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A Super Special Issue... Mad-ly Profitable

Laughing all the way to the bank with this flippin' awesome collection.

A Super Special Issue... Mad-ly Profitable

At the very end of 2023, over 400,000 people participated in Sydney’s Garage Sale Trail. 2 weekends of constant, non-stop sales with people hunting for bargains. It was barely 2 months into my reselling journey and yet I was able to find a massive collection of Mad Magazine’s, just laying there out in the open, that would go on to sell for a massive profit in 12 hours. 

A very small selection of the magazines I picked up.

I have the full story further down, but first, here’s what’s to expect from this weeks issue!

In This Newsletter

What I’ve Bought

I’ve had good luck this week with a few valuable items found lurking in the corners of thrift stores and yard sales. Most of the time when I’m buying I try and stay away from low value items. $5 into $10? Not that keen. $5 into $100? Buy! So what do we have to look through this week? Take a look at the photo below and have a guess at what it’s worth.

This is a “TOMY Nintendo Pokemon Blue Mega Charizard X Articulated Figure“

I’m familiar with the original Pokemon so spotting what looked to be an off-colored Charizard on a thrift store shelf immediately got my attention. I know that Charizard is the most valuable Pokemon (I was lucky enough to find a graded 10 Charizard at a yard sale) however the $7.00 price tag sort of put me off. I assumed the employees researched and found it was just cheap plastic. Everything about the product, to me at least, looks like you could pick it up at your local Target or Kmart for $15.00 so it shocked me when I checked eBay and saw the brand new boxed version has sold for over $165!

The unboxed version seems to sell at around the $50 mark.

On one hand it’s crazy to me that a small action figure can sell for close to $200.00 yet on the other I can totally understand why a rare, brand new figure from one of the most popular franchises ever is expensive. Keep your eye out for old Pokemon!

Next up we have an item that is a first for me. The only clothes I tend to buy are sports jerseys as I know a bit about them and how quickly they can sell. I broke that streak this week when I came across this vintage AFL t-shirt. Take a look!

Featuring stains, yellowing and more!

For those unfamiliar “Plugger“ was the nickname of AFL player Tony Lockett. Basically the Michael Jordan of AFL. The shirt was $8.00 and came complete with a musty smell, yellowing around the collar and a nice blue stain on the sleeve. A hard decision, I was tossing up whether or not Lazy Mat™️ could be bothered to put in a bit of effort to get this bad boy clean. That is until I looked up the t-shirt on eBay and saw only 1 listed and it was for a crazy high amount.

$799.95 for a t-shirt? Tell him he’s dreamin…

Yeah I know it’s a crazy ask and I’m definitely not going to list for that high. I looked around and it seems this t-shirt has sold before (on private Instagram pages) for around the $100 mark. I decided to pick it up for $8.00, took it home and washed it twice. The first with a regular cotton wash, then I soaked it in a stain remover for around 2 hours and finished with another regular cotton wash. The results? Stain free and ready to wear. Note: don’t be afraid to pick up cheap clothing with stains if they’d sell for a high price stain-less. Don’t underestimate your washing machine!

Moving on, the final item I wanted to talk about is actually a huge lot that I was able to pick up at a thrift store. I spent a bit of money on it however the profit and items themselves were too good to pass up.

Looks like I’m shopping for my niece.

I’ll save you the trouble of doing basic maths. We have 8 items. Total sticker price paid was $116.00. A lot for a thrift store. Or was it? What do we have?

  • 1 Barbie collectors set complete in box for $30.00.

  • 4 Shopkins figures complete in box at $12.00 each.

  • 1 Shopkins jet playset complete in box for $30.00.

  • 2 anime plush brand new with tag for $4.00 each.

I’ll say this: I don’t know anything about girls toys. When I visited the thrift I saw the Barbie, I saw 2010 on the bottom and I saw a box that was sealed with figures still in their original twist ties. Original packaged Barbie from 14 years ago for only $30? Has to be worth more than that. I’ll show you it’s short life on eBay thus far:

That’s the photo, followed by title, than the price, views followed by watchers.

We have close to 150 views, 10 watchers and a price tag of $199.95. And you know what? Multiple offers on both eBay and Marketplace which I’ve turned down. Let’s compare:

Total price paid for these items: $116.00.

Total listed value for these items: $649.60

If we remove eBay fees we’re left with a profit of around $425. This stuff will most likely sell for full price. Speaking of full price…

What I’ve Sold

Do you see the Shopkins doll, 3rd from the left in the lot photo above? The one that has a $12 price tag? It sold:

Off to Spain!

It sold for a cheeky $111.56 and is off to Spain. Keep an eye out for Shoppies, Shopkins and Barbie, they really are something you should be buying! I don’t know what they are, I don’t know the appeal, I don’t know if they’re a television show or movie or why this one sold and the others haven’t just yet… but they sold and that’s all I care about. What else sold?

Toy Story stuff seems to always do well for me!

