When Mike Basile wakes up in the morning, he can’t wait to get to work.
Buying and selling precious metals and other items, Basile sees something new every day. Opening an office for Putnam County Gold Diggers back in October, the Yorktown resident has committed to his new career and never felt better. His business serves Putnam and Westchester counties, as well as surrounding areas in the region.Basile started buying and selling different items, including gold and jewelry, in 1997, but only part-time. He ran a contracting business and had been doing that for more than 30 years until he retired in 2011 to solely focus on this business.
Basile’s interest in this line of work began with the greatest hockey player of all-time, Wayne Gretzky. Basile, a huge fan of Gretzky, had more than 4,500 items of him in his collection from pucks to hockey sticks to cards and jerseys. (Basile, also a big New York Rangers fan, was ecstatic when Gretzky joined the team in 1996. He has paintings of him that he hopes Gretzky might sign one day.)
Finally, his wife came to him and asked what he was planning on doing with all of it.
He started selling the products on eBay and got hooked from there. Then he had friends who were looking to have him sell so he took on clients and got more clients as word spread about his service. Basile said, “it just snowballed.”
“It’s really rewarding, it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “Everyday is different and I actually look forward to going to work in the morning. It’s all cool.”
Basile buys from several different sources, including clients, storage units he bids on, estate sales and tag sales. Sometimes he’ll work with an elderly client who just lost a spouse or the child of deceased parents to evaluate how much certain items are worth in their home.
When he goes to storage or locker sales, Basile said it’s nothing like what’s shown on popular TV shows like “Storage Wars.” He usually breaks even on lockers he bids on.
He’ll buy and sell precious metals like gold and silver, artwork and custom jewelry. If it’s an item a client can carry into his office, he’ll consider it.
“I’ll get my hands on anything,” he said.
And as soon as he gets his hands on it, he’s ready to unload it again. Unless his wife wants it, it goes on the market.
The biggest profit Basile ever cashed in was a bronze statue he found at a tag sale. Three years ago, a Somers resident was selling multiple items from her home and Basile spotted the statue in the corner. He bought it from the woman for $320 (“which is what she wanted,” Basile said.) and then resold it for an incredible $14,000.
Basile stressed it’s important to give people a fair price when buying items off a person looking to sell. He’s been told he gives a little more money than other buyers in the area and that keeps them coming back.
“You have to make money, and they understand that,” Basile said. “But you don’t want to nickel and dime where they won’t come back.”
Putnam County Gold Diggers is located at 692 Route 6 in Mahopac and its phone number is 914-582-7323.