Valuable Vintage Board Games – Part 2

Valuable board games

In July, we shared tips to help you spot valuable vintage board games in your online auction search on StorageTreasures.com. You can find that article here.

This month, we will share some examples of popular board games that should fetch you a high price on the resale market these days. Board games have been around since the late 1600s. They have become much more sophisticated in recent generations, but they have been a favorite way to pass the time for thousands of years. While you probably won’t find an original board game from Ancient Mesopotamia in a storage unit, there are games from recent centuries that you might be able to pick up at a storage auction.

Dark Tower

Dark Tower Vintage Board Game

Dark Tower, produced in 1981, was very futuristic for its time. A fantasy game where players need to get the magic wand from the evil king and then defeat him, Dark Tower also came with a small battery-powered computer to track players’ scores. Dark Tower sold for $125 in 1981, so it was tough for most households to afford such a luxury. As a result, the game is scarce. Not only did the game cost a lot to buy, but it also cost a lot to make and advertise. Orson Wells, the famous actor, and director, promoted the game in TV ads. Dark Tower has sold on eBay for $300-$400.

 

Lost in Space 3D Action Fun Game

Lost in Space Valuable Board Game

Based on the TV show of the same name, this game of luck was made in 1966 by Remco. Players travel all over the wild planet of LOST IN SPACE. Your goal is to travel all three levels to reach Earth and identify as many planets as possible before your ship runs out of gas. Remco published Lost in Space in 1966 during the height of the space race between the United States and Russia and was wildly popular with youngsters. However, it is very intricate with multiple levels and many small pieces, so it is hard to find a complete set of this game. Dark Tower previously sold for approximately $700.

 

The Elvis Pressley Game

Elvis Presley Board Game

In Part 1 of this StorageTreasures blog series, we learned that some genres of board games are more popular than others, and one of those genres was famous people or characters. The Elvis Presley board game came out at the height of Elvis’ popularity when he worked on the movie, Loving You. Elvis also purchased his family home, Graceland, the same year, 1955.

Much like Elvis’ ability to make ladies swoon, this game is an early variation of a dating game. Teams of boys and girls race through the stages of life such as “let’s go steady” and “go get the preacher.” To get to the various stages of life, players must answer questions or sometimes get a punishment, like “walk like Marilyn Monroe.” The game sells on eBay for around $430.

Inflation

The Inflation Game

“Buy, Sell, and Trade Your Way to $1 Million.” This game, published in 1974, was not only meant for entertainment but also to teach people how proposed “share-your-wealth plans would increase taxes and place a heavy burden on all citizens.” In the game, successful players gain dominating positions in the economic affairs of the country. The government makes every man a king, and from there, he must take care of himself and manage his affairs to beat inflation. While this game sounds challenging to learn and play, the difficulty is a feature collectors find desirable.

The United States was in a recession from 1973-1975, and the Federal Reserve was trying to stop inflation after a Wall Street crash. Thus, another timely game for current events in our country. The game has many pieces with a similar setup as Monopoly, and it isn’t easy to find a complete set. Interested collectors can find The Inflation Game on eBay for around $1,000.

Keywood

Valuable vintage board games from the Keywood Series

One of the newer games on our list, Keywood is a settler’s game created in 1995. The original publisher made only 200 copies. The original version of this game had a thin, paper-like board game in black and white. Players have colored tiles and pieces they can use to build their villages. After building villages, leaders emerge to make decisions about taxes, licenses, and markets. The Keywood pieces have intricate designs, and with only 200 ever made, a complete set of this game is valuable, selling for up to $1,200.

 

Dr. Mario

Dr Mario Board Game

Dr. Mario includes popular Nintendo characters like Mario and Luigi. The goal is to find the correct color “viruses” and remove them from the board without getting a buzzer. The game is very similar in fashion to the game Operation. It isn’t easy to find any information about this game, much less find the game itself. Nintendo released versions of this game for their consoles and the Game Boy. It is possible Nintendo did not produce many versions of the board game because consumers preferred the digital versions. This version of the game has sold at auction for up to $1,500.

 

 

Swift Meats Major League Baseball Game

Swift meant's Major League Baseball

This game is one of the most exciting valuable vintage board games on the list. A meat company, Swift Meats, now known as Swift & Company, is headquartered in Greeley, CO. In 1957, they had the idea to issue a free kids baseball game with meat orders. People found individual cards in Swift Meats Hot Dogs packages, or a complete set was available through the mail. The game ha has 18 players and a game board, including Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, and Ritchie Ashburn. The players came in the form of punch cards with a paper game board, and the game pieces were very delicate. As such, it is hard to find them in mint condition. Swift Meats Major League Baseball previously sold at auction for $2,600.

 

Fox and Geese by the McLoughlin Brothers

Fox and Geese by McLaughlin Brothers

Fox and Geese is an old hunting game from the Middle Ages. The McLoughlin Brothers released Fox and Geese in 1830. The Fox and Geese board consists of unequal sides rather than a traditional square or rectangle game board. The game of geese hemming foxes and foxes capturing geese is made of medieval leather. This game is precious due to its rarity, the intricacy of the pieces, and because collectors value the McLoughlin Brothers as game designers. The last know version of the Fox and Geese game sold at auction for $18,000.

