Baby Boomer Gold Rush

Posted on October 6th, 2014 in 1970s,1980s,Collectibles,Pop Culture by Terry Hamburg


In the 1950s, a “garage sale” meant someone was selling a garage. Twenty years later, it assumed a new reality.

Poised like disciplined infantry, baby boomer weekend warriors were set to descend and vanquish.

Today, the garage sale is a shadow of its wild, heart-pounding heyday in the 1970s and 80s. Then, it was a perfect buying storm: unwanted merchandise morphs into valuable antiques and collectibles overnight while the public remains ignorant or unable to keep pace. Knowledge is power. Speed is king. Time is money.

Baby boomers led the charge. Since treasures were spread all over the place, enterprising dealers and collectors had to devise strategies: concentrate on one small area; hit the best sounding ads wherever; go to far-away sites on the theory few else will. There was always next week.

The serious screeched up, power-perused a chaos of merchandise, and then struck or left. Teamwork won the day. Partners spread out and hit more sales citywide. Or a gang scooped up goods as a member worked her way into the house in search of the Mother Lode. Spot savvy competitors picking through the spread? Scoot off to the next opportunity. At least, you’ll beat them.

A telltale sign a seller had some inkling of value were the Bibles: Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles or Schroeder’s Antiques Price Guide. Dealers vamoosed at the sight of these books.


On a good summer day in a metropolis, you might hit 50 sales. There is exhilaration, exhaustion and, alas, depression when the day winds down. As one veteran lamented, paraphrasing Alexander the Great: “I cry because there are no more sales to conquer.”


Baby Boomer Trivia Questions


A popular definition of  “antique” is an item 100 years old. Where did this idea come from?

International treaty
Antiques Appraisers of America
U.S. customs regulations
United Nations


Match Game: Connect the celebrities to their collecting passion

John Wayne
Jamie Lee Curtis
Debbie Reynolds
Quentin Tarantino

Dolls, Movie Memorabilia, Board Games, Old Photographs


Answers at end of post




The U.S. Customs Service established the 100-year rule to regulate import tariffs.

John Wayne Dolls
Jamie Lee Curtis→ Old Photographs
Debbie Reynolds→ Movie Memorabilia
Quentin Tarantino→ Board Games

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