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Monday, October 10, 2011

This Unit's Older than Brian! part 1

We've been buying a lot of units lately (last month or so)- a LOT.   I wish I could blog about all of them-- there's just not enough time.  We keep buying more.  Fortunately, if you've been reading this blog you already know that the second and third weeks of the month are a little less crazy auction-wise than the first and last weeks of the month.  So hopefully we can catch up and tell you a little bit about some of the more recent units we've purchased soon.

Our most recent unit, unit #54 if I am still counting correctly (and it's possible that I'm not, THAT's how insane it's been),  we will call from now on 54 or the "Gold Dust unit" --  you'll find out why later.   Brian and I have started nicknaming all of our units--  sometimes we just use a Saints player name (Unit #51 was "Jonathan Vilma" -- it's easy for us to remember that way),  but there, to my knowledge, is no current Saint #54  (if there is he TOTALLY sucks for me not to even know about him, no offense), so for now we'll stick with the "Gold Dust" unit.  More on that later.

The first thing that you should know about auctions last week is that neither of us have been feeling very well.  Brian has a cracked rib (which I admit is actually a pretty serious injury,  but I REFUSE to admit it out loud to him because he might start whining even more than he is now, which I'm pretty sure is impossible) -- and  I had a piece of glass lodged in the ball of my foot for most of the week, and we both had some sort of bad allergies / cold thing.    So we were feeling pretty lazy, but didn't want to just not buy anything-- because then the competition wins.  We were there and we were active, but at the bare minimum.    

 The second thing that you should know, dear readers, is that thanks in part to you-- this blog has gotten so big that lots of people are starting to notice.  What that means is that we received our first complaint.   We are no longer allowed to record auctions or  take on-site photos at every facility where auctions are conducted by a certain auctioneer, which fortunately for her (but not so much for this blog) is quite a few facilities-- probably at least 14 or 15 if I'm counting correctly.    We're not bitter, we totally understand that some facilities are not comfortable (still) with cameras on-site--- it's something that Auction Hunters and Storage Wars still face as challenges to this day even with the mad popularity of their shows.     We'll write a longer blog about this issue at a later date, but it's a big one right now in this industry.    So, no hard feelings to the auctioneer, or to the facilities, we understand-- but what we DON'T understand is that not only was it a fellow competitor(s) that ratted us out, but the same competitor(s)  that taunted us all day long whenever the new rules were given out loud at the start of the auctions that camera phones are not allowed on property.   The only word that comes to mind here is jealousy.

Anyways-- the point that I'm trying to make is that LOTS of things were going on last week but we still managed to buy 3 pretty good units.   The fact that we even managed to buy and clear (and process) 2 1/2 units (one of them is still being processed) is nothing short of a miracle.  We'll tell you more about 52 and 53 later  (they belonged to a hoarder and a cheerleader, respectively) --   right now it's all about the Gold Dust unit.

When the doors rolled open, a cloud of dust dispersed over the bidders and let me just tell you, we were a little more than shocked.  This particular facility is notorious for being BEAUTIFUL. It is new, it is spotless,  it has high-class tenants (who almost always pay their bills on time),  it is climate controlled (for the most part-- this unit wasn't), and the units have gone all the way up to $3700.   We were shocked not only that there was dust to begin with, but by the AMOUNT of dust.   DUST EVERYWHERE.   It was clear that this stuff had been there, untouched, for awhile.  We were immediately interested.  Here's what we saw when the door opened:

We started bidding around $25 or $30, I don't remember, and we would have gotten the unit for $50, except for that this brand new bidder (who appeared last week out of the blue and bought 2 or 3 units, even though he swore he had "no room in his truck")  upped us to $110.  As soon as he started bidding against us, I think we would have paid whatever to get it from him--  we're both kind of regretting being too nice to him last week.  You don't need the entire story, but he shows up with no information, is asking a ton of questions, buys a small unit for a small amount--  complains that it's "too much for him to haul,"   reveals that he has no lock (which aggravates me to NO end when noobies do that),  and then turns around and buys another unit  (that we were also bidding on), even though he had just stated 5 minutes ago that he had no lock and no space.  Dude, I don't mind trash talking, or whatever it is-- Lord knows WE do enough of it-- but at least make it make SENSE.  Don't negate yourself no less than 5 minutes later.   Anyways-- I shouldn't be TOO mean, because Lord knows who is reading this blog now-- but  I really don't have a problem with speaking how I really feel.  I'll just leave the rest of the color commentary for another day.  The other thing though is that we were really nice to him last week-- we answered ALL of his questions about "what is this worth" and "is this real"  after he bought the unit we wanted,  and all of his quesitons about "where is THIS facility" and "what time does the NEXT auction start'  --  even though he had bid against us on units we wanted-- but we figured it was a new mistake and we'd help him, and sure enough he shows up this particular day and does the same thing over again.   I don't mind helping someone who needs it- we've all been there.  I also don't take it personally when someone bids against me, after all-- it is business.  But you can't have it both ways- you're either a naive newcomer or you're a hostile competitor--- pick one.   Don't dare bid against me and then 5 minutes later ask me for directions because you're unprepared on where the next auction is.  But I digress (again).  Anyways, I guess the dude freaked because of the dust, or because he saw the crazy look in Brian's eye (or because he knew I wasn't letting this one go),  so he backed down at $110.    It was still a really good buy.

