2018 Fiscal Year in Review

2018 saw a lot of changes to how I do business. I’ll dig into the details soon enough, but first I’ll share my sales from December which haven’t yet been posted.


18 sales for 1488.50$.

Vintage Parker 75 ciselé ballpoint pen & mechanical pencil: 150$. Found in CDN.

Watch strap with 18k gold buckle: 400$. This was definitely produced for one of the luxury Swiss watchmakers, and bought by someone who wanted all original parts on their fancy timepiece. Found in Nouveau-Bordeaux.

Doc Marten 1B60 20-eye boots: 180$. These looked barely worn, and the buyer was very happy judging by the enthusiastic feedback I received. Found in TMR.

Two lots of Soviet dolls: 160$. I didn’t know if these would sell, but they were very clean so I figured I’d give them a shot. One buyer ended up buying both lots, and I made a decent profit. Found in Outremont.

Original Francois Dallegret “Atomix” desktop toy: 300$. I found this at the Questionable Judgment spot back in 2017. I took a while to list it, partly because it was impossible to find any comparable items online (especially for the original Canadian model, there was a limited re-release not too long ago but those were made in China). Eventually I decided to just make up a price, a high-ish one based partly on it being an uncommon concept art piece. Lo and behold, it sold the same night it was listed – someone must have had the relevant keywords on an alert list. Maybe I could have gotten more for it, I’m definitely happy with my profit here!

Local auction

37 lots for 516$ (after fees).

Lot of separatist literature & ephemera: 85$. Some of this stuff dated back to the 40s.

Old B&L optometry doohickey: 44$. This thing weighed a ton!

Vintage GE Percolator: 30$. This is one of those perfect auction house items. Shipping would be expensive (and thus cut significantly into my profits) if sold on eBay, and it’d be difficult to get a good price for it at a yard sale.

Total: 2004.50$, 27131$ in 2018. It’s worth noting that I’m sure I lost track of a bit of income over the course of this busy year, including some gold / silver scrap money and probably a few yard sales. Overall, I’d guess that my income last year was actually pretty close to 30k, but not all the way there.

As mentioned before, the way I do business has changed immensely since I was introduced to the concept of the local auction house. Thankfully this discovery took place in June, so I have an equal amount (six months) of data with which I can compare the different approaches.

My earnings from January til the end of June represent the “before.” This pie chart looks similar in proportions to a theoretical chart I would have made in previous years, had I gotten around to doing so (adding up this info used to be a lot of work, but the recent changes I’ve made to the format of my sales posts has made accumulating this information a fair bit easier). eBay is clearly my dominant source of income during this period, while yard sales and scrap gold & silver provide a much smaller but still essential source of income. I consigned my first finds at the auction house in June, and you can see a little 2% sliver of auctions sales at the top of the pie.

Here’s the after. That tiny sliver of auction sales ballooned to take up over 40% of the pie. eBay sales declined in both total profit and pie percentage and are now essentially in a statistical tie with the auction house, though it’s worth mentioning that this is still a pretty small sample size. Meanwhile Kijiji falls totally off the charts, its previous role (mostly selling furniture and other difficult to ship items) having been overtaken by the auction house and Instagram. My total income for this period also increased, from 13064$ to 15168.50$.

There are a few caveats in terms of using this information to project future income. For one, my auction sales were likely somewhat inflated by the fact that I used to have tonnes of quality junk just sitting around doing nothing, sometimes for years because I didn’t have time to deal with it all. Those things ended up going to the auction house and making me a fair bit of money, thereby creating profit from runs of yesteryear. Now that my storage areas are relatively empty my consigned items are all recent finds. That still constitutes a fair bit of stuff, but not quite as much as I brought there in those first months. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a drop-off in the auction house’s share of the pie if I do a similar chart in 2019, though I still expect it to be my second largest source of income after eBay.

I should also note that, while I take the auction houses fees into account in the pie charts, I haven’t subtracted eBay’s fees from its total. That’s mostly because the auction house’s fees are larger and easier to calculate, but eBay’s fees (which combined with Paypal average about 10% overall) are still noteworthy – based on the numbers above I’d estimate that I paid them around 1500$ last year. Maybe I’ll see if there’s an easy way to calculate these fees on the go while doing sales reports in 2019.

Regardless, 2018 was my most profitable year to date, and I’m thinking that I’ll finally crack 30k in 2019! It should also be a less stressful year, given that my garbage finds don’t pile up nearly as quickly as they used to.


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22 thoughts on “2018 Fiscal Year in Review”

  1. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the amount you got for that watch buckle! Amazing 🙂

    The auction house solution seems to have been a good move. Good luck in reaching your hoped-for goal this year.

  2. If you consider the $670 you found in bills, the unused gift cards, which to me are a cash equivalent and loose change, you probably made your $30,000 goal, congrats!

    1. That’s true, I didn’t think to add that to the numbers. I guess I think of my cash finds as winning lottery tickets of sorts, but in the end if you play the lottery often enough you’re bound to win at some point. Thankfully, the garbage picking lottery is free to play, other than the effort and gas required!