 

Monopoly – Atlantic City by Charles Darrow

Valuable vintage board games, Charles Darrow Monopoly

This handmade version of Monopoly is primarily credited as the first edition of Monopoly. The original version of Monopoly is hotly contested as many contend that Elizabeth Maggie’s version of The Landlord’s Game is the authentic original version of Monopoly. The Charles Darrow version was purchased by Milton Bradley in 1935 and became the game we all now know and love.

Darrow’s valuable board game version was round rather than being square, and each piece was handmade. Darrow drew the design for each card, such as Chance and the railroad cards, and his son colored each design. Soon, they made them for family and friends. Darrow eventually hired a printer to produce 5,000 copies of the game to sell to department stores. The last known set of hand-drawn pieces sold at auction for $147,000.

 

If you think you might have a valuable, vintage board game, you can learn more about the game at BoardGameGeek.

While it might be unlikely you would find the last two games on the list in a storage unit; you never know what treasure awaits you. Anything is possible in this business. Go to our website now to see what you can find. For more tips on how to determine the value of items you find in a storage unit, see our blog post, I think I found Something in a Storage Unit…How Do I Know?

Starting a Resale Business

starting a resale business

The resale market in the United States has snowballed in recent years. Reselling is when you source a product second-hand to resell for a profit. ThredUp, a popular website to resell clothing items, reports the resale market, now valued at around $28 billion, will grow to $64 billion by 2025. There are many theories about why the resale business is exploding. The global pandemic is producing cost-conscious shoppers. The rising unemployment rate means many buyers are looking for bargains. Another theory is that the younger millennial consumer base cares deeply about resources used to make clothing and find second-hand shopping more comfortable. Finally, widespread access to technology to resell items has made the industry much more mainstream and efficient.

Storage auction bidders have been reselling items for decades. Reselling is their business, and they were doing it long before the internet provided easily accessible places to resell items. Storage bidders have been sourcing goods to sell since before eBay and the dot-com bubble. Their success and the popularity of storage auction TV shows led to an explosion in the resale trade. Unfortunately, the TV shows glamorized a business that is much more than an easy side hustle. Many people don’t realize when they start bidding on storage units; buying and selling items from storage auctions is a material, legitimate business. It is a resale business. Here, we will share some tips with you to be a successful reseller.

 

Setting Up Your Resale Business

Success in any business requires a lot of pre-planning. First, you will want to obtain your business license from your state. See here for a state-by-state guide for obtaining a business license. If you plan to have a second-hand store or sell items in person, you might want to consider getting liability insurance. Liability insurance provides protection against claims due to injuries or damage. Insurance will protect you, your employees, and anyone who visits your shop. You will also need a resale permit. This permit allows you not to pay sales tax when you buy your inventory. You will need to charge sales tax when you sell the items and then report your sales tax collection each year. You can get a resale permit from your state’s Department of Revenue.

Besides licenses and insurance, you will need a way to track all of your purchases and sales. Think about purchasing an accounting program, like QuickBooks or Zoho Books. You should have a business bank account separate from your personal account. Co-mingling your personal finances and your business finances could lead to a tax nightmare in the event of an audit. It is important to know which purchases were made for your personal use and which ones were made for the business.

You will also need an inventory management system. When you are ready to file your taxes, you will need to know what sold and for how much. Additionally, you will need to know what you purchased that did not sell. Zoho offers an inventory management system with a free edition. eBay also offers the Easy Auctions Tracker. The Easy Auctions Tracker is an Excel-based spreadsheet, but it is sophisticated and robust.

Do Your Research

What are you planning to sell? Do you know what typical prices are? Some reseller pros recommend finding a niche market. Still, as storage auction bidders, it is difficult for you to pre-plan your inventory, so you might need to become an expert on selling many different types of items. Below is a list of things you might find in a storage unit to resell:

    • Electronics
    • Video games
    • Clothing & shoes (especially sneakers)
    • Collectibles
    • Sports equipment (varies by season)
    • Kitchen appliances and parts
    • Auto parts
    • Legos
    • Plush toys

Resellers can get overwhelmed when it comes to shipping items to their items. One problem is there are so many shipping methods to choose from. Another problem is online sites, like eBay, have shipping fees built into their platform. If you don’t have a clear understanding of how these fees work, you can end up overpaying.  Do you want to set up used fixed shipping fees or use a shipping calculator? You also do not want to price yourself out of the sale if your shipping rate isn’t competitive. It is worthwhile to learn about how shipping works unless you plan only to sell locally. You can consult the United States Postal Service about the weight of shipments and shipping rates. You can get free boxes and mailing envelopes from the USPS. Many of the online resale programs also offer guidance on shipping. For example, you can find out about shipping with eBay here.

