Backpacker strikes garage sale gold

00:54, Apr 25 2012
Tim Bow
Welsh backpacker Tim Bow has a passion for poring through garage sales.

A tourist with a passion for poring through garage sales came up with a famous find in Nelson at the weekend – a signed copy of an Enid Blyton book.

Welsh backpacker Tim Bow found a copy of Blyton book We Want a Story, a compilation of short children's stories, when he was out at a Nelson garage sale searching for a present for a friend's child.

He bought the book as part of a $5 pile of books in the sale, but hoped to sell it for much more.

Enid Blyton is known for creating well-loved children's books like Noddy, The Famous Five and The Secret Seven.

Mr Bow lives and works at a backpackers' hostel in The Wood, and supports himself by buying items at garage sales and selling them online – a practice he picked up about a decade ago.

He had done well from the practice when he lived in Sweden for four years, he said.


"If something stands out to me, I will buy it. I just quite like picking stuff up and doing the research afterwards."

He said the New Zealand garage sale market was smaller than in Sweden, with plenty of professional resellers, which meant he needed to be in quick to catch a bargain.

When he went to the sale at the weekend, he thought he might have missed all of the quality items.

"Then I saw it and my legs gave away."

Mr Bow had shown pictures of the book and signature to forum members of the Enid Blyton Society in England, who had verified its authenticity, he said.

He had put the book on Trade Me with a high reserve price – $1000 – to "put some feelers out" and gauge interest, but he was not sure how much the book was worth to collectors.

So far he had a few people watching the auction online, and hoped the book would be snapped up by a keen collector.

"It just takes time, it's just a waiting game."

The Nelson Mail