The first storage unit to be auctioned off was unit number 15. The auctioneer raised his hand and shouted, "Everyone's finished with the viewing and so the auction will start officially. Come everyone, start bidding. The starting bid's 100 dollars, 100 dollars, 100 dollars!"
On hearing him, the treasure hunters shook their heads scornfully:
"Sh*t, is that stuff even worth 100 dollars?"
"F*ck, all trash. Whoever gets it will be working for the garbage dump instead."
"I bet that stuff wouldn't even make it to the dump. The septic tank's stink has contaminated the items inside. Even the dump wouldn't take them!"
Because everyone else was uninterested, Li Du's interest was piqued. This storage unit might not have much value, but it should be worth more than 100 dollars.
There was a bicycle in the unit. Although it did not have any tires, the entire frame was fine. It was covered by a tattered piece of tarpaulin, revealing only the wheel without a tirethat was why it looked like a piece of junk.
Li Du knew that this bicycle was not junk. He had gotten a bicycle previously at the auction by the Phoenix Bureau of Land Management and knew a thing or two about them.
For mountain bikes, the credentials mattered. If the hardware had been produced by a famous manufacturer, then a new bike could cost as much as a regular family sedan.
But if it were just a regular bike, then it would not be worth much. A regular used bike would cost only a few dozen dollars.
Being of the brand "Galloper," this bicycle was not considered branded. It was a local company in Phoenix, which produced relatively inexpensive bicycles.
But the series that this mountain bike belonged to was pretty good. A new bike would cost 500 to 600 dollars. After such a secondhand bike had been fixed with tires, it could possibly fetch 200 to 300 dollars.
Hence he winked at a fellow treasure hunter, and said, "Take it, there's money to be made."
After proving his ability in determining the value of storage units in Derta, Li Du had been put on a pedestal by the Flagstaff treasure hunters. He was not just a Treasure Hunting Tycoon: more like a Treasure Hunting God.
Hearing him, the treasure hunter nodded his head to indicate his understanding. Having been inspired, he did not put in a bid straight away but instead waited patiently for the auctioneer to reduce the bid price.
Nobody was interested even at the low price of 100 dollars. The auctioneer had no choice but to shout out "50 dollars." At that time, the hunter put up his hand to accept, while lamenting, "I brought too little money and will have to just make a gamble. Worst comes to worse, I'll just be stuck with some cleaning up to do."
The surrounding treasure hunters laughed, "It's not if worst comes to worse, it's a sure thing! You're definitely gonna be doing some cleaning for this one!"
The deal was sealed for 50 dollars. The second storage unit opened and everything in storage unit 21 was revealed for everyone to see.
This storage unit was really worthless. There were many creepy crawlies in there, the inside looking both messy and dirty. Most people shook their heads upon seeing this.
Li Du gave Hans a look and he nodded. The auctioneer asked for the starting bid of 50 dollars. He thought about it and then raised his hand to accept.
The Flagstaff treasure hunters did not compete; they could not tell if there was anything valuable in this unit.
There were many other treasure hunters from elsewhere, especially from Phoenix and Tucson; they knew of Li Du and Hans's abilities, and also trusted in their foresight.
Hence, even though they did not see anything valuable in the unit, they also threw in bids:
"One hundred dollars, I offer one hundred dollars!"
"One hundred fifty dollars, yes."
"Two hundred dollars, I offer two hundred dollars!"
Li Du shook his head and Hans waved his hand with a laugh. "Alright buddy, you guys will also need to do cleaning up. Better hire someone to do it properly."
The deal closed at 200 dollars. The treasure hunter who had gotten it harbored some hope. "It's okay, this unit should be worth at least 200 dollars."
"I'll be d*mned if it's even worth 20 dollars," Li Du said softly and moved on to the next unit without any hesitation.
There were as many units as there were people and so the auction progressed speedily. As soon as one auction ended, another started and the treasure hunters queued up to view and then threw in bids.
The third and fourth storage units almost seemed like trash to him; there was little money to be made so he did not want to bid for them. But there were still some marginal profits to be made, especially for the fourth storage unit. There was bric-a-brac in there, most notably some new floorboards in a corner that the owner had left behind.
He estimated that the floorboards could fetch 400 to 500 dollars and so winked at Olly to get him to bid for this unit.
Upon seeing the fifth storage unit, Li Du told Hans when he passed him, "Gotta get this!"
The auctioneer raised his hand and shouted, "The starting bid for this storage unit is 100 dollars, 100 dollars, 100 dollars.
Hans raised his hand. "I'm good for 100 dollars."
As he said that, he looked at the other treasure hunter cheekily.
It was not going to be easy to score this unit. Some welding tools could be seen from outside and after a moment of hesitation, some treasure hunters also threw in bids:
"A hundred and fifty dollars!"
"Two hundred dollars"
"Two hundred and fifty dollars!"
The welding tools were secondhand and so not worth much. At this price point, nobody else wanted to compete for bids.
Hans raised his hand again, saying, "300 dollars."
The other treasure hunters did not follow his move, for fear that it would be like the case of the third storage unit, when Hans had strung them along.
Without further opposition, Hans got storage unit 44.
After that they got to the storage units that Zhang Kai was responsible for. The first was storage unit 53. Li Du did not view it earlier and so released the little bug to fly into it for a look.
He still had lots of time; there were more than 200 treasure hunters and it would take at least half an hour to finish queuing to view it.
The storage unit was ideal for treasure hunting: there was a stack of boxes in there and in every box was brand new luggage. There were at least a dozen of them, valued at more than 1,000 dollars.
Li Du patted Turis's shoulder. Turis understood what he meant by that, and made his way to the front of the crowd.
The auctioneer started the bidding and the price was still at a low 100 dollars. Hans put in the minimum bid.
The reason for this was to just to show their participation. They wanted to pull the wool over other treasure hunters' eyes by not revealing how much they did or didn't want each unit. Otherwise, there was bound to be someone competing with them.
After two bids, the unit was going at 450 dollars. Turis called out 500 dollars; Li Du and Hans shook their heads and withdrew. The others also withdrew.
From the outside, storage unit 53 did not seem to contain anything that could be sold for money.
Once storage unit 54 opened, Li Du's little bug flew in.
This storage unit was on Zhang Kai's list of noteworthy units, given that there were some guns in there.
Indeed, like the previous storage unit, there were quite a number of boxes in it. The five boxes, however, were made of wood. The little bug flew into them and saw that there were two shotguns and accessories in each of the boxes.
In addition to the shotguns, there were also bubble wrap and straw to cushion the guns from any impact. Hence, the guns had been very well-kept.
Li Du took a look; the shotguns were all produced by Remington, a good brand. There even seemed to be a Remington Model 700 among them, which was even more valuable.
Without any hesitation, he whispered to Hans, "Get this!"