Collectors know that successful thrifting is more than just luck. It also involves knowing makers, their work, and current trends. In May 2020, a 22-year-old college student in Illinois who also sells vintage items online, had all three of those skills in place — and it paid off. While shopping at his local Goodwill store, student Terrelle Brown recognized an ashtray made in 2002 by hot Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara. In 2019, Nara’s “Knife Behind Back” (2000) set an auction record for his work at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, selling for about $25 million.

The ashtray, with a picture of a girl puffing on a cigarette, was in a locked glass cabinet in its original packaging. It was a 2002 original Nara piece titled “Too Young To Die.” Brown bought it for $10. After authenticating it by matching it with other ashtrays made by Nara at the time, Brown turned around and sold the ashtray for $2,860 on eBay.

The moral of the story? Keep reading Kovels and you’ll know what’s hot and what’s not. A little knowledge can turn into an impressive Goodwill discovery of your own.

nara yoshitomo japanese artist too young to die ashtray

Photo: tdotbdot on TikTok


2 responses to “$10 Thrift Store Buy Sells for Nearly $3,000 on eBay”

  1. Oregonbeachbum says:

    What I forgot to mention was the price. It was $69.00. I don’t look for items to resell–I leave that to others and only buy what I collect.

  2. Oregonbeachbum says:

    Just goes to show there are treasures to be found, if you’re lucky to know your items. A case in point. Several years ago I was living in Lincoln City, Oregon. I liked to go to the local Goodwill about 2-3 times a week. I stopped to look at their locked case and saw one of the workers placing a Carnival glass punchbowl and 8 cups in the case. Even before she finished putting the set in the locked case I told her, ‘I’ll buy that’. There were several antique dealers hovering around the case drooling over the punchbowl set and got really disappointed that I got there first. I picked up one of the punch cups and help it up to the light. The set was one of the rarest colors of Carnival glass–red violet. I took one of the punch cups to a local expert of Carnival glass to see if it were original or a recent reproduction. He said that the color of glass is extremely expensive to make even today and that it was original. He estimated the value at well over $1,000.

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