Warner Success Story
I first started using eBay in the fall of 1998. I signed up on eBay because I had some miscellaneous items around the house that I no longer used that were purchased from different hobbies that I had in the past. To me, these items were essentially dust collectors and had very little value.
When I put them up for sale on eBay though, they brought really good money! Not as much as I paid; maybe half of what I paid in some cases, but it was money for something that I would have otherwise considered worthless. The wheels started spinning. I figured if people would buy that stuff, they’d probably buy just about anything. These were what I came to refer to as the “early years” on Ebay.
During this time, one could go to just about any garage sale and buy just about anything and make money by selling it on eBay. It didn’t take much experience at all, which was perfect for me because I didn’t have any knowledge or experience. We continued going to garage sales and looking for items to put on eBay.
From that, we graduated to attending estate sales and auctions, sometimes “camping out” in front of the house as early as midnight the night before the sale. An informal list is kept which then determines the order in which people get to enter the house. This is the environment where skills are honed. Without knowledge, you will not survive this environment. You will see later in the story where Daryle’s time and patience with me helped to prepare the way for a very successful wealth building experience for my family.
I met Daryle Lambert only a couple of years after I started selling on eBay. I saw an ad that he placed in the newspaper where he was selling some Royal Doulton figurines. I called him up and drove over to his house that night, which was 40 miles one way. When I got there the first thing I noticed was how much great stuff Daryle had in his house. I was still quite green at that point and knew very little on a general basis. But I was starting to acquire one of the most important skills in this market and that is the ability to recognize quality. To this date, Daryle hasn’t let me forget this ability.
I knew that the contents of Daryle’s house were of the highest quality. Well, Daryle knew exactly what he had and exactly what it was worth. I bargained with him (which was surprisingly easy compared to other encounters I’d had with other people) and I bought 17 Royal Doulton figurines from him. Daryle wanted about $100 each for them which was about what they were selling for plus or minus a little, so I offered a couple hundred dollars less and he accepted immediately. Daryle knew that I was going to make a little money off of the sale - and he wanted me to.
At the time, $1500 was a lot of money to my wife and I, so I called her to authorize the purchase before I committed to it. She trusts me and said “go ahead”. Based on my call to home for authorization, Daryle picked up on the fact that $1500 might be a stretch for me and made me an offer that I’ll never forget. He said, “Why don’t you just take the figurines home and sell them. When you have sold $1500 worth of figurines, then you can pay me for them”. This was coming from a man that I just met. While I appreciated his offer and it stuck in my mind, I wrote him a check on the spot and went on my merry way, excited that I was going to make enough money on the deal to probably make a car payment that month.
Since that initial deal five years ago, I kept going back to Daryle for more stuff. He had plenty and always tried to be fair with me. He always tried to make it so that I would make enough that it was worth my while. Daryle and I became closer and he asks me if I wanted to partner up with him in the future. One day he called me and asked if I wanted to join him on a trip to an advertising company that was going out of business. I said sure. So we went over there and looked at what was mostly lower end junk, nothing worth putting the time into selling.
One thing I noticed though and wrote down some information about was the old wooden large format box camera that they had. When I got home I did some ‘home work” on it and told Daryle that I thought we could make some money on it if we bought it right. He didn’t see any intrinsic value in it but he trusted me this time and let me take us into the deep water and see if we sank or swam on this one. Daryle did ask me to make a lower offer which they accepted. This was the first real purchase that we made together- win or lose we were in it together as partners. Well, we made a lot of money on the camera deal (thousands of dollars) and shortly thereafter formed a corporation together.
We had greatly exceeded what we expected to make which was to double our money. Buying with this goal in mind kept us on our track to building wealth. Daryle has instilled in me the steps that he talks about in his book. If these steps are followed they will lead a person to fulfill his dreams as they did for me.
Daryle and I worked together for a few years until my life basically got too busy to continue at the level needed for maintaining it. I formed the Lotton Glass Club and continue to be very active in my collecting of this beautiful glass, which Daryle says will be the next Tiffany.
