Sunday 21 February 2021

How to make money as an antique dealer in the 21st century.


How to make money as an antique dealer in the 21st century.


By Carl young






    The life of an antique dealer is more than a job, It’s a way of life!  The adventure of finding little pieces of history, researching each item and finding them new homes is a rewarding and intriguing profession.  Antiques drift in and out of fashion and as time goes by more and more items become antiques meaning there is always something new to learn.

   During the late 20th century / early 21st century there was a massive seismic shift in how people find , purchase and sell products and antiques is no different, This game changing shift is called the internet and with it comes not only great benefits but great challenges specifically to the more older oriented business of selling antiques.  I have created this book to help some less internet savvy older people to believe that the internet is not the end of the industry but a new beginning if properly navigated.  I also am writing this guidebook to inspire younger people who are looking to build a good career in a very interesting business field that I love.

  I hope this book brings some value to you and helps you through the challenging shift from analogue to digital dealing or maybe inspires you to start out doing something you love to make a living!

Best regards



Internet changed the game!


  The antique business typically has a quaint history of person to person dealing and collecting antique and curio items , Your trip to your local antiques shop was your only real chance of finding the antique and rare items you desired for your home or collection,  This gave the dealers who owned such shops great power and enabling them to control and manipulate the market creating supply and demand.  All great for the antiques dealers of years gone by!


  Then came the internet in the late 20th century and everything changed and there was a seismic shift in power when it came to who controlled the market,  because of all the newly created supply the internet brought to the market the price of many different collectable and antique items dropped like a stone giving  more power to the buyer.


  Ebay, Etsy, Amazon and many other large websites created a massive worldwide marketplace for anyone to buy and sell antiques and collectables at the comfort of your own home.  Suddenly these mass-produced items that generations of the past i.e Royal Doulton figures, collectable dolls, collectors’ plates sank in value as the market became flooded.

  The introduction of the internet has unfortunately come at the expense  of many old time dealers and collectors due to the changes this new market place has brought to the prices and availability of antiques all over the world,  Along with the fact that older people tend to struggle a bit more than younger people with technology leaves a large gap in the market for younger more tech savvy internet antique dealers of the future.

  So we have discussed problems and challenges that the internet has brought to the antiques market over the past 20 years but this shift in dynamic also brings great benefits along with it that can be used to great advantages for the next generations antique dealers,  One of the main plus points the internet has brought is the size of the potential customer base you can build,  Years ago you maybe only had people who lived or visited your general location to count on buying your stock to keep you in business,  But now with the wonders of the web you can build a worldwide customer base at very little cost and you must use this to your advantage.  Ebay for example brings millions of potential customers to your front door every day for a very small fee in comparison to owning a store in a shopping mall in New York and you just have to work on how to get a portion of that massive customer base to buy your product.


  Another major advantage of the internet is educational, pre internet era acquiring the knowledge about antique and collectable items was a slow and painstaking process.  Many hours were needed spending time going to local auctions, reading as many price guide books as possible and speaking / getting to know other more seasoned antique dealers was a necessity for gaining the required knowledge to be able to operate as an antique dealer,  This work would have been classed as your apprenticeship back then.  Nowadays all the information you need to educate yourself in the business is freely and quickly available on websites like Google etc so use this advantage to increase your knowledge at a faster pace and also with internet phones this can also help you cut down on your mistakes by researching before you buy!

  All this being said you must still be prepared to lose a little money by making mistakes especially at the start but don’t let this deter you as you learn fastest of all when it hits you in the pocket. These losses are like your tuition fee.






Manoeuvring through changes in fashions and tastes  


  As in all walks of life and business customers are widely influenced by fashions and tastes when purchasing products,  For example not so long ago brown furniture became massively out of fashion, nobody wanted it and It was near impossible to sell achieving all time shockingly low prices even at auction, you could have bought a nice 19th century mahogany chest of drawers in good condition for under £50 at auction when before you would have been paying £150-£200.  Some canny smart antique dealers took it upon themselves to look to the popular fashions in the market which at the time were white furniture for the modern minimalistic homes and simply started painting the old brown furniture with white chalk paint and slightly distressing therefore adapting an old piece into a modern fresh piece of furniture ideal for the modern market,  dealers made seriously good money doing this and it goes to show you how important it can be to think outside the box and look to adapt to the current trends in order to earn a living selling antiques.  Some people think this is blasphemy to paint an old piece of antique furniture but it sure beats it ending up in a skip or bonfire and to be quite honest upcycling furniture has been around for hundreds of years and is just good business at times.






