Paul Dini is having a garage sale, and you're invited. No, it's not for charity, and these are not big ticket items, it's just, in his words, "Original art, collectibles, One-of-a-kind pieces, animation memorabilia, costumes, and generic crap I don't want to pay storage fees on anymore." It's his collection of mostly unopened toys and action figures; but to geeks, these are Paul Dini's toys! Dini is somewhat of a towering figure in the superhero world for his work as a animation and comic book writer and creator. In addition to being part of the core team of writers on Lost, he is a five-time Emmy award winner, as well as the Eisner award, Harvey Award and several Annie Awards. Now his toys can be yours!
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Remember when the TSA spent $113K on Rapiscan pornoscanners that turned out not to work? Now they're selling them off for $8,000.
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The Buy It Now price on this 1971 Mark IV red Walt Disney World monorail cab is a paltry $189K. So far, no takers. LOOK AT THAT CONTROL PANEL. The 1% is wasted on the 1%.
Ukrainian mask-maker Bob Basset made this grotesque mask depicting a baton smashing the wearer's face; it symbolizes political repression in Ukraine, and is being auctioned to benefit Hromadske.tv, a news outlet Basset calls "one of the last outposts" of "truly independent journalism" in Ukraine.
For more on the political situation in Ukraine, see our feature EuroMaidan: a Facebook revolution in the streets of Kiev .
Auctioning a conceptual copy of Banksy's thrifted "Banality of the Banality of Evil" to benefit 826 Valencia
A San Francisco artist commissioned a Chinese artist to make a copy of "The Banality of the Banality of Evil" -- a painting that Banksy thrifted, added a Nazi to, and shop-dropped back into the thrift store. The copy, called "The Banality Of The Banality Of The Banality Of Evil," is now being auctioned to support 826 Valencia, a literacy for kids program in San Francisco.
Zack writes, "Ever wanted to turn your house into Pee Wee's Playhouse? Well, here's the closest you'll ever get -- a fan is selling the remnants of a J.C. Penney's department store display from the short-lived Pee Wee clothing line that includes a life-sized Chairy, an almost-life-sized Pee Wee, and cardboard panels recreating the look of the playhouse and Pee Wee's friends." The bidding's at $975 at the time of writing.
It's amazing how well those old Pee-Wee's Playhouse videos stand up. I've been re-watching the DVDs with my nearly-six-year-old this month and we're both really enjoying them. Alas, the DVDs have gone through the roof: $1400 for the boxed set (!), seasons 1-2 for $63 -- though the seasons 3-5 set is only $12.24.
Zack sez, "On eBay -- a first edition of Bradbury's anti-book-burning classic signed and numbered by the author -- and bound in asbestos, to save it from the firemen depicted in the book. Of course, no telling if that would save it from the Mechanical Hound..." It's in pretty rough shape, but it's a much-sought-after rarity (albeit one that should be kept in an airtight plastic bag). Bidding starts at $600.
Gregory Perry says he got stiffed by Lockheed Martin. He says they asked a company he co-owned to develop a fake spy-rock for the Department of Defense in the early 2000s, but didn't pay the company, whereupon he got screwed by his partners, and shafted by Lockheed on the royalties they owed him on the spy-rocks they made later for America's spooks. He's been listing it on eBay (along with the Lockheed/DoD paperwork), looking for the millions he believes he's owed.
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Want to sleep in Robert A Heinlein's bed? The Heinlein Society was unable to find a museum to take this artifact from his home so they are now selling it on eBay. Apparently designed and built by the writer himself, the bed platform has drawers underneath and two side tables, each with "a drawer, a pull out writing surface, and shelf space, as well as a compartment suitable for a box of tissues, and a trash compartment with a removable container." Robert A Heinlein's Bed (Thanks, Dave Gill!)
A couple of cities back, in another century, I lived in a giant, illegal warehouse loft with tons of space, and in that loft, I built a most wonderful tiki-bar, with novelty bottles and stools that looked like bongo-drums and pennants from defunct cow-colleges, and swizzle sticks from bygone eras and more besides. I no longer have room for anything of the sort, but I still find myself seizing up with lust when I see something that would have fit it perfectly, such as this stonking 1959 deco tiki cocktail cabinet, for sale on eBay. I tried to convince myself to bid on it last night, tried to think of a place to put it, but honestly, there's nowhere for it. Plus there's no way I could ship this from southern California to London. But still.
We are pleased to present this vintage George Zee Cocktail Bar for your consideration. Manufactured in Hong Kong, this gorgeous piece opens to reveal a spacious Cocktail Bar that is loaded with storage. There are four (4) hidden compartments at the sides for stemware. Double doors on the front open to reveal two (2) drawers plus two (2) shelf areas. The front folds down to create a counter space, and the hinged lid opens to reveal a large compartment with a removable bottle holder.
