December 7, 2010

The eBay Life "Score of the Day" is a vintage Howard Miller clock purchased for $0 and sold for....

It's a star...

It's a starfish..

It's our 85-year-old neighbor's broken clock.

A few weeks ago, our neighbor Bob contacted us.  He needed help putting up a new living room clock.  The old one was making strange noises.  (I think it dated back to the Eisenhower era.) 

So the next day we paid Bob a visit.  We had no idea what we were in for.  The clock he wanted to replace was a sight to behold -- green wood, gold hands, retro design. A real showpiece! Upon examining it, we discovered it was a Howard Miller. That's right. An authentic Howard Miller! (Don't worry. We'd never heard of him either.) Bob was going to throw it away, so we took the clock home to try it out.

It plugged right into a wall socket. To our surprise, it worked perfectly. We couldn't find anything wrong with it, and it kept time like a charm. While doing some research on Terapeak, we discovered that only two similar clocks had been sold within the last 90 days. They had sold at auction for $130+ and $180+ respectively. We called Bob to tell him the good news, but he didn't want anything to do with it.  The clock was ours.

Last Sunday, I finally got around to listing this magnificent timepiece. I went to Wikipedia and found a long article on Howard Miller clocks. It was very interesting. When doing research on Terapeak and Wikipedia, I discovered that the words "spike" and "sunburst" were important words to include in the title.  Both of these words were used to describe this particular style of clock.   

I decided to be daring and listed the clock at auction for a $9.99 starting price. It's rare that we get an item tailor-made for auctions, and it's rare that I'm this daring.  I'm definitely not a risk taker. 

People started watching it immediately. Within a few hours, someone emailed me with an offer of $100. Then a man emailed me asking if I would take $125. He needed it by Christmas! (Ya, right. Likely story!)  I politely declined both offers.  

FYI: Getting offers right off the bat usually means that you have a winner on your hands.

By the third day, there were 30 watchers and more people asking to buy it. This was too fun!  But as the week went on, I wondered if I'd made a mistake. Nobody was bidding! Who would place the first bid? Hmmmmm.

Then it happened.

The first offer came in, and before I knew it, the clock was up to $50 ....then $150.  Toward the end of the auction the clock jumped to almost $200. $200 for a free clock? I'll take it!!

But I didn't need to take it.

The auction was to end Sunday evening around 5:20 p.m. I was really hungry and decided to make pot pie about 30 minutes before the auction ended. I was satisfied with $200. Just as I was about to take the pie out of the oven, Niko's iPhone reported that a PayPal payment had arrived for.....................


We jumped for joy! We did a happy dance! Hurray for eBay! Hurray!

The clock had sold for a little over $400. And guess who bought it? A man from Japan. That's right. A Howard Miller fan all the way over in the little ol' country of Japan.

I won't relax until I receive positive feedback from the buyer, but I'm going to insure the package and use tons of peanuts, so it should be OK. Last month I had a great experience insuring a package through the USPS. A book worth $375 didn't arrive at its destination. Luckily, I had insured the package, and I was refunded the the total amount with no hassles!  I was amazed!

And that's my tale for the day. The magic of eBay is alive and well! So get out there and find a "score" to make the season bright. And if you find one, and you want to tell me about it, I will feature it in an upcoming blog post. Email me at

For eBay selling tips, tricks, and secrets, read this blog, the eBay Life, every week! For shoes in hard-to-find sizes, check out my eBay store,!


  1. Thanks for reading!

  2. This is awesome and oh so inspiring!!!! Love your blog!


  3. That's great! Congrat's on a great sale! From the same era I have a George Nelson ball clock -- it hangs in the kitchen!

  4. chicoauction has a bunch of snow globes this Friday

  5. Nice score and for free too! That's awesome!