Sourcing stock


  Sourcing stock is without a doubt the most exciting part of the antiques and collectables business, spending you time travelling to antique malls or stores, auctions and vintage fairs to find undiscovered gems is like a new adventure every day and can be very addictive.


Auctions can be a seriously exhilarating and fun way of buying your stock, The energy and nervous tension that builds in the Auction room gives you a rush of adrenaline when bidding on items you want and can be a great way of getting both quality and quantity of items at reasonable prices.  Beware that people can have a tendency of getting carried away in the auction room, bidding too much money for items after getting caught up in the drama of the sale, you must observe a level of restraint and discipline.  The key is to go through all the items beforehand (called a viewing) set the top price you are prepared to pay then write it down and do not go above that on auction night.  Try and look at all items as business stock and don’t get too attached to them when bidding. You have to be cold and calculated to some extent.


P.S ….  Don’t forget to add on you auction fees when calculating your bidding price, Typical auction fees are between 15 and 20%, buyers must pay this on top of the hammer price of the item you win.


  House clearances can also be great value and good way to get a lot of stock in one place saving you time and money, Generally all the stock you will get from a good house clearance will be good ‘’Fresh to the market’’ stock which has not been peddled around from dealer to dealer in your local antiques trade.  Storage can be an issue with house clearances however as you are normally buying a house full of items ranging from large furniture and beds to small items and jewellery so depending on what you deal in you might need storage to hold larger or non-antique items like kitchen appliances until you can find a dealer who buys items like this, Alternatively you can also use local auction houses to sell all the items you do not want.

  The best way to approach house clearances is to visit the house first off with a pen, notepad and a calculator, go through all of the items in the house that have value to you as an antique dealer write them all down with the price next to them that you are prepared to pay, then simply add all the prices together, deduct your costs from the total like van rental, petrol etc and there you have your offer price.  Do not pay money for the other items you do not want as if you struggle to sell them you will be struggling to come out with profit in the end after all your work.


  Antique fairs, flea markets etc

  This method of finding stock for your antiques and collectables business is different from all the others, this method requires some detailed knowledge into specific items as you will be travelling from town to town visiting flea markets, antique fairs and malls etc trying to spot items that other dealers might have missed, cherry picking can be a fun adventure using all your experience and knowledge to find diamonds in the rough. The cost per item using this method will for sure be more expensive so you need to make sure you are hitting certain criteria when purchasing, you can use these three guidelines if you wish.

1.     Make sure the items you buy are the right price to make it worth your while , bartering could be an option but you need to make sure you deduct your petrol, time, food costs from your sourcing trip as they will eat into your profit so try and get as low a price as you can.

2.     2. Go for interesting and unusual items which can be more desirable and easier to sell. We will go into a little more depth about this later.

3.     Buy with clients in mind, on a sourcing trip I like to buy items I already have clients for, items I know I will be able to move straight away on return to one of my regular customers.


  Building a good client base online is very important and the best way to do this in my experience is by using the 3 stages I have outlined above when purchasing stock, add into the mix daily listing to your store with great descriptions and excellent images and you are well on your way.  


  Sourcing stock and having the courage to believe in yourself moving forward by spending larger amounts of money on better quality items is key to building a successful career in the antiques business, Consistent listing, turnover of stock and a constant improving of stock quality will ultimately dictate the success of you online business.






Repurposing vintage and antique items


   Repurposing less fashionable vintage and antique items can be a great way of earning good profit in the antiques business.  As discussed earlier brown antique and vintage furniture has been on a dire slump for the past 20 years now with considerably more supply than demand driving prices low and creating an interesting angle for the canny antiques dealer to profit from.  As an example for you buying antique brown mahogany and oak furniture could not have been easier with auction houses all over the world filled to the neck with various pieces and many good solid sets of chairs, sideboards, wardrobes and chests of drawers selling for very low prices, at some auctions you could have filled a van for a few hundred pounds.

   But then you would have had to put in the work cleaning and sanding the items down, then repainting the furniture with the more popular pastel coloured chalk paint and finishing with a destressed style and a coat of wax. So, for a few hours work you should (if done well) have transformed an unfashionable item into a fresh new desirable piece of furniture with a few hundred pounds selling price for under £50 in investment.   The demand for good solid pieces of furniture will always be there it’s just a matter of fashions and styles that dictate the market, as I have mentioned  the same piece of furniture that was lying in an auction being sold for under £50 with just with a lick of paint and some care can be transformed into a desirable piece of furniture for the modern home.

  This does not just apply to furniture however many antique tired looking unfashionable items can be transformed into something highly desirable and quite valuable with a little imagination and outside of the box thought.