Those few years that Daryle and I worked together were some of the most informative years for me. My knowledge of fine things grew, as did my understanding of the business and where the pitfalls were. Daryle taught me how to “buy right”, and how to deal with and talk to people. We were partners an many deals during that time and had lots of fun along the way.
Daryle talked to me about his plan and approach to the buying and selling business. We usually attained our goals, and often times exceeded them. Working with Daryle was always a pleasure and usually an adventure.
I will never forget the two road trips that we made together out to Baltimore. A woman responded to one of the ads that we ran and told us that she inherited hundreds of pieces of Rookwood pottery. Daryle first flew out to assess the situation and upon his return told me that we would need to go out there and see what was what – there was just too many boxes packed up and it would take hours and hours to go through it all.
Knowing how Daryle loves a good story I was pessimistic about exactly how much work it was going to be. On our drive out there together (a 700+ mile journey each way) Daryle kept going on and on, telling me “You’re not going to believe it”. I’m quite a bit younger than Daryle and figured that I’d get my young able body there and dig into whatever boxes she had and we’d be out of there by nightfall.
After driving 11 hours through the night, we arrived at our destination. When this lady opened her garage door, which is where some of the boxes were stored, I was a little bit taken back by the scope of the job at hand. The garage was full from floor to ceiling with moving boxes. Still trying to maintain my optimism, it wasn’t until we were a couple of hours into unpacking these boxes that I realized that we’d hardly dented the job at hand.
We worked until we were simply too exhausted to do anything more (and for the record, Daryle can keep up with this young guy no problem!). This was really a treasure hunt, as most of the items that were packed were not even worth what the packing paper cost. I’m talking about baby food jars, pickle jars, plastic plates– total JUNK. But then every hour or so we’d find a piece of Rookwood or Roseville pottery packed in with that same junk and it was rejuvenating!
We ended up renting a 12 foot U-haul trailer and towing it all the way back, completely overloaded and towing it through the mountains in the dark – like I said, a real adventure! I told myself I never wanted to do that again, but in the back of my mind I knew that we’d made it through less than half of what was there in the 2 days we spent working.
I started thinking (and I know Daryle did too, although neither one of us would admit it to each other right then and there because we were physically drained from what we had done) that the “good stuff” might still be packed away in those boxes we left behind. Having been bitten by the treasure hunting bug in the worst way, it wasn’t more than a couple of days before Daryle and I came clean with each other and admitted that we had no real choice but to make another trip out there to finish what we started.
In a couple of weeks we were headed back out there for another grueling session. Those trips will be permanently etched in my memory forever. We worked extremely hard and at the end of the day we made a enough money to reach our goal. I still remember what Daryle said to me when we were pulling away from her house after our second trip out there. Sweaty, dirty, tired, and knowing that we had a grueling 12 hour trip ahead of us Daryle looked over at me and with the most serious look on his face asked me, “Would you do that again for another 10 thousand dollars?” I had to think real hard about that..before I could answer Daryle answered his own question, “I wouldn’t”.
“I wouldn’t do it again for 10 grand more”.
The task had finally gotten to both of us. It was something we survived and something we’ll remember forever. Over the years Daryle and I made several road trips and traveling with Daryle was (and still IS) one of my most favorite things to do. I’d rather go on a road trip with Daryle than take a luxury vacation. It’s THAT much fun! Just two guys spending time away from our families and day-to-day life on an adventure.
I guess it’s like what a fishing trip would be for some other guys, but in the case with Daryle I know that our chances of “catching” something are much greater! The time and knowledge that I’ve gained from Daryle has made a difference in my life, both financially and in the ways that I approach different situations and deal with people. He has been a very positive influence to me and through our initial meeting we have become the closest of friends.
I would recommend for anyone that wants to be in the Antique and collectible business Daryle S. Lambert is a person you must know.
-- Warner Smith