I found Woody at a thrift store for $40.00. Quite high, yeah, but the people in charge of pricing had him confused with so many of the other Woody toys on the market. This goes back to one of the first Flip Weekly issues and where you can gain an advantage on thrift store pricing: boxed and complete toys where there are multiple variations on the market are easily confused. This particular Woody was confused with a newer version that sold for $40.00. This 2011 Woody (after some very quick research) was released only in Australia, Europe and Asia and never made an appearance in the US. Also, the most popular version of this Woody was released prior to Toy Story 3 whereas this one was released after. It’s all a bit confusing and takes a bit of research in the Toy Story Wiki (yeah that’s a thing) to figure out, however the end result is that this Woody is worth more than the others.

Despite an insane amount of views in a short period of time:

405 views, 11 watchers.

I received an offer of $130.00 on Gumtree and decided to take it. $40.00 into $130.00. Off to New Zealand Woody goes without any eBay fees!

Finally, here’s an item that’s sold that I actually wouldn’t recommend purchasing at garage sales.

NRL (Australian Rugby League) framed Trading Cards

I bought these sports trading cards in a wooden frame a few months ago for like $10 and its taken forever to sell. Here’s why:

  1. It’s big. Shipping this bad boy is costing the buyer an additional $20 and yet they’re in the same state as me.

  2. It’s fragile. It’s full on glass, I had to wrap it up with a ton of bubble wrap and a huge box just to make sure it arrives safely AND that’s not even guaranteed.

  3. I’ve realized that NRL is seasonal (obviously.) For ages I was wondering why my NRL sporting gear wasn’t selling until it clicked that it’s the off season and no-one gives a crap about it during that time.

  4. I’ve picked up a few items that were framed and they’re all slow movers. From here on out I pledge to avoid it at all cost.

With that said fun fact: this was on the market for a few months on eBay with very little views however a few days ago I changed the title from “Parramatta Eels Collectible Cards NRL 2000 Wooden Frame Vintage Rare” to “Parramatta Eels Trading Cards NRL 2000 Wooden Frame Vintage Rare“ and they sold a few days later. I guess Trading Cards in the title helped. My bad.

Resources & Friends

I would not be able to visit the amount of garage sales that I do without the help of Garage Sale Finder Australia. The name is self-explanatory, GSFA helps users find garage sales within Australia using some sort of scraping technology to scour places like Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and more. From there, GSFA plots the sales on a map, embeds any photos and shows start and end times. Friday rolls around and I need to create my route for the weekend? GSFA is where I head. I wouldn’t hesitate to say that the website has saved me countless hours scouring the internet for yard sales around my area.

Garage Sale Finder Australia is a massive help to me.

Another cool feature of the website is their weekly email alerts that pings you on a Friday evening showing you where the sales are around you for the weekend. I get mine once a week and I highly recommend subscribing. You can do so here and it’s 100% free.

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. In this issue I’ve talked about comics and magazines. These can often be found at garage sales and thrift stores for around $1 a piece. My challenge to you is to hit them up and find a comic or magazine that you can resell for a profit. Here’s a very quick tip and story:

Back in January of this year I visited a sale. I went in, looked around and couldn’t find anything I wanted to buy. On the way out I saw a comic laying on top of some books. The comic was of Australian Digimon. I got half way to my car until I turned around. I went straight to the comics, picked up what turned out to be 7 of them, pulled a $2 coin out of my wallet and asked the person holding the sale if they’d take $2 for the magazines I was holding. They immediately said yes.

Australian Digimon comics.

A lot of 7 for $2.

I left. I later split them up in a lot of 4 and a lot of 3 and sold for a total of around $60.00.

Lot 1 of 2.

Lot 2 of 2.

Be on the lookout for comics, especially ones like this. If there are no prices on the comics and they’re sitting around books, I recommend having some loose change handy to immediately offer and start the negotiations low. I also avoid using the word “comics“ just as in my opinion it implies valuable. People LOVE overvaluing items they’re selling, and if they have a couple of comics they sell them like they’re somebodies retirement plans. I always use the word magazine. “Would you take $2 for these magazines“ as I hand out the $2 Gold Coin. Let’s see how you go.

A Super Special Issue... Mad-ly Profitable

Let me take you back to the end of 2023. As I mentioned at the start of this issue I was new to the garage sale scene at the time so when I saw that Australia’s Garage Sale Trail was coming up, it was a matter of learning as much as possible before spending the entire weekend visiting as many sales as possible. I’d visit Reddit’s /r/flipping for inspiration, I’d go down rabbit holes on eBay looking at what’s sold for a premium and I’d also watch YouTube video after YouTube video. Speaking of YouTube, I’d credit Froggy Flips for knowing to look out for Mad Magazine related items.

As the Garage Sale Trail weekend rolls around, I've planned my route: a mapped list of all nearby sales arranged in a very convenient loop. This ultra strategic layout means that I can visit as many sales as possible before the day ends; something I do most weekends for regular yard sales. This particular sale was towards the end of the day, it was a family moving homes and they had a whole bunch of items laid out across their front yard shaded by huge native Wattle trees.