Look for unusual items


   Due to the increased availability of antiques due to the internet many antique and collectable items have lost a lot of value and the scarcity that pushed the prices higher is no longer there, basic supply and demand issue!  Finding valuable and desirable antique and vintage items is harder that ever before but unusual and one-off items are a good area to focus on as demand will always outweigh the supply for many items like this. 

   Unusual items can range from upcycled items like old car light made into house lamps, large items as these are harder to source and move and even pieces like quirky hard to find items that are not common even in online sites like Ebay.


  Items like this are obviously harder to source but well worth the searching as these types of items always command higher prices and generally sell a lot quicker in my experience anyway.




  Specializing is also a very smart way to go about building your career in the antiques and collectables business.  One of the greatest strengths of being a specialist in a field is the advantage gaining detailed knowledge on a subject, details can be the fine margins that make you a profit when buying especially in a field of general antique dealers.   Not only from a purchasing perspective but specializing in a subject can also give you advantages when selling you items,  having a reputation as a specialist in your field gives customers greater confidence in the items that you are selling and will for sure in time build you strong base of loyal customers.  Reputation goes a long way in any business!


Finding buyers


  So now you have a grasp on what stock to buy and know where to find the items you want to trade in you now have to focus on the ‘’flip side’’ of life as an antique dealer, finding people to buy them! The internet gives you a great advantage in this area than generations gone by as we have already discussed earlier, Websites like Ebay, Etsy, Amazon and many more are so well established that they literally bring millions of potential customers right to your doorstep for a very small fee in comparison to what you would be charged in rent on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles for example or any other high street in the world that guarantees you a shot at selling to millions of customers a month.

  I personally have always like to go by the old saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket’’ and use at least two or three online platforms at the same time to maximize your exposure to you massive client base and this also helps when one store is a little quiet the others can keep you ticking over as this happens from time to time in any business.

  In this day and age it is so important to focus a good portion of your time in learning all the aspects regarding online marketing, with the ever growing online marketplace to get yourself and your items as close to the top of the pile as possible is key to building a successful online business especially when operating your own website and certain other online marketplace which can require you to draw as many customers as you can to your store, even on websites like Ebay where millions of people a month are directed to your platform it is still good practice to learn how to please the Ebay and Google algorithms to get your store to the top pages of these platforms.

  Social media is also a necessity to push your items forward and as it’s predominantly a free advertising tool meaning it is madness not to take full advantage of this, Get yourself an account with as many social media platforms as you can and start publishing as often as you can to maximize your exposure and boot your sales!  I use Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram but there are many to choose from, just see what works best for you.

  Using all the tools that come along with selling on online platforms like Ebay and Etsy are a good way to give your sales and views a great boost, for example Etsy has a section that is called ‘’Etsy groups’’ which is like a community sub section to the selling part of the website which encourages sellers to get together, discuss and help each other moving their businesses forward.  This can be a powerful tool that I would strongly recommend using not only for brand awareness but for general learning and increasing sales.

 Learning about SEO (search engine optimization) in another very important part of online selling that I would recommend getting to grips with, getting to know the little things search engines react to that can push your listings  further up the pages on Google, Ebay or whatever website search engine you decide to operate from will be an enormously great benefit to your business and a skill that will only get more and more important to understand through the next twenty years of online selling growth.

  Using the right keywords, tags, titles , descriptions along with good quality clear photographs works wonders in getting your items visible to millions of people online as these are the types of things that the algorithms on major search engines like because they are trying to provide a quality service to their customers. So, the more you comply with what the search engines want the higher up in the rankings your items will go meaning more sales!  This part of the modern antique dealing business sounds complicated, but it is really not, there are loads of good websites which explain how to get the best from your SEO and show you how with simple steps.



As you can see, like many other industries the internet has changed the game dramatically and it is so important to embrace the evolution and reap the massive potential rewards of this amazing new worldwide marketplace.


 I hope you enjoyed this guide and found it some value to you, I also hope that you take this information forward with you in growing your online antiques and collectables store and wish you the absolute best for your future in the business.


All the best

Carl Young

Thursday 18 February 2021

Antique Clocks: A Guide to Value, Styles and Proper Care


Antique Clocks: A Guide to Value, Styles and Proper Care

Antique clock with gilt detail

Antique clocks provide a satisfying combination of masterful mechanics and brilliant beauty, from striking antique mantel clocks to the gentle cluck emanating from a cuckoo clock. Regardless of whether it is the precision of the “tick” that lights your fancy or the great clockmakers that conjured true works of art with their timepieces that drives you, collecting antique clocks can quickly become a lifelong passion. In this article, discover how to identify the best examples at auction, advice on key makers, and evolution of styles over the course of history.

