How to Become a Top-notch Antique Picker

If you have a passion for antique glassware, vintage toys, or old coins, you could make good money on the side selling those items to antique dealers in your community. As I shared in a previous post , my husband started doing this by selling for $100 a vase he bought for 35 cents. That was 20 years ago. Even today, that is quite a profit. Before you begin your new career as an antique picker however, there are a few things you need to pay attention to. Let’s look at them here. Knowledge In this business, the more you know the more money you stand to make. Of course you do not need to be an antique aficionado to get started, but the more you educate yourself, the faster your business will grow. Remember that vase my husband sold, he really didn’t know it was worth a great deal of money, he just felt that it was something special. But after that experience, he bought a couple antique guides and studied them in the evenings to learn all he could. A good general guide to get you started is Kovels’ Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide . Today, one can study Ebay . Let’s say you want to learn about Depression glass. Search for Depression glass on the Ebay site. You will probably get around 30,000 results. Start clicking on the entries and studying the pictures, scroll down and read the descriptions. Many of the sellers on Ebay will give educational information in their descriptions. Check out the prices. If the item is up for auction, watch it to see what it sells for. It is important to know what an item might sell for when you are scouring the thrift shops, as you do not want to pay $5 for something that you will sell for only $6-7. Another way to educate yourself is to shop in the antique stores that you hope to sell to. Browse through and make a mental note of the different items and their prices. Most antique stores do not allow you to take photographs, and you do not want to be seen copying down prices, so you will have to trust on your memory here. A good way to cement particular items in your mind is to talk to the owner. Ask him questions about what interests you. Point out a particular piece of furniture, for example, and ask what period it is from, where it was made, etc. A dealer is much more likely to trust you as a picker if he has seen you in his store and spoken with you. It doesn’t hurt to buy something from him, occasionally, as well. Clean Up Once you find a couple pieces that you would like to sell, clean them up. If the dealer doesn’t have time to haunt the auction house, he probably doesn’t have time to clean things, either. Also, you will command a better price with a clean item rather than one covered in dust, rust, and cobwebs. Wipe everything with a damp cloth and polish wood and silver. If something has mechanical parts, make sure it is in working order. Negotiate The first thing to have done before you approach a dealer about buying your items is to establish some kind of relationship. Will Joe from Joe’s Antiques recognize you when you walk in his shop because you frequently come into his shop, you’ve initiated conversation with him at auctions, or you met him at a friend’s barbeque the previous week? If not, make that relationship first. The second thing to do is have a price in mind. Do not walk into a shop uneducated or unwilling to name your price . That will let Joe know that you are new in the business and easily taken advantage of. Not everyone will make a $99.65 profit on the first antique they resell. But by implementing these three basic things, you are apt to grow faster than the other guy. Have you ever sold items to antique dealers? I’d love to hear of your experiences in the comments below. Antique photo from Shutterstock Related Articles: Are Penny Auction Sites Legit? 5 ways to get a deal on Ebay What is Swoopo? A Review of the Auction Site How To Make Money Reselling Goods: 5 Unique Ways

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