Where to Sell

There are so many websites you can use to resell items. Some sites, like OfferUp or Letgo, allow you to sell almost anything. However, several sites like Poshmark and Etsy have specific requirements for what you can sell. Other sites specialize in a certain type of goods. You could get more money selling on the specialty sites than you might on a general resell site. Be sure to look at all different places to see where you might get the best return for your items.

  • Poshmark – designer brands, on-trend fashions, and shoes
  • ThredUp – new and used women’s and kids clothing and accessories
  • The Real Real – jewelry and designer goods
  • Kidzien – kid’s clothing
  • Etsy – vintage or hand-made goods
  • Ruby Lane – antiques and collectibles
  • Chairish – high-end furniture and décor
  • Swappa – tech gadgets
  • 5miles – sell within a 5-mile radius

The most important thing you can do to be successful is to treat reselling like a real business. Be active and consistent with your postings. Post often and follow through with all requests. You might find other resellers in your area and network with them. They might be willing to share their experiences and tips with you. If you want to get started right away, check out our two-part blog series Reselling Clothing: Best Practices. You can find part one here.

There is endless information about reselling that you can find on the internet. We are going to share several tips and tricks of the trade here on our blog. For example, do you know how the descriptions in your product listings become keywords for shoppers to find your items? Check back next month for marketing tips to enhance your listings.

Be sure to visit our website to see what great units await you to jumpstart your resale business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valuable Vintage Board Games: Part 1

Charles Darrow Monopoly

Valuable Vintage Board Games – Part 1

Those of us in the storage auction business see board games in storage lockers all the time. They seem to be a staple of abandoned units, just like artificial Christmas trees. Unlike artificial Christmas trees, vintage board games can be precious and highly desirable. According to Research and Markets, The World’s Largest Market Research Store, the world board games market will grow to 10% by 2024. This estimated growth equates to $12 Billion in revenue.

Do you know how to determine if a board game is valuable and how you should resell them? There are many, many things to look for to determine the value of a board game. See some tips below to see if you can get top dollar for your vintage board game finds.

Rarity

How challenging is the game to find?  How many copies did the publisher release? Board games dated back to pre-historic times and were handmade and painted. A complete set of a pre-historic game would be invaluable.  Games produced in the late 1800s and early 1900s were often made of wood and paper. The ones available are very pricey.

Because a game is old does not mean it is rare or valuable. Parker Brothers produced thousands of monopoly games in the 1950s and 1960.  Likely, the only old versions of Monopoly that would be valuable would be first editions or first copies. New games can also be valuable. Limited edition games produce in the last ten years are valuable.

Condition

Board games, like most things, will likely fetch more money if they are in good condition. It is often hard to find board games that have not been opened or played with, but these games would sell at a premium.  Collectors like to display the box as part of their collection, so a game box in good condition is more valuable.

Does the game have all the pieces? Collectors usually look for a complete set of the game. Simple missing pieces are easy to find or replicate. Intricately designed missing pieces, specialized pieces will lower the value. If you do find an incomplete board game, there is a market for selling the parts by themselves to others looking to complete a set.

There are a few key terms collectors use when talking about the condition of a board game.

  • OOP – Out of Print
  • P/UP – Punched or Unpunched
  • Mint or Mint in Sealed Box (MISB)
  • NRFB

Graphics, Lithography, and Illustrations

Details are key. Collectors consider box covers a work of art. Games with more intricate details and vivid colors are more likely to be valuable. For instance, games made before 1860 are often hand-colored and considered extremely rare and valuable. Different styles of design are also important, such as Art Deco or Futurism. Collectors looking for the artistic element of valuable vintage board games often care less if the game is good or fun to play.

Genre

Specific genres of games are more valuable. Namely, the following examples.

  • War Games
  • Miniature Games
  • Games depicting personalities or cartoon characters
  • Sports Games
  • Movies
  • TV Shows

Have you had had a big win with a vintage board game? Head over to our Facebook [link ttps://www.facebook.com/storagetreasures] page and tell us all about it. Revisit our blog next month for part two of this series, which will feature specific games and why they are so valuable.

Have you found what you think might be a valuable vintage board game? Check out BoardGameGeek.com or TheBigGameHunter.com to learn more about your game.

Do you hope to find a valuable vintage board game? Head over to StorageTreasures and see if you get lucky!

Are you new to storage auctions or thinking about bidding on a storage auction? Find out HERE What Happens After You Win a Storage Auction.

Featured image source: The Saturday Evening Post sourced from, The Strong National Museum of Play, Rochester, New York.

Canceled Storage Auctions: 4 Most Common Reasons

StorageTreasures canceled storage auction email

Bidding on storage units is fun and exciting, but you might notice many canceled storage auctions as you get started. Canceled storage auctions are frustrating for buyers (it is the number one complaint we hear from bidders.) Many bidders think storage operators cancel units because the top bid did not go high enough, or maybe the manager decided to sell it to somebody else, under the table. They worry the sellers know who is bidding on their units, and they don’t want to sell the unit to certain people (the delinquent tenant).

