One of the coolest places in Kansas City

have guns will rent 2If you find yourself driving around in downtown KCK, you have to check out our good friend Jerry Vest’s costume rental shop: Have Guns Will Rent. Easily one of the most unique places in Kansas City. Jerry rents costumes and props to film outfits worldwide, is active in film and theater in Kansas City, and is a pretty badass mofo all around. The store is located at 1313 State Ave. in Kansas City, Kansas. This place has everything from princess outfits to fake corpses and shrunken heads. Three buildings FULL. Oh, and he runs an automobile garage out of the place, too. It is well known, to those in the know, but for some reason may be off the radar of your average Kansas City explorer. Here are some pics I snapped from my latest visit (and they don’t even begin to do it justice). If you need to rent a costume or prop, Jerry is your man . . . and don’t think: “he won’t have it” – he probably will.

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Why do you collect?

In this blog I’ve mentioned several times about “things I have learned” (in so many words) since I started this auction company. This isn’t so much something I’ve learned, but is a way I have altered my behavior: I don’t collect as much.

Now, I wouldn’t consider myself a hoarder (my wife may disagree), mainly because in the past few years I have had the opportunity to meet with numerous members of this interesting order. I’ve experienced boxes piled to the ceiling with tiny pathways in between, fast food containers stacked orderly and arranged to size, as well as millions of dollars worth of artwork and jewelry (that the owner appears to only wish to talk about selling).

I recently saw a local news bit about a house fire here in the KC metro. The owner was apparently a hoarder and the massive amount of material in the house contributed to the flames’ rapid spread. During an interview in the news segment, a fire captain said there was a house like that ON EVERY BLOCK IN THE CITY. This both excites and terrifies me.

At any rate, I still buy things across our auction block that I may find interesting and available at a reasonable price, but I no longer go to sales picking up random bits and throwing in them in a box or drawer with their new counterparts.

So, I was wondering: what is the reason why we do this? What is they psychology behind it? Is there any historic context? Well, a bit of Internet digging and I found the most comprehensive information on our old pal Wikipedia. Interesting stuff, check it out:

Andrew Turner hosts weekly estate and consignment auctions in Kansas City. For more information, visit:

The closet collector

Jack Donaghy cookie jar collector

A closet collector is one who does not appear to move publicly within certain circles deemed appropriate by another collector of the same material. This always reminds me of the 30 Rock episode when ruthless corporate executive Jack Donaghy is found to be a secret cookie jar collector.

I recently visited a “private museum” of a local guy who was a big time collector of signed photos and ephemera of notable WWII personalities and flight aces. When I walked in the door I was blown away. I mentioned some names of some of the other militaria collectors in the Kansas City area who are interested in the same material, but they had no connection. This massive amount of material, that we are bringing to auction, was overwhelming. Such dedication, meticulous attention to detail, and presentation was simply amazing. The museum was never open to the public, only friends and family. Again, one of the benefits to this line of work is receiving the honor of invitation to see firsthand an endeavor like this.

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Andrew Turner hosts weekly estate and consignment auctions in Kansas City. For more information, visit:

A collection with a collection or “The Sleeper”

Almost every time a winning bidder finds something in our weekly Kansas City estate & consignment auctions that they end up selling for a nice profit, they feel obliged to tell me about it. Most of the time it’s all good natured, and I’m honestly happy for the lucky customer – it’s an auction and that’s what it’s all about, but sometimes I take a ribbing about how they “got over on us” or “we should have known what it was”.

Another thing I’ve learned in my years of digging and picking is that no one can know everything about everything. There are so many different “strata” so to speak about anything one collects. Take knife collecting for example: you have combat knives, hunting knives, fishing knives, Damascus blades, lock blades, folding knives, and on and on. Each of these categories can be broken down as well: production dates, materials, grip construction, makers, specific use, etc. I imagine the sub categories go down even further from there. Knife collecting isn’t something that I know a whole heck of a lot about, either, but I thought it would make a good example. We sell many knives each year, some of them bringing great prices by collectors – others simply bought for resale (here’s a link to some great knife collecting articles (

I infer this applies to all areas of collecting: militaria, autographs, dolls, coins, artwork, and so on. In fact, I recently bought a “no-name” flip top lighter with a crudely designed Snoopy cursing the Red Barron applied to front for just a few dollars. I happened to know that this crude Snoopy is iconic of the Vietnam War, for some reason those guys thought Snoopy cursing was pretty damn funny and it applied to their situation in SE Asia. He was commonly customized by soldiers in the war on patches, jackets, nose art, etc. I happened to know this and was able to get a good deal on the fly just because I had this bit of esoteric knowledge. It’s resale is not going to make my year or anything, it’s just another example.