How to Value Antique Clocks

When it comes to collecting antique clocks, making an informed purchase means knowing about makers and styles, but it also means checking several aspects of the clock to ensure that the example you’ve selected is worth its full value. Factors that can determine the value of antique clocks include:


Clocks that are in excellent condition will garner a higher price than those bearing chips, scratches, or those that are missing elements. Even if an antique clock offers a spectacular exterior, you also need to be sure to check that the condition of the clock’s movement, which comprises all the elements that make the clock function, is in equally splendid shape. You should inspect everything from the dial to the escapement, which is the mechanism of springs and weights that keep the hands moving.


While some clocks can return to their former glory with the right restoration, it is important to note that unrestored clocks with original features or glass that are still in exceptional condition tend to sell at higher prices.

Clockmaker Marks

Often the authenticity of an antique clock can be confirmed by the presence of a clockmaker’s trademark or insignia that is inscribed on the clock’s movement. Without such markings or an associated label, a clock that is merely attributed to a specific maker will most likely be valued less.


Driving the value of many antique clock prices is when that clock came from a prominent collection. The Breguet Sympathique clock, for example, that was once owned by the Duc d’Orleans, holds the record as one of the most expensive antique clocks to ever appear at auction.

How to Set Your Antique Clock

One of the fascinating aspects of collecting antique clocks is that they reflect an incredible level of hand-craftsmanship that has allowed them to enjoy years of timekeeping. Keeping up these mechanical wonders, though, means setting them correctly and keeping up a regular care regimen. 

French gilt bronze mantel clock, 19th century

French gilt bronze mantel clock, 19th century. Sold for £475 via Lyon & Turnbull (May 2018).

Adjusting the Pendulum

For those antique clocks that rely upon the momentum of a pendulum to keep time, the first step to setting your antique clock is to ensure that this pendulum is not swinging too fast or too slow. You can adjust the pendulum bob – that is, the weight near the end of the pendulum – up or down to either accelerate or slow down the pendulum’s swing. You will also need to make sure your clock is level so that it can stay “in beat,” meaning that the time between the classic “tick” and “tock” is consistently even. If your antique clock falls out of this rhythm, it will most likely stop. 

Winding the Clock

For those antique clocks that use a wound spring to keep time, you will need to fall into a schedule of winding your clock.  When it comes time, you will use the clock’s crank to wind the clock until you meet resistance. Do not try to overwind your clock as this can put undue pressure on the mainspring and might even cause damage to the inner workings of the clock. The frequency with which you wind your antique clock will depend on the style. Those that are 8-day clocks, for example, should be wound once a week (ideally on the same day); 30-hour clocks meanwhile, need once-a-day winding.

Hands Off

When resetting your antique clock, always keep in mind that it is best to avoid manually moving the hands of the clock. Such movements can also damage the inner workings of the clock’s movement.

How to Care for Your Antique Clock

Rare late 19th century German Walnut and Marquetry Shelf Fusee Cuckoo Clock

Rare late 19th century German Walnut and Marquetry Shelf Fusee Cuckoo Clock (interior view). Sold for £1,250 via Chiswick Auctions (September 2019).

Once you have your antique clock ticking away at the correct time, you should begin to think about long-term care for your prized timepiece. Some essential tips include:

  • Maintain Optimal Conditions: Avoid keeping your clock in overly hot or humid spaces. This means avoiding placement near a radiator or fireplace. It is also recommended that you do not place your antique clock in direct sunlight. 
  • Oil Regularly: Antique clocks can run constantly, so once every few years you should plan to oil your clock’s mechanisms. Oiling your clocks requires exceptional skill, though, because too much oil can gum up essential mechanisms. In addition to this routine maintenance, you should also take your clock to a specialist for a full lubrication at least once every ten years.
  • When in Doubt, Ask a Specialist: Given the variety of antique clock styles and the many aspects that can impact their performance, it can be wise to address your antique clock repair questions to an expert. They will know about the nuances of your specific maker and model and can help you to maintain it accordingly.  

Key Styles of Antique Clocks

With a fascinating history that traces back to the Middle Ages in Europe, antique clocks are particularly popular among collectors as they come in such a wide variety of styles. Beyond the general categories of wall, table, mantel, and grandfather clocks, some of the most coveted antique clock styles include:

Ormolu, Porcelain and Enamel Clocks

Opulent examples of antique clocks that exude an air of past regal elegance still abound on the modern auction market. Beautiful eighteenth- and nineteenth-century porcelain clocks with housings by famed makers such as MeissenSevres, and Limoges offer striking showpieces that are as much works of art as they are time-telling tools. Enamel and ormolu accents often also grace these clocks, further adding to their elegant appearance. 

