A couple who turn over $120,000 a year selling ‘retro’ collectables have revealed how you could be sitting 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 treasure others consider to be trash.
The Melbourne couple aged in their 30s launched their brand Retro Rescuers five years ago and have a passion for ‘saving’ memorabilia that would otherwise be thrown out.
Speaking to FEMAIL, the pair say going to an op shop is like ‘stepping into a time machine’ and ‘taking a trek down memory lane’.
‘I think lots of Aussie families would be shocked at 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 reselling collectable items for the last five years
The Melbourne couple find their goodies by searching op shops, garage sales, local markets and even dumpsters
They often map out 20 to 25 secondhand stores to visit, leaving no stone unturned
The husband and wife team search high and low for vintage items they can restore and resell for a profit – scouring through op shops and even jumping into dumpsters to find new listings.
They often map out 20 to 25 secondhand stores to visit, leaving no stone unturned. They also visit local markets and garage sales and have the odd private sale.
Mitchell and Erin operate their business from home and can hold inventory for as little as 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 reigns supreme.
‘We focus on pop culture items from the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. However if I find something cool and I think its a bargain price I’ll buy it,’ Mitchell said.
‘We focus on pop culture items from the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. However if I find something cool and I think its a bargain price I’ll buy it,’ Mitchell said
Mitchell said to ‘never throw anything away’ before checking how much you could sell it for first. VHS tapes and players, DVDs, toys, and gaming consoles are always popular
As for their advice, Mitchell said to ‘never throw anything away’ before checking how much you could sell it for first.
‘The exciting thing about this line of work is that by the time you know what the best-selling items are it’s usually too late. But I will let you in on a couple of the items that always hold a respectable value,’ he said.
A humble VHS Video Player can sell for a minimum of $30, as can some DVD players.
‘Don’t ever throw these out if they work, at the minimum you can score an easy $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 is currently one listed on eBay for $400.’
Most music cassette tapes are also a hit.
‘Not many people even know what a music cassette tape looks like these days but there is still a bunch of collectors out their happy to pay big bucks,’ Mitchell said.
‘Heavy metal and hip hop tend to hold the most value if you can find particular titles.’
Anything electric – including old gaming consoles – will also always fetch good money.
Mitchell said the EC Doll from the ABC Children’s program ‘Lift Off’ is worth about $300.
‘These dolls are extremely sought after and very hard to find. An easy way to tell if yours is complete is to check if his little shirt is still on him – this shirt can be the difference between $150 or $300,’ he said.
Similarly the toys from the ABC children’s show Johnson and Friends can also fetch anywhere between $150 to $600.
The EC Doll from the ABC Children’s program ‘Lift Off’ (pictured left) sells for $300 but is a rare find. Toys from the ABC kids’ show Johnson and Friends can also fetch anywhere between $150 to a whopping $600 (right)
What secondhand items sell for a high price?
Music on cassette tapes
VHS video players and VHS tapes
DVD players and DVDs
Consoles & 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 program ‘Lift Off’
Merchandise – McDonald’s 90s toys, Star Wares memorabilia, The Simpsons posters, etc
The pair use eBay to their advantage to help estimate if a product will sell quickly or not
Essentially any object that sparks a nostalgic hit such as Pac-Man, Power Rangers, Pokémon, Polly Pocket, Disney, The Simpsons, and The Powerpuff Girls will probably sell easily.
Mitchell and Erin use eBay to their advantage to help estimate if a product will sell quickly or not.
‘It took me many years of trial and error to work out what exactly sells quickly and what doesn’t,’ Mitchell said.
‘The best way you can check how much or if an item will sell is by checking the eBay sold listing filter.
‘This can be accessed while searching for items in the advanced filter settings. If you see no sold items but hundreds of the item listed it’s a good sign that the item you’re thinking of selling is a dud.
‘But if you see heaps of sold listings and when you try to search current listings there aren’t any, then that’s a good sign your item will sell quickly as it has high demand.’
VHS tapes are also a hot item as one can sell for $30
The couple’s obsession with nostalgic products trace back to their childhood.
‘In high school I was overly obsessed with collecting video games I had as a kid – including the Sega Master System and Super Nintendo,’ Mitchell said.
‘I would offer cash to kids at school and place ads in the local newspaper (before Facebook existed) to help complete my collection.’
This hobby continued well into his 20s 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 any products can message the couple on the Retro Rescuers Facebook page here.