Bidders, especially those new to storage auctions, don’t realize a lot happens behind the scenes before a unit goes to sale. There is paperwork, payment plans, legal ads, last-minute payments, and many other things that could result in canceled units. Last year, 47% of all units posted on StorageTreasures were canceled for many different reasons. Here are four of the most common reasons storage auctions get canceled.

The Tenant Pays Their Bill

Tenant payments absolutely, 100% happen — and often at the very last minute. An auction could be canceled minutes before it closes, or the sale could even be canceled before you arrive at the facility to claim a unit you won at auction and take possession. Legally, the property still belongs to the tenant until you pay for your bid and place a lock on the unit. This is why it is crucial to call the facility before you go to pick up your unit. To see more about taking possession of a storage unit, click here.

I have worked in the self storage industry for 12 years, and I have seen many, many tenants pay their bills at the last minute. In the case of live auctions, they even show up during the auction to try to pay their bill. I once saw a woman throw herself on the floor in front of her units to stop the auction in progress. Last-minute payments are widespread. They likely made up the majority of the 47% of canceled storage auctions on StorageTreasures last year.

 

An Error in the Lien Enforcement Process

The steps a storage operator must go through to sell a delinquent tenant’s unit are lengthy and complicated. The laws are vague and must be followed precisely. As you might have guessed, most storage facility managers do not come with a law degree, so mistakes are very easy to make. For example, many states require 15 days between the first legal ad and the date of sale. Easy enough, but do you count the day of the ad and the day of the sale? What happens if a holiday jumps in there and the newspaper is not posting legal ads that week? What happens if the newspaper spells the tenant’s name wrong? There are so many places for error in the process.

Operators do not want to have canceled storage auctions. Processing a tenant for auction is a cumbersome, expensive process. If they have an error in the paperwork, they have to start the entire process over from the beginning. There are fees for sending letters, legal ads and hiring an auction company. In addition to all of this, they still cannot re-rent the unit to a paying tenant. A paperwork error is a lose-lose situation for a storage operator.

 

Unauthorized Items in a Storage Unit

Often, a facility manager will open a unit door, take a quick inventory, and not realize that something they cannot sell might be in the unit. After they list the unit, they might see a headlight for a vehicle in the back of the unit. They will now need to perform a VIN search with the local motor vehicle department before listing the unit for vehicle sales. Other examples of items that cannot be sold are modified shotguns or assault rifles. The facility manager may have posted the units online without knowing these things are in the unit, and a supervisor later sees the prohibited items and cancels the auction.

 

The Auction Listing is Incorrect

In addition to following the lien process strictly, the storage operator has an obligation to you, as a buyer, to present correct information on the auction listing. The facility manager might post a unit and realize they put the wrong auction date or time. They can edit the auction up until the time the first bid is placed. After the first bid is placed, they can no longer edit the listing. They will have to cancel the unit and repost it. This is why you might see the unit pop back up on StorageTreasures a few days or weeks later.

Pictures can be wrong as well. To err is human. Managers might have hundreds of unit pictures on their computers and quickly select the wrong one when uploading units. Hopefully, they find the mistake and cancel the unit BEFORE you bid on it and win. They will likely need to cancel the unit and repost it with the correct pictures if they do.

Buyers successfully bought over 100,000 units last year and many of them for excellent prices, even after many units were canceled. Go to www.StorageTreasures.com NOW to find your next big win!

 

 

Is Reselling on Etsy Good for Storage Auctions?

Etsy for reselling items

There are many places for reselling items found in a storage unit in today’s digital marketplace. From eBay to Facebook Marketplace, Offer Up and so, so many more, your resale options are endless. However, some platforms may prove a better place to sell your storage auction finds. Etsy describes itself as a shop for hand-made, vintage, custom, and unique gifts. Have you found items like these in a storage unit you won at auction? Is Etsy the right place for you to resell items you find in a storage unit?

Etsy is a website where you can find homemade items such as birthday cake toppers, hand-made cards, costumes, wedding décor, pre-made scrapbook pages, and so many more special items. It is the go-to place for busy Moms who want to provide that special touch to their gifts or home. Etsy is not just for women. I have purchased several music-related items for my husband on the site as well. It is a great place to sell or find vintage t-shirts and clothing. Again, I ask, is Etsy the right place for reselling items you find in a storage unit? Let’s take a more in-depth look at the platform to find out.

Etsy Fees

Etsy is very user-friendly, and they have a mobile app for you to use. The first thing you should do is learn about the fees that Etsy charges. They have listing fees, transaction fees, advertising fees, and more. You can learn about all of Etsy’s charges here.

Setting Up Your Shop

Setting up an Etsy shop is easy. You will need to create a shop name and fill out some background information. You are not required to have a business license to list items on Etsy, but they do expect you to follow all applicable state and federal laws regarding commercial transactions.

The following is a list of other items you will need to set up your Etsy shop.

