Thursday, May 24, 2007


I write this column for several reasons. First, to honor those we often do not hear about or just forget. Second reason is to entertain and, hopefully, to help improve our quality of life. Finally I do this to stimulate your thoughts and to encourage you to actively participate. I am gratified that many of you do send me thoughts, stories and encouragement. (

The other day I heard a story that disturbed me. According to a Filipino friend, some people hunt and kill birds by using "old vinyl" records. They take these records, go into the jungle at night and burn them. The fumes of the burning records kill birds that are sleeping in the trees. Now I am NOT upset by killing the birds. Feeding your family is more important than a few birds. What upsets me is burning the vinyl records! Let me explain.

For ten years I owned an antique and collectible store. I also sold antiques and collectibles world wide on the internet. Old vinyl records can be very valuable. There is a record worth $10,000 (540,000 pesos). That was the price paid for it TEN YEARS ago and that copy was damaged. Today the price would probably be triple for a good copy.

Now do not get too excited, not all records are valuable. Many are good for little more than hunting birds, but there are many that are prized by “vinyl freaks” (collectors). I can tell you many things about how to identify and sell these antiques and collectibles. You would be surprised what is valuable. I have sold old plastic Pez candy dispensers for hundreds of dollars. Many are worth thousands of dollars. Things do not need to be “old”. A first edition hard back book of Sue Grafton’s “A is for Alibi” from the early 60’s, would sell for $2,000 to $3,000 today. Old toys are also very collectible. Those associated with cartoon characters and TV shows are in high demand. I have sold old metal lunch boxes for hundreds of dollars. Even plastic lunch boxes are gaining in collectiblity.

The things people collect and the prices they will pay are amazing. I know people who collect old candy bars. Another man collects old church doors. You name something and chances are somewhere, someone collects it. I have an extensive file on these collectors and markets.

Turning that junk in the closet and garage into money is a skill. The value of anything depends on where you sell it. The “Antique Road Show”, a popular TV show about antiques, would have you believe an item is worth a specific amount but that is not true. If you go into an American book store you will find hundreds of “price guides”. They claim to tell you what an antique or collectible is worth. That also is false. The key to getting a high sales price is where you sell it.

That $10,000 vinyl record is the soundtrack from the movie “The Caine Mutiny” featuring Humphrey Bogart on the cover. If you want more information on these and other collectibles and how to market just drop me an email. Good luck on you treasure hunt.

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