Who doesn’t love to find a treasure hidden away. But even better – who doesn’t love to find a treasure at a bargain price! With all the collector news, reference books and websites available you might wonder if there are any bargains left. Although they might be a little harder to find, the answer is yes they are still out there.
If you have access to these types of sales, don’t ignore them. Some garage sales are really estate sales and then some estate sales are garage sales – all goes to advertising. Look for garage sales where the people are moving. Out of state is even better. They are more likely to unload stuff rather than pay for moving it. Most of the time you’ll find items are jumbled, so don’t forget to look under tables and on shelves.
Estate sales are often better organized. Therefore if you’re looking for specific items head to that area first. Ask the people holding the sale if they’ve seen any of the items you’re looking for. Most of the time small expensive items (coins, jewelry, sterling silver, etc.) will be close to the check out so they can keep an eye on it. Estate sales run by the family are better than those run by a professional estate broker who tend to ask a more realistic ‘market price’. Although you’ll find typically on the last day of the sale prices will be discounted.
Flea Markets / Trade Days
Find a flea market or trade day close by that doesn’t seem to have more new stuff than old. Get there as soon after opening as possible and go prepared to pay cash. If you expect to negotiate prices, take enough cash so you can pay the exact amount. Don’t insult the vendor by expecting them to make change for a large bill after you’ve gotten their price down.
Should you see items that are in the collector category you’re looking for but you’re not interested in what’s displayed, ask the vendor if they have other merchandise they haven’t put out. They’ll sometime hold items back waiting for more space on their table.
Auctions can be your best source of finding treasures – particularly in box lots at estate auctions. Caution: before bidding on a box-lot check it again to make sure the item you’re bidding on hasn’t been moved to another box lot. Sadly, this does happen.
Find a good local auction in your area and then attend a couple of times to see how the auction is run, if there are limits on how much money the locals will pay, and do they frequently have what you want?
If you’ve not been to an auction before or are not familiar with the types of auctions and terms, visit our Auction Guide.
And if you’re looking for an auction in a particular part of the state (Texas, of course) visit our Auction Listings
Antique Shops / Malls /Co-ops
Take time to educate yourself on different types of antiques and collectibles with special attention to whatever it might be that you’re interested in.
Locate Texas Antique Shops at the Antique Shop Directory
Remember – An educated antique collector is the one that will find the treasure if it’s out there to be found.