We left that unit alone for the day (not only was I not feeling well but it was so dusty that even *I* was chicken about digging in my cute clothes),  plus we needed some bins and lots of trash bags---   we returned the next afternoon to start our dig.

The first thing I opened was this floral suitcase:

Some belts were in the outside pocket...

The big part of it had books...

Titles included "Sex in the Hood 2", "Little Black Girl Lost 2"  and Promises to Keep.  I guess Promises to Keep wasn't good enough to have a sequel.

 A plastic bag filled with.... something.     Plastic pieces of something.  No idea what they are.

 This garbage bag was SO random.  It was near the front of the unit and was completely torn open, from BOTH ends.   It had the most random things in it--- kitchen things, bowls, purses, boxes, games, electronics, you name it.  I have no idea what room in the house this bag of things came out of.  I will tell you though, that I was excited when I saw the GUCCI dust bag.

 Here's the other end of the bag-- you can see a wallet, and some Nintendo DS boxes

 Another shot of the other end of the bag

 The purse actually WAS real Gucci, and that's not all, folks!  There was stuff in it.  A digital camera,  the usual checkbooks and credit cards (these tenants are SO lucky we are nice, law abiding citizens and not credit card fraud criminals), and a few wallets.    It was clear that this was a place for "valuable items"... so I looked even more carefully...

 A bank envelope in a secret compartment of the wallet!  I opened it (it was thin but I felt something inside), and saw 2 $1 bills--- oh, but wait!  They are Silver Certificates!   This is very cool as we may have some type of coin/bill collector on our hands  (the word  for such a person is actually Numismatist for anyone who cares)... see-- we're educational here too!   I was definitely going to keep my eyes open for silver/gold/coins for the rest of the day/dig.

 There was a tupperware container filled with glassware wrapped in newspaper---  the items that we were unwrapping were pretty standard for an elderly lady.  Collectible figurines, porcelain religious statues,  plates with patterns dating from the 1950s, that sort of thing.

 This unit is SO random.  The sterilites filled with glassware were all neatly wrapped and organized-- they were all labelled as well.    The garbage bags (and the items loose) were another story  -- loose items because the sterilite bins THEY were in cracked under the weight of the glass, sending items everywhere--  we forgot bins (again) so we had to kind of just pile it into the van loose.   So far, I had the Nintendo DS boxes (empty, but with cords),  the Gucci bag, the wallets & such,  an iron, some kitchen items, a few flashlights, and other miscellaneous.   This unit is reeking of gold.  Not only is it an elderly person, but it's a person who understands the value of coins/metals, AND it's a person who packed haphazardly-- all three of these things indicate clear signs for some precious commodities being present.   I'm starting to get super excited.  And then I spot....

 A jewelry box.  Empty.  But at least we know at SOME POINT the jewelry was there.  And, by the way, for the record- I don't know WHAT is is, but all of our best units that had the most gold all contained THIS particular type of jewelry box-- the wooden one with the door that swings open and the 2-3 drawers.  I don't know why-- they just do.  It's almost a Pavlov's dog kind of reaction now-- I see a box like this and I salivate.

 Next I find a glasses case that "tings"  when I shake it-- I can't open it fast enough, and it's 2 Buffalo nickels.  Another sign of a coin and commodity collector

 This is also the point where I find a trophy or two-- most from the 1970s and 80s.  A shame THOSE weren't made with precious metals back then!

 There's a Bible collection amassing-- at least 10-12 Bibles...

 There's also quite the trophy collection amassing-- ranging from 1975 all the way to 2004.

 More figurines.  The girl with the umbrella on top looks pretty old-- we'll have to look that one up.

A ha!  At this point, Brian returns from the dump or wherever it was that he went to,  and I tear out the Gucci purse and Silver certificates to show him.  As I do, I realize there's another secret compartment in the same wallet--- and I find... SILVER!   Minted in New Orleans, even.  That's an easy 2 ounces at roughly $30-$35 an ounce.  We're more than halfway to paying for our unit already, just in numismatics.   I hate being wrong and missing things (even though I wasn't fully digging at this point) -- but I will gladly be wrong if it means finding silver!   I've since gone through that bad more thoroughly (twice) and found nothing additional-- but it still wasn't a bad start.  If you count the bag along with the coins and currency, we've more than paid for our unit already.  If anyone wants a good price on a real Gucci bag, let me know!

