Has the time come to declutter your home? Maybe you have wedding gifts that have yet to be used, or you’ve accumulated items from your relatives’ estates that don’t suit your taste or lifestyle. You know someone would love them, but they’re just not for you, and maybe your kids don’t want them either. Maybe you’re moving, or could use some extra cash. Whatever the reason you’ve decided to start selling your antique or vintage items, you’re not alone.
Your unwanted antique, vintage and collectible items may well be valuable to others, so before dumping, donating or selling your cast-offs for pennies on the dollar, it pays to learn a little and make smart decisions. Going forward, we’ll be posting archived columns (formerly published in Senior Digest) and new content dedicated to helping you to get the most for your items. For now, here are a few guidelines to get you started.
What are my old antiques worth?
First, not everything old is valuable. In fact, most things that could be classified as “antique” or “vintage” are not. Second, unless you are an antique store owner or auctioneer, you can’t expect to get top dollar (or even close) for anything you have to sell. And third, there’s a new generation of collectors out there, and they don’t want what you think they want. It pays to learn what today’s buyers are looking for, because chances are that you have it…and you don’t even realize it’s desirable.
What are the first steps for selling antiques?
In order to get started, the best thing you can do is put in some time and do some literal footwork. Visit some local antique shops and malls. Look carefully at what’s for sale and, more importantly, what folks are actually buying at the checkout counter. Don’t be afraid to ask the staff what’s selling and what’s not; they’ll usually be happy to tell you.
A word of advice…don’t get too excited if you see something you have at home with a high asking price on it. Just like on eBay, people can ask for whatever they want for something, but that doesn’t mean it will sell at that price. And in many cases, a subtle nuance of difference can have a dramatic affect on price.
Furthermore, understand that not every item in a shop sells quickly, or sometimes ever. Despite popular misconception, most antiques don’t have a “book price” and not every dealer prices every item realistically. Most shoppers will only buy when the price is appealing, and dealers who price themselves out of the market may find they’re stuck with overpriced pieces instead of profit.
In short, you want to take your time and do your research. The first step to becoming adept at selling your antiques is to know what you have and what the market will bear.
Other posts will include tips on how to identify your most desirable items, how to determine their value, and figuring out the best way to sell them. Check back often for updates!
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