Mark's 3 Most Prized Auction Items
Mark Meyer's from Baggage Battles shares his most memorable auction buys--sold and unsold.
1. Gold Watch
My first gold watch. This was purchased at a local Nassau County police auction while they were still having them. The lot only cost $100 and was not that memorable. What always stuck with me is the excitement of when I discovered it was an Omega Seamaster. Closer inspection revealed its 14-karat gold hallmark. I remember saying to myself, "Let this be the first of many." Omega is a brand always worth looking out for. Sold this watch for $375 and in that year my business had begun to turn around. Startup costs were dwindling and replaced with rising profits. I began to feel confident, resulting in bigger risks and more returns. This is why this watch meant so much to me.
2. Charlie Chaplin Purse
Made by Whiting & Davis in 1976, this mesh purse represents the first time I fell out of my chair over a purchase. I purchased a box lot of vintage purses at a local police auction and this was inside. I vividly remember the night that I discovered its value. My friend and I were in my garage going through eBay items when this boxed purse surfaced. We took it out and made a few jokes and then I decided to look it up. I fell out of the chair when I found the story, the appraisals and the actual retail price. I found an appraisal a few years old stating that the Charlie Chaplin variety was recalled over copyright laws and destroyed. In my hands was a near-mint-in-box purse, appraised at $3,000! After several attempts to sell it online for $2,000, I found a dealer in NYC who purchased it for $1,000 -- a significant return on an investment of $75. I couldn't believe that it would be worth that much.
3. NASCAR Suit
In North Carolina, I purchased several pallets of lost freight. The standout was a pallet with racing equipment and memorabilia. For less than $400 I bought a pallet containing 2 racing suits, NASCAR model cars and vintage toys. The Nomex suits belonged to one Busch Cup pit crew member and the other to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. That beautiful red suit is autographed and was the prize of this owner's collection. Its appraised worth is $2,500 to $3,000. I haven't come to terms with selling this suit ... yet.
The auction specialists travel to Nashville, TN, where pop-culture memorabilia can be found everywhere. One buyer scores a "Golden Ticket" after finding a Willy Wonka candy bar.