A day later, on the first weekend of March, another auction in Flagstaff had a new batch of storage units to sell.
"This batch of storage could be pretty good," Hans said. "Someone saw a gun case in one of the units, an antique one perhaps. If we managed to get an antique gun, we could earn a good deal of money."
Hearing this, Li Du was surprised. "Getting such a dangerous item like a firearm in an auction? Shouldn't this be passed on to the authorities?"
Recently he had been stuffing himself with knowledge on storage auctions. He was not a greenhorn anymore, and there were many things that he could understand now.
America was a country where people went crazy about the arts. Attending art-related events was a day-to-day entertainment for many Americans. Between the parents and the schools, they would always cultivate children's abilities to appreciate art. Even in universities, art history was a compulsory course for many students; artists and professors tended to have a higher social standing.
Because of all this, the art appreciation in American society was very high. From what Li Du had learned, regardless of the size of the city, there would usually be a few art museums around. Even small towns would have these places, and with no lack of visitors.
Due to this background, there were collectors all over America, and they would collect a myriad of things; cars, industrial supplies, toys, wine bottles and even firearms. All of this could be considered art. Of course, the more common art collectibles were items such as paintings, sculptures and other hand crafted pieces.
Regardless of what they collected, there was an unspoken rule amongst collectors that could not be broken: Illegal items must never be collected. This could include prohibited firearms, drugs, products of nature and endangered flora and fauna.
Li Du said all of these things aloud to Hans.
"No," Hans replied, "you're wrong. Only weapons that have not been registered by the authorities are illegal. Otherwise, it's fine. Even a tank, so long as it had been properly registered, can be collected. Cannons and planes work the same way."
Li Du was relieved; if this was the case, there were no problems. It was time to set out.
As the date quickly approached, only two days remained before the start of the auction, leaving the two with little time to spare.
Fortunately, the bug could now fly. With training, the amount of time Li Du could make use of it had increased greatly. He could now use the bug for a good ten minutes with no problems, and fifteen minutes was the limit.
This storage company was called Arizona Classic Storages Co. Ltd. Although its name sounded grandiose, in reality, it only had about 80 units. What was different about it from Smith's Storage Company was that this place work on memberships. The storage owners were either middle aged or elderly. The units that they owned had long histories, so it was almost like buying a house.
These kinds of companies rarely held auctions. They would consolidate the storage units into a single batch and pick a day to auction them all out at once. Li Du and Hans were lucky to have come across this opportunity.
Once they reached Arizona Classic Storages Co. Ltd., Li Du nodded his head in approval.
They really deserved to hunt at a membership-based storage company. The inside was much more magnificent than others, and the security was impeccable. Even when they were outside, there were guards keeping an eye on them.
The storage units were sealed off very tightly. Hans went to pester the guards, and Li Du went to release his bug.
According to their information, there were four units to be auctioned. These included unit 4, unit 7, unit 26 and unit 50. From what Hans had heard, the gun box was in unit 7.
Li Du first let the bug into storage unit 7. The things inside were organized neatly, the boxes were lined up and arranged in order. These were the storage units that treasure hunters hated the most because they would not be able to see anything valuable, just stacks of boxes.
These were the kind that Li Du liked, as these were the places that the bug could maximize its potential.
In this storage there were quite a few valuables. In some boxes were electronics like brand new sound systems and LCD computers. After some further exploring, he found the antique gun box.
He burrowed into the gun box and looked. Inside was an old pistol that looked like the German Ruger P08. This type of gun was about a century old, and it was invaluable. Leaving storage unit 7, he went to quickly sweep through unit 4.
The items in this storage were neatly arranged as well. Instead of boxes, however, lots of wooden shelves were used, with the items all sitting on the shelves.
Although it was orderly, there were not many valuable items. Most of them were cheap things like benches, kitchenware and defective sofa cushions.
When the bug flew onto the last wooden shelf, a small box that was carefully wrapped in plastic appeared in his vision.
As he flew in to look, Li Du found a handphone that was of the size of a young girl's palm. Black screen, silver casing, and at the back stamped an image of an apple that had a bite taken out of it.
This bitten apple icon was extremely popular in recent years all over the world. This was the iPhone. Li Du, however, had never seen this model.
He recalled the bug back to his palm, and went to browse the web for information. He discovered that the phone he saw was an iPhone first generation.
This model was released back in 2007. Steve Jobs used it to break into the market of mobile phones and knocked down the empire that Nokia and Motorola had built up.
What interested Li Du was its value. The phone was nearly a decade old, and this original design was not very successful when it first came out, so not many were sold. It was only after the subsequent generations of iPhone got better that its popularity began to grow. "Kidney Seller" was a term coined for a Chinese man who once sold his kidney for an iPhone.
Li Du recalled a saying: "Loving someone to the point of even loving the crows at their house." This could be used to describe Apple product fanatics who loved everything made by the company. Now that many people wanted to collect this phone model, the iPhone first generation would have a high value due to its low production and age.
Although a first generation iPhone would have originally only cost 600 to 700 dollars, the price went over 10,000 dollars for a used one.
After returning to the storage unit with the bug to take another look, Li Du found that although the packaging was opened, the phone had never been used, so its value would be much higher. Selling it for as high as 20,000 dollars would be possible!
This discovery got him excited. However, as he kept looking through the remaining storage units, he gradually lost interest in them. They had nothing else valuable. Old shoes, expired beer, a bunch of useless clothing—these two units were meant to keep junk.
After ten minutes, and going through all four of them, Li Du felt lethargic, but not exhausted like the last time. From this, he could tell that he had improved a lot.
When they returned home, Kai Wen introduced to them a client who wanted to purchase their furniture. He was a classical furniture lover from Phoenix, but he did not have much on him and asked for 1,500 dollars for the furniture.
Hans politely sent him away, as the price he offered was too low. Li Du felt that it was worth at least 2,500 dollars for the time and effort they had spent on it.