Terrible is the New Valuable: VHS Edition

Let’s take a walk down memory lane to the time of brick-and-mortar video rental stores. There were two kinds of stores back in the day: the big chains and the local curiosities. The chains would fill most of their shelves with revenue-generating titles, which meant mostly new releases and popular films. As the industry digitized and brick and mortar stores tried to maximize profits before closing, fewer kitschy titles were stocked on the shelves.

VHS Tapes Value with Collectors

This is too bad because half the fun of browsing a local video store was stumbling across bizarre, questionable, and/or truly ridiculous titles. In fact, the video store has not gone extinct even in 2017, and those still in business capitalize on having a diverse range of titles — many of which aren’t available for streaming.

Okay, sure, they might not be available for streaming in part because they’re terrible flops. But Mystery Science Theater 3000 remains popular because it features films that weren’t exactly blockbusters. The Rocky Horror Picture Show and other cult classics are beloved for being more than a little off (off the mark, off-color, off in left field – you know, just off). And we all have that friend who cajoles us into watching a movie because “it’s terrible, but it’s AWESOME!”

Point being? If you find some truly weird video or even DVD titles in a storage unit, don’t assume nobody will buy them. Films that never made it to DVD can fetch three figures – yes, without a decimal point! Look for wild cover art, hackneyed genre flicks, exploitation films, foreign films (including anime), banned titles, complete TV series, and wrestling. The black diamond Disney collection claims are false, but you might strike gold with Bash at the Beach 2000.

Those VHS tapes you found in our Movies, Music & Books auctions may actually be worth something.

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Warp Speed, Mr. Sulu! Star Trek Props in Storage

If you’ve ever wanted to boldly go where no one has gone before, you might want to take a second look at furniture finds. Star Trek: The Original Series possesses a campy charm when we watch it over 50 years later. These were the olden days of TV production when custom props were no more than slightly altered everyday objects. Because of this, the future doesn’t always look particularly futuristic; a fact that Dax nods to during the classic DS9 episode “Trials and Tribble-ations.

Take Kirk’s chair, for example. It’s a receptionist chair manufactured by Madison Furniture Industries. The original captain’s chair used on the Star Trek set sold for over $300K at auction in 2002, but if you’re handy, you can make your own using the ubiquitous office chair as a base.

The Enterprise briefing room was furnished less elaborately than the bridge. It’s easy to give any place a 23rd-century feel with Burke chairs, models 115 and 116. Dress up the chairs with a few triangles, and you’re ready to explore the galaxy.

Even if you’re not a Trekkie, you can take advantage of this Hollywood intel to market old office furniture to those who might want to reconstruct old set pieces for themselves. Finding these chairs in a storage unit won’t be quite a profitable as finding original props, but you might be able to put some gold-pressed latinum in your pocket nevertheless.

As a lasting pop culture staple, Star Trek memorabilia still sell strong. How can you tell if something is an original prop or a replica? You could look for manufacturer labels. Or, you could look for Tootsie Pop residue courtesy of Mr. Spock. According to props master John Dywer, Leonard Nimoy found it perfectly logical to stash lollipops in the tricorders used on set.

Live long and prosper on your next auction journey.

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A spirit animal

An Auction Bidder’s Guide to Finding Your Spirit Animal

The Auction Bidder’s Spirit Animal Guide is designed to help you discover your truest bidding nature, and let you see the animal who lives inside you.  Are you ready to meet your Spirit Animal?
Scroll down and let’s get started.

 

The Eye of the Vulture – An auction Vulture is intelligent, and has a keen eye for spotting good deals.  Vultures have learned how to grid view auctions in order to view quickly, many more auctions on one page.  Their focus is searching out auction prices from $0 to $10.

Leave it to BeaverThis spirit animal wins one dam Beaver auction after another. They are the busiest of all bidders. They Hunt out auctions, Buy aggressively, have numerous resources to Sell, and these eager beavers make great Profit.     (A few resources might be eBay, Craigslist, Offer-Up, garage sales, etc…).

