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Crazy Finds at the Local Flea Market

Updated on May 4, 2013

I admit it, I am a thrift store junkie.

 I am often seen at yard sales, Goodwill stores, and the local flea market in search of that deal I just can't pass up. I am always looking at the growing collection I have gathered and remembering how and when I got each piece. Recently I was asked by a friend what was the best deal I had and my little mind mouse (the one that spins the wheel that controls my brain) went into overdrive. I could not pick just one piece. In fact I could not pick 2, I had to go with three pieces I have acquired over the years. All three pieces came from the local flea market.

I am no pro on haggling so I do tend to pay a little more than I probably should for items but if I want something bad enough a little extra cash isn't going to kill me. But these items were exceptions to the rule. I actually got these beauties for a deal! I guess it would be best to explain.

Bass Guitar

My little red bass. It was cool while I had it.
My little red bass. It was cool while I had it.

The little red bass.

I am a bass guitarist. I have been since 1995. (yeah I is old) I am always on the prowl for new gear and a new bass is always lurking in my mind. One day I was with a friend at the flea market and I was casually poking fun at her for buying three pairs of sunglasses when she only has one head to put them on. As we walked and I kept up the barrage of insults I noticed a bass sitting on one of the tables. I picked her up and recognised right away it was a studio ibanez bass. These things run in the hundreds brand new so I figured it was going to be well out of my range. I played around on it and really it wasn't my style but I could use it for studio gigs so I asked how much?

The guy began to ramble and I recognised right away the words of a man that knew he was going to ask way to much for a piece of used gear. Suddenly he turned it over and showed me a ding on the back of the bass. He went on to tell me how it was a bad ding and may affect the playing. Having many years in the business I knew the ding was very light compared to what I have done to some of my basses. Heck my most expensive bass has a very horrid mark from a beer bottle that was thrown at me for refusing to "play some skynard" at a heavy metal show.

I asked if the guy was still interested in selling it. I was going to offer 100 bucks and see where we would go from there. The bass was worth 100 easy and if all else fails I could sell it to a friend. The guy scratched his head and I could feel the tension. I literally had a bead of sweat thinking this guy is going to go outrageious on me. "$50.00 sound reasonable enough?" he said with a half grin like maybe he felt he was asking a bit to much. I replied "seriously" with skepticism in my voice and the response was mind boggling. "If that is to much I can come down a bit". I was floored. I handed the guy $50.00 and he actually told me if the bass gave me any problems to come back and he would return my money.

I ended up with an amazing little studio bass for a whopping $50.00. The only issue I ever had was one of the tuning pegs was loose and I fixed it with a piece of plastic. I only wish this guy had more music gear.

One of my $5 cards
One of my $5 cards

The Baseball Find of the Century

I was a big collector of trading cards at one time and even sold at flea markets a bit when I was younger. It was always fun to get my hands on a real good card I knew had value to it, but one trip to the flea market shocked even me. My brother and I were in search of some good deals on cards for the nest time we set up. We had worked together and were making pretty good money for two kids with a bunch of cardboard. I had just bought a small box of basketball cards and was looking at some knives when I saw some really aged baseball cards. These things looked older than the hills.

I myself was never a baseball nut but my little brother was and I asked what he thought of the cards. He said there was no way we could afford them. I had to ask so I asked the kid at the table how much and he replied 5. I thought $500.00 a card, that was absurd. I told the kid my opinion and he said "no, pappy said $5 for the lot" I quickly ripped a 5 from my wallet and came away with 12 1933 Delong baseball cards. These babies were in mint condition and were going to be the prize of our sales table. Sadly I later found out that the "pappy" in question wanted $500.00 for the lot and the young grandson was to busy playing gameboy to pay attention. I ended up with a several thousand dollar investment for a $5.00 bill.

Since then some of the cards are now valued at $2,000.00 and up. I think I made a great deal at the market that day.

A personal touch

I am a sucker for homemade items. I have Indian knives, custom sculptures but my favorite flea market piece was a small drawing in a shadow box frame. I had been at the flea market hoping to buy a few DVDs to pass the time while I was at Berea taking grant writing classes. I came across a table full of movies and books but my attention was drawn to a simply little drawing. It looked like an hourglass that had arms, legs, and the most haunting face I had ever seen. "Is this for sale?" I asked with a bit of doubt. Art like that is usually kept and cherished. "Sure, what will you give me?" said the beautiful girl at the table. I thought. I did not want to offer to high but at the same time I did not want to offend anyone and offer to low. "$25.00 be enough?" I said with a bit of hesitation. "That picture is just a little 5 by 7" she said with a smile. "I will tell you what you can have it and the original for $5.00" I thought she was being condescending so I started to walk away. "I can't go lower than $5.00, I worked hard on those." Oh my God! She was serious and not only was I about to get an original drawing and the first print, I was buying them from the artist herself. I handed her the money and stood there eyeing the work. "You really did this, I mean you made this image in your head?" I asked stunned. "Sure did, not a big deal I like to draw". Since then I have put one of the prints up on the library wall and the original still sits in that black shadow box on my office desk. It was the best deal I ever got and I have since then made arrangements to buy more of this charming lady's work.

A question, if you will.

How often do you buy from flea markets, yard sales, or thrift stores?

See results

What are some of the good buys you have made at flea markets, yard sales, and thrift stores?

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    • lorddraven2000 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Little 

      6 years ago from Wheelwright KY

      Yeah it was banged up and needed strings but I fixed her up. Never play it though

    • thelatebloomer11 profile image


      6 years ago

      And you seriously got a gibson hummingbird for 5bucks? Oh gee! I'm sooo jealous. Hahaha. I shared this hub by the way. :)

    • lorddraven2000 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Little 

      6 years ago from Wheelwright KY

      Thank you, I now have several basses but still use my old fender from tiome to time. Gotta keep your roots, lol.

    • thelatebloomer11 profile image


      6 years ago

      That bass is seriously hot and sexy! $50 for that bass is really a good deal. And I'm not surprised that you're able to sell it for $100. Hahaha. And oh! I do drawings too. Maybe I should sell you some of my works too. Hahaha, just kidding! I love this hub. Keep 'em coming! ^.^

    • lorddraven2000 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Little 

      8 years ago from Wheelwright KY

      Thanks, I actually just sold the $50.00 bass for $100.00

    • montecristo profile image

      Angel Caleb Santos 

      8 years ago from Hampton Roads, Virginia

      Great story.

    • lorddraven2000 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Little 

      8 years ago from Wheelwright KY

      Thank you. I am actually going later this month, or next month to find a new bass and some goodies.

    • Avamum profile image

      Sarita Harbour 

      8 years ago from Yellowknife, Canada

      You've certainly made some great finds. My husband is the flea market/thrift store/yard sale/auction king, and his best finds have likely been the early limited edition Group of Seven prints that he has collected over the past thirty years.....I enjoyed the read - keep hubbing!

    • lorddraven2000 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Little 

      8 years ago from Wheelwright KY

      Oh yeah. Those are some amazing buys. I bought a Gibson Hummingbird at a yard sale one time for 5 bucks and right now a buddy of mine is offering me $400.00 for it. I love flea markets and yard sales.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      8 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Dude, my Mom's got a pre war Martin acoustic guitar that came from a flea market for about fifteen bucks. I've got an uncle that found a Martin d 18 at a yard sale, and bought it for ten bucks. . . .

      You can really get some awesome instruments on the cheap sometimes at those places.


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