Gleaming with a facade regarded as an eye-drawing or eye-burning depending on the individual, the Toronto discount store Honest Ed's had stood on the corner of Bathurst and Bloor as a landmark since 1948. Late last year, the sale and closure of the iconic store was the latest testament to how the Canadian city's landscape is changing.
As part of the store's farewell, Honest Ed's devised a plan to allow Torontonians to buy a piece of the bargain store. Selling what turned out to be 2,000 hand-painted show cards used for every kind of product sold in Honest Ed's, the sale was definitely one store closing sale where the fixtures were in high demand.
Staged as a charity sale for Victim Services Toronto, Honest Ed's allowed patrons to buy some of these signs for as little as 50 cents. David Mirvish (the son of founder Ed Mirvish) as well as sign artists Doug Kerr and Wayne Reuben were on hand to provide authentication to those souvenirs with autographs. For a basic show card or sign, a crowd of over a thousand lined-up even before the doors opened(similar to the spectacle created during the famous annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaway at the store).
As I heard from one buyer who lined up on Monday for the sign sale, this could be the only time to buy an Honest Ed's show cards prior to them going on Ebay. Sure enough, less than 24 hours after the sale that at least four have popped up on the on-line auction. For the individuals selling the signs, lining up at Honest Ed's this could prove to be the deal of their lifetime from the Toronto establishment. The first card to sell occurred on Monday night. A sign for Gillette shampoo was sold for more than $144 Canadian.
As of Tuesday morning, four listing found their way onto Ebay flipping the newly-minted artwork. Over the course of Tuesday, at least six additional listing surfaced. Available through auction as well as 'Buy It Now' offers, these Honest Ed's show cards are appearing at prices several times greater than what they were sell for originally. One 'Buy it Now' listing is for almost $611 Canadian and includes a Christmas Tree Decoration sign with authenticating details such as David Mirvish's signature. For large sign exceeding 60 inches in one dimension, the seller is offering a choice between three signs. Another Christmas-oriented show card has been priced at $111 Canadian sold on the website on Wednesday.
While those elaborate show cards are still available, bidding has been fierce on the Honest Ed's signs in auction. A sign for $1.99 ladies baseball caps currently has 31 bids lifting it from its $1.00 starting price to more than $138 Canadian on the site. There was one heart-shaped sign for Justin Bieber Sleepware with bidding over $75 Canadian with more than 4 days remaining in the auction. Since Tuesday, several more show cards have appeared on Ebay.
It's unfortunate that Honest Ed's didn't seek a more adventurous sum for their sale benefitting Victim Services Ontario.