Oh, look a Squirrel!A Squirrel spirit is nuts about auctions.  They are the true treasure hunter. The squirrel bids on storage units that are chalk full of hidden treasures. A squirrel bidder observes the storage unit size, and the description “Must-Contain” lots of boxes and totes.  Any dirt or dust in a unit will entice the squirrel to bid even more.

Cunning as a FoxFox bidders are snipers and very clever.  All StorageTreasures auctions have a soft close feature.  This allows bidding to go for as long as there are bids. A Fox is out of luck because they can’t snipe our auctions.

Maltese FalconThe Falcon is the perfect hunter.  He sees an item and swoops in for the win.  This bidder already has the items sold before he has won the auction.  

Soar like an Eagle – The Eagle spirit is our high roller.  They soar above the rest in vision and funds.   Their bidding power comes from their ability to spot an auction they want from across state lines and go for it.

Memory of an ElephantIf the Elephant is your spirit animal then you are able to remember, through past experiences, how large of a truck is needed to clean out a unit.  And most importantly an elephant never forgets the clean out time!

Reserved TurtleTurtle time is max bidding time!  A Turtle spirit animal bidder lets the system bid for him.  He enters his max bid, under the bid management tab, and slowly goes about his day.  He checks occasionally and ups the max bid when needed.

Bid Slow SlothThis spirit animal can be a new bidder, new to the online auction world, or a bidder who buys a few units now and then. He is very cautious and slow to make mistakes.  The sloth is making sure we are The Industry’s Most Trusted Storage Auction Site.  Hang in there sloth, we are!

Visit our Facebook page and post what spirit animal you are.

In conclusion:  A StorageTreasures Tip

If your spirit animal is a Vulture, Beaver, Squirrel, Falcon, Eagle, Elephant or Turtle than a Pro Membership is a “Must-Have.”   For only $10/month or $100/year, enjoy 10% buyer’s premium and a dedicated VIP customer support phone number.  Call Customer Support at 480-397-6503 for more information.

 

If your spirit animal is a Fox or Sloth then our free basic membership is perfect for you.  The buyer’s premium is 15%, and once you get your feet wet move on up to the bigger animals.  

 

Happy Hunting!

 

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Storage Auctions vs Safe Deposit Auctions

As a platform for storage auctions, we’re familiar with the phenomenon of abandoned items. Storage lot owners retain property left behind by delinquent tenants; in order to clear space and generate revenue, they hold auctions.

State governments also require cash flow to fund public works and institutions. Lottery tickets represent a popular business model; taxes, not so much. A lesser known approach to generating public funds bears resemblance to storage auctions. Three years after people abandon safe deposit boxes at banks and credit unions, the items are turned over to the state.

As an example, Arizona maintains an entire website devoted to unclaimed property. The site serves as a means for property owners and their heirs to find missing items. It also announces auctions where buyers can bid on remitted property.

Storage Auctions vs. Safe Deposit Auctions: Which Is Better?

Comparing storage auctions to safe deposit auctions is like comparing apples to oranges. With storage containers, there’s usually an element of mystery, an exciting gamble for a prize. With safe deposit auctions, states list specific items. Obviously, they tend to be valuable by virtue of having been stored in a bank vault. People generally store different types of items in safe deposit boxes than they do in storage lockers. When you win a storage auction, you find yourself the proud owner of a large quantity of items — their quality partially or entirely unknown.

Call us crazy, but that’s part of the fun! Depending on what draws you to storage auctions, you might enjoy exploring this other avenue of bidding on abandoned items. On the other hand, you might prefer to stick with the treasure hunt that accommodates a lower budget and satisfies a thirst to search. Storage Treasures is your hub for live and online storage auctions.

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Uplifting: Father’s Portrait Returned to Son by Auction Winner

What do you do when you find a priceless item in someone’s old storage unit? Thanks to digital technology, it’s easier than ever to track down previous tenants and reach out to return sentimental treasures. That’s what happened with Alex Miller, who wrote a delightful account of how his father’s art returned to him.