  • A banner and shop logo
  • Shop announcement – a brief welcome message to shoppers
  • About section – a place to upload videos or stories behind your products
  • Shop members – if you have other members on your team
  • Shop policies for shipping, returns, exchanges, downloads, and other guidelines
Marketing & Optimizing Your Shop

This part of the process is what will probably be most difficult for you. You have to promote your shop personally. Etsy does offer advertising space for an additional fee, but otherwise, you will need to rely on your network. You can link your social media accounts and use the location search to help people find you, but ultimately, it comes down to making your listing stand out and get recognized.

Just like eBay and Facebook, there are ways you can optimize your listing for Etsy search. Below, you will find optimization items to consider.

  • Tag and title relevancy
  • Item attribute relevancy
  • Listing quality
  • Customer experience

You can read more about Etsy’s recommendations for optimizing your shop here.

In 2019, Etsy reported over 45.7 million buyers worldwide and a sales volume of $4.97 billion.* It would be a shame to leave this market untapped when reselling your storage finds. If you need to hunt for more items to list in your Etsy shop, go to www.StorageTreasures.com now.

RELATED ARTICLE – If you are interested in being an eBay seller, check out our recent article, Storage Auction Winnings: Become an eBay Pro.

*Source: https://www.veeqo.com/us/blog/etsy-statistics

Winning an Auction: What Happens Next?

moving after online storage auction

Buying a unit at a storage auction is more complicated than it might seem. Television shows make it look so easy – find an auction, outbid the competition, discover epic treasure! However, storage auctions are just like any other business in the world; there are rules. Familiarize yourself with these rules to be successful.

Bidding is a fascinating part of the auction process, but winning is the ultimate goal. Once you’ve landed your first unit, everything moves very quickly. First thing, you will get your winning bidder email. You will only have 24 to 72 hours from the sale’s close to empty the unit. Plan early to get into the office to pay your winning bid amount. After you pay, remove the unit’s contents (without using the facility dumpster), and devise a plan to resell your winnings. It might be easy to overlook some essential steps. See below for tips to follow after you win an auction on StorageTreasures.

Contact the Facility

After you win a unit, the first thing you should do is contact the facility to confirm the unit is still available. A very frustrating, albeit legally required, part of online storage auctions is the delinquent tenant gets a little extra time to pay their bill. In an online auction, the tenant can pay up until you take possession of the unit. To take possession, you go to the facility, pay the bid amount, and place your lock on the unit. If you win a great unit and think there is a possibility the tenant might make a last-minute payment, you will want to get to the facility as quickly as possible.

Bring Items Needed to Claim the Unit

There are a few items you will need to be able to pick up your unit. Always bring a copy of your driver’s license or other identification. You can have other people pick up your units for you, but you will need to list them as an authorized pickup person on your account. If an authorized pickup person goes in your place to claim the unit, they will need to show their ID. See the image below for where to enter a person authorized for pickup.

StorageTreasures Authorized Pickup Person

 

You will also need to bring cash for the bid amount, possible sales tax, and a cleaning deposit. Some facilities allow credit card payments. Be sure to check the Additional Information section on the auction listing for all facility rules and online auction regulations. If you have a Sales and Use Tax Resale Certificate, have a copy on hand you can give to the facility to remove the sales tax. You will get your money back once you have cleaned the unit to a swept condition.

Remember to bring a lock to secure the unit. You do not legally take possession of the unit until you have placed your lock on the door. Storage facilities often have different types of locking systems. When you call to verify the unit is still available, ask the facility manager what kind of lock you need to bring.

Check out this previous post titled “4 Things to Bring to a Storage Auction” for more information about what you need for a successful auction.

Clean the Unit to a Swept Condition

Swept condition is precisely what it sounds like, swept clean. Swept clean means you have to remove all items from the unit and sweep up any remaining debris. There is a thing in storage auctions called “cherry-picking.” This is when the buyer takes what they want from the unit and leaves the rest behind.

I have heard some buyers say, “it was worth it to lose the cleaning deposit not to clean it out.” Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Failing to empty the unit can result in you being banned from bidding on auctions on StorageTreasures.com. Our rules (and most all storage auction rules) state you must remove the unit’s entire contents from the premises.

You also cannot use the facility dumpster. This rule isn’t because the facility manager doesn’t like you. It is because storage facilities have small dumpsters that can’t handle the entire contents of storage units. Seasoned auction buyers get passes to the local dump to dispose of the unwanted items from online storage auctions. It is wise to keep the clean-out process in mind when buying multiple units.

Recover Your Cleaning Deposit

Once the unit is empty, you will need to have it inspected by the facility manager to get your cleaning deposit back. Keep in mind; the manager will only be available to return your cleaning deposit during office hours. If you are traveling from a far distance to claim the unit, you should plan ahead to secure your cleaning deposit return.

Some storage companies require you to put your cleaning deposit on a credit card. If that is the case, you likely won’t get your deposit back for 3-5 business days due to the nature of credit card processing. Be sure to read the Additional Information section of the auction listing for any rules concerning the cleaning deposit.

If you want to find out more about storage auctions and prepare for your first auction, here is an excellent article from Side Hustle Nation that gives you a more in-depth perspective from an experienced auction buyer.