So, chances are, there is a collection within your collection that you may not even know about. Kind of neat thing to think consider and inspiration to do further research on your particular area of interest.

Andrew Turner  hosts weekly estate and consignment auctions in Kansas City. For more information, visit

Coin fishing

Since I started this auction company I’ve learned a lot about coins. Not anywhere near enough to be considered anywhere near an expert, but I have often thought about how much silver has gone through my hands in coin form growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. They say hindsight is 20/20, but in this case hindsight would be 90% silver. I’m pretty sure the days of getting a silver coin (quarters and dimes, mainly, pre-1964), in your change from the store are long gone. But I recently ran across this interesting article on “coin fishing” written by a Sacramento collector named William Thurston relating to copper pennies – many of which are still out there. I’ve pasted the article below, with a link to the original article as well. Neat stuff:

1961-D lincoln cent was minted 1,753,266,700 times. In that process double struck coins have been reported. They need to be approved by a rating service and then they will have increased value. I checked the one I caught, no such luck. But I had a chance, and that is all we can hope for as coin fisherpersons. The ladies will find coin collecting just as much fun as the men. The urge to clean your catch is strong. But do not. It ruins the value of the coin. For some weird reason, collectors prefer the patina of age on all coins. Semi Chrome polish makes the oxidation abate, but ruins the value. No one said that when I started fishing coins.

I got the penny in my change, so anything over a cent is profit. It is 95 percent copper, so in copper alone I got 4 cents there. It is in bad shape, lots of wear and tear. the steps of the lincoln memorial on the back are gone. That is how you know your coin is like mine, just good. You can still barely see lincoln sitting on his chair. All the lettering and date are legible, so it will hold it’s value. The other main coin I caught this month, was not a coin per se, but a token. A scandia coin token for games. Silver and 98 percent the size of a quarter. It was in the quarter slot of a register, and the clerk gave it to me. It has a viking warrior head with helmet on the front, then a warrior standing behind a shield on the back. Victorville Las Vegas Ontario Sacramento on the back. My living in Sacramento, it most likely came from here. It is shiny silver and almost the same weight as a quarter I will keep it for my token collection. I have many of them. Many collectors/fishers, save medals and tokens.

The value of an uncirculated 1961-D penny is $1.59. So neither catch improves my collections. But we know as a life long fisher/collector, I will keep catching what I can.

Andrew Turner  hosts weekly estate and consignment auctions in Kansas City. For more information, visit

A look inside . . .

One of the most fascinating parts of this job occurs when I’m asked to step inside someone else’s reality. We all are, to some degree, self absorbed (although some much more so than others – you know who you are . . . no, actually you probably don’t) as we all view the world from our own unique perspective. It has been said what we see is actually the “map rather than the territory”. Without waxing too philosophical, it is a refreshing, from time to time, to be snapped from one’s own reality by being invited into someone else’s.

I recently visited the shop of a life long woodworker/blacksmith/metalworker. From the instant I hit the door, I became immersed in this extraordinary man’s world. We’ll probably handle the sale of the material items from his lifelong endeavor, but for now he’s just planning. Planning on what to do when the time comes. At any rate, while I appreciate his work – it is somewhat of a foreign area to me. At least it was. In my hour + long visit, I became an enthusiast by osmosis. Neat, neat stuff. Take a look:




Andrew Turner  hosts weekly estate and consignment auctions in Kansas City. For more information, visit

What to expect selling items at auction.

Many people wonder what to expect selling items at auction in Kansas City – especially antique and collectibles dealers who haven’t ever done so before. Maybe they’ve gone to auctions to buy items and seen things go for super cheap or sell sky high – of course every single potential seller wants to be at the sky high end of the equation (and so does the auctioneer).

