Thrift stores and hidden gems

kringwinkel_logoTwo years ago, on our way to the Belgian coast, we stopped at “Flanders Expo” in Ghent, where a big retro fair was being held by the thrift stores of Flanders. Last year we missed it, but this year, it was marked on our calendars as “the” date in March for bargain hunting.

The event started at 10 AM and sure enough, the bargain hunters were already queuing at the entrance well before the doors opened. Most of them were looking to find that really cool piece of vintage furniture, ornament or oddity at a thrift store price (and that would be less than 50% of what you’d expect to pay at a vintage shop in some of Belgium’s fine antiques and vintage shops as for instance in the “Kloosterstraat” in Antwerp)

kringwinkel2013_kermisIf you have enough space, why not put this 70s kids fair rocket in your living room

Of course, I wasn’t there for the furniture (although a cool 70s chair is always nice), I was there to see if I could find some hidden retro tech gems just like I did two years ago.
Sure enough, it seemed some of the thrift stores had been keeping their best retro tech for that day, as the first shop already greeted me with a (sadly) non-working TRS-80 Model 4 at 30 Euro. It powered up, but then the screen only produced garbage… pity as it would have been a bargain.


The next store produced one of the late 70s PONG clones but at a price of 50 Euro, that was a bit too steep. Seemed like that particular thrift store had been looking up their inventory on eBay as they had a Videopac G7200 priced at 450 Euro. OK it was boxed, OK it was complete, OK was a G7200, OK it looked in perfect condition, but I had to take their word on it that it functioned. I tried to bring the price down, but this early in the morning they had their hopes set that there would be a buyer willing to pay the asking price.


Moving on to the next store, I had the best bargain of the day. They were selling a box of C64 goodies containing a C64, a datasette, some tapes and… a 1581 floppy drive… and all this for just 50 Euro. Needless to say, I bought it then and there!

Picking up some further things left and right, I went back the store selling the G7200 and sure enough, they had already dropped the price to 350. An hour later it would be 250. I tried to bring it down to 200 (as I wasn’t 100% sure it would work), but they didn’t want to go to that price. In hindsight, 250 is a very decent price for a complete G7200 system in its original box, but since I already had one, I just couldn’t see myself paying that for a 2nd system.


So with a trunk full of retro goodies (and a cool wooden game called “Carambole” for just 10 Euro – at the games fair Spiel in Essen these things sell for well over 100 Euro) we enjoyed a wonderful weekend at the coast.


I love thrift store bargain hunting!

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