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Reselling, music DVDs, high-res audio, and the importance of making connections...


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Since I retired last year, one of my favorite pastimes now is "thrifting", hitting up thrift stores, pawn shops, ministry stores, consignment shops, etc., in the area looking for CDs, DVDs, and collectibles/ephemera for resale on eBay. I happen to have a number of local ministry stores that go through product like nobody's business where I can buy CDs for 50 cents to a buck each, and some CD stores within a 2-3 hour drive that routinely have loads of $1 CDs available. Add to that the semi-annual Half Price Books "fill a tote bag for $20" sales, and there's plenty of inventory to be had.

Most of it isn't music in HH genres, but I enjoy trying out new music and also looking for early pressings, etc. Some end up being fails... when you're out scrounging there isn't time to look everything up right then and there, so you're relying on knowledge, experience, scarcity indicators, etc. But overall it's a fun learning experience, even if the out-of-genre learning curve is long.

I keep an eye on condition of both the disc and artwork, replace the jewel case for $0.35, a pass through the disc repair machine at $0.10, so generally I'm into any given CD that looks "like new" for a buck and a half all in.

$2.99 (+ S&H) is typically the bottom I'll list a CD at with Best Offer, rarely taking less than $1.99, so even with eBay taking fees, break-even is the worst-case scenario. But it's not the $2.99 CDs where you make your money. It's when you *DO* find that better title/pressing that you can sell for $10, $20, $50, etc. that makes things financially worthwhile.

Not to mention the occasional find that I can add into my personal collection. Those are just bonus.

It's a fun hobby that at least pays for itself, or comes close.

There's a local upscale consignment shop (primarily higher-priced furniture and antiques) that has regularly had CDs. Not much turnover (they don't get a lot of foot traffic looking for CDs and DVDs), but the condition is pristine. I've bought some '80s pop CDs there that I've been able to sell for $15-30 each.

I stopped there this past week and in amongst the DVDs were a bunch of DVD-Audio titles and "Pure Audio" blu-rays for $3 each. After doing some spot checking online while there, I pounced. Some pricey titles in the mix (images below).

I looked through the CDs again and there hadn't been much movement. On a whim I left a message for the owner saying that if they'd be willing to drop to $1 each that I would buy a minimum of 50. Since music really wasn't their niche, I hoped that they would be wanting to move product vs. maximizing dollars. Well, the owner called me back that afternoon and said "sure", so I went back to the store. While I was going through and picking titles, she said "when you're done, I have these multi-disc sets that I hadn't put out yet. You can have them for $1.50 each if you want."

So yeah, I cleaned up... bought about 120 CDs/sets. While most of the extra ones were 2-disc sets, there were some limited edition singles box sets, etc. All in mint condition. Some aren't in my wheelhouse, but there wasn't time to sample them or look them up online, so sometimes you just got to get when the getting is good... and I did.

So now fast forward to this morning. I get a phone call from the same business owner, saying that she just took in a bunch of concert DVDs and would hold them for me.

I was expecting 10-20... uhh... no. A huge carton full of music performance DVDs and blu-rays, including some prestige sets that originally cost $50+. All in mint condition and a few still sealed. Mostly classic rock and pop (1970s-1990s era artists).

I bought the entire lot. I walked out with 170 music DVDs and blu-rays at a buck each.

Make connections... you never know where they might lead.

Here are the multichannel discs I scored for $3 each. The Queen and Stevie Wonder Pure Audio discs sell for $50+ each on the used market.

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Nice work there! That DVD audio scene seemed pretty niche but they still sell really well. I think they were aimed at people with high end theatre set ups but no hifi stereo anymore? Either way, you'll make enough from just a couple of those to pay for everything you bought!

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I often think about stuff like this these days. I used to do similar back in the day where you were buying for a lot more, but also selling for a lot more. But these days, where CDs are generally a maximum of $2 in Op Shop type of places, there must be plenty to make if you have the time and drive to do so. I can see that this would be an enjoyable past-time for sure. Just today I picked up a bunch of 50c DVDs for the kids, and I am pretty sure I could make a heck of a lot more than what I paid for them, plus the ones I left behind. 

Good luck to you on these travels. Like I say, I can definitely see the appeal and my younger self would be all over it too. 

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