Antiques are not just available for buying in a hoity-toity auctions where the auctioneers speakers faster than Superman folds on laundry day. While it is hardly likely that you are going to be one of those urban legends that finds an authentic Van Gogh hidden beneath a pile of junk…don’t count it out. Weird things happen. People do find authentic copies of the most important document relating to the founding of America: Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.
Where do you go to look for antiques? Well, start with those antique auctions because you can get some fairly good guarantees that what you are buying is actually worth what you paid. Don’t stop there, however. Getting a good deal on antiques is likely going to take you far away from that fast-talking auctioneer. Where? Where can you go to get some good deals on antiques that you can then sell yourself as you seek to leave the dreaded office cubicle behind forever and become your own boss?
While Christie’s and Sotheby’s should not be written off your checklist of where to go for antiques, place them down near the bottom. After all, auctions mean bidders and that means competition and didn’t you get enough competition driven into you as a kid? Instead, head for places where finding a genuine antique worth enough to send your kid through dental school is more unlikely than finding an original idea at a Republican legislative caucus. Here’s the thing: it has been done. People who browse through yard sales and garage sales and block party sales have on more than a few occasions found items worth money that they got for a song and then sold for an album. An album of John Lennon personally wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas!
Start your antiques roadshow by making a habit of spending your weekends browsing through local yard and garage sales. If there is a big flea market in your town, then make room for that as well. Flea market sellers are looking to make up in volume what they lack in specifics. The good news for you is that you may be on the trolley when it comes to some single item that is being sold while the seller is just sitting around twiddling thumbs.
Do you know the difference between an estate sale and a garage sale? Neither do it, except that estate sales generally means that the items are more valuable. That is not always the case, of course, because some people have learned to call their yard sale an estate sale because it allows them to jack up the price. If it is a legitimate estate sale from a person who has a lot of truly authentic antiques, you can make quite a splash.
Thrift shops often decorate with items that help bring about the retro spirit. You may go in looking for a poodle skirt from the 1950s and walk away with an original Hula-Hoop or Pet Rock. There are still some marks who will pay a pretty penny for such priceless stuff.
Don’t forget your own attic or basement or garage. Every garage sale started out as junk stored away in someone’s house. You may be the one unwittingly possessing an item of supreme value to another person. Learn the value of your own junk before you become someone else’s mark.