Vintage Toy Brings High Profits on eBay
A while back my Girlfriend and I were strolling through a local second hand store when she spotted an old electronic toy. I saw it earlier but passed it up, so I owe her big time for picking it up. It didn't have any batteries but I though for only 99 cents we could take a chance.
After we got home I eagerly launched an eBay search to see how this toy was doing, and to my surprise the average sale price was around $30 - $40. So we we very excited, but wait ... we hadn't checked to see if it worked yet.
I couldn't find any batteries so we stole some from one of our kid's toys and we were even more excited when we heard the electronic voice talking back to us.
Yes ... the picture here is the actual toy we picked up. It's a Texas Instruments Speak and Spell made in 1979 (many people quote 1978 but they are going off the copyright stamp in the plastic cover) TI didn't start selling the first units until '79
I decided to do more research to see if there was a way we could make sure our auction ended at the higher end of the average prices.
I soon found out we had a very rare version, in fact it was the second version of the first model, as this one had the earphone jack and accepted an AC power adapter (wish we would have had that) and it had the raised buttons instead of the flat membrane type keys.
I also noticed our unit had a speech module installed, and the whole thing was in great shape.
I took very detailed photos of everything important, and got it ready for shipping so it would be ready for the new buyer.
Well to cut right to the end result, we ended up selling the unit to a guy who had been buying up just about every unit on eBay for only $15. Yes we were disappointed but it was just shear luck this guy didn't have many competitors, because we noticed this buyer had paid up to $40 for some units.
I did some more research and found that there was a small niche of sellers who were making these little Texas Instruments toys into musical tweak boxes, otherwise known as "Circuit Bending"
They take the toys apart and solder wires and knobs and other electronics to create a musical tweak box out of them. I was amazed when I saw these modified sound gadgets were fetching prices near and above $300.
Over the months I have kept an eye on this market as well as keeping an eye out for more Speak and Spells, and the market is still just as hot as it was several months ago.
Research shows the Speak and Spell with a 50% success rate because the failed auctions were started way too high. So if you start them for $9.99 or below I couldn't imagine it not selling. (all the others at that price have sold)
I spoke of a way you could get a steady supply ...
You place a classified ad in your local pennysaver type classifieds stating you pay cash for Texas Instruments Speak and Spell toys.
There are two other members of the Texas Instruments line that sell just as well. The Speak & Read, and Speak & Math. You may see some auctions with all three toys.
Keep your eyes out for these hot sellers at garage sales, second hand stores and flea markets .
Enjoy . . . Scott
This site needs an editor - click to learn more!
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Content copyright © 2019 by Scott Prock. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Scott Prock. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.