JBL 2241H 18-inch speaker, $2.

There are lots of speakers to be found at yard sales, so the sight of this one didn't really get me too excited at first. But as I inspected it, I noted that it was in almost perfect shape. I also noted that it was really heavy, which I calculated later on to be a whopping 25 pounds! And when it comes to speakers, heavy is almost always a really, really good sign.

And then I turned it over and noticed who it was made by - JBL. The heavy cast aluminum frame... the heavy magnet with the rubber guard around the outside... the fact that it's a JBL... it's made in the U.S. of A... this thing just oozed cash! As it turns out, I was right - this speaker costs around $500 new.

As you can imagine, it would've been really impractical to test the speaker at the sale, so I decided to simply take my chances. As you probably already know, a speaker makes its sound by moving air, which it does by moving the speaker cone in and out as the signal is applied to it. On large speakers like this one, that movement is really easy to see when it's in operation. Of course, there was the chance that there was some sort of electrical problem inside the speaker, but the only way to test for that is to actually play it.

The only way I could 'field test' this speaker right there at the scene was to manually depress the speaker cone to ensure that it moved in and out freely. Sticky movement means a speaker won't play correctly, and a cone that's seized in place, and won't budge when you push on it, is a huge red flag! Making it a habit of always doing this impromptu test of gently pushing in on the speaker cones can save you lots of time and money in the long run.

The only reason I can imagine this speaker was still there at midday is because most people had done just what I almost did - they didn't stop! I have no other way to explain why this speaker was still there. This speaker sold on eBay for $247.

Photo of JBL 2241H 18 inch speaker