Most unlikely thing you've found at a resale store

We have a large consignment store that’s in an old grocery store, and one thing they sell is current magazines, usually for 99 cents. Most of them are general interest; however, when I was in there today, I found a month-old copy of JAMA.

As a non-practicing HCP, of course I bought it!

A couple years ago, I found a book written by Dr. Osler in the 1880s that is worth about 1,000. :cool: THAT was quite a surprise - not the book, but its value, and that I essentially got it for free because it was one of those "fill a box for X at the end of the sale" things.

A WWI bring-back artillery Luger with stock/holster and drum magazine. To this day, I curse the uncharacteristic attack of cheapness that caused me not to buy it.

Hardly unusual except for the volume - I once saw a Goodwill with shelves and shelves and shelves, easily hundreds of copies, of Going Rogue. Sara Palin’s book.

Sealed copy of Office Professional, $10.

Broken hearts, broken dreams, and plans that didn’t last.

Well, I didn’t actually find those things myself, but I heard about it.

Dolly Parton: The Bargain Store

I needed a new sport coat or suit jacket a couple of days ago. I found a gray silk Izod one for 99 cents at the Salvation Army store. It’s in like new condition with the pockets still sewn shut.

The best bargain I ever got was a ten amp 12 V regulated power supply for eight dollars.

I suppose those things aren’t really unlikely, just good bargains, so I guess I’ll say the dozen antique pants stretchers I picked up for two dollars.

A set of five (I think?) long tubular doorbell chimes, vintage, but unused in the box. The longest is four feet long, and they are beautifully tuned in deep notes.

My husband built a set of windchimes out them, and they rival the giant windchimes you can buy for hundreds of dollars.

I think they were labeled at $5, but were 1/2 off that day at the thrift store.

Not really surprising. This often happens with politician’s books. It’s a loophole in lobbying laws. When you buy copies of a politician’s book, they receive money as royalties. But this money isn’t considered a campaign donation and doesn’t have to be reported. So an individual or organization that wants to funnel money to a politician will simply go out and buy a hundred thousand copies of their book. The individual or organization doesn’t have any use for all those books so they donate them to a charity like Goodwill so they write it off their taxes.

A 10’ tall Texaco sign; the kind that’s mounted on the pole on the corner of their property. If it wasn’t taller than my ceiling, I woulda bought it. Don’t know where it would go as it’s not exactly a living room wall piece so I guess I lucked out that it was too tall.
My best purchase was either $2 or $3, a knockoff Federal Q; AC powered with a rheostat so that I can change pitch. I’ve had it for years, it sits in the garage & I’ve yet to find anything remotely resembling a practical use for it but it is fun to crank up every once in a great while.

There is a Goodwill clearing-house in Austin where everything is $1.39 /lb. Seriously, you fill up a buggy; they weigh it; and that’s what you pay. (It’s mostly clothes there and some bricabrac. They’ll have stuff like books and some bits of furniture and bikes, which will be priced per item.)

In the bins, we once found what looked like a perfectly good geiger counter. Even The Fella couldn’t talk himself into thinking he needed a geiger counter.

As a library volunteer, we get more mint-condition hardcover copies of “The Da Vinci Code” than you could shake a stick at.

I’ve also heard that the real reason “Dianetics” is a perennial best-seller is because Scientologists buy them and then send them back to the publisher, which re-sends them out, etc.

Twenty years ago, “The Reader’s Digest Condensed Bible” was also ubiquitous in thrift stores. You don’t see it much any more.

Well the weird thing to me is that the Goodwill employees put all those copies out! One next to the other, shelf after shelf after shelf.

Years ago, my wife and I wandered a flea market in western NC, and we saw a large framed poster featuring a picture of a largemouth bass. It read, “Allah does not count against the number of one’s hours those spent fishing.”

It is one of the great regrets of my life that I did not buy that poster.

I don’t know about unusual in the grand universal scheme of things, but the most unexpected thing I’ve seen personally was a full-size commercial tanning bed at a local Goodwill. :confused:

The best deal on “stuff” (vs clothes; I get so many nice clothes used or from clearance sections that I really have a hard time keeping track) I think has to be a hardcover collection of about 6 of Jan Brett’s early picture books that is very much out of print and quite hard to find - therefore price listings online range from $40 for an ex-library copy to about $200 for one in good condition. This was pristine except for a small owners sticker on the front endpapers. 25 cents. I was trying hard not to visibly gloat as I bought it.

Oh, y’all ever been to your local state’s surplus sale place? I haven’t been in ages because they keep bankers’ hours but you can find the weirdest stuff there. A whole theater’s worth of lighting. A dentist’s chair. More file cabinets than you could fill in a lifetime. Giant bags full of pocket knives they confiscate at the courthouses. Midcentury stand ashtrays. Light tables. A giant slide film processor. Cars!

One day I’m going to go and drop 20 bucks on, like, 10 of those bulletproof laserjet printers and surely at least one will work? And I will use it for the rest of my life.

A photo album from the wife’s family back three/four generations. There was a picture of her great-grandfather and various relatives of his. The central players seemed more from his brother’s line. It was odd; we just picked it up and flipped through and all of a sudden there is this picture labeled underneath “Frederich Yyyyyy” – and the resemblance to her grandfather was there so we bought it. All the photos were labeled on the back except for that one.

I have to ask – how much and which shop?

Late 1990’s at a Junque Shoppe in the Poconos. I had gone there in the off season for a weekend getaway with my gf of the time. She loved second hand stores, so we passed darn few of them by. In one of them, I saw said Luger in a case full of random early 20th century crap, none of it of any interest or value. I asked the store owner about the gun and she told me that everything in the case was there on consignment for an estate sale. The family had told her they could not take “One penny less than $1200 for Papaw’s gun.” I didn’t have $1200 in cash on me and didn’t want to put that much on my credit card, even though I knew that that was a smoking good price for that gun in that condition with all the accessories. So I passed. We went home that day. The next day I realized my idiocy and called the shop, but the gun had, unsurprisingly, sold the same day I passed on it.

Residents of the Twin Cities looking for “unlikely things at a resale store” would do well to check out Ax-Man Surplus stores. These guys take industrial remnants of damn near anything and sell it to the general public. Dummy bomb casings, electric motors, a barrel full of Jabba-The-Hutt plastic heads, ceramic hand forms (for molding latex gloves), electronic bits and pieces, on and on. Come back a week later, and they’ll have different crap in stock. Even if you’re not in a buying mood, it’s an hour of entertainment just to walk through the place and see what crazy stuff is on the shelves.

It’s been well over a decade since I had an opportunity to visit; I miss that place.

My mom and a friend of hers make a yearly pilgrimage to the nearest giant warehouse where… the airline industry? the FAA? those assholes at the TSA? pile up everyone’s lost or confiscated or misdirected or non-claimed luggage and travel stuff, and they tell the craziest stories of what they find there.

It’s a bit on the morbid side for me, but she has a blast pawing through all the stuff.

We had family who lived in Palm Springs, CA, that we’d visit every other year. Whenever I was there, my cousin and I would make a beeline to Angel Charities which was a donation resale shop like Goodwill, only very very upper crust indeed. If you were lucky and hit it at change of seasons/closet clean-out time for the Palm Springs mavens, you could pick up designer clothing, often still tagged and unworn, for peanuts. For a while, I was one of the best dressed teenagers in the Midwest.