Archive for January, 2014

A Quick Guide to Downsizing in 2014

Written by traderchris on . Posted in Uncategorized

A lot of my clientele consists of retirees or people that have managed to accumulate more items that they care to maintain. Since it’s the beginning of a new year when people feel the greatest motivation for change, I’ve decided to make a slight detour from my usual focus on collectibles and instead write a quick guide to downsizing effectively and efficiently.

First, give the people or organizations that you care about most the opportunity to request items that they wish to inherit or have passed along. Most times, there may only be a handful of items, with the remainder not necessarily being things they need or want (how many extra bunk beds or food processors does one possibly need?) It’s an important conversation to have with your beneficiaries while you are able and will help to minimize disputes down the road.

After certain items have been earmarked for friends or family, the remaining items can be divided into three categories: 1. Sell It 2. Donate It 3. Trash it.  I’ll expand a bit on each.

Items that should be sold include things like furniture, jewelry, household goods, fine clothing, etc., which are items that retain some degree of value, even if they are used. Sometimes these items have appreciated in value and you may receive more that you thought they were worth. If you’d like someone else to do most of the legwork in selling your items, then a consignment shop or auction house might be a good fit for you. However, if you’re the do-it-yourself type or want to keep most of the proceeds for yourself, Craigslist, eBay, and a number of other sales venues exist for that purpose.

Items worth donating may be older (i.e. vintage clothing or appliances), slightly damaged, or may have more sentimental value than resale value (wedding china and travel souvenirs come to mind…) These items are considered usable and functional, but might not be worth the time and effort to sell in the venues previously mentioned. If you have enough items to donate, sometimes you can arrange for a free pick-up from the charity or nonprofit that is receiving the items. Another good resource is, which allows members to post items available for free to each other.

Finally, if the items are not functional or have been damaged beyond repair or repurpose, it might just be time to throw it out. Items that have significant mold, mildew, rust, or that were inhabited by furry critters for several decades are probably the best candidates for the trash. Who knows, perhaps as soon as you put that rusting hunk of junk on the curb for the trash collector, someone else may come along to claim it as their new treasure.

The original article can be found in the January 2014 issue of Southern Neighbor available here:

What’s it Worth? – Vintage Stereo Equipment

Written by traderchris on . Posted in Uncategorized

When I was a freshman in college, I spent my entire Christmas break working two jobs so that I could buy a new home theater system for my dorm. It cost me $500. It lasted me a few years before I passed it down to my Dad. After setting it up and plugging it in, Dad said that it whirred for a few moments, coughed out a puff of smoke, and died. Thanks Sony.

So why is it then with all of the advances in technology today, do people still want to acquire and will sometimes pay a hefty premium for vintage stereo equipment? Simply put, they don’t make ‘em like they used to.

Marantz ReceiverQuality of sound has somewhat taken a backseat to the demand for an increase in the number and type of component connections in modern stereo systems. This is especially prevalent at the mid-range price point ($250-$500) that most people are willing to pay for individual stereo components.  As newer technology is crammed into these components, royalties must be paid to license the technology and less is spent on research and development to improve sound quality. So while the newest components will have the most bells and whistles, they will often fall flat in a head-to-head comparison of sound quality against their vintage cousins.

So, what types of components are most desirable to collectors or audiophiles? Vintage stereo receivers and speakers routinely top the list. For receivers, some of the most sought after makers are McIntosh, JBL, Marantz, Pioneer, and Sansui. For speakers, it’s Western Electric, JBL, Jensen, Tannoy, and Altec Lansing. Certain models in decent condition can easily sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the right buyer.

JBL SpeakersOne important reminder when you’re considering selling any type of vintage stereo component is to have the unit thoroughly evaluated by an electronics expert prior to sale. Buyers don’t necessarily mind purchasing a vintage piece of equipment that may need some repairs, but the last thing you want to do is ship someone a “Mint” pair of speakers that’s been sitting in a box in the attic for 25 years, only to have them returned for not working as advertised.

The cost to have individual components evaluated will typically run $25 – $50 at a good electronics repair shop, which I consider a very reasonable investment if the equipment will then sell for several hundred dollars or more. Doing your diligence upfront will give prospective buyers the confidence to spend their money with you and will minimize the potential for a costly return.


The original article can be found in the December 2013 issue of Southern Neighbor available here:

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