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Clint Thompson

Flea Marketing in 2016

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I rarely frequent local Flea Markets anymore and the few times I have in recent years have left me feeling underwhelmed with time wasted. This weekend wasn't much different than what I had expected but it was nice to still see some Atari goodies to be found and a used gaming booth or two here and there.

 

I found a rattling set of 2600 paddles and only had $3 cash on me.. the guy was asking $5 - I of course offered $3 but he refused to budge. I'm not sure what a pair of questionably working, rattling pair of 2600 controllers are worth these days but I felt like he probably should have taken the $3 - then again, the last time I bought anything Atari related from a Flea Market was probably sometime in early 2000. Apparently my long running streak wasn't about to be broken today.

 

Did run across a booth with about 80 or so 2600 games and when questioning the prices (as they had no prices listed on them) she said each title is different. Yeah, no kidding... but how do you determine the pricing? I guess she could have had a list she referenced but it didn't matter. I have little interest in collecting 2600 games these days. At one point in my life I owned a little over 600 games for the 2600 but that's nothing more than a memory now. Regardless, I was immediately put off by a 2600 in a bag with two controllers for $250. The best selling game console of all time and not even a box or game included but $250 for the console? Ridiculous. Nothing rare about it, just a typical 2600.

 

The one shop that appeared to have a lot of gaming goodies lock and chained away was closed. Maybe I'll go back sometime soon just to see exactly what they have, since it was a rather large booth and I noticed quite a bit of Dreamcast stuff in there. Wouldn't mind picking up one of the carrying case bags for the Dreamcast. Noticed the asking price of an NES was $120. I'm not sure that's out of line but I know I picked up a complete in box NES for about $25 less than 10 years ago, though I guess the market has shifted quite a bit. Especially when it comes to the Jaguar. Not sure if they had any or not as I couldn't see....

 

One guy did have a Dreamcast for $45 with hookups, controller and VMU in really decent shape. Felt like that was a fair or solid deal. Everything else just seemed to be blown completely out or proportion regarding prices though... really makes me miss the 90s of collecting and Flea Market hopping.

 

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Check out these very robotic, 80s looking sunglasses! Felt very NES-styled to me. Pack these with a Power Glove and boom! Instant badass! ;-)

 

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Vendors like these make my life easier. ;)

As for the paddles, they go for about 10 bucks on eBay.    So if they worked, 5 was fair.    

I can tell you that for me, as a flea market vendor, my prices are based on what I paid for the item AND what they are worth.   In other words, if I find a 20 dollar game and pay a buck for it, I would probably start at 15 bucks, but sometimes I have to pay 10-12 bucks to get 20 dollar games, so then I list them at 18 or so.     I try to make sure they will ALWAYS get a better price than eBay. 

I see lots of collectors from as little as 5 years ago complaining that they can't get a common NES game for under 5 dollars anymore, but that's the nature of the industry...not the vendors fault. 

Having said that, morons that try to sell an NES for $120 or Atari's for $250 obviously don't know their product at all, and that irritates me more than prices in general.   Why the hell would you sell products you dont care or know nothing about?

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A lot of these overpriced vendors are either ignorant or go by some crazy list that google or a TV show put together. You know, one of those "How Much Are Your Old Toys Worth" list where they over-inflate the price. I also saw an antique roadshow where they valued a 2600 at around $200 or $250.

 

And ignorance can go both ways right now. Some of us who are great at finding deals don't realize what the true market rate is for certain games or systems, just as how some sellers don't either, but ask for too much.

 

In the end, I try not to get angry at ignorance but instead try to ignore it.

 

FYI the going rate on ebay for a working NES with all the hookups is about 75-100 where a boxed NES can go from 150-200 to even more depending on the condition.

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 I also saw an antique roadshow where they valued a 2600 at around $200 or $250.

 

 

I need a clip of this in my life!  

 

Also, I think $75-$100 is a bit high for NES with the hookups.   Even GameStop only sells them for 69.99 refurbished.

 

I usually sell mine for $50 with a new 72 PIN, sometimes $60 w/ mario.

