How to Find Antiques to Collect


Antiques to collect

Searching for the perfect vintage martini set or an antique vase, can sometimes be like looking for the holy grail as it can be a lucrative, if not lengthy endeavor. But the quest for antiques to collect can also be part of the appeal. When looking for these vintage treasures though, it may sometimes require some creative detective work. Ask any seasoned antique dealer where they find their wares, and they will tell you, everywhere!

Beginning the Quest for Antiques to Collect

The hunt for the perfect antique is never over; and to find what you are looking for, you will have to put in the time and effort to find what you are after. Check out these eight venues that can help you find the one-of-a kind antiques to collect.

Antiques to collect
Source: Posh Estate Sales

Estate Sales

Estate Sales can be an excellent venue to find many great items. Often these sales are run by the family members of the deceased individuals instead of an estate-liquidation company. However, when companies are involved, they tend to sell items at higher prices. This happens because estate-liquidation companies are more in-the-know about the items that are being sold opposed to when the sale is run by the family.

Another thing to keep in mind when combing through antiques at an estate sale is that they usually happen over the course of a few days. As a result, the prices tend to decrease because they are trying to get rid of the items. Check the listings in your local newspapers and classified sections to find out about upcoming sales. Also, be sure to do key word searches on Google to find out about other sales happening in your surrounding area in the event that it did not make into the newspapers’ listings.

Flea Markets

 Flea markets offer a mix of dealers, collectors and regular folks who are selling their wares. It can also be a mixed bag of in terms of old and new items depending on the market you are attending. When attending a flea market, remember to arrive early to beat the crowds.

Remember to identify the sellers at the market beforehand. This information can usually be found on the website of the operators of the event. Arriving early will also give you a chance to scope out booths, make note of what you are after, and allow you to take your time. Flea markets are also a place where you are free to haggle on prices; however, the etiquette surrounding this and the buyer’s response to this tactic will vary.

A good place to check for upcoming flea markets, as well as antique shows is through the various antique publications online and through the vendors of these events. Often vendors may have newsletters or mailing lists you will be able to sign up for which will notify you about upcoming markets and point you to other shows. Remember, the vendors are a wealth of knowledge! If you develop ongoing relationships sellers may also benefit you in the long run. Sellers sometimes offer preview sales for customers who buy from them frequently and take an interest in what they have to offer. They can greatly aid your search to find antiques to collect.

 Garage Sales

 The age-old garage sale can be one potential location to find some hidden jewels. Like flea markets and estate sales, the best way to find out about these is to also peruse the listings in your local newspapers and classifieds. Another option is to try and locate online the neighborhood Facebook page of where you are headed. Often these pages have more information about local garage sales happening that didn’t make it to other outlets.

Arriving early is also advised when heading to your local garage sale. This way you can go through the items more slowly and with less crowds. Getting a sense of the neighborhood the sale will be held in may help give you a sense of the items that could be available. Garage sales tend to be a mix of household items, sometimes luxury goods and of course, antiques mixed in. However, you still may be able to find hidden treasures that are in fact worth a profit! Remember that bartering is also a good tactic for garage sales and is generally par for the course.

Live Auctions

 Live actions still hold a lot of potential when looking for antiques to collect. When attending auctions, be sure to inspect the items that are for sale, make note of the lot numbers, and pay attention to the condition the item is in. Consult reference guides, as well as any searches you can do on your smart phone about the item, and keep in mind how much you are willing to spend.

By paying attention to your notes, and staying focused on what specific things you are after, this will allow you to not get swept up in the excitement that live actions can bring, and can keep you on track with your antique hunting goals. Try to stick to the items you have previously looked at and avoid bidding on ones that are selling for low prices. Listings for live actions can also be found online and will typically be listed in antique publications. There will often be a live auction at estate sales as well.

Antiques to Collect
Source: Whitehawk Antique Shows

Antique Shows

People who have been in antique game for a while, sometimes avoid these venues because of high prices. While this can sometimes be the case, you can also get lucky. Items are generally priced accordingly based on the seller’s area of expertise, however sometimes they come across items that don’t fall within their wheel house and can be priced lower. In these instances, the buyer will benefit from these situations.

The same sentiment can also be true for specialty shows that have specific offerings like glass, dolls, dishware, art and other kinds of collectibles. Despite the high price point of these shows, they can be an excellent place to network, do research, meet other buyers and sellers and help familiarize yourself with this sector of the antique world.

Antique Shops

Antique shops can be a place that sometimes house items with a higher price point. It can also give you another sense of the marketplace and help you get a handle on what certain items sell for. Getting to know shop owners in your area can also work to your benefit. You can gain from their insider knowledge, they can alert you to upcoming shows, and they can also contact you directly if they know you are looking for a specific item. If you are a loyal customer they may also give you private viewings of items, a real advantage when searching for antiques to collect.

Antique shops can be found by looking in your local telephone listings, as well as searching online.

  Online Actions

 Online auctions can help you get a better sense of the marketplace. It can also help with the research you can do on items. Key word searches on sites such as eBay and others can give you an idea of the price point antiques are going for as well as other details.

However, it can also be a place for more average antiques, with the occasional rare find. You just must be on the lookout for exactly what fits your criteria. Online auctions can also give you the peace of mind that you can bid wherever you are, and can monitor the sale from the comfort of your smart phone, tablet, or computer.

By looking in a variety of places you will be sure to find antiques to collect. Over the course of your search remember to do your research, familiarize yourself with the items you are looking for, the era they come from and your budget. Remember that doing research online can help keep you ahead of the game. Befriending sellers can also work to your advantage. These tips, plus looking in a variety of places, will land you on top in your quest for antiques to collect.

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About the Author:

Anni Irish has been a contributing writer to several online publications including Boston based publication, The Dig, New York Arts Magazine, and ArteFuse among others. She holds a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University, an MA in Gender and Cultural Studies from Simmons College, and an MA in Performance Studies from New York University.