Now that you know what to do after you win a unit, head over to www.StorageTreasures.com to find your next big win! If you have any questions about how an auction works, reach out to us on Facebook or contact our Customer Support Team. You can reach them at (480) 397-6503 or support@storagetreasures.com.

Best Selling Storage Auctions of 2020

best selling storage auctions

2020 was a strange year for most people, and the same was valid for online storage auctions. Unless you were born IN the year 2020, you heard all about COVID 19 and the “new normal” we all needed to navigate. For the first time, storage auctions were either banned or suspended due to state mandates and a massive unemployment crisis. There were little to no storage units sold from March through June of 2020. Storage operators, auctioneers, online websites, and bidders all felt the impact of the virus.

Thankfully, bidders and operators were able to rally during the second half of the year, when we saw record-breaking unit prices. Below, you will see the top-selling units on StorageTreasures last year and one honorable mention unit for reaching new heights in the first half of 2020 during a global pandemic.

 

10. Water Filtration Systems in Newark, NJ – Sale Price $17,120

: Storage unit auction containing unopened water filtration systemsA 10×10 unit was full of unopened boxes of water filtration systems. The boxes were labeled Brondell, H20+ for better water. A quick search of these items shows they sometimes sell for up to $400. The unit was full of unopened, wrapped boxes. The facility description also listed household furniture, mattresses & bedding, and personal effects. Those additional items were icing on the cake for this unit.

 

 

9. Disney Collectibles in Franklin Park, IL – Sale Price $17,810

10x20 online storage auction unit with Disney collectibles and household itemsWhen first looking at this unit, a large stack of beautiful teal boxes stands out. Once zoomed in, you can see the boxes are labeled “Classics Walt Disney Collection.” Classic and Disney is always a winning combination. In addition to the potentially hundreds of Disney collectibles boxes, this large 10×20 also contained household items and other décor. All of the belongings in the unit appeared to be in excellent condition. Items in the front of the unit were covered in dust, indicating nobody had entered the unit in quite some time. Units with dust are always a bidder favorite.

 

8. Funko Toys in Broadview, IL – Sale Price $18,020

Online storage auction unit filled with Funko ToysFunko Pop Toy Chester CheetahI had to do a quick internet search of “Funko Toys.” I recognized them immediately as the small, plastic figurines representing pop culture characters. Funko toys represent popular characters from hockey players to characters from the TV show, The Office. Amazingly, these little toys are incredibly valuable. The company that makes the toys claimed $686 million in sales in 2018. The most valuable Funko Pop toys sell for thousands of dollars. This 10×30 unit was filled with pallets of neatly wrapped Funko Toy boxes. It probably took a while to resell all of these toys, but it surely brought a nice, tidy profit.

 

7. Golf Equipment and Apparel in Buffalo Grove, IL – Sale Price $18,110

20x10 storage unit full of golf equipment, accessories and apparelThis unit was one of those units in which experienced buyers of storage auctions could see something I could not.  There are some visible boxes and a golf bag; nothing that grabbed my eye. Several bidders felt the items inside were worth almost $20,0000 as 127 unique bidders bid on this unit. There were some hats and golf shoes visible, and they all seemed to be great brands of good quality. The boxes were numbered as if they might have been inventory to be sold. Hopefully, the right buyer got top dollar for the items in this unit.

 

6. Unique Home Décor in Sarasota, FL – Sale Price $20,010

Large 20x10 storage auction unit filled with unique home décor itemsAfter seeing three Illinois units, we finally move south to the Sunshine State, and wow, this unit did not disappoint. The sixth highest-selling storage unit of 2020 was filled with large, colorful home décor and art pieces. The furniture in the unit appeared to be of very high quality. All of the items were carefully stored, with some items still inside moving crates. If you are the lucky winning bidder of this unit, we would love to know how well you did after the sale.

 

 

5. Paintings and Murals in Hicksville, NY – Sale Price $23,150

Storage unit filled with stacks of artwork and muralsThis unit was one that required the heart of a gambler to win. There are stacks of framed artwork, but they could all be Bart Simpson from what I can see. There are some beautiful pieces standing alone that you can see with exquisite, professional frames. The storage unit itself is well lit and looks more like an office. It is almost sure the monthly rent was higher than a typical storage unit. It’s likely the overall quantity of artwork is what drove the price of this unit to over $20,000.

 

 

4. Food Truck in Austin, Texas – Sale Price – $23,550

Food truck sold at an online storage auctionThe description of this truck is listed as a Freightliner Van. In theory, it could be used as something other than a food truck, but inside it has an area for preparing food, cooking stations, coolers, and an ice machine. The food truck was previously used to prepare Korean-Mexican fusion food. It was also used as an advertising medium, as evidenced by the AT&T logos appearing on the side.  The listing also says it was “truck 2 of 2,” meaning this tenant also had another truck for sale. The second truck did not make our top ten list, but this was likely a massive score for the winning bidder when he or she found a buyer.

