Did you know that the annual sales of collectibles is estimated to be around $200 billion each year?
Online websites and auctions have helped the vintage industry to skyrocket, yet it can be tricky to get the best deal. You have to worry about online scams or misinformation in antique stores.
Entering the world of collectibles or antiques is often like going down the rabbit hole. There’s a ton of information to process and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Keep reading below to learn seven tips for collecting vintage items. We’ll discuss things you can do online or in-person to ensure you’re getting the item you want for the best price.
1. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions
Collecting vintage items requires an extensive knowledge of history and manufacturing. Buyers should understand the age of an item, what it was originally used for, what its condition means for value, and how to take care of it.
If you’re visiting an antiques or collectibles shop, don’t be afraid to ask the staff questions. They deal with vintage items every day and can share some of their knowledge with you.
Ask an antique shop or dealer how they know if an item is an antique and whether they’ll provide a certificate of authenticity. Most importantly, find out if they have a return policy in case you discover what you’re buying is not truly collectible.
2. Start ‘Small’ When Collecting Vintage
Do you want to take on collecting as a hobby? It can be exciting and fun. In the case of real estate or jewelry, what you collect can be an asset to change your lifestyle. Like anything new, you need to start small.
This means start off collecting smaller items like vintage tea sets, baseball cards, or LPs. Select something that you are passionate about.
By easing into the process, you’ll learn how to collect vintage items the right way. Once you’re ready you can begin seeking out more expensive or lucrative antiques to round out your collection. Just remember to take it easy in the beginning. The last thing you want to do is feel burned out on a new hobby before it even gets rolling.
3. Vintage Collecting Tips: Find Reliable Resalers
While you can jump in the car and go antiquing whenever you wish, some collectors will find reliable resalers to deal with. These are people or businesses that they can trust.
Some of the best examples of online antique resalers include Ruby Lane, Etsy, Bonanza, Zibbet, and Selency. Many collectors use sites like eBay. But, the ones listed here specialize in vintage items.
Looking for a bigger investment? The Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Shop Resales helps people to buy vintage timeshares. They’re currently offering a Grand Californian resale. Lovers of the Disney parks in California and Florida can pick up a timeshare close to the attractions for their next dream vacation.
4. Do Research on Collecting Vintage Items
Learning how to conduct research the right way will ensure you’re successful with collecting vintage items or antiques. The good news is the internet has made it easier than ever to research your purchases.
Remember, that while antique dealers will help you, their goal is to make a profit. You want to take their advice but also balance it against your research.
Try these antique search programs:
- The Internet Antique Shop
- Heritage Auctions
- Antique Trader
- Value My Stuff
Pausing to do your research on a vintage item will pump the brakes on a purchase. This isn’t always a bad thing. If the item isn’t too expensive you could buy it on the spot, or wait until you get more information from your searches.
5. Try Negotiating the Price of Collectibles
A pricing guide is only a suggestion. Antique or vintage dealers will set their own prices based on several factors. Many of them are also open to negotiation.
It’s important to remember that pricing antiques are often fluid, which means it’s easy for prices to go up or down quickly. You should try to negotiate the price. Even better, use your research as the basis for negotiating a new price.
Point out the item’s condition and highlight any factors that experts claim would drop the price. Haggling often makes some people uncomfortable but it’s a normal and natural part of collecting vintage items. You should get used to it.
6. Not Everything Vintage Will Be in Mint Condition
The condition of an antique or vintage item will determine the final sale price. Keep in mind that if something like a piece of furniture or platter was made a century ago, it’s been through a lot before you discovered it. Finding something in mint condition is pretty rare.
Here’s an explanation of antique conditions:
- Mint: No repairs performed and it still has original hardware and finishes
- Excellent: The item has some minor flaws, like chipping or small cracks
- Good: The piece has most of its main components but could be missing hardware or has some damage
It’s perfectly acceptable to buy vintage items that are in less than perfect condition. The important thing is that you know about it before you make the purchase.
7. Learn How To Maintain Antiques
Our last tip is to do your research and learn how to take care of your collectibles. This will help them last longer and retain their value.
Every item is different but you’ll want to know how to store collectibles, clean them when needed, how to repair any damage, and how to handle them correctly.
Are You Ready To Start Collecting?
After reading this article you should be ready to start collecting vintage items. This new hobby can be exciting and fun, just make sure you take it slow so it doesn’t become overwhelming.
Don’t forget to do your research ahead of time, ask questions, and follow the advice we provided above.
Would you like to read more lifestyle articles on shopping or collecting? Check out our site for other informative pieces on booking vacation rentals, shopping for groceries with coupons, and buying items online safely.