In addition to plentiful storage space, high relief carvings of a Bamboo design are found on the door fronts and inside the top lid. What a great piece to compliment your Tiki or Hawaiiana themed room! Made from solid Mahogany with a blond color, we date the piece to 1959.
On eBay, a toymodder called Foiled1 is selling a beautiful, highly detailed Playmobil haunted house: "So what you get is the house, fence, wallpaper and all items seen in photo's (some interior item's may vary)! Watch out for the ghost that comes through the wall! Includes all people and all items seen in photo's (some interior item's may vary). Includes wallpaper, interior items and more! This house was made using some parts with chips, dents, digs and glue, somewhat like a real home. And is made to be used in your Playmobil Victorian mansion."
Lots of exclamation marks and grocer's apo'strophe's!
This Gilbert No. U-238 Atomic Energy Lab on eBay is a pretty fabulous bit of science education history: a children's science kit that included a Geiger counter, electroscope, cloud chamber, spinthariscope, and, of course, radioisotopes.
Gilbert was a man of true inspiration, often compared to Walt Disney for his creative genius. Gilbert had high expectations of America's youngsters, and with such he tried to help the future engineers, doctors and leaders by providing toys worthy of their imaginations. As the inventor of the Erector Set, and seeing its commercial appeal, the he and his company set a higher goal. They became the leading manufacturer of scientific toys (chemistry sets) and construction sets (Erector), all of which gained wide acclaim at the retail level. Interested in the joy of science more than remuneration, however, Gilbert created the Atomic Energy Lab U-238 - with the help of MIT's able faculty. The toy was made to de-mystify the perils of nuclear energy and to encourage the understanding of chemistry, physics and nuclear science - ultimately helping kids (and adults) become more open to the possibilities these disciplines offer. This educational composite, which was marketed during 1950-51, sold for $49.50 - a very high price for a toy set, even by today's standard.Gilbert No. U-238 Atomic Energy Lab (Thanks, Cinemajay!)
Copyfighting rapper Dan Bull's latest track is "Stupid Injunction," a song inspired by the UK's "super injunctions," a process by which wealthy individuals and large companies can get court orders forbidding the disclosure of embarrassing facts about their lives, and forbidding any mention of the injunction's existence at all. The InjunctionSuper Twitter account purports to publish details of the Super Injunctions, most of which involve affairs, exotic sexual activities with prostitutes and sexual harrassment.
The new Bull song coincides with his latest business model: commissioned songs. He writes, "I was thinking about how musicians made money before the record industry came about, and with that in mind I've gone back to the patronage days of old and put myself on eBay. The opening bid was 1p and it's risen phenomenally over the past couple of days. More proof that artists don't need the 'protection' of IP law..."
So here's a great way to practice making money: Buy and sell the same thing over and over on Craigslist or eBay. Seriously.How to Make Money in 6 Easy Steps (via Kottke)
Go buy something on Craigslist or eBay. Find something that's a bit of a commodity, so you know there's always plenty of supply and demand. An iPod is a good test. Buy it, and then immediately resell it. Then buy it again. Each time, try selling it for more than you paid for it. See how far you can push it. See how much profit you can make off 10 transactions.
Start tweaking the headline. Then start fiddling with the product description. Vary the photographs. Take some pictures of the thing for sale; use other photos with other items, or people, in them. Shoot really high-quality shots, and also post crappy ones from your cell-phone camera. Try every variation you can think of.
I love doing this, because there's no real risk involved. If you already have a business, you don't need to dream up a new product line or rock the boat with crazy experiments. If you don't have a business, it's a perfect way to work on your chops.
New Zealand special effects house Weta has put a collection of its fine models up for auction on eBay, with proceeds going to benefit victims of the Christchurch earthquake. I own two of Weta's rayguns, and they're among my most prized and beautiful possessions. Up for sale are two models based on the Lord of the Rings movies (one signed by Peter Jackson, the other by Richard Taylor) and one of the Doctor Grodbort's rayguns, customized and signed by Greg Broadmore.
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one off hand made from recycled gas bottle mesh grate has small holes to keep a good bottom in the fire, he is 28" tall and 13" round, 20" wide at the feet, he has air intake on the back, ash pan on the inside for empting ashes, 4" flue, he as took 42 hours to complete, dont think you would find another like it, or prob see another one like it, i havent sprayed this one in high temp paint, because i think it looks much better as steel, he as been sprayed with wd40 to stop him rusting, i will leave it to the winning bidder if they want to paint him,R2D2 GAS BOTTLE LOG BURNER WOOD BURNER R2D2 STAR WARS (Thanks, Adam!)
