Previous   Next

What’s the best thing you’ve ever found at a garage sale?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on July 21, 2007

Browse the archives

Photo of Jared Fire

“I found an old cassette recorder like the kind Hunter S. Thompson had in ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.’”

Photo of Lori Schneider

“An antique mission-style lamp from the early 1900s. They knew it would be valuable, but they sold it to me for five bucks anyway.”

Photo of Jake Dodds

“I found a rusty old saxophone that I refurbished and used in elementary school. Now it just hangs on my wall as a decoration.”

Photo of Lindsay Major

“A record player. I have a lot of records, and it was a really cool, obnoxiously large one - ‘80s style.”


sunflower_sue 10 years, 11 months ago

An awesome Mongoose bicycle for my kiddo for $10. It had flat tires and the chain was off. The woman selling it did not know if it could be fixed. I (with a slight bit of guilt) gave her the $10 and practically ran to the car with our "new" bike. The hubby aired up the tires and put the chain back on. It was good to go in less than 10 minutes. That was about 5 years ago and it's still an awesome bike!

beatrice 10 years, 11 months ago

An old picture of a boat for $3. It was really ugly, but I liked the frame and decided to use it for something else. Amazingly, when I took it apart there was an original copy of the Declaration of Independence behind the boat picture. I sold it recently at auction for $2.4 million and have been enjoying my retirement ever since.

The other item I bought was a really good book on developing your creative writing skills.

geekin_topekan 10 years, 11 months ago

I bought a TV from the girl's sale for $10. She sold it to me wearing little more than a pair of 1" shorts and a t-shirt that was a size too small. That in itself was worth the $10 so basically I got the TV for free!

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 10 years, 11 months ago

Barely able to restrain myself, I gave the homeonwer three bucks to hold the thing while I pedalled back home on my Schwinn Black Phantom to borrow the rest of the loot from my Mom.

If you sold the Black Phantom today, you could pay for another semester of school!

George_Braziller 10 years, 11 months ago

A Federal era chest of drawers in amazing condition. Inset bookmatched flame mahogany veneeer on the drawers, hand cut dovetails, the body is all cherry - - it's around 190 years old and has all the original hardware. I bought it for $50 and it's worth somewhere between $2,500 and $3,000.

pelliott 10 years, 11 months ago

I was at an estate sale and took my daughter, she begged me to let her buy a mystery box for $5. she never wanted much, I said sure. The woman behind the sale asked that we come back and open it with her. It was full of silver jewelry and the woman said her mother liked adventurous people and would have been thrilled that of all the people the box went to a little girl who only wanted the mystery box. Both the woman and my daughter were happy. She wears some of it , sylish in her dumpstered clothes and silver bracelet.

Cait McKnelly 10 years, 11 months ago

I paid 5$ for a men's dresser set that dated from around the 19teens. The box was about 10 inches by 6 or 8 inches and was covered in green marbelized celluloid. Inside it was lined with green satin and there were specific depressions to hold nail scissors, button hook, nail file, and other cuticle tools. The manicure tools were handled in bone. There were also cups that held bone and celluloid collar studs. The scissors were broken and the manicure tools were dull and tarnished. I took them to a jeweler up in Gladstone who repaired the scissors and buffed and cleaned the other tools. I have no idea what, if anything, it was worth but I gave it to my sister as a Christmas present. She collects antiques and she was thrilled with it. I also paid a whole dollar for an 1867 Godey's Ladies Book at a garage sale. Inside the front cover was an inscription that was the name of the woman who owned it and "Wyandotte, Kansas". This was the name of Kansas City, KS before it became that in 1872. I eventually donated it to the archives of the Wyandotte County Historical Society.

Bone777 10 years, 11 months ago

Marion - I truly enjoyed your post, for once.

Bea - I did the same thing. Who would have thunk it!

jonas 10 years, 11 months ago

I got this fabulous Mazda Rx-8 for $20 the other day. It was a pretty cool set-up. You just came in, put your money in the bucket next to the car, it was already running, and just took off. I think it was an honor system or something. But what a deal!

/hold on. Someone's at my door. . . .

budwhysir 10 years, 11 months ago

I found some things that someone else was going to throw away if they didnt sell. I paid good money for them and put them in my attic for 5 years, then I moved them to the curb and got rid of them for the original owner. What a great deal I found. I am so happy.

sunflower_sue 10 years, 11 months ago

pelliott, that was the best story ever! What a great thing for your daughter and the lady who put that jewelry in the box. And kudos to you for letting her get it!

Ceallach 10 years, 11 months ago

A puppy! So cute, the runt of the litter. His mother was a blond cocker spaniel (lovely little lady) and his father was a stray black dog :) He lived to be 14, and was one of the best dogs I ever had. RIP Tuffy.

packrat 10 years, 11 months ago

A 1938 Martin Guitar.

I paid $25 at a sale in 1995.

Ceallach 10 years, 11 months ago

Sounds like OTSSweeper and his/her boa were meant for each other.

George_Braziller 10 years, 11 months ago

Marion - Didn't refinish it but I did have to "move" the finish around with some french buffing and a spit coat of shellac. Worked on the drawer pulls a bit to straighten them out and then just general cleaning. My grandfather was an auctioneer, my grandmother was a collector, and my father was a finish carpenter. My parents also were antique dealers so I do have a background in restoring furniture. It was in a state that it needed some work. After 190 years it had almost nothing left to protect the wood. It is indeed a sweet piece of furniture.


George_Braziller 10 years, 11 months ago

Thanks Marion - I learned a lot from my dad. I just wish that he could have seen it because I know that he would have loved it. Alzheimer's disease sucked his brain dry and we buried him on Tuesday.

I don't want to go that way.


Bill Chapman 10 years, 11 months ago

It wasn't at a sale - it was the trash heap AFTER the sale. I found 3 ten speed road bikes that only needed new chains, tires and tubes. After cleaning the bikes up and replacing the chains, tires, etc., I sold them for a total of $80. I was 11 or so at time, so that seemed like a lot of money.

I wish I had a pickup truck so I could hit the dumpsters when the students leave - I could really make some money. The students usually throw away anything they can't take back with 'em, so there's lots of furniture, the occasional T.V., and sometimes a trashed computer with good parts in it. T.V.s are getting rare though - the new flat plasma and LCD T.V.s are to easy to toss in the back of a car.

lmpaul 10 years, 11 months ago

Once I found a Princess House large glass pitcher - marked $2. It's worth much more. A friend of mine found a very old, antique, woven coverlet thrown over a table. She ask how much, the lady said 50. Thinking $50, my friend jumped at it - and the lady meant 50 cents! My friend gave her two quarters and drove away feeling like she had stolen it. I bought a 1-day old baby robin once for a quarter. At first I fed him hamster pellets soaked in water. It was wonderful to watch his feathers develop and teach him to fly. I called him Bennie, and he was wonderful. He woke me every morning at sunrise, gobbled the worms I dug for him. When I thought he was ready to leave, I let him fly on the lawn. Later, he was up in a tree, shrieking and when I called him, he glided into my hands. About two months later he really was ready to leave. He circled once to say good-bye and away he went.

trinity 10 years, 11 months ago

too many items, too numerous to mention! :) i've found a virtual treasure trove of all sorts of different things ranging from dishes, to shoes, to clothes, purses, and tons of etc at garage sales estate sales auctions etc over the years! :)

Commenting has been disabled for this item.