Marketplace Scratch Pad

Garage sales for the rich

Scott Jagow May 19, 2009

A recent survey found that almost a third of millionaires lost their millionaire status last year. What are they doing about it? Well, some of them are having giant garage sales, and let me tell you, there are some deals. I mean, if you’re still a millionaire, that is.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Todd Good, president of Accelerated Marketing Group in California, recently auctioned off a 15,000-square-foot mansion in Walla Walla, Wash., along with a collection of more than 70 motorcycles, a large wine cellar, antiques and artwork. The house, which was listed for more than $13 million, sold for $3.5 million.

The Journal went to another “lifestyle liquidation” sale in Florida. The family, appropriately named the Peacocks, was selling everything:

Richard and Amanda Peacock spent five years building their dream home, a 10,000-square-foot, orange mansion overlooking the ocean here. They filled it with leopard-skin chairs, pinball machines, antique Coca-Cola signs and six sports cars. It had a room full of 100 hunting trophies — including a hyena and the head of an elephant — and an aviary out back housing eight rare parrots.

Marie Davis, a Florida vacationer, picked up several exotic hunting trophies.

“I got a wildebeest for $250!” she said. “What a deal.”

No matter the prices, that universal law still holds true — people will buy anything at a garage sale. By the way, the Peacocks don’t even hunt:

“Richard likes leopard skin, and I like gold, so it was the perfect match,” says Mrs. Peacock…

“We don’t need all this stuff anymore,” he says, adding that the couple plans to buy a cabin in the Blue Mountains. “It’s time to simplify.”

However, the Peacocks couldn’t unload their home or their Ferrari. For the mansion, bidding stopped at $5.5 million, and they decided that was too low. The red Ferrari, with only 5,000 miles on it, had a bid of $110,000, but that was half what the Peacocks paid for it.

Sounds like they need a lesson or two in garage sale pricing. The couple spent $200,000 on the set up and the auctioneer. They only made $100,000 in profit.

Well, actually, that does sound like a garage sale, with three extra zeroes.

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