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A New Hope: A $12 Star Wars Haul From 1970

I found an entire bag of vintage Star Wars action figures from a thrift store!

A New Hope: A $12 Star Wars Haul From 1970

In a thrift store not so far away, at a price that seemed like a Jedi mind-trick, I discovered my most exciting find yet. Not 1, not 2, not even 3, but 18 vintage Star Wars action figures ranging from 1977 - 1982. These figures were not behind a counter nor were they in a display case, they were thrown together in a cheap, old, plastic Ziploc bag at the bottom of a toy box with a price tag of $12. An absolute amazing thrift store find that may be once in a lifetime. Want to know how much they sold for? Keen to hear how long they took to sell? Days? Weeks? Hours? You’ll find the full story later on in this newsletter. For now, let’s take a look at what you can expect this week.

In This Newsletter

What’s Sold

It’s been a profitable week for me. Let’s start off with this bad boy:

Pretty crazy someone would throw this out.

I bought this action figure late last year for $40 at the thrift and just sold him for $280. My guess is that staff price-matched him with standard Transformers toys and didn’t take into account the age, the fact he was boxed and the series he was apart of. I’m not a Transformers fan but I do know that people love collecting them and when I saw it was fully sealed and from 2007 it was a no brainer to pick up. I had originally listed him for sale for an even $500 (despite sold comps at around the $250-$300 mark) simply due to scarcity and the fact it was around Christmas time, I thought someone might pick it up as a gift. That didn’t happen and eventually it sold for around the price of the other comps. I guess that really is its true value. $40 into $280? That’s a decent chuck of change.

Keep an eye out for Transformers, I definitely recommend picking them up if they’re priced well. You also don’t have to stress about them being unboxed, I joined a Transformers Buy Sell and Trade Facebook group (I know…) and plenty of collectors pick up loose figures. If you find one that’s rare, brand new and in good condition don’t be afraid to put a premium price on it, you never know it might sell.

Next we have a brand new, never used Ring video doorbell:

I picked this up at a garage sale on the $10 table. Very good price.

This item was found at a garage sale for $10 and had been opened but never used. These sort of things can be risky to sell if they’ve been opened and played around with however this one hadn’t, it was clearly never used or even taken out of the box. If it had been, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up and risked selling something that’s broken.

Here’s something that I will always pick up because they always sell.

Good quality radios will ALWAYS sell.

I don’t know what it is about Sony radios but they will always sell. I’ve only been doing this part-time for a few months and I’ve easily bought and sold 10+ Sony radios. I don’t know who is buying them or what they’re doing with them but as long as they keep on selling, I’ll always pick them up. This one I found in the thrift and it had a $20 price tag on it. Staff offered for me to try it out in-store but with a brand like Sony it’s going to work 9 times out of 10.

Side-note: I once found a Sony boombox at a garage sale and upon getting it home realized it had been infested with German cockroaches and baby huntsman. Like any sane person, I of course would not have brought it home or put it in my car if I knew that. With that said, after a thorough clean it had zero issues and successfully sold sans creepy pests.

Next up we have a piece of clothing that I’m always on the lookout for, and that’s:

If I see a piece of Rugby Union merch I’m picking it up!

This Australian Wallabies jersey was picked up in the thrift for $25 in great condition and sold relatively quickly for $100 on Marketplace. Whenever I list a piece of Rugby merch on Marketplace or eBay it’s always immediately viewed as collectors are on the lookout for the rare stuff. Just this year alone I’ve sold a few different pieces of Rugby merch like these 2:

Bought for $20, sold very quickly for $100

Bought for $10, sold internationally for $120.00.

So keep an eye out for Rugby stuff! I’ve found that you’re less likely to pick up fakes or replicas with Rugby jerseys than you would with say NBA jerseys.

What I’ve Bought

I hit up a couple of garage sales on Saturday and didn’t find too much. I think I got luckier in the thrift too be honest. Here’s a look at what I bought this week.

A $1 price tag from the thrift.

Would you have picked this up?

Does anyone know what this $1 toy is? Would you have picked it up? At first glance it’s a creepy looking plastic toy. It caught my eye because it looked unusual, exactly what I said in the previous newsletter about wanting my eye to catch something weird and that you don’t see everyday. So what is it? Turns out it was one of the very first Funko collectable toys ever made with a limited run of only 1,500. I’m not a Funko fan and I definitely don’t collect them however this is a sweet pick up. If we take a look at comps this is what we see:

Yeah, I was shocked too.

From $1 into a potential $80? An 8,000% return! Yeah, I can love Funko for a week. Moving on, next we have an item that I’ll always pick up in any format:

Mario Kart for the DS for only $4.

Complete with manual, nice!

Mario Kart is one of the most beloved video games on the planet and is quick mover so I’ll always pick it up, especially for $4. I was surprised at the price to be honest, most thrift stores around me start video games at a minimum $5. Regardless, Mario Kart DS consistently sells around $30 and has a fast sell through rate so be on the lookout.

Japanese manga for $2/book.

I picked up 3 in sequential order.

I’ve only recently been keeping an eye out for Japanese manga books after a massive score earlier this year. These types of books are incredibly popular for fans and collectors and usually sell pretty fast. Manga seems to have a distinct look to it on the spine so it’s somewhat easy to spot. First is obviously the author, in this case Daisuke Higuchi which as a dumb Aussie, sounds Japanese. Another positive sign that it’s a part of a series is the numbering, in this case 7, 8 and 9 and the Japanese style artwork on the spine also helped. I’ve found that when buying Manga in predominantly English speaking countries you want to open the book up and check to see if it’s in English or Japanese. Let me show you why with an example from some manga I sold in January.