Edited by Rowsdower70

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I see more people that are after the big score these days. Even talking to my neighbor, there's a misconception out there, that every game out there is valuable. Partially because there's guys out there pumping out these epic rare finds out there. The truth is that a vast majority of the games are not worth a lot, that's why you see these rediculous collection sales on eBay now. Also, why are we seeing false game pickups? Because maybe people can't find them, but still want attention? I love games, this hobby and yes believe it or not, the rediculous craziness drama that comes with the collecting scene.

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Also, I think $75-$100 is a bit high for NES with the hookups.   Even GameStop only sells them for 69.99 refurbished.

 

 

I was going by ebay prices, so those include shipping. And my bad, by hookups I meant 2 controllers, Zapper and SMB/DH.

 

 

I see more people that are after the big score these days. Even talking to my neighbor, there's a misconception out there, that every game out there is valuable. Partially because there's guys out there pumping out these epic rare finds out there. The truth is that a vast majority of the games are not worth a lot, that's why you see these rediculous collection sales on eBay now. Also, why are we seeing false game pickups? Because maybe people can't find them, but still want attention? I love games, this hobby and yes believe it or not, the rediculous craziness drama that comes with the collecting scene.

 

I hate to say it, but I agree with you. It's always possible that some people who claim to have amazing finds, might be lying to get attention for their podcasts/YouTube shows or just to get flat out get attention.

 

If shows like Pawn Stars and Storage Wars taught us anything, its that amazing finds are sometimes planted and scripted.

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I think you nailed it, NSG.   At least when I see many of these popular channels do pickup videos, I feel like their claims are exaggerated to say the least.   Maybe that's what viewers come to expect?   

It can certainly discourage collectors to think these insane pickups are commonplace when they are struggling to find stuff at all.   One of the intentions with my channel is to show what doing pickups as a flea market vendor is REALLY like for a guy out in the country.   You have to cover a lot of ground, and you mostly find junk.   Not like these channels show people finding insane amounts of good stuff every week. 

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Everyone come check out my video, "52 Atari games, half with torn/missing labels, 8 with "Kenny" written on them, plus 4 COMBATS!!! all in a ratty, dusty cardboard box with a broken 2600jr for $120"!  Don't forget to like and subscribe!

 

That was my Saturday.  Well, that was after I hit a video game reseller disguising his sale as a yard sale.  I guess my eyebrow raised a little too high after he told me his yellowed NES with no controllers or games was $75, because that was when he told me "yeah, some of my stuff is a little expensive because I buy most of it to resell."  I mean jeez, dude, points for your honesty I guess, but people do *not* go to yard sales to pay eBay prices.  (These days, people go to most video game shops to pay eBay prices, come on!)

 

The bargains and scores are out there, though they're few and far between.  I found a guy at a flea market with a leather case of Atari games in pristine condition that he had buried in his junk pile, behind his table of overpriced NES carts and one sad-looking copy of Journey Escape with its label half-missing.  I brought home a new-looking Activision Boxing cart with the foam insert still inside (which I'd never seen in person before) among a few others, plus, he didn't even charge me for my best find of the day: a Smurfs Save the Day manual.  It was frustrating that the game itself wasn't anywhere to be found, but maybe it'll turn up next time!

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I think the most disturbing things I tend to see are a large piece of shipping tape slapped across the front of a game label because you already know there's no way you're going to remove it without it tearing the label up. With 7800 games, I think it wouldn't be such a bad thing to find a bunch of carts with destroyed labels as an opportunity and give them the full-color treatment like:

 

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Dale Earnhardt's look-alike never stood a chance against that packing tape...

 

Do you all have some "flea markets" that are largely just vendors selling old retail crap like shampoo that fell off the back of a truck, or expired food, etc?  Or is that just a Mid-Atlantic USA thing?

We have a lot of them here, but most of the time it is ladies who do the "extreme coupon" thing.  They'll get all this detergent and shampoo and toothpaste that they find on sale and use coupons to get for next to nothing, then they'll set up out at the flea market.

 

I used to think it was silly to try to sell stuff like that out there, but believe it or not it does sell pretty well.

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