It's roasting here in West Yorkshire, UK.
I've just switched on a big metal fan to cool down me and the missus and the mutt.
The fan has sentimental value for me as I bought it as part of my toy business set-up in the Autumn of 2005.
I'd left my 'career' in environmentalism behind and gone on a holiday to the US with friends to celebrate my change of direction.
When I got back I was so excited its hard to explain. My new toy venture was to be based in the attic, which I furnished with a new desk, an office chair, a landline phone, a TV, a laptop and a bog new metal fan for the summer.
I also had two T-shirts made advertising the business and a stack of business cards from Vistaprint.
I also set up an Ebay shop and got myself classed as a 'powerseller'.
My business was called Mad About Monsters and I was ready to take on the world!
The attic was bursting with stock from the countless car boot sales I'd been to, together with some toy fairs and ebay purchases.
I also had a few dedicated customers from my mail-order days over the previous ten years advertised in the small ads in Model Mart, which I'd done after work and in amidst family life.
It was time to get serious and do it every day!
I booked into a few more toy fairs including the final Donnington before it closed for renovation. I had a great time at that fair and my mate Mark helped out too. I even met my old SWORD 'mentor' Bill Osborne, where he bought an Argentinian Moon prospector off me. We'd never met but corresponded many times and during the sale worked out who each other was! |Small world!
The plan I agreed with the Missus was to make about £100 a week from the toy business, which was just a fraction of what I'd been earning previously. I'd figured on supplementing this with some part-time casual work if necessary.
It all came together to start with. My stock, largely cheap and cheerful stuff with a few mint boxed gems thrown in, kept me going and I quickly racked up thousands of sales on Ebay and did well at toy fairs with my more choice stuff.
I even had some customers who asked me to track down certain toys, including some modern issues, which was a lot of fun I remember. One of these asked me to get hold of a set of Space 1999 Mego re-issued figures. Another asked me to find a mint boxed Matchbox Tracy island, which eventually I did and sent to one happy customer in Australia!
Two memorable Ebay sales were a vintage milk bottle to one Nigella Lawson and an old Sooty glove puppet to one 'I am the Real Sooty', which in my excitement decided must have been a Corbett!
One very sad Ebay sale was to a young girl. She had won an old pedigree doll but never completed the sale. In time her father contacted me and said she'd died but he would like to have the doll as it was something his daughter had wanted. I think I blubbed all day after that!
I made some cock-ups as well during those years. I would accidentally send the wrong Ebay items to the wrong buyers. An Action Man knife went astray that way and was never re-united with the uniform, which fortunately went to the right place! Copious grovelling and prudent partial refunds or replacements usually got me through these mishaps and I protected my 100% positive feedback by the skin of my teeth.
It did go down to 99% one day though. I had sold a stack of old Beatles LP covers, which I had bought in. I described them 'old Beatles LP covers, Ideal for framing but not much else' or something similar. They were sold as is but the seller then left me negative feedback and wrote that 'they were old LP covers with no records in and more or less only suitable for framing!"
I was so incensed by this injustice that I appealed to Ebay - and won. My score was re-instated at 100% and the seller told me he had thrown the LP covers in the bin so there!
Yes, they were fun days selling old stuff full-time back in the mid-000's. It didn't last but whilst it did I was chuffed.
And all this because I switched my big metal fan on today!
Have you bought and sold old stuff readers?