 Our next item was PERFECT for Brian.   A Personal Douche and Enema system.

                                                                FOUNTAIN STYLE!

 I don't know if you can tell by this picture but this is an UNGODLY amount of matches.  Thousands of them.  This bag wasn't even 1/4 of the matches I found in this unit.  Also straws.

 We've finally gotten all of the dirty dusty pillows and linens and broken sterilite and leaves and whatever else out of the front of the unit.  You can now see a bunch of neatly packed containers... and a PADLOCKED TRUNK!   Had anyone else seen that trunk, the value of this unit would have increased and it would have gone for probably at least double what we paid for it.   People love a mystery.  Fortunately for us, they couldn't see it-  I'd be lying if I said WE saw it-- it was just completely covered up.  But I was excited when we saw it in the unit!

 At this point, Brian disappeared again -- washing his hands or something, maybe-- and I was totally fine with that except for a bunch of really weird things started happening.  First, a dude playing Harmonica and singing randomly started walking down the street outside the facility. I recorded this (am not going to post it for fear of inadvertently revealing the facility due to the street location) -- but if you'd like to see it ask me and I can shoot you a link.   Of course, random dudes singing and playing harmonica while walking down the street are a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence (I hope)  so I went to find Brian so he could experience some of the magic.  As I turned to walk to find him, I see a blown up Space Walk at a Storage unit.  I kid you not.  I guess the workers were there picking it up and wanted to see if it worked before hand, which I can understand-- it was just totally bizarre.

 A closer-up of the castle.  Had someone else been around I would have taken a picture of myself with it in the background and demanded that you all now call me the "Storage Princess."  I'm not kidding.

Back to our dig, trying to get away from all of these distractions, which is now pretty easy because I've found the "unopened wedding presents" box-- we find these ALL THE TIME now.   Take a good look- if you're ever considering buying one of these presents for someone, don't.  They'll never get used, apparently.  They're really nice things though!

 If you're one of my friends getting married this year, I am so sorry.  I have so many of these.  You have to understand.   Be warned.  At least you know what not to put on your registry, because you're getting this now from me.

 A far away picture from the box, so you can see how packed it is.

I open a few more of the sterilite bins in back and realize that they are all pretty much full of glassware minus one or two miscellaneous ones at the bottom.  They are also FALLING APART.  Since we have no other bins to put random things in, I suggest to Brian that we open one more (that's kind of broken) and we just pack the rest and process it later (including the trunk, because the facility does not have lock cutters on hand- of COURSE I tried.   I was so curious).  Brian agrees and I start opening the last trunk which contains (in no particular order):

one of those boats that looks like a full-size boat that people build from little mini-ship pieces
a cigar box full of lighters, screwdrivers, pennies, and random things
screws and paint from the garage
water-logged books (it was obvious the whole box had gotten wet at some point)
some more bibles
and this box:

 Which contained more SILVER!   It's also pretty cool because it's a set that all says "50 cent" -- awesome.  Brian pulled a me and opened the bottom of the box and found the gold watch hidden underneath.  We are unsure yet whether it's gold or just gold plated, we'll test it tomorrow and let you know.

As we were leaving I was loading the last of the garbage bags onto the van when I noticed that a purse was falling out. I opened it, rifled through it, saw a jewelry box (the little square ones that the jewelry comes in from the store)-- snatched it up, opened it, and found a TON of gold.  There were bracelets, earrings, and about 5-6 engagement looking rings held together by a keychain.  NICE.  All marked 10k or 14k.   Good find.   

So, lots of gold, and lots of dust-- and we're still not even there yet!

Tune in tomorrow to find out what happened on the rest of the dig, what was inside the trunk, and who shot J.R.


  1. If you haven't already take the morgan dollars to a local coin shop. They should be worth more then silver value. The silver certs also. Don't look to be in great shape but they should be worth some money. Would look but don't have a current price guide with me.

    btw - you two seem to be extremely lucky :)

  2. Nice unit! Was there anything that you saw from the door (other than the dust) that made you buy it? Can't wait for part 2... What's in that trunk!?

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys! Part 2 should be coming up in just under a couple of hours, here. The Morgans aren't in great condition, so even though they are New Orleans minted (easier to sell down here and cooler in general), they're no Carson City morgans--- with the wear on them (very circulated) we'll probably just sell them for silver value. But we DO have a coin guy as well as a scrap metal guy-- so we'll get the best price for sure.

    As for why we bought the unit- we always like dusty units, especially dusty units with bins (and very little furniture)--- honestly, though, our competitor newbie dude did us a favor because had he not started bidding against us, I might have let it go! ;)

  4. So my question is, "Did Brian take and use the rubber douche and enema kit."



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