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The Disney Fakes blog catalogs forged Disney art for sale on eBay, painstakingly cataloging the tells and errors made by the forgers. Some are hilariously bad, others are damned subtle.
Obviously digital distribution has also damaged the traditional channel model of the music, film, and photography markets. The impact of this is that the tail-end of the curve can probably shift business models and still make the same money (by touring, selling FLAC files, whatever). But the head -- where the record companies are -- will struggle to extract rents like they used to. As they realize this, they do what rent holders who are losing always do: dispense patronage from their existing franchise and try to influence the law to make their rents more permanent.Points of control = Rents
Apple has historically lived on rents derived from superior design, which is a very hard thing to do consistently. So they've earned their rents so far. Recently, they've gotten even smarter. The App Store is an MBA's dream because it combines network effects with classic distribution channel control and slotting fees. It also has strong barriers to exit. Interestingly, Foxconn (and its employees) mostly continue to work at opportunity cost levels of renumeration. Rents stay with the leverage and are not evenly distributed through the supply chain.
Apple also finds itself in the odd position of Karmic enforcer. The software developers that once helped destroy content owners' iron-clad grip on distribution now find themselves selling their creations for 30 percent of $.99. Karma is a bitch.
Google extracts amazing rents through a combination of innovation and network effects, although they have really struggled to duplicate their core search / AdSense monopoly. Innovation is keeping Google ahead of Schumpeter for now, but hasn't yet created a second vortex of network effect monopoly. So Bing is an important threat if its share continues to grow. Emerging and effective competition in the area where you are extracting rents will have a non-linear impact on your bottom line. If all goes well (in a Schumpeterian sense), both Bing and Google's search franchises will be rent free in an economic sense. Good for people buying ads, bad for people that hope Google will keep taking the cash thrown off to innovate in other areas (like creating an Office rent-neutralizing alternative in the cloud). It's like watching a pair of Ultra Kaiju trying to choke each other out over Tokyo.
An eBay seller in Sydney, Australia is selling this handcarved wooden Ferrari 365GTB V12 engine replica, carved to approximate 1:1 scale. It's fantastically detailed and weighs 25kg.
- Manga figures carved from wood
- Victorian "rather sinister" artificial arm and hand
- Hand-carved Kenyan iPod stands from tropical woods
- Pocket-watch made from carved bone
- Intricately carved vintage vinyl records
- Huge wood bullet on eBay
- Hand-carved nautical woodcuts
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eBay seller Komanac is flogging this 4' high, 5' long AT-AT model made of wood, cardboard, duct-tape and Sharpie: "This was created for an art show: 'Star Wars 33&1/3 anniversary' during Art Walk here in Lethbridge Alberta. I would love to keep it but not enough room. It was created July/August of this year - it took several rolls of duct tape and 30 - 40 hours to create."
GIANT Duct Tape AT-AT Star Wars Fan Art Model/Sculpture (Thanks, Fred!)
EBay seller Photo-arsenal-worldwide is flogging this mint-in-package NASA Hasselblad camera; bidding now stands at nearly $34,000. I love how everything in space looks like it was descended from a Tonka truck.
The cease-and-desist letter that Lucasfilm sent to the company that made a laser-pointer alleged to infringe the Lucas trademark on lightsabers sold recently on eBay for a whopping $3,850. The winning bidder has moderate eBay history (12 transactions), which suggests that this isn't (merely) a publicity stunt.
(Note: This story was submitted by a PR company apparently retained by the seller of this document)
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I recently bought a house and decided to turn the guest bathroom into a "chamber of horrors". I made a list of the things my mom would never let me have when I was a kid, and at the top of the list was a real live (dead) shrunken head. But where the heck would I go to get one?
EBay of course! It turns out that the Jivaro Indians in Ecuador have toned down their warlike nature for the sake of commerce, and they're cranking out tsantsa (their word for shrunken heads) by the carload. Thankfully, they make them from goat and alpaca skins now, instead of their neighbors. These specialized tribal craftsmen haven't quite mastered the delicate art of quality control, so the heads vary in quality from laughably fake to chillingly realistic. It takes some know-how to score a really good one.
There are two philosophies to shrunken head buying at eBay... If you like gambling, buy a lot of five or more at a time. The variability of the manufacturing process guarantees that each head is totally unique and has its own personality. You may have to sift through a bunch to find the one you like. You can always give away the rejects as hostess gifts at parties for the next few years. If you are a dedicated soul and desire a "de-luxe model", scour eBay until just the right head turns up. You might pay a bit more, but you'll have the perfect facial features and hair color to match your home's decor.