Complete English set for $370.

Complete Japanese set for $140.00

As you can see I sold the complete English set for $370 (within around 24 hours) whereas the Japanese version is listed at $140. These new manga books that I bought for $2 each can be listed as a bundle for around $50-$80.

One final thing, I told you guys last week my secret to finding books that sell. This week I had another great find! I was at a thrift store looking through a massive collection of books and spotted the spine for “License to Pawn“ by Rick Harrison (of the TV show Pawn Stars).

$4 for Rick’s biography is the best I could do.

As someone who is always looking through books in the thrift, this one stuck out because I don’t see it often. It’s in somewhat good condition, definitely sellable with no foxing (yellowing) on the inner pages or dog ears (folded down corners) however you’ll never guess what I found when I opened it up to check for a signature.

Surprise!

An entire mini treasure trove of goodies! Somebody has traveled to the States and paid a visit to Rick’s shop and stored their souvenirs in the book. We have multiple stickers, a postcard from the pawn shop, a brochure for Clark Country Museum (not pictured) and a hand signed postcard from Mark Hall Patton who was a regular on the show. See, what did I tell you guys? These goodies immediately turn the $4 book into $50.

Resources

This week I’d love to give a shout out to a website and an app that I use all of the time. It’s called Photoroom and it offers a few different tools that can help you create amazing photos for your listings. The 2 main tools that I use it for are background removal and background generators. Background removal is pretty straight-forward, it will remove the background from your photo so you don’t have to worry about buyers peeping what’s going on in your home.

The background generator on the other hand is super cool and it’s something that I use primarily if I’m listing on Marketplace (not eBay). To catch a users attention you can turn your boring backgrounds into something a bit more exciting which I’ve found helps a lot on Facebook Marketplace. Here are 2 examples of my own listings:

A vintage Mario lunchbox.

A Korean transformer toy.

Both of these backgrounds are more visually appealing and for Facebook Marketplace, where in my opinion you don’t need to be as detailed with your photos as eBay, it’s great at catching peoples attention. You can check out Photoroom here or on the iOS app store.

User Submissions & My Challenge

If you have any user submissions, jump on over to our website hit the Get In Touch button and fill out the form. We’re looking for your best thrift store and garage sale finds to feature. Even better if you include the original price tags and listed price.

Now my challenge to you the reader. I’ve talked a lot about books, mainly signed autobiographies. I challenge you to visit your thrift store, go to your garage sales and find a book that is signed. I want to see prices, I want to see front covers, I want to see signatures and I want to know what you’re going to sell it for.

A New Hope: A $12 Star Wars Haul from 1970

Continuing on my story. I’ve hit the jackpot. An entire bag of Star Wars action figures from the 70’s. I have to say that I got lucky with this for 2 reasons:

  1. It was literally at the bottom of a toy box.

  2. These thrift stores usually put loose toys in sealable bags that aren’t exactly transparent so half the time you don’t know what you’re buying.

In this instance I saw 2 things that made me immediately pick it up and not put it down.

  1. The face of a Stormtrooper.

  2. The year 1977 on one of the figures.

I know enough about Star Wars and collectable toys to know that this is something you buy for $12, especially with a bag this size. Here’s what the bag looked like:

Iconic Stormtroopers.

I’m not a Star Wars fan however even I recognize Obi-Wan Kenobi.

That’s a huge bag of Star Wars figures, so I decided to immediately take them home and see what I had just bought. I laid them all out and this is the collection that somebody, for some reason, donated:

18 in total!

I have to admit that even now I don’t know who or what all of these characters are. I recognize the Stormtroopers, Obi-Wan, the little guys, C3-PO and Boba Fett but that’s about it. I did my research that night and realized that most of these guys originally came with weapons and would be classed as not being in the best condition. Nevertheless, after a bit of research I found that each could be worth around $20 each with more for the ones in better condition. I decided that I wanted a quick sale and listed as a lot on both Marketplace and Gumtree Classifieds for $200 at 8:01pm. At 11:03pm they were sold for $165.00.

This quick of a sale obviously makes me realize they were probably way too cheap however $12 into $165 just like that is good enough for me. My only regret is not taking one out and keeping it for myself, they would have sold for the same amount and I’d get to keep a little memento of one of my most exciting finds of 2024.

What’s To Come

I’d love to keep going (and there’s a lot more to talk about) but I really need to end this newsletter for the week. I’m extremely excited for what’s to come including:

  • Turning a $5 signed football into a $200+ signed football using signature verification.

  • Lucking out at a thrift store and buying a one of a kind sports jersey worth $1,000.

  • Toys that are bought for $1 and can be flipped quickly for $50+.

  • My best garage sale purchase: turning $20 into $1,000 within 24 hours.

  • Boring is profitable: item’s that I’ve picked up regularly from free boxes that consistently sell.

  • How to talk to yard sale sellers: words to avoid and phrases to use.

  • eBay, Facebook Marketplace and other selling platforms: what items to list on each.

  • Avoiding fakes: what to look for when buying popular name brand items and how we can verify them.

I’d like to thank all of the subscribers, both new and old! Enjoy your week, happy hunting and I’ll see you all next Thursday!

Mat