A couple who make more than $120,000 a year selling “retro” collectibles have revealed how you can sit on a fortune – if you know what to look for.
Mitchell and Erin Miletic call themselves “nostalgia dealers” and have gone to great lengths to find treasures that others consider trash.
The Melbourne couple in their thirties launched their brand Retro Rescuers five years ago and have a passion for ‘preserve’ memorabilia that would otherwise be thrown away.
Speaking to FEMAIL, the pair say going to an op shop is like “getting into a time machine” and “taking a memory trip.”
“I think a lot of Aussie families would be shocked by some of the things they might have in their old cupboards and how much they could sell them for,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell and Erin Miletic have been collecting and selling collectibles for five years
The Melbourne couple find their stuff by searching shops, garage sales, local markets and even dumpsters
They often map out 20 to 25 thrift stores to visit, leaving no stone unturned
The husband and wife team search everywhere for vintage items they can restore and resell for a profit – they scour stores and even jump into dumpsters to find new listings.
They often map out 20 to 25 thrift stores to visit, leaving no stone unturned. They also visit local markets and garage sales and occasionally hold a private sale.
Mitchell and Erin run their business from home and can store supplies for anything from a few days to up to four years.
As for what sells best, Mitchell said it’s always in rotation — but VHS video players and tapes, music cassettes, action figures, toys and memorabilia usually predominate.
“We focus on pop culture items from the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s. But if I find something cool and I think it’s a bargain price, I’ll buy it,” Mitchell said.
“We focus on pop culture items from the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s. But if I find something cool and I think it’s a bargain price, I’ll buy it,” said Mitchell
Mitchell said you should “never throw anything away” until you’ve seen how much you can sell it for. VHS tapes and players, DVDs, toys and game consoles are always popular
As for their advice, Mitchell said you should “never throw anything away” before checking how much you could sell it for.
“The exciting thing about this job is that by the time you know what the best-selling items are, it’s usually too late. But I’ll tell you about a few items that always have a respectable value,” he said.
A modest VHS video player can retail for as little as $30, as can some DVD players.
“Never throw these away if they work, you can at least easily score $30 on Facebook,” Mitchell said.
‘One of the hardest Australian shows to find on video is the cute and adorable program PLASMO. The last copy of PLASMO on VHS sold for $290 – There’s one on eBay right now for $400.”
Most music cassette tapes are also a hit.
“Not many people today know what a music cassette tape looks like, but there are still a few collectors who are happy to pay a lot of money,” Mitchell said.
“Heavy metal and hip-hop have the most value if you can find certain titles.”
Anything electrical – including old game consoles – will always make good money too.
Mitchell said the EC doll from the ABC children’s show “Lift Off” is worth about $300.
These dolls are highly sought after and very hard to find. An easy way to tell if yours is complete is to see if his little shirt still has it on — this shirt can make the difference between $150 or $300,” he said.
Likewise, the toys from the ABC children’s show Johnson and Friends can fetch anywhere from $150 to $600.
The EC doll from the ABC children’s show “Lift Off” (pictured left) retails for $300, but is a rare find. Toys from the ABC kids show Johnson and Friends can also fetch anywhere from $150 to as much as $600 (right)
Which second-hand items sell for a high price?
Music on cassette tapes
VHS video players and VHS tapes
DVD players and DVDs
Consoles and video games – Xbox, Play Station, Commodore 64, Nintendo Wii
ABC Kids TV Video Tapes
ABC Johnson and Friends toys
The EC Doll from the ABC Children’s Show ‘Lift Off’
Merchandise – 1990s McDonald’s toys, Star Wares memorabilia, The Simpsons posters, etc
The pair use eBay to their advantage to help estimate whether a product will sell quickly or not
Essentially, any object that causes a nostalgia hit, such as Pac-Man, Power Rangers, Pokémon, Polly Pocket, Disney, The Simpsons, and The Powerpuff Girls, will likely sell easily.
Mitchell and Erin use eBay to their advantage to help estimate whether a product will sell quickly or not.
“It took me many years of trial and error to figure out exactly what sells quickly and what doesn’t,” Mitchell said.
The best way to check how much and if an item will sell is to check the eBay sold list filter.
This can be accessed while searching for items in the advanced filter settings. If you don’t see sold items, but hundreds of listed items, that’s a good sign that the item you want to sell is a dud.
“But if you see a ton of sold listings and when you try to search for current listings there aren’t any, that’s a good sign that your item will sell quickly because it’s in high demand.”
VHS tapes are also a hot item as they retail for $30
The couple’s obsession with nostalgic products dates back to childhood.
“In high school, I was overly obsessed with collecting video games that I had as a kid — including the Sega Master System and Super Nintendo,” Mitchell said.
“I offered money to kids at school and put ads in the local newspaper (before Facebook existed) to help build my collection.”
This hobby continued well into his twenties and he decided to give up his trade as a butcher and follow his passion after moving back to Melbourne and meeting Erin.
Those interested in purchasing products can message the couple at the Retro Rescuers Facebook page here.