This is a question I get asked quite often; how to sell antiques and collectibles. It is also a question for which there is no easy answer.
The first thing that you need to do is assess what you have to sell. What category or genre do your items fall in to.
- Antiques are items that are at least 100 years old.
- Primitives are in the antique category but the style is what defines it. Primitives are usually handcrafted for everyday utilitarian use but you do find small toys, dolls and decorative items that fall in to this category.
- Collectibles are items that were produced in large quantity for the collectible market.
- Retro can be any item made from the 1960s to the 1980s.
- Mid-Century refers to wares from 1950.
Once you make the above determination you then look at condition. On old items we expect to see some signs of wear and use but if the item is tattered and torn this could lower the value and in some instances make it not worth messing with at all.
You need to consider the geographic location in which you will be selling your antiques and collectibles. If you rent booth space in an antique mall off the beaten track you will not be able to sell for as much as someone renting booth space in a large metropolitan area.
The same goes for selling your items in a garage sale versus an estate sale. If I go to an estate sale I expect to pay a little more than a garage sale but I don’t expect to see antique shop prices on items. I don’t care if you do have printouts from eBay auctions on every item.
This brings me to online auctions sites. When it comes to selling in any auction if you don’t have at least two people who are wanting the same item at the same time chances are very good that the item will not sell for the price you expected. You have to be very realistic when pricing items for an online auction. Unless you have something that is extraordinary it is very easy to over price and not get any bids. The best thing to do is look at closed auctions and see what the same or similar item has sold for in the past. Once again you need more than one person who wants what you are selling.
If you have quite a few items to sell and the desire to sell on a regular basis my recommendation is sell through a site such as etsy.com or build your own website. This gives you a worldwide customer base.
The most important thing you can do is research what you have to sell. There are some good websites with valuable information but the library is still the best tool especially if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on reference books.
I would love your feedback on the above information.