZA fan would be able to hum the theme on cue, but I would be willing to bet that very few could come up with these lyrics, performed by father Ben himself, Lorne Greene:

Klimt it ain’t


The beauty of art is that it is completely open to interpretation. I am sure someone out there loves this figurine for the universal theme it represents, albeit in a fashion that is obviously a bit rough in presentation.

Gustav Klimt opted for a different and slightly more refined approach when his most famous work debuted in 1908.

Who knew they’d be that lucky?!


To the untrained yard sale eye, this just looks like a large ceramic cat figurine. In truth, these soulful-looking cats are Maneki-neko. (Japanese for “beckoning cat”). In Japan, these “lucky” cats, with their upraised welcoming paws, are believed to bring good fortune to the owner. There must be something to it. I purchased this piece at a yard sale for 50 cents, and sold it on-line for $90.

(Hmm. After watching the video, I am wondering if I would have been better off keeping them?)

If it’s weird, I want it.

That’s not my mantra as a collector, but it certainly is as a seller. Anyone who buys and sells as a hobby learns fairly quickly that there is ALWAYS someone out there looking for the odd and unusual.

This rather gruesome looking little figurine was hiding on the top shelf of a local thrift store, and I almost did not see him, until I heard a small voice scream out “buy me!” So of course I had to.


It’s elementary my dear Isaac.

If I had a thousand guesses I would never have figured this one out. It’s made by Stickley, best known for its very high quality Arts & Crafts Movement furniture. This is obviously not that, but thanks to a friendly eBay user, I was able to get the answer as to what it is and what it does. Sir Isaac (Newton) looks to have figured it out way back in 1687, with his “action, reaction” law of motion. It seems to me it should just fall over when put to use. Must be why I did so poorly in high school physics class.


If you happen to find or inherit one of these, and you haven’t yet figured out how it works, here’s how:

(Maybe I am just hopelessly incredulous, but even after watching the video, I still don’t think I would trust it with anything pricier than my Asti Spumante)

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