Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ephemera & Paper Collectibles Find at a Country Flea Market

Peter F. Rothermel's 1851 painting of Patrick Henry's "Treason" speech before the House of Burgesses. A Patrick Henry Historical Document will soon be listed in the 31 Gallery & Marketplace.

Little did our 31 Club Member, Cecil, know that a real country flea market in Greenville, Kentucky was the setting that would put him at the right place to uncover a treasure. In case you’re wondering, a real country flea market is one of those markets where you can buy chickens, pigs, ducks and even a mule if you need one. You might also find homemade jams and jellies and a selection of tempting cakes and pies, and an assortment of other merchandise.

”I was walking down the rows of booths,” Cecil told me, “and my eyes focused on a pile of old papers. After some study, I discovered that they were stock certificates for the Nashville, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad Companies. I counted them, and there were 55 of them. I asked the dealer the price for all of them, and I was surprised that he asked so much -- $90. I bought them anyway.”

Cecil listed one certificate that night and was surprised that there were already bids on this item the next morning. When the auction was completed, the final bid was $27.

“I estimated a price on the remaining certificates,” Cecil said. “Then I added them up and saw that my $90 investment could come near to $1,500 by the time I’m done.”

Can you imagine this much money for “worthless paper” that wasn’t even filled out?

As I’ve said before, there’s a collector for almost anything, and you can be sure that the attraction of these certificates will be from those who collect Railroad or Transportation items.

I am consistently amazed at how Cecil can pluck out treasure after treasure, even at an event like this one.

How many times have you gone to a garage sale or a flea market and seen stacks and stacks of paper lying in a heap? Newspapers, Magazines, Advertising, and maybe even some old stock certificates are often put out at sales like these. I've seen people looking through these stacks, just looking -- having no idea what they were looking for. And if there was something valuable, it would’ve gone unnoticed.

Cecil never misses the chance to browse through old paper, and it was his browsing that turned up a Historical Document from the time of the Revolutionary War, signed by none other than Patrick Henry. ("Give me Liberty or give me death”) This document is in the process of being listed in our Marketplace for a very reasonable $4,850. Cecil used the 31 Club’s Associate Program to help purchase this historical piece.

I think you’ll agree that Cecil had a pretty good week. Remember, this is the same Cecil who bought ten vintage travel posters, still in their tubes, for $30 each yet still hasn’t listed them. I’m hoping he will list them on our marketplace, because I know a least one of the posters is selling today for about $12,000!

Paper collectibles has been very good to Cecil and Paper can be good to you if you’ll study and gain the knowledge necessary to separate the wheat from the chaff. Perhaps one of the reasons I enjoy writing about Cecil so much is because I know where the first fruits from his grains go.

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