Many people who call our Kansas City auction house with consignment questions want to have us tell them how much their items will sell for, more or less. Unfortunately I’ve learned the cons of giving an estimated price the hard way. In my opinion, the most terrible thing to happen in business is to let someone down. Just today I had a call from a lady who had, what sounded like, some super high end Native American artifacts she wanted to sell. A combination of history and high value makes my mouth water. She also had some pretty tall expectations about how much money she should realize at auction, and I gave her the name of another local auction company who I felt could get her closer to her ideal than we could at this time. We also discussed the possibility of her selling on eBay or looking for another auction house who may have a more item specific event coming up – rather than a weekly Kansas City estate auction like we do. Not that we couldn’t get her close to where she wants to be price wise, but I like to shoot straight with people. I also told her to call back if she doesn’t find the answer she’s looking for out there, because soon we’ll have our auctions running online as well as live (stand by, we’re looking forward to it).

As usual, I’ve strayed from the topic a bit but it relates as she was wondering what to expect from selling items at auction. Many people decide to “try us out” by bringing down low end or otherwise crap items for consignment. “We’ll see how this stuff does,” they say, “and if it does well we’ll bring out good stuff.” Ugh. In this case, I can give an estimate of your success selling at auction – you’re not going to do well. The better stuff you bring the more money you  make. It is that simple.

So, again, it depends on your goals. If you’re looking for an auction house in Kansas City to dispose of an estate or a collection in an efficient manner, to be treated fairly, and to make a reasonable amount of money – you’ve come to the right place. If you want to reach or exceed maximum value on every single item, then you have a bit of legwork to do.

A long time ago I was talking to an old fellow selling items at a militaria collector show and he was talking about selling items with a militaria auction house in Kansas City. He said: “Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you.” I don’t know how many times I’ve repeated that when explaining to people about selling at auction – the gist of this, I think as it relates to our auction – based on my hands-on experience selling thousands of items through our Kansas City auction house – is that in the long run you will be successful. Don’t lose sight of the big picture.

Okay, that’s enough rambling for today.

For more information about our Kansas City auction company and the services we provide, visit:



I don’t care if it sells for $1

In any business, those on the “inside” find things those from the “outside” say as funny. Especially when you hear things over, and over, and over. One thing we get a kick out of around the auction house is: I don’t care if it sells for $1. My standard response is – “Well, I do.” Then I go to explain how at whatever commission we are charging this particular client, it’s just simply not worth the time, effort, and space to sell ANYTHING for $1 (actually, even at $10 or $20 it’s hard to justify – but depends on how the rest of the night’s going, I guess). A lot of people understand, but some just give a glazed stare and say something to the effect of “someone might like it.” Ugh.

Recently when people say they don’t care if it brings a dollar, I’ve been replying with: “You should”. I mean, my goodness people. How many times have you touched this thing? Let’s speculate here . . . you’ve taken it out of the/a basement, put it in a box, put it in your vehicle, taken the box out of the vehicle at your space, unpacked the box and taken said item out. At some point you decided you didn’t want to keep it/sell on ebay etc. So you pretty well repeat the process and bring it to the auction where you say you don’t care if it brings a dollar. Again, how much is your time and effort worth? At the end of your life, as you lay gasping your final breaths – wouldn’t you want that time back? You spent, realistically 15 minutes of your short time on earth moving matter around to essentially put .50 in your pocket . . . and what’s worse, so did I.

Of course this is meant to be a humorous post. It’s an auction, some things just aren’t going to bring what you want. I always tell potential customers if the question even enters their mind: “auction or thrift store?” – go with the thrift store. I’m sure once in a while we miss out on some interesting stuff, but in the end I think it’s worth it.

Visit to learn more about our Kansas City auctions and the services we provide.

On running a small business.

Don’t “they” say an unusually large percentage of small businesses don’t make it a year? Prior to running my own I always looked upon this statistic with a certain amount of mysticism: what other worldly intervention could possibly cause this phenomenon? Now that I’m all-up-in-it myself, it’s obvious: it’s damn hard work. At least I think it is.

Now, I’m not complaining. I always say running my own show beats the heck out of working for someone else who is ten times as rich and half as smart. But what’s interesting is, in retrospect, those I used to work for very well may have been ten times as rich – the half as smart may have been a misconception. It’s oh so much easier to critique an entrepreneur from the other side of a paycheck.