 

3. Floral Supplies, Craft Room, Craft Reseller in Oakland, CA – Sale Price $25,110

10x20 storage unit with a home crafting businessI had to look at this unit for a while to figure out what the draw was, and then it hit me. This unit looks like my mother’s craft room. She loves to collect and make things and sell them on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. All of the contents appear to be household items. They don’t look like a store inventory. There are nicely packaged boxes for mirrors or paintings. Totes labeled floral or craft supplies, Legos, and figurines. There are also American Girl Doll boxes, which sealed my opinion of this unit. Those dolls sell like hot cakes on the reseller market. The variety of different resalable items in this unit made it worth the $25,000.

 

2. Comic Books in Lake Worth, FL – Sale Price $25,210

Storage unit auction full of comic books and collectiblesEvery year when I write this article about the best-selling units, there is always one unit containing comic books and collectibles. This particular unit was 10×12 and full. The first thing that catches the eye is the standard white rectangular boxes typical for storing comic books. Also, there are several excellent, sturdy, high-quality totes and boxes neatly stacked. There are also some sports memorabilia and pop culture artifacts. This unit was a collector’s dream.

 

 

1. Art in Brooklyn, NY – Sale Price $35,030

Storage auction containing collectibles and model carsThis 10×20 didn’t look like it had much in it at first glance. There are nice crates and some wrapped items. There are some freestanding art pieces and what looks like a fancy car engine. Upon further investigation, the name David Datuna appears on the side of one of the crates. David Datuna is an NYC based artist from Georgia (the country, not the state). He once sold a portrait of Vladimir Putin for $269,000. There is also a box labeled “art Miami” which could have included pieces from his Viewpoint of Billions series that was showcased at Art Basel in Miami. If only one of the crates in this unit contained an original work by Datuna, this unit could have been worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

Honorable Mention – Antiques, Memorabilia, and Collectibles in Anaheim, CA

Storage auction containing collectibles and model carsDuring the pandemic and the following eviction moratoriums, many storage operators did whatever they could to make deals with their tenants so they could keep their things. One of those deals included having the tenant sign an abandonment form and turning the unit over to the facility to sell the items. When a unit is sold with an abandonment agreement, proceeds do not apply to the tenant’s past-due account, so the unit will be sold as a “non-lien” unit. This non-lien unit sold for almost $15,000 because it contained model cars and boxes of collectibles. The unit, a 10×30, was packed full and neatly stacked. The winning bidder on this unit had a lot of fun finding out what was stored behind that first layer of boxes.

 

 

Do you want to see the Best Selling Units of 2019 too? Click HERE. Will you be one of the lucky winners to snag a unit on next year’s list? Start bidding today on www.StorageTreasures.com. Are you new to storage auctions and curious about how it works? Check out our Help Center for more information.

How to Find Storage Auctions

Find Storage Units Online scaled

At StorageTreasures, we get a lot of questions about how to find storage auctions. We get a request through our “Help Center” on our website, from our social media accounts, and also right here on our blog. We wanted to give you a comprehensive list of great places to find storage auctions and to find StorageTreasures auctions.

1.  www.AuctionZip.com

This website drives a ton of traffic to our website every day, so we know people look here for their auctions. The website is very user-friendly, as well. You go to their website and type in your Zip Code (or Postal Code), hence the name AuctionZIP. You can put in a mile radius of how far you are willing to travel, select from a long list of categories of auctions, or use keywords for the type of items you like to buy. The easiest way to find StorageTreasures auctions is to select the Storage Auctions category. The best news is; it is free to search for auctions on AuctionZip.com.

2. GlobalAuctionGuide.com

Global Auction Guide has been listing auctions for about five years now. It is also free to search their website for auctions. You can find online storage auctions or live storage auctions. You can search by location, date, or use a keyword, but the best part of Global Auction Guide is you can search by Company name, making StorageTreasures auctions easy to find.

3. LocateAuctions.com

Locate Auctions is the new kid on the block, but they have a lot of great auction listings. You can search by keyword, categories, auction type, or state. You can also browse their list of registered auctioneers or auction companies. Locate Auctions also has a great blog with all sorts of tips and information for bidders.

4. Your Local Newspaper

In most states, storage laws still require operators to advertise all lien sales in a Newspaper of General Circulation. You can try to find the legal ads on their digital version, or you can subscribe to the major newspapers in your county.

5. StorageTreasures.com

This suggestion might seem obvious or silly, but we have a lot of users who come to our site, and they don’t know how to find storage auctions near them. If you don’t already have an account, you can create one using the button in the upper right-hand corner.

StorageTreasures Account Setup

Once you have registered for your account, you can search for auctions from our homepage.

Find Storage Auctions on StorageTreasures

Personal Documents in Storage Auctions

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Why They’re There, What to Do with Them, and When to Walk Away 

During live storage auctions, it is not uncommon to open a unit and see filing cabinets or file boxes full of folders and papers. Immediately, auction buyers begin to ask, “can we leave the files?” Technically, if not legally, the answer to that question should be yes, the files can be left behind.  Most self storage lien laws do not specifically address the topic of items containing personal information. However, almost every state has other regulations on the sale of items revealing someone’s identity. This includes tax documents, medical records, legal records, pay stubs, identification paperwork, etc.

