September 6

Car Enthusiast Turns Single Auction Win Into Creative Reselling Business


Last Updated on February 17, 2022

One car enthusiast turned a single auction win into a creative reselling business. His name is Charles E. Snyder II, and his journey began the moment he achieved far more than expected. After a series of unsuccessful ventures, Charles discovered Municibid and with that his very first win.

“The journey to where I am today started with a Municibid auction win in June of 2014. I am an automotive guy, I have a decent sized garage with a couple of antique cars filling the bays. I am always looking for decor and automotive related antiques and memorabilia to line the walls of my garage with.” 

“In 2014, the one item I was looking for was a stop light. All I wanted was 1 light to hang in the corner and have lit.”

Charles E. Snyder's first auction win

Despite Charles’ simple request, sometimes finding single items at an auction proves difficult. And if such an item is found, the asking price may prove to be more than what the item is actually worth. This was the case for Charles.

“I was looking at single traffic lights for sale on other auction and merchant sites and I just couldn’t come up with the current asking prices. I was doing some basic online searches for traffic lights to see if I could find a more reasonable price and Municibid was one of the top suggestions.”

“I registered but I didn’t think I had much chance of winning any of the auctions. The prices of single traffic lights were high and I figured that an auction with multiple lights would be even higher. What I had not thought of at the time was that most people want just one traffic light, and most people aren’t interested in or have the space to store multiple lights.”

“To my surprise, and maybe a little bit of horror, I ended up winning a group of 25 lights for close to the same price that I would have paid for one. I now had about 15 traffic lights and 10 walk/don’t lights and I had no idea what I was going to do with them. The seller was fairly close, so arrangements were made and I had my win at home in the garage a couple of days later.”

Charles E. Snyder's reselling. business items

Changing his approach, led to Charles getting more than he expected from the auction win, and his first win at that! The surprises were not done either, because he soon discovered that he wasn’t the only person with a penchant for traffic lights.

“I work in a fairly large manufacturing plant and I found out quickly that I wasn’t the only one locally that wanted a traffic light in their garage. Just through word of mouth at work, within a couple of weeks, I was able to move all of the lights from that first Municibid auction win.”

“Just through conversation at work, and with friends and family, I found out that a lot of people enjoyed vintage traffic lights and signs. I even had people requesting certain specific lights and signs if I ever ‘came across them in my travels’”

Charles E. Snyder II, creator of Unique Automotive

“Since that first auction win in 2014, I realized that I could bid on items, add to my own collection, help friends and family add to their collections, and maybe even make a few dollars at the day’s end. I didn’t realize it at the time and it wouldn’t really set in for a couple of years, but that first Municibid win on that day in June of 2014 was the beginning of Unique Automotive.”

Unique Automotive Reselling Business

“Over the past 7 years, I have slowly gotten braver, and I have bid on larger and larger groups of items. That first auction opened up a lot of unknowns, I had no idea what I was getting into at the time. Now, it’s nothing for me to bid on and pick up 25 traffic lights at once or to bid on and win 100+ traffic signs in one auction.”

“I have enough of an inventory now that I’ve even begun bidding on auctions for parts and pieces. I can always use spare lenses or brackets to rebuild and repair lights that are in need. I even began attending a local automotive swap meet every summer starting a few years back and the Unique Automotive brand has gone along with me every part of the way.”

“I have taken my desire to add just one item to my collection and I have turned it into a place for all kinds of people to add to their collections.”

Charles E. Snyder's reselling business, Unique Automotive

“Unique Automotive has evolved into a place for me to share my finds and for others to share their interests and finds with the rest of us. I am no longer limited to traffic lights and signs. I buy, sell, trade, and share all sorts of unique automotive and travel related items now.” 

“Anything you might see along the highways while you are on a cross country trip can be found in the Unique Automotive inventory and archives. Traffic lights, street signs, fire hydrants, parking meters, vintage payphones, automotive advertising, vintage maps, and so much more!”

“The past year has been difficult but I made the best of it. I had to roll with the changes and do the best that I could when some pickup procedures changed drastically with the pandemic. When required to mask up to enter some of the city buildings and garages over the past year or so, even my masks were unique and automotive related.”

“It’s been a fun, educational, and fruitful trip so far over the past 7 years. I enjoy the hunt, the thrill of the auctions. I don’t see it coming to an end any time soon, this is just the beginning!”

What makes Charles’ story amazing, and others like his, is that a single auction win grew into an opportunity for more. After not being able to find what he wanted for a time, he finally struck gold. And not just gold for himself, but for those in his social circles as well. Charles used his wins to secure items for himself and resell material to other people. His adventure from experimenting with auctions to running his own business was no doubt tedious, but he found himself dedicated to a cause. Now, he can proudly say he owns his own business.
Entrepreneurship requires work and reselling is not easy, but with effort and the top tips for reselling in today’s economy, like Charles, you can forge your own story. Will your success story begin here at Municibid?


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