Not to toot my own tonsils, but this goofy little auction company is pretty cool from a small business standpoint. It started out as a hobby, then turned into a way to make a little extra cash and led to others working there and doing the same. All of a sudden-like, we’re legit. And by legit I mean that we revisit “ten times as rich” but this time in the form of landlords, insurance companies, government, utility companies, etc. They all gots they hand in your pocket. It’s almost like these guys don’t want you to have a small business. It’s peculiar the way politicians talk about bridging the gap between the rich and poor, but don’t do much to actually help small business – which is the only bridge building material available. But they give tax breaks and bailouts to the big guys left and right.

So we’re making a go of it, and doing pretty well . . . and as I learn a little more about the nuts and bolts of making it work, I discover that as far as the IRS is concerned, there is barely any type of labor considered contract labor. Fine. Let’s get everyone on payroll and do this thing right – there goes another big chunk of change – but that’s fine, we want to follow the rules. Gotta have insurance, too – scary to think of running things without it. We’re growing, now over five employees . . . gotta get work comp, too. Ouch, that smarts – but again, it’s the right thing to do. Ever paid gas and electric on a huge warehouse? If you haven’t consider yourself lucky, you’ve made it this far in life without experiencing this horror.

I’m not even sure where I’m going with this (but isn’t the Latin definition of “blog”?), and contrary to my earlier point, it does sound like I’m complaining. I’m really not, even though all the “extras” severely impede rapid growth – it is exciting learning, there is something around every corner. Which, is why I think this crazy large number of small businesses don’t make it a year.

What to do? I don’t know. What about small biz subsidies? Certain amount for rent, if certain criteria is met. How about the government pays 100% of  an employee’s social security, unemployment, work comp, etc. for the first year? Then, again if criteria is met (what that would be I haven’t come up with yet), 75% the next year, 50% the next, and so on to a point when the company is on their own? I don’t know, I’m just blogstorming but if we can figure out ways to save billions for big biz – which allow them to profitably operate, why can’t we proportionately do the same for small?

But, at the end of the day, all businesses big and small need people. People to help do the work and people who are interested in their goods and services. I’m fortunate to say I have good great ones on both sides. The simple fact is that without the bidders, consignors, and the people who help keep this thing running smooth, I wouldn’t have made it a year either.

For more information about our Kansas City estate and consignment auctions, and the services we provide, visit

What’s it worth?

Man oh man, I hear this at least a couple of times a day . . . every. single. day.

Now, I know that to people who aren’t surrounded by this kind of stuff all the time, this seems like a pretty straightforward question. But the answer is, simply, it’s worth what someone will pay. I always advise people to do research on their own, although Professor Google can teach you just enough to make sure you never ever sell whatever it is you have. What it’s “worth” and what it will bring in an auction in Kansas City are two totally different things – but this works both ways. If you get multiple people who want something, it can totally exceed “worth” – but just because the Interweb says your signed print of a group of teddy bears hugging an American flag is worth 10k, our particular auction crowd may not be your best outlet.

Also, remember the world is a very different place than it was a decade or two ago – maybe when you purchased something or had it appraised (appraisals and real world “worth” are a subject for another post). My goodness – just think about how far televisions have come in such a short amount of time. A big ol’ $2500 television bought ten years ago, can’t be given away today.

Also, the market is cyclical and fickle. A popular item years ago, say a round golden oak kitchen table, is a hard sell today – but that funky dresser/table/couch your grandma bought in the 60s is hot, hot, hot (thank you television series Madmen). Another example: remember that workbench down in the basement – made from bits of shipping crates, barn wood, and other old pieces of wood? Go into Restoration Hardware or Anthropologie and check out their display pieces. Pick up a design magazine and see what fancypants has in her kitchen. Yep.

Another ramble related to “worth” . . . to get the most value from something (and I hate to turn down business) is to sell it yourself. Ebay, Craigslist, get yourself a booth/shop somewhere, sniff out potential buyers online, etc. But how much is YOUR TIME worth? Your free time. Time you could spend with your family or friends. Time you could spend doing whatever it is that you like to do. How many hours of YOUR TIME will it take: one, two, five, ten? Maybe you did sell that widget for $1000, rather than the $750 you could have gotten by selling through the auction. But at the end of the day how much is your time – your free time – worth? Apparently, $250.

Visit to learn more about our Kansas City auctions and the services we provide.