As a side hustle; a way to make extra money, I purchase pre-owned or what you can call undervalued items through various venues to resell for profit on platforms such as eBay and Amazon. Last month I participated in a local online auction where there were several items up for a bid, items like cameras, video cameras, luggage, appliances, etc. I ended up being the highest bidder on the video cameras, luggage, and other various miscellaneous items. The pickup location was an address in Calistoga which is a small town in the Napa valley. My wife and I took the trip out there, it was a 2-hour drive but the good deals made it worth it.
We had to pull off the narrow rural road to an unassuming plantation style, a 2 story home when we arrived. We met with one of the auction staff who directed us to drive further down to a service road on the property that will lead to a “barn” where we can pick up our items. Off we drove again past a large pond expecting to see the traditional “barn” only to pull up to a very large commercial facility that turned out to be a professional grade equestrian stable. We were again directed to drive to the rear of the facility where there were several storage garages, we finally pulled up to one of the garages and showed our lot number to the attendant.
After loading our items into the van, we stopped by a classic burger stand in Saint Helena called Gott’s roadside that was abuzz to grab a quick bite before proceeding onto the long drive home.
A few days later during that week I began to inspect and test each of the video cameras, I decided to keep one of the newer ones as it was nicer than the current one I owned. As I was charging it, I discovered that there were some videos left in the built-in memory of the camera. I quickly connected the camera to my laptop to copy the files so I could view them, there were about a dozen clips of a college age young man being coached to throw a football like a quarterback. The young man was very talented at this and seemed very familiar to me. Taking a closer look, I spotted the logo on his shorts to be Tulane University. Full of excitement now, I quickly rushed to Tulane’s website and looked at the roster of the football team from 2014 which was the date on the video clips. I spotted the young man and also discovered his name was Nick Montana….could he be related to the famous hall of fame quarterback Joe Montana I thought to myself? I then played some more of the video clips and could the voice behind the camera be that of Joe Montana’s? It sure sounded like him from what I remember of all those post-game interviews and TV appearances over the years.
I had listed most of the cameras on eBay except for one because it didn’t have a battery included so I set it aside and ordered the battery through Amazon. In the meantime, I started to inspect and photograph the Tumi luggage pieces so I could put them up for sale. I started going through the pockets of a plain black laptop attaché bag and found a stack of business cards for a company called Modernbank, the name on the card read “Joseph C. Montana” “Vice Chairman”. I nearly fell off my seat because that cemented in my mind that these items that I had bought from this auction had surely belonged to Joe Montana at one point in time. As I searched further I pulled from one of the pockets a pair of VIP Visa photo passes to the 2012 Olympics in London, England for Joe and his wife Jennifer. I was dumbfounded, meanwhile, my replacement battery had arrived a few days later and I proceeded to open the tape compartment from that last camcorder and saw that a tape had been left inside this camera as well. When I turned it on to view the tape, behold, it contained footage of Joe, his wife Jennifer and their son Nick on vacation where they were doing adventurous things like bungee jumping. It seemed Joe was a bit more reluctant than his wife and son to jump off the platform, it was quite interesting.
I finally ended up searching Google maps for the address where I picked up the auction items and lo and behold the property is referred to as Villa Montana in Zillow!
It turns out we entered the property at a service entrance and didn’t see the 9700 square foot mansion while we were there due to the vast size of the 500-acre property, Wow! Now my quest is to get in contact with Joe Montana so I can return his precious family video clips to him rightfully. I’ve tried several methods to get in touch with Joe, sending an email to the address on the business card which unfortunately bounced back. I tried calling the cell phone number listed as well as tweeting him on Twitter and messaging him on Facebook. I also went as far as reaching out to him through sports agents all with no success. I guess I will have to hold on to the video footage until I am able to get them back into his possession. In the meantime, I’ll continue to hustle to list and resale all the items I acquired, if I’m patient and lucky I may be able to see a good return on my small investment.
That old adage that says “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” applies here in a big way, either way, I’m a lucky guy!