Taking a closer look at what was laid out I was… surprised at what I saw. I didn’t see the usual old clothes and cheap plastic containers that no-one would ever touch, let alone buy, I saw legit cool stuff. We had $5 tables covered in old sealed toys and action figures, we had Mad Magazine’s in neat little $5 and $10 bundles. Essentially what we had were things I was interested in buying. I was in garage sale heaven and asked if I could start to make a pile. “Please!“ is what the lady said, she just wanted to get rid of as much as possible.

I grabbed a long shallow box and started off with all of the Mad’s. There were 134 total separated into 11 bundles. The price on the bundles were listed at $90 total. I figured if I bundled everything together I was going to get a good price. After putting all of the Mad Magazine’s in the box, I went for another look through the books. Score! Boxset of Lord of the Rings from 1974! Another score! A huge collection of vintage National Geographic books! It all went into the box.

A box set of LoTR from 1974!

1 of the many National Geographics!

At this point in time my box is nestled safely next to the base of the Wattle tree, hiding in the shade from any prying eyes. I walked away from the books laid out on the ground to the tables. I found 4 really cool collectibles that were all quite old. So what were they? Do I have photos? Of course:

  1. Wallace & Gromit 1989 Sealed Action Figures

  2. Mr Potato Head Santa Spud 2005 Sealed

  3. Butt Ugly Martians Dr Damage New & 2001 Action Figure

  4. Two TinTin Art Lacquer Plaques from Vietnam

You’re going to spew when you hear how much I paid. This is what the pile looked like when I got it in the car:

Possibly the biggest pile I’ve made at a yard sale.

And this is what the pile looked like when I got home.

I forgot to mention The Simpsons book! Thrown in as it wouldn’t affect the price.

As you can see we’ve got a fair bit here. A massive Mad Magazine collection, a vintage National Geographic collection, vintage Lord of the Rings books, TinTin artwork, Wallace & Gromit figures, Mr Potato Head, Butt Ugly Martians and a random Simpsons book! So how much did I pay?

First, quick tip: when you’re creating piles of stuff at a sale, throwing in little things wont generally affect the price unless the seller is counting each thing individually. I’ve found that most people will opt for a round number and that number wont be swayed by something like a single book. I’ve done this at estate sales before - saw a packet of sticky notes and some batteries and put it in my pile - the price wont change because of those few things and yet they’re what I needed at home and would save me a trip to the shops.

Anyway, I told the lady holding the sale that my pile was complete and I was ready for the damage. I was expecting to pay approximately $100. She gave my box a look over, thought for maybe 2 seconds and asked for $20. Twenty dollars. TWENTY dollars. Absolutely crazy price! Insane price! Mad price! I handed that $20 note over fast.

It took me a few days to decide how I was going to list these comics. I looked on eBay for sold comparisons and they were truly all over the place. We had individual issues selling for between $5-$30 each, we had random lots of 5, 10, 15 selling for inconsistent amounts. At first I was dedicated to the grind of listing each one individually, I mean if I could sell all 134 magazines for $30 each I’d make $4,000. I went out and bought some thick card stock and plastic sleeves and meticulously separated them all into the packets. They looked nice and would survive the post if I was to put them in a rigid envelope. Then I had a realization that I may be inherently lazy (Lazy Mat™️) and thought that if I list all at once, it would be the biggest Mad Magazine Australia collection on eBay and I could market it that way. It would be the ultimate collection for fans. So I decided I’ll list as a lot.

Up went the listing:

Australian Mad Magazine Ultimate Collection 134 Total, 50+ Super Specials.

I titled it Australian Mad Magazine Ultimate Collection 134 Total, 50+ Super Specials. On the 16th of November 2023 at 1:47 pm in the afternoon they were listed. I shot for the moon. 134 Mad Magazine’s for $1,000. I didn’t really know what to expect given I’d only been doing this for 2 months. Would they sell? I didn’t have to wait long. On the 17th of November 2023 at 1:40am, BOOM, sold! Sold in a total of 12 hours and 53 minutes for a $1,000 profit. An absolute crazy purchase and I was totally shocked when that $20 note turned into $1,000 so quickly. I heard the eBay kaching and looked at my phone and saw $1,000 and was like… wow…. no words. For anyone curious, here are the Mad Magazine issues below. I highly recommend keeping an eye out for lots of these. Although with that said I haven’t stumbled across any Mad Magazines at yard sales or thrift stores since. Maybe I bought them all?

A total of 134 magazines.

All were in pretty good condition.

The lot cost me only $20.

They sold on eBay for $1,000.

What’s To Come

I have so much more I’m wanting to share with you, here’s a short snippet of stories that are in the pipeline:

  • 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+.

  • 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.

Thanks once again to everyone reading this and making it all the way down here. If you liked what you read, please share with anyone who might also enjoy the newsletter. If you have any of your own garage sale or thrift store stories, please get in touch, I’d love to hear!

Mat