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E = mc2 – Big Audio Dynamite (1986)

Ritual ideas, relativity
Holy buildings, no people prophecy
Time slide, place to hide, nudge reality
Foresight, minds wide, magic imagery, oh-ho…
— Mick Jones and Don Letts

E = mc2 video
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I was at the antique mall, saw lots of people looking up items on their phones “researching”. There are shows on TV having to do with reselling, storage auctions, pickers etc. There’s a culture of YouTubers and bloggers Embarrassed smiley face animated emoticon writing about flipping. There’s even courses to buy and groups to join. It’s a way to make side money, it’s a full time job, it’s a hobby and it’s a fad. The whole reselling industry has changed. 

I’ve been trying to find things that are drastically undervalued for cheap and resell them, in other words – treasure hunting. I think that’s what most of these people are doing and if they’re anything like me they’re making a lot of mistakes.

I was an estate sale and saw some $2-3 kiddie books from the late 60s, looked ’em up and they were going for like $15 each. I was stoked, struck gold. I camped out in the closet and looked up everything and bought 5 books. Another estate sale, another closet – all the jackets and coats were going for $10 each. I found some Grand National Championship High School Cheerleader jackets. I looked them up and they were going for $45. More gold. I was going to buy the whole lot but my wife told me only get the 2 best ones. 

When I got home and proceeded to check a bit more on my big score, I found basically they were worth about what I paid for them. I don’t know what happened but the likely culprits were: I was looking at the for sale instead of the sold price, I didn’t pay attention to the quality, maybe shipping was included…I don’t know. Other things to be aware about are year, color, specific model and these are just in general, it can go far deeper. But the middle of an estate sale with the hustle and bustle of people coming in and out just isn’t the place to try to research something you don’t know anything about.

My wife hung the jackets in my closet which I took as some kind of message – I asked her and she said it was to remind me of my mistakes, stay away from high school cheerleaders and pick known colleges.

This week I went to an estate sale and there wasn’t anything I knew the value of. Lots of things that looked possibly of value but? So I just went from room to room, table to table and counter to counter writing down various categories of items to try to find out what’s a good deal and what isn’t. For example in the kitchen there were cookbooks, utensils, salt and pepper shakers and so on.

Let’s pick cookbooks – The vast majority obviously aren’t rare or valuable but some are. I figure it’s completely doable though to do some research. Maybe a few weeks, it would take awhile. I wouldn’t be an expert but I should know what are good things to look for and more importantly I should know more than the estate sale people. After that move on to utensils then salt and pepper shakers. In a few months I could be hell in the kitchen.

Also with so much information easily and quickly available online it has become apparent that whatever niche I study it is necessary to learn the value of things pre-barcode. It’s harder than just scanning an item and that would be where you could find things that are worth buying that haven’t been properly researched.  Google Lens is getting better and better though so things that don’t have barcodes can be looked up but it takes more time and is more complicated so it’s more likely to be overlooked or just flat ignored. 

Flipping is more of a grind than a treasure hunt – The whole reselling industry has changed.
— David