What Does the Law Say? 

Is it illegal for the storage operator to sell the items? Yes, and no. It is likely illegal for them to sell such items KNOWINGLY, but most self storage laws do not require operators to inspect the entire contents of the unit for auction. Operators are required to provide a general description of the property in the legal advertisement, so they do need to have a general idea of what is in the unit. Many of the laws go on to say operators or managers are not required to open boxes, trunks, cases, valises, or other items that might contain additional property. This part of the law is good news for auction buyers because this is what stops managers from needing to touch everything in the unit. It also leaves a lot of property unknown. Likewise, as an auction buyer, you don’t stand at the storage unit and go through each box as you are cleaning out the unit. You probably don’t even look through all the stacks of paper you see when you finally do organize your winnings. You likely toss the entire stack in the closest garbage bin.

Personal Items and Online Storage Auctions 

Online storage auctions could make it easier or harder to identify personal items stored in the unit. You have more time to look at the photos and investigate the contents of the unit. However, often, photos are blurry or dark and you cannot make out any of the items in the unit. Additionally, you don’t have a facility manager standing beside you to permit you to leave the files or records behind. You have no way of knowing how the facility manager will react to personal items once you have won the unit.

What should you do if you discover documents revealing a person’s identity?

  1. Attempt to return the documents to the storage facility. That could potentially be a big hassle for you. The facility might be far away or closed. It is also possible the facility might refuse to take the items back. It is not unheard of that happening.
  2. If the facility won’t take possession of the documents, or it isn’t logistically feasible for you to return them,  my best advice to you is to destroy the documents so there is no possibility of someone recovering them and committing identity theft. If you have a staff who helps you clean and organize units you bought at auction, make sure they understand the sensitivity of these items and dispose of them properly.

Are there times when you should not bid on storage auctions because of files or personal documents? Absolutely! If you see a unit full of banker type boxes, like these, Personal files in a storage auction unit and they say something such as “legal records” or “medical records,” you should not buy this unit. The facility should not be selling these items, and in turn, you should not be reselling these items either, assuming someone would buy them. Essentially, there is nothing you can do with these items; thus, there seems to be little reason to invest in them.

Check out all of our great unit listings on StorageTreasures.

This Car Was Hidden Away For 30 Years

This Car Was Hidden Away For 30 Years

The Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe prototype sits in its rightful place, a museum founded by its current owner. The first of only six ever built, it was the first American manufactured car to defeat the Ferrari on its own turf, was engulfed by flames in Daytona, was driven through Los Angeles by a popular musician and then restricted to a storage unit for over 30 years. Many had believed the vehicle had been lost. Today though, over 50 years after being built it was found.

Created by American automotive entrepreneur, Carroll Shelby, who wanted to beat Italian designer Enzo Ferrari. He had previously done so as a driver with the Aston Martin, winning the FIA World Sportscar Championship in 1959. By 1963 Shelby had hung up his racing gear but wished to win as a constructor, and with an American Car that he created. With designer Pete Brock, hired to shape the car for maximum speed the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe was born. Two years later in 1965 Shelby took first place at the FIA – the first American to do so.

After years of events surrounding the car such as surviving a fire while refueling in Daytona 1964 and setting 23 national and international speed records it ended up in the hands of music producer Phil Spector. Spector chose to use the vehicle as a cruiser but wound up getting an extraordinary amount of speeding tickets, eventually being suggested by his lawyer to get rid of it. In light of this Spector decided to sell the prototype to his bodyguard, George Band, for $1000. Brand then gave the car to his daughter, Donna O’Hara, who then decided to hide it away in a California storage unit, where it remained for over 30 years.

Interest over time mounted around the car and O’Hara received multiple offers for it, but she always refused. With the help of a lawyer, Martin Eyears, car collector and retired neurosurgeon Frederick Simeone managed to convince O’Hara to sell him the car, for an unknown amount, but believed to be up around $4 million. In 2008, he founded the Simeone Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, where the car now sits amount 65 other classic racers. It is unfortunate that a happy story also included a strong downer. After the sale of the car O’Hara willed the proceeds of the sale to her mother and then set herself on fire. This was after the deal had been done.

After the owner’s surprising demise a legal battle ensued around the car that lasted for months. When information that the car was discovered and was being sold to a private party, many buyers desperately pleaded to the judge to put it up for public sale. Even Phil Spector tried to reclaim ownership over the car stating he never truly sold the car to his bodyguard but simply loaned it to him for safekeeping. In the end the judge concluded that the Daytona Coupe prototype had already been sold legitimately to Simeone.

It’s hard to put a price on the car today, almost 15 years after the sale. The other five Daytonas – produced in Italy – are already in the hands of private collectors with one sold in 2009 for $7.5 million. It is safe to assume that Shelby’s first prototype would get significantly more due to it being the originator, the last to be in competition, and still in its original state with no replaced parts or repainting. Not too bad for a car sitting inside a storage unit for over 30 years.