I always enjoy the surprise on someone’s face when they realize something they own has value. After all, it’s just an old piece they’ve had sitting around for years.
What’s even more surprising is going to an antique show and finding the old toys you used to play with! Makes a person feel kind of old…….
How do you know what has value?
We used to have it easy, back in the day. There were price guides to study for pricing and identification and everyone just accepted those prices as gospel. Then came the internet, which proved that these rare antiques we were selling, were not all that rare. In fact, you could buy four dozen of them on eBay! eBay became the new price guide and over the years, has maintained it’s standing as a reliable barometer of market pricing. You can also get statistics on pricing averages and watch them trend, but if that doesn’t sound very exciting, there is a more “hands on” approach.
HOW TO STUDY:
- Visit antique shops, flea markets and antique shows: Don’t just walk around with your hands in your pockets. Get up close and personal. Pick things up, ask questions and find out how things feel. (Sometimes, the “feel” is how to tell real from fake.)
- Pick an area you can get excited about: Maybe you like old toys, Depression glass or 1950’s furniture. If you are going to study something, you might as well make it something you can be passionate about. It makes learning easier!
- Start small, then expand: It would be overwhelming to try to learn the business all at once. That’s why you should focus on a smaller area first. For example, let’s say you are starting with Depression glass. Once you learn the patterns and the pricing, the natural progression would be moving on to learn about Elegant glassware of the Depression era.
- Pay attention: Keep track of the pricing you are seeing. Sometimes people get a bit wild with the pricing. This business is not regulated, so anyone can price an item for however much they want. It doesn’t mean the item sells, of course, so just be aware of that and pay attention to the mid range pricing that you will tend to see.
- Visit eBay: Skip the statistics and graphs and just have funny searching for your area of interest. Here too, you will see a wide range of pricing. However, the nice thing about watching eBay, is that you see what sells and for how much. This is the market value. You could decide your piece of glass is worth $500.00, but if no one buys it, what is it really worth? It is only worth what someone is willing to pay. This “market value” changes from day to day and week to week. Another good reason for skipping the statistics and graphs. All that fluctuation can drive a person crazy!
So, now you have your assignment. Figure out your passion and see what it’s worth.
Stop back next week for some more tips on “The Biz”!
Antique Alter Ego
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