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culture

What An Honest Ed’s Sign Will Cost You

Honest Ed's crazy prices go in the other direction as people sell their signs on eBay.

For over six decades, Honest Ed’s has been an institution at Bathurst and Bloor. It has drawn colourful commentary from writers like Pico Iyer and M.G Vassanji, and earned one of the more memorable sequences in the Scott Pilgrim series, when the hapless hero has to figure out how to navigate the discount emporium’s labyrinthine layout.

Honest Ed’s has become a character in Toronto in and of itself, and on March 10, people lined up to show how much they wanted to take part of that with them before the building Vassanji called a “block-wide carnival” becomes a predictable condo.

And so hundreds of Torontonians took a unique piece of Honest Ed’s home with them for characteristically reasonable prices. Over a thousand hand-painted signs were available for sale, most for between $2 and $8, and people waited hours for the privilege to get their own.

You can still get a sign, but it will cost you. On eBay, Craigslist, and Kijiji, most signs are going for between $100 and $200. One oversized sign on eBay is currently asking for US$550; it has received four bids but has declined them. There are six bids on a sign promoting an “Ed’s Bargain” for “Ladies and Misses Fashion Dresses, $2.99″ that is currently going for the decidedly un-Ed-like price of $132.50. There are more than three days left in the auction, so it will likely go for more.

Craigslist and Kijiji aren’t that different, with a sign selling Hawaiian Tropic sunblock asking for $200 and $100 for a sign selling air freshners.

So getting an Honest Ed’s sign and capturing some of that nostalgia Vassanji writes about will basically cost you the equivalent of one or two tickets to a Mirvish production. But at least you won’t have to wait in line. That is, unless you plan to be there when the condo sales centre opens.

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