Tales from the Thrift

Thrifting, eBay, collectibles and other secondhand talk

We found this fantastic, rotary telephone at an estate sale today. We’ve been looking for one to add to our retro tech collection but when we saw that this one was in Irwin Allen orange, we had to buy it. The previous owner still had it attached to the wall! We went to lunch after and were tempted to take it into the restaurant and talk on it like it was a cell phone. If we had, we probably would have ended up on quite a few social media feeds. “Look, kids! That’s how we communicated before we had mobile phones.” Talk about Life on Mars!Read More →

In June of 1940, Hollywood agent Everett Crosby (brother of Bing Crosby) send a friendly telegram to his client, director Victor Schertzinger. According to a series of letters, Schertzinger was a bit annoyed by the lack of work after his last picture. So Crosby was actively trying to find him another gig.   The telegram reads: Didn’t write because knew you were busy on picture. However you have not been out of my mind. Been working on couple deals here for you at Universal and will have information Monday. Had conference Wednesday with Freeman and Paramount here regarding your situation. They are happy with Rhythm. Will have information on this also first of week regarding your layoff and another immediate picture so out of sight is not of mind. Any agent who will not split is lousy. However this will not make me a LOU$E. Tell him that Pops. You will hear from me Monday or Tuesday. Everything here fine. Florence sends love. Regards Everett 1020 am Given that you paid for telegrams by the word, this one must have cost him a few bucks. Love the line about not being a louse. Does anyone still use that word?Read More →

In this excerpt from my book eBay with Empty Pockets dedicated to the subject of Dumpster Diving. Are you brave enough to go digging for hidden gold? If so, grab my ebook at Amazon now. Americans throw away millions of dollars worth of perfectly good items every week. Some people simply don’t see the value in that old coat or broken phone, but others simply don’t care. They’re done with an item, so they toss it to make room for the replacement and then some. And that’s nothing compared to what retail stores and businesses throw out every day. Customer returns, damaged goods, out of season items and bad buys – tons and tons of usable items headed for the landfill unless you get there first. That’s called dumpster diving.Read More →

This is the story of how the internet saved Tinker Bell. Once upon a time, in the kingdom of Goodwill, there was a beautiful box and in it was a sweet Disney fairy named Tinker Bell. She was balancing on a block on a bookshelf, laughing so hard the block was tipping over. But something was wrong. Tinker Bell’s fairy glow was missing. A fair maiden (me) came along one day and was immediately drawn to the lovely box with the gold frame. It was like looking into a doll house window. If only there was a light inside so you could see better! The fair maiden (me), examined the underside of the heavy box and found there was a place for batteries but the on / off switch was missing. The plastic plate said on / off. There was a hole for an on / off switch but no switch. Curious, she spun the box around and found a label that said The Art of Disney by Robert “Bob” Olszewski. She recognized that name. The fair maiden’s mate had a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarine with the name markings. Surely, this was an amazing find. But how couldRead More →

You’ve been thinking about selling on eBay, haven’t you? So stop thinking and get doing because now is the very best time of year to start an eBay business. Here’s why: 1. eBay sales skyrocket in the last quarter of the year Once the kids go back to school, eBay sales begin to climb, reaching an all time high every December. This happens for two reasons. First, when kids go back to school and the weather changes, people stay home and stay indoors. Vacations are over. Nighttime BBQ’s are over. We’re indoors and bored. And bored means time spent on the internet. The second reason is the coming holidays. Back-to-school, Halloween and then Christmas are all big buying holidays and people are happy to buy used items on eBay. From old backpacks to costumes your kids have outgrown to one-of-a-kind collectible gifts – people find it and sell it on eBay. 2. If you’re new, you need ramp up time If you’ve never sold on eBay or haven’t sold much, eBay puts limits on your account, so you want to start now, in the summer, so you have time to build up your account before the crazy season hits. YouRead More →

If you’re new around here, you may not know that I’m a freak for anything Irwin Allen. He’s the guy who created Lost in Space and Land of the Giants and he’s the evil genius behind Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno and a little known movie of the week called Time Travelers. (There’s no official release but you can find it on the end of the Time Tunnel series box set.) Related Images:Read More →

Every week, people and businesses throw out $1,000’s of dollars worth of useable goods. Sometimes they do it because they need to clean out fast and don’t have the time or brain space to sort the bad from the good. Others don’t think there’s any value in an old or broken item but most simply don’t care. They want it gone and throwing it out is easier than taking it to Goodwill. Once some throws an item in the trash, it’s fair game. Anyone can take it and keep it or resell it for a profit. That’s right, there’s gold in them thar trashcans. My new ebook eBay with Empty Pockets is all about how to find free and nearly free items that you can sell online. It’s not a get rich quick book and it’s not a book for those who lack a sense of adventure. It’s a book for people who have more time than money and who don’t mind getting their hands dirty. Yes, I’m talking about dumpster diving but that’s not the only way to snag free goods. When our neighbors were moving out, they had a huge pile of items they wanted to give awayRead More →

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been fascinated with Universal Studios, Hollywood! Many of my favorite shows were filmed there including Alias Smith and Jones and Battlestar Galactica. The Hardy Boys even filmed a whole episode where the boys were chased around the backlot by an evil phantom. When I was a teenager, I got to go to Universal for the first time and it was as magical as I knew it would be. Many years later, I moved from there to here, bought a Universal Studios pass then visited several times a month, mostly to ride the tram around and around. I started collecting Universal Studios memorabilia around that time. My collection isn’t huge but I still add to it now and then, when I find something cool.  And I found several cool things recently, so here we go. The mug you see above was a carefully maneuvered Christmas gift. I found it on eBay and offhandedly told my husband how much I loved it. What’s unusual about the mug is the coloring. It’s a light brown with baby blue and baby pink highlights. It’s also textured. Very cool. The mug looks like it’s from the seventiesRead More →