The Satisfaction of a Sale Explained – My Stapler Collection

I’ll get to my staple collection in a minute…

stapler collection
Part of my stapler collection

In the world of antiques and art – there are a couple of golden rules that I’ve learned in the years I’ve been buying and selling – I’d love to take credit for these, but the truth is, they are almost universal knowledge among dealers – so it would be rash for me to claim anything of the sort. I can only claim the particular wording as my own – any picker worth their salt knows the truth of these.

1) You don’t make money selling – you make money buying.

2) A sale is validation that you know your business.

For this rather short post, I will focus on the second bit of wisdom. Here goes:

Anyone can roam the landscape and buy every potentially valuable thing they see, hoard it, and wait for someone to come and tell them they have a treasure.  Mostly what happens in that situation is that someone comes along when the hoarder or their family finally decides enough is enough and they buy the valuables with the garbage, throw the garbage out, and no one is the wiser when the treasure comes to light.

At this point, it pays to divert myself from the topic at hand and go into a different direction….

There are hoarders – who buy stuff and never sell any of it.

There are collectors – who buy stuff and might sell it to improve their collection.


There are dealers who buy stuff in order to sell it.

I’m an antiques dealer – everything I have is bought to eventually be sold. I’m also a collector, but my collections are generally being put together so I can sell them, and to some extent – I’m a hoarder – because I have some items that are worth very little that I expect will be worth a lot in the future (like my stapler collection)  but in my defense…I use the staplers frequently….

So, as a dealer – if I were to try to sell my staplers…I would be very disappointed. In fact, I don’t buy them to sell them, I’m hoarding 🙂 – but most of the stuff I buy is to sell in the very short term – there is really not much worse than buying something with the intent of selling it and then not being able to find a buyer…in hurts because it tells the truth – you’ve either paid too much or bought something that no one wants…

This, I think, is the reason the hoarder does nothing with what they have bought. They are scared of being wrong. They already, in fact, know they were wrong…the things they bought were worthless and so they go for volume over quality which is always a mistake (even with staplers).

Satisfaction comes when you buy something knowing that it is a work of art and then you sell it for a profit. Monetary Validation. Ah-ha!

An example – my friend’s estate sale. This was actually my introduction to vintage staplers…

In the estate were a couple of very interesting staplers. They were Bates B Model Staplers. I capitalize the name because this is the crown jewel of staplers. They are staplers that you load with copper wire and which make smaller than usual staples from the wire – so in fact, they are bending, cutting, and shaping. The minute I saw them, I recognized a wonderful piece of machinery. These weren’t staplers…they were art. Despite my friend’s protest that they were JUST staplers, I refused to let him price them at $1 each…or at $5 each…or at $10 each…and instead I priced them at $50 each!

Model B Bates Stapler
The Crown Jewel of Staplers

He thought I was nuts. And I began to agree with him, but eventually, a guy came and asked if I would take $20. Another came and asked if I would take $30. Finally, a guy offered $75 for the two and I took it. ( He got a great deal as a Bates model B in the box with two cartridges routinely will sell on Ebay for more than $100) but at the time, I didn’t know that and our mission was to clear stuff out, not hoard it. Those staplers brought more than much of the fancy glass, the figurines, the brass, the statuary, and the tools everyone thought would sell…that was the validation.

Since that sale, I’ve bought and sold nearly a dozen Bates Model B Staplers….

Now, I know about them….but before that first sale…it was just a matter of my taste vs. the world – and until they were sold – I actually started to doubt my taste…but it was validated…

And that, my friends is the satisfaction of a sale explained…it validates your taste and experience.

P.S. I don’t have a Bates Model B in my stapler collection (or a Model A) because when I get them, I sell them…however…I’m holding onto my Swingline Speed Stapler 4 and my Bostich and Bates 550 models until I can get what they are worth…