Feb 17, 2014

Smart Pickers Find Gold in Vintage Bikes

Pickers everywhere dream of finding collectible “gold” stashed away in a barn or an attic. It seems almost weekly that the media is abuzz with the latest story of an artwork, coin, first-edition book or historic document found among household goods at an estate sale or thrift shop.

Most of these finds are just dumb luck, but collectors know that gold is often found among commonplace items at estate liquidation sales.

Take vintage bicycles, for example. Every estate has them; they’re as common as pots and pans.

Back in the 1980s, suburban streets and parks were jammed with BMX bikes. Top-of-the-line bikes could be purchased new for a few hundred dollars. Kids outgrew them or moved on to racing bikes or mountain bikes and then on to cars. When that happened, the BMX bikes with banana seats and passenger studs in the rear went into the garage, and decades later they were found, tires stuck to the floor from lack of use, seats mildewed and with a light layer of rust on the handlebars. Estate liquidators hosed them down and offered them for sale.

Rideable bicycles of all sorts are regularly sold at estate sales for under $100; unrideable ones for $10 or $15. Sometimes, though, they sold for $32,928. Or $5,500. Or $400.  Read More...

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