Now this is a story you don’t hear very often, a man getting five thousand dollars for a pair of pliers he found at a swap-meet. Despite the endless stories you hear about hoarders, or people who fruitlessly collect massive amounts of “junk,” this story has the opposite ending. A man is finally rewarded for his fascination with a particular niche, and his accumulation of knowledge over the years as he builds his collection.
Dan Schmidt says that he started collecting tools, because he was dismayed at the lower quality of tools being produced today. He wanted to find the best of American-made tools, and went to many swap-meets in his spare time to find the best. All of the tools he’s collected are in working condition and he uses them regularly for projects he works on around the house. He’s proud of the collection that he’s tirelessly researched and developed.
The Indio resident, 58-year old Dan Schmidt, whose day job is being a lawyer, has poured more money into this hobby than his law-practice. Despite being a lawyer, his true obsession is being a tool collector, and says that he keeps over thousands of tools in his garage and a spare room in his house. He’s been able to amass this amount, even though he’s only been doing it for three years. Due to his knowledge of tools, Schmidt decided to enter the Klein Tools contest. The goal of the contest is to find the world’s oldest pair of pliers. Klein Tools is a manufacturer of tools and hold this contest on a yearly basis from March to May.
When Dan Schmidt heard about this contest, he knew he could win. He went to a plethora of swap-meets to find the oldest pair of pliers. And, luckily, he found what he was looking for a in a specific pair of pliers that he knew was “the one” as soon as he layed eyes on them.
When Klein Tools first saw the pliers, they also knew they had a winner on their hands. They were able to tell because of certain factors about the pair of pliers:
- The Nickel plating
- Creation date of 1904
- The working condition of the pliers, due to the quality of the original product
After Klein tools had the pliers shipped to their location to take a closer look, they knew they had a winner on their hands. Dan Schmidt beat out 850 other applicants to win the five thousand dollar prize, for a pair of pliers he brought for under five dollars at a swap meet! This was a pretty smart investment. For winning the contest Schmidt won five thousand dollars, half of which was given in tools. He was also given a tour of the Klein Tools facility, which he greatly enjoyed. But even more than the money, Dan Schmidt now has the satisfaction of knowing that his knowledge and research were validated in a surprising and gratifying way. He even gave half the check to his wife for putting up with his large tool collection!
Kwi is a writer for HughesEstateSales.com who specializes in vintage furniture and furnishings
Photo Credit: Old Sarge