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The time of flea markets has restarted here in Switzerland spring. Hundreds of people empty their cellars or apartments and try to sell stuff they bought years ago and of which they feel they don't need it anymore (or, have probably never needed it anyway).


Or they simply need cash to buy stuff which will be taken to a flea market again years later ;-)


I wanted to sell things on a flea market once too, some years ago. I looked around my apartment and did not find anything I could sell, although I needed the money. Why ? Because later in life I never really bothered buying stuff except things I needed for daily life, means food, a bed, a closet for my clothes, and, well, that was it. Too bad...


In 1995, when I first went to Mali, I filled a container with personal stuff such as records, tapes, photos, books, a used car, computers, just - everything I owned. I had a record collection of about 400 LP's, among them original Parlophone Beatles' LP's from 1963-1966, the first complete year 1954 of Mickey Mouse comics in German and more. All in very good shape...protected in plastic covers.


Unfortunately the house burnt down in 1998, we had to relocate to a rented apartment, and my life history was up in flames - gone.


So I came back to Switzerland pretty empty handed, What did I do ? I went to flea markets to buy me some used furniture, cheap clothes in a store in which they sell stuff which has become unfashionable (1 year....) and restarted life. But I missed my records and books which were a part of my growing up. And I couldn't find them on flea markets, of course. So I started to download all that stuff again, bought new books....but of course an mp3 doesn't give you the same feeling as an original Mono LP ;-)


The bottom point is: When I'd have been careful and foreseeing, I'd have stocked that stuff back in Switzerland, because NOW I could make thousands off all that rare stuff I owned as a youth when it wasn't worth anything more than the sales price.


So - take good care of your old stuff. It might make you rich one day or help you out when you need it.


Not only on a flea market.


Leroy Added Mar 18, 2017 - 11:05am
I wish it were true, Stoney.  I have an original Nasa space shuttle patch given to me from someone at Nasa.  I figured it would be worth something after 30 something years.  I looked it up.  It might be worth $2 in pristine condition.  I have an iconic Healthkit mug that is decades old.  You can buy them by the case.  Want to sell your furniture?  You would be lucky to get 10 cents on the dollar if it is in good condition. Records?  A dime a dozen.  Yeah.  If you happen to have a Picasso hanging on the wall that you didn't know who painted it, you might make a fortune.  Most likely the person you sold it to would make the fortune.  I know a guy that is 73 years old and has spent much of his life collecting things of value.  He went so far as to build a shed to keep his collection.  He recently decided to get rid of it at a yard sale.  He had furniture and pieces of art.  He expected to make a small fortune.  He priced things for what he thought they were worth.  Only two people were bold enough to make him an offer but the offers were slightly below what he paid.  He sold nothing.
Chances are you will bring in a few hundred bucks for a lifetime of collecting useless stuff.
Stone-Eater Added Mar 18, 2017 - 11:13am
Wow. I just had two things in mind: The first Mickey Mouse of 1954 was priced at Euro 2000 in best conditions, and With The Beatles original at Euro 3000 "almost new".... and I both had them. But that was on collector's sites, not at a flea market. And oh....I had a silver 2 CHF Swiss silver coin from 1878. Taxed at CHF 4000. Forgot that one....just some examples ....
Dino Manalis Added Mar 18, 2017 - 11:17am
It's summertime in Europe, time for flea markets, but we still have winter in America and some snow and it's cold, especially overnight.  Technically, spring starts on Monday, I hope the weather will improve!  
Leroy Added Mar 18, 2017 - 11:51am
Unfortunately, Stoney, I don't have such nice things in my collection.  1954 was before my time, and if I happened to have a Mickey from that era, if wouldn't have withstood the ravages of youth, much less the passage of time.  Sounds like a missed opportunity.
Stone-Eater Added Mar 18, 2017 - 12:09pm
That stuff was my parents' stuff also ;-)
Jeff Michka Added Mar 18, 2017 - 12:59pm
Are you sure you don't really mean "flee markets?"  A wise and experienced collectibles person can "smell" flee and offer appropriate pricing.
Stone-Eater Added Mar 18, 2017 - 1:00pm
LOL My grandparents had a closet dated "1716 A. Habegger" (my mother's side family name). One day my grandmother said it just disappeared. We found out later that my mother's brother had sold it without informing anybody for about US$ 100'000.
He later suffered a stroke that put him into a wheelchair. My mother said afterwards that god had punished him as fast as he could ;-)
Stone-Eater Added Mar 18, 2017 - 1:36pm
Yep. Eine Mark ist ein French Franc is an Italian Lira and a Spanish Peseta :-)
Stone-Eater Added Mar 18, 2017 - 1:37pm
...kids of today say huh ? €€€€€€€
Stone-Eater Added Mar 18, 2017 - 1:39pm
BTW: Tell you what: That EU crap will soon be over, and it's good like that. You can't have a club of poors and riches and expect all of them to play an equal part.....good intention, bad solution.
Billy Roper Added Mar 19, 2017 - 9:21am
They're pervasive here, too, but I think a European flea market might be more interesting than the ones locally.
Jeff Michka Added Mar 19, 2017 - 11:12am
IF you want good old stuff, you have to go to someplace old.  Most of Europe qualifies in that regard, not so much in the States, although certain pockets on East Coast also "make it."
Stone-Eater Added Mar 19, 2017 - 12:31pm
But non-fake old stuff is pretty expensive. Collect when 20 and sell when 60 LOL
Dave Volek Added Mar 25, 2017 - 11:04am
Stone: In Canada, we have yard sales or garage sales. Basically, we open up our front yard for a weekend and people drive by to see what kind of deals they get.
I held such a sale when I moved from Edmonton to Brno. I think I got about $1000 from that weekend; original price was probably $5000 or more. And I still had to make a trip to the landfill to get rid of half the stuff that did not sell. 
I have "invented" a better way to get rid of unwanted stuff. Basically a middleman sets up a store. The sellers package up their unwanted stuff in a big box. The box has clear windows to view the contents, but it is locked. The box is placed in the store at a starting price acceptable to the seller. If the box is not sold in a month, the box is discounted 10%. Another 10% for next month. In 10 months time, the box has been on market all that time--and the market has deemed it to be worthless. Time for the landfill.
Buyers pick up boxes, probably at great discounts. They pull out what they want from the box, repackage the rest into another box, and put that box on the shelf.
I think such a store would create its own culture of resellers, who are trying to figure out angles for a small profit. And of course, the middleman gets a small commission for each box that turns over.
Middleman gets a commission. Sellers get market value for their unwanted items--and don't have the hassle of setting up a yard sale. Buyers get deals, Resellers get a little side business. Less junk ends up in the landfill. WIN for all!
Anyways, this business is on my mind. If my book sells well, this is the business I'm going in.

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