Selling Collectibles – Tips on how to get started

9 Nov

A lot of my customers ask me for advice on how to get into the business of selling antiques and collectibles.   It might look easy but there is a lot more to selling and making a profit than most people realize.  It is very time consuming and labour intensive.   People in our business are among the busiest people I know.  We are on the road constantly looking for ‘treasures’ and many of us sell at  antique shows and flea markets throughout the year as well as having a permanent booth at a local Antique Market.

If I have any advice to give, it would be the following:

Sell the things that you love to collect and are passionate about.

Know your merchandise. Do the homework and research, research, research.  People are interested in the history of the items they are buying so you need to know as much as you can about your inventory.  Buy reference books, check out your items on line and learn about fakes and reproductions.

Don’t overpay for your stock. Visit flea markets, antique malls and vintage stores to get an idea of what  your treasures are selling for.   If you know what an item is worth in today’s market, you will know how much profit you stand to make.  You need to take into consideration all your overhead costs like rent, gas, time invested etc.   The market for collectibles fluctuates considerably.   What was a hot seller 10 years ago may not be selling today at the same high prices it used to command.  Depression Glass is one example of that.   Prices have really softened in that market lately except for very rare pieces.

Ease into selling slowly.  Start by selling at outdoor flea markets or online places like ebay and get an idea of what the market is like for your particular items.   Selling during the summer at outdoor venues can be fun and very profitable and you don’t have to commit to a monthly rent like you would at an Antique Market.   You will also make valuable connections with other vendors.

Don’t buy or sell items that are damaged or broken unless you know for certain they still have some value.   Some wear from everyday use is acceptable on some items.  I sell a lot of kitchen ware items that are over 50 years old.  Many of these items show wear but it is only through experience that you find out how much wear is acceptable on a given item.  If you wouldn’t want it in your own collection, chances are nobody else will either.  Keep in mind that the better the condition, the higher price you can charge.

Try to have a good variety of stock available so your booth will appeal to many people.  Presentation of your goods is important so be inventive with your displays.  Group like items together, or go with a colour scheme.  Customers are more likely to buy if they aren’t overwhelmed with a jumble of stuff to go through.

This business is a  constant learning experience but very rewarding for those of us who have a passion for it.









4 Responses to “Selling Collectibles – Tips on how to get started”

  1. reretro November 10, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    your styling is gorgeous…very inviting and eye-catching.

    • afacette November 10, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

      Thanks Reretro. I appreciate the comments.

  2. My Vintage Tea Hire November 17, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    Some good advice! I’ve just started selling a few pieces but luckily I’m selling to a local lady I trust with a shop stall so she does the work from there. Definately true about buying things cheap. Garage sales and op shops are the best for that!

    • afacette November 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

      Thanks for visiting my blog. I checked out your blog again and visited your facebook site. Wow!! You have some very beautiful dishes. What a great idea to rent out your china for events. I have sold lots of tea cups to young women hosting bridal showers who want a vintage themed party for the bride to be. I have added a link to your blog site so that my blog followers can have a look at your wonderful assortment of china too.

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