Miller’s father has produced artwork throughout his life, including a well-known painting of a father and child. He remembers losing the artwork left in the storage unit due to delinquent payments, and in Miller’s retelling, he didn’t seem to like being reminded of his loss.

Fortunately, the storage auction winners reached out to Miller. Karie Farman identified the artist based on an article Miller had written. As of this writing, Farman and Miller’s father are discussing the return of their items.

Meanwhile, Miller set his heart on one piece in particular: an unfinished drawing of him at 18 in his Navy dress uniform. Because of the irreplaceable and invaluable nature of the item, Farman offered to return it for free. Miller insisted on compensating her, and he now owns the portrait his father started years ago.

For storage unit buyers, this success story inspires us to return items that families may never have wanted to part with. In Farman’s case, it wasn’t about money, but about doing the right thing. She labored on her own time to investigate the source of the artwork and ultimately received an undisclosed amount of money.

Have you ever returned items of sentimental value to their former owners? Share your stories in the comments, and be sure to check out the story on Quartz, because Miller tells it wonderfully: My father drew a portrait of me a decade ago. I just bought it back from a stranger on Facebook.

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Meet Vivian Maier, A Storage Treasure

Meet Vivian Maier, A Storage Treasure

Wouldn’t it be great to find an undiscovered Van Gogh in a storage unit? Or to solve the mystery of the stolen Rembrandt paintings, now missing for 27 years?

These scenarios might be a tad far-fetched. However, for historian John Maloof, an interest in local history led him to accidentally, posthumously discover the photography of Vivian Maier. Her incredible images of city life, from dramatic scenes to daily routines, are beautifully composed and expertly captured. Many of the images tell stories, and even more leave the viewer wondering about what might have been going on. This quintessential 20th century street photography may have been lost in storage had it not been for a lucky find.

Photographs Discovered At Auction

Maloof first encountered her work at an auction selling items from a repossessed storage locker. He needed old photographs of the area for his book about Chicago’s Northwest Side, and paid $400 for a box of negatives from the 1960s.

When he finally got around to looking at the contents of the box, he realized he’d uncovered treasure. He contacted one of Maier’s former employers to gain access to two storage lockers — the contents of which were destined for the garbage. Maier was a hoarder, and it was difficult to sort trash from treasure in her packed floor-to-ceiling storage units. Yet the first box Maloof discovered ignited a passion for her work, and he now owns 90% of her collection.

Treasure Hidden In Storage Lockers For Decades

A highly lauded documentary delves into the photographer’s biography, and a new book by Ann Marks delves even deeper, dispelling some of the myths that have already formed around her life story. For those of us at Storage Treasures, it’s a fascinating journey into art and art history that began with the auction of a mysterious box, abandoned by its charismatic, talented owner for reasons unknown.

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How to Tell if Autographs are Authentic

Baseballs, collectible cards, celebrity photographs, books, posters, art prints, band T-shirts: if you find an autographed one in a storage unit, your heart might just flutter. Is it treasure? There are ways to find out.

Keep in mind that just because an item isn’t signed doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. Rare posters, first-edition books, original art, and limited run collectibles can potentially fetch a high price on the resale market, even if no one scribbled a jaunty John Hancock on it. If you do find a signed item, here’s how you decipher its authenticity:

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Getting Started Reselling Toys from Storage Units

If you have kids, chances are you’ve held on to a few things – okay, more than a few things – for posterity. Handmade items earn their place as family heirlooms, and useful items could save money down the line. Toy Story taught us that toys have feelings. Perhaps not, but they evoke feelings, and for some they’re hard to let go.

As they say, out of sight, out of mind. After a storage auction, you might find yourself the proud new owner of a family’s toy collection. You’re probably not as keen to store the keepsakes, so what should you do?

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Intro to Valuable Coins

Remember when somebody won a treasure chest full of pirate booty at a storage auction? That was truly a rare find. It’s unlikely you’ll stumble upon a valuable coin collection, though it’s possible — people have been known to abandon valuable items. Even if you don’t find a cinematic treasure chest, there might be some change lying around, or some bills forgotten in an old coat pocket: score!

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