We had a local shopping paper called the Shop-O-Gram. Came out on Thursdays. In the mid 90s, I saw an ad for a Quantum 4. A local doctor had purchased it new and stuck it in a closet. Had no signs of ever being used. He died and his wife put it up for sale for $500. I jumped on it. Basically a new in the box, forkmounted Quantum 4. Used it for a few months and made a deal with a guy for a Televue Genesis and $500. I referred to the Genesis as my 'free' scope.
In 1986 my wife saw an ad for a set of Halley's Comet special binoculars. A college student needed the cash. Turned out to be 20X120 Japanese ship binoculars in their original wooden case. He asked $200. I paid him without discussion. Took them to Astrofest in 1987. Had a number of trade/cash offers. Best one was from Roland Christen. He was going to trade me a new 5" refractor. His wife, Marge scolded him and told him he was already too far behind in his orders. Sold them the next year for $1800.