Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Spy Gear! (sort of)

 A while back I went to an auction that had a little bit of everything. On a table, I spotted a little reel to reel recorder. Now, I had one of these as a kid, and nostalgia soon had me itching to bid! (Not literally, that would be weird)

As the lots came and went, I kept my eye on my little recorder. It hadn't seemed to draw much attention, so that was good. Of course, there was no way to tell if it actually worked, so that may have been chasing people off. 

The lot came up and opened at five bucks. I raised my hand and then the price shot up to...well, five bucks. No one else bid. For better or worse, it was mine. Of course for five bucks, what could go wrong?

Well, long story short, it actually does work! The included tape is some kid (in the 70s, I guess) trying to be a rock star. I've never really used it, other than testing it, but it's nice to have. 

So there you go! Be careful what you bid on, you just might get it.

Keep searching for treasure!


  1. Stu, I think AIWA was the brand of the walkman type thing I got in the early 80s.
    I had a little tape recorder like that in the early 60s. My friend and I would read comics, in the appropriate voices, on to that thing. It was a lot of fun listening to them after. It wasn't very big...maybe 6 or 7 inches across.
    5 bucks? Worth it.

  2. Ugh! Blogger ate my comment. Worse than my dog eating my homework.

    Anyway, as I was saying…

    When I was stationed in England, we went with another couple and another friend to a local furniture auction. After my wife won an auction early on for a small hall table for £10, auction fever caught her for a moment and she bid £10 on a really dated, brown-and-beige love seat and chair that matched absolutely nothing we owned. I gave her a “what are you doing?” look and she told me it was “just to get the auction going.”

    I ended up loading that ugly monstrosity that nobody wanted in a friend’s truck to haul to our house because we’d won the auction…for £10. Be careful what you bid on, because you just might get it.

    Same auction…there are some Brits that just don’t like Americans, just like there are some Americans who don’t like [insert nationality here]. It’s usually based on media-driven stereotypes, possibly enhanced by a negative encounter with one jackass 15 years ago.

    There was a professional buyer there, a guy who appeared to be buying for an antique furniture store within relatively close driving distance but who didn’t appear to be from the local community (which had three American bases right close together), who fit this category. Once he noticed the five young people in the corner were Americans, he started bidding on everything we were bidding on. If one of us seemed particularly set on buying something, he’d bid, too, just to run the price up and stick it to the Johnny Foreigners.

    Example: there were several 1920s-vintage pedal-powered Singer sewing machines going up for auction. We waited out the first auction, which went to a local in a single bid for £5. A few lots later, another sewing machine came up. My wife bid £5. Out of the blue, our villain bid £10. Mrs. Chuck bid £15. He bid £20. We finally got it for £25.

    It got really irritating. Even the locals were starting to give him some sharp looks.

    My wife then bid on something - we think was probably a table - and made it clear she really wanted it. We got him up to £50 - which was more than like furniture had been going for - and then stopped bidding. On purpose. I love that woman.

    There was a low chuckle across the warehouse and the locals broke out in smiles. The guy looked shocked, then grinned sheepishly like a kid who’s been caught raiding the cookie jar. He didn’t bid on anything else.

    Be careful what you bid on, because you just might get it!

  3. DrGoat, I can remember reading a mystery book into mine as a kid. Your idea sounds like more fun, though!

    Chuck, we used to go to quite a few auctions and learned to "drop the anvil" on folks pretty well, lol. It's not nice, but some people are just begging for it. Of course, it happened to us too. We were once bidding on a storage unit and I threw out a 110.00 bid just to "play." Well, you know who got stuck with it. That was about 10 years ago and we still haven't gotten rid of all that stuff!

  4. Stu, ever since my dad had a reel-to-reel tape recorder in our basement in Pennsylvania, I’ve kind of loved those machines. I think his was a Pioneer, but I’m not certain. Getting yours for five bucks is an amazing deal! I saw a YouTube video about some cool little Nagra mini tape recorders, they’re such beautiful objects that I instantly wanted on - just to have. Little did I realize that they are hugely collectible, and high-priced!

  5. Major, I love reel to reels too for some reason. I also have a Sansui quadrophonic machine that was a LOT more pricey, lol. Still, you just can't beat the warm, full sound of an analog tape! Digital just sounds "tinny" to me. And LPs tend to have too much static. Unfortunately, the tapes have gotten extremely expensive.

  6. Marvelous. Blogger ate my comment. Pro tip, don't use preview.

    Stu, great find, fun blog. I will stop in periodically.

    Chuck, great story.

    Dr. Goat, I had an Aiwa too, same era.


  7. Glad you like it JG! I'll try to do better at updating the blog!


Apparently Blogger doesn't like people commenting from anything but a computer. I'm trying to find a solution, but so far no luck. If your comment doesn't go through, please try from a computer. Thanks.