  3. Can’t wait to see what you make $$$ this year. Your January was strong so I predict a good year!

    Because of your blog I picked up a Jivago (?) perfume and body wash at the Pay-By-The-Pound Goodwill Outlet here in California last weekend. Probably cost $1.50. I NEVER would have bought it if it wasn’t for your blog. Have it on Ebay and it is up to $27 with 2 days of bidding left! I always learn so much from your posts, so thanks for taking the time.

  4. Hello
    That’s a big difference in your gold/silver profits.
    Was it due to just not finding as much?

    1. I thought about addressing that but I decided I was already being too wordy, lol. The gold / silver sales are a little less regular (I go maybe 3-4 times a year) so the variation / statistical error is a bit higher in that category. For instance, I had enough gold to “cash in” around the end of December, and if I had chosen to do so it would have evened out the totals in the charts. However, I wasn’t totally broke so I didn’t feel a rush to do it. That being said, sometimes I find a bunch of gold at once and then none for a while, so luck definitely has a role to play.

  5. Congratulations on a great, well deserved year. This is so interesting and fun.
    One question…when you say “auction house”…which auction house is this?

  6. Great work!
    Love your pie charts! (I know you like stats, so I expect you had fun doing them.)
    Success couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. I’m wishing you even more in 2019 … and thanks to the auction house, you’ll be a lot less stressed overall.
    May I suggest a subject for a future blog post? You could send out a request to buyers of your “trash treasures” to email you “in situ” (decorating their place) or “wearing” (in the case of jewelry/shoes, etc.) pics of their buys, and have a whole post devoted to satisfied customers. 🙂

  7. Are you located in Montreal? I’m trying to find a reputable, honest and fair auction house locally and because I’ve been out of the business for about 15 years, I’m not sure where to turn to. I have a good friend who’s an auctioneer but she’s in Ontario and driving the items there is very inconvenient! Bravo on your results for the year. Started selling on ebay in 1997 and did it seriously till 2004 when my husband passed away suddenly. Then, life took me somewhere else but I because I still have a crapload of stuff left from those days, I might either go back to Ebay or to a local auction house to get rid of whatever’s left.

    1. https://quebecauctions.hibid.com/

      I like them a lot. Obviously you can make more money if you list things on eBay, but I love how I can just drop things off there and never think about them again. In this business there’s always more garbage, so it’s crucial that I unload some of it as fast as possible.

      Their fees are 25% commission + 1$ per item listed. Buyer pays 10% premium and taxes.

  8. Even though your backlog/stash of goodies for the auction is dealt with it seems like now that you have a direct line to them you might be able to pick up things you otherwise wouldn’t. Since you don’t have to store them as long or ship them. I hope that means you won’t see too much of a drop in that income area!

    1. That’s true. I’m more likely to take a chance on items now that my storage areas are less packed and I have a place where I can bring things to sell quickly, sometimes even the same day I find them.

      One good example is these wooden doohickeys I happened upon while driving home from my garage. (Link: https://quebecauctions.hibid.com/lot/48625270/9-fuseaux-pour-m-tier—tisser?pn=3)

      I didn’t know what they were, and probably wouldn’t have taken them in the past, but because the auction house is there I decided to ask them if these were something that might be worth selling (they’re also good for advice, as they’ve seen a lot of junk over the years). Apparently they were used for weaving / are parts of a loom, and they said they didn’t show up at auction super often. They ended up selling for 22$, of which around 16$ is mine. Maybe that doesn’t sound like much, but considering how little effort I put in I consider that a solid transaction. Plus, I learned something new!.

      That’s just one example, and there have definitely been plenty of other items that I made money for that I would have had to leave behind in previous years. So perhaps you’re right, this factor could help to offset the other. Only time will tell.

  9. The wood doohickey for weaving is the equivalent to a spool of thread. The yarn is wound around the wood frame you found and then passed through the opening of weft and warp threads in a manual loom Multiples of the wood frame you found are used to change colors and textures

  10. Lot of 18 Loom Shuttle Boat Bobbins & Tools Leclerc & Nilus: Weaving Loom. If you look up this listing on completed Ebay items, you will see picks of all the other weaving pieces for future knowledge. Also the pieces you did pick up were shuttles

  11. Marie Kondo has been discussed in The Gazette five or six times in the last three months,Martin.We cannot stand her philosophy in our fairly neat townhouse but still full of souvenirs.She is an extremist and dangerous.She sells Marie Kondo boxes for $89 and then asks readers to junk most of their stuff.I hope your readers speak out against her en masse.Thank you for your blog.

  12. I quit watching Marie Kondo on Netflix after her first episode.Her approach is too radical for me.Is there a group for people who are against the Marie Kondo philosophy?

  13. See this touching ad from Craigslist.I hope these people got their lost stuff back.
    Lost camera bag/camera (Metro – Orange Line) cacher cette annonce

    Got of the Montreal metro orange line at 8:40am,Lionel-Groulx 01/13/19 and realized that our camera bag/camera, + some other belongings was left under the seat. I have a full list of what was in the bag.
    Please we just want our memories back. •Aucune sollicitation

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