Meissen porcelain antique clock with floral detail

Meissen Porcelain Figural Mantel Clock, early 20th century. Sold for $1,750 via Hindman (February 2020).

Streamlined – yet equally scintillating – luxury can be found in the antique clocks of the early twentieth-century Art Deco era. These sophisticated pieces used brilliant materials like coral and onyx to illuminate the neat geometry of their design.

Skeleton Clocks to Eureka Clocks

Collectors can also be drawn to the realm of antique clock collecting for the technological brilliance of their design, and several innovative makers showcase this aspect quite well. The skeleton clock, for example, that was introduced in the late eighteenth century, was one of the first styles to expose the inner movement of the clock and thus showcased the expert craftsmanship that such timepieces required. The twentieth century witnessed the debut of the Eureka clock, which was revolutionary in that its operation was supported by electric impulse.  

A Mahogany Four-Glass Eureka Electric Mantel Timepiece

Mahogany Four-Glass Eureka Electric Mantel Timepiece, No. 8927, London, circa 1910. Sold for £1800 via Sotheby’s (July 2019).

The same innovation can be seen in the spectacular antique clocks made by the Breguet et Fils company. Establishing his company in the late years of the eighteenth century, Breguet dazzled early audiences – including Marie Antoinette – with his pioneering self-winding pocket watch;  but he also revolutionized the realm of table clocks with his ongoing refinement of each clock’s movements. Breguet also developed new hands that were easier to read while maintaining a slender, elegant appearance across each clock’s face that continues to be a staple of modern Breguet designs. 

The array of antique clocks available in today’s market means a satisfying sampling of styles and price points to please most collectors. Understanding the variety, what to look for when searching, and the relative ease with which you can keep your antique clock collection in top form is the first step in building out your collection.

Tuesday 9 February 2021

What Are the 2021 Antique & Vintage Trends for Sellers & Decorators?


What Are the 2021 Antique & Vintage Trends for Sellers & Decorators?

Hi there! One of the biggest issues antique sellers and decorators face is knowing what’s “in” or what’s “hot” at any given moment. After conducting a fair amount of online research into the issue, I’ve come up with my list of twenty 2021 antique and vintage trends.

In general, vintage and antiques are trending toward small, functional, and nostalgic. Small because millennials (born 1981-96) prefer smaller spaces and are often on the move. Functional because owning something that is solely decorative doesn’t work with “small” and “on the move.”

And finally nostalgic because at some point most of us enter a stage where we find comfort in memories from our childhood, whether it’s a toy, something mom used in the kitchen, or some other item that hits an emotional cord.

So something that touches on all three of these factors–small, functional, and nostalgic–promises to hold enormous interest for buyers, millennials in particular.

Please keep in mind as you read this list that I have purposely focused on items that I expect to sell well for the average vintage and antique dealer. For example, while watches in the $1000-5000 range may be great sellers, the average dealer isn’t handling items in this price range on a regular basis.

Let’s take a look at these 20 items I believe will sell well for us in 2021.

Related posts: Vintage & Antique Price Guides and What’s Selling in Vintage & Antiques posts

MCM Mushroom Casserole: 2021 Vintage & Antique Trends

See the 15 items from 2020 in this video or skip to the list below:


1. Chinoiserie Ceramics & Furniture — on Trend for 2021

blue and white pottery covered jar: a 2020 antique & vintage trendChinoiserie, a fancy term for “Asian-style,” shows up year after year on multiple “hot trend” lists. I suspect this is due in part to the fact that it covers such a broad range of objects.

While you can find Asian-style furniture, wall art, and rugs, dealers with small shops or booths should look for ceramic pieces like this dainty ginger jar. 

Resource: Vintage & Antique Transferware Price Guide

2. Industrial Style Lighting — a Popular Item in 2021

Antiqued Brass Lamps--on the 2020 antique and vintage trend list[Please excuse the poor photo!] I don’t personally sell a large quantity of industrial antiques, but I did pick up this pair of industrial style lamps that I suspected would sell quickly on Facebook Marketplace.

They sold easily a year ago for $50 and the industrial trend promises to remain strong into 2021. Investing in lighting offers a relatively cheap way to add some industrial flare to home decor without breaking the bank.

Related: How to Sell on Facebook Marketplace

3. Farm Tables

Antique Child's Farm Table--an on trend vintage or antique item in 2020Farm tables are another perennial favorite. I sell a few every year myself. I loved this dainty child’s version, which sold for $45 a couple of years ago, but would likely sell for $65-75 in 2021.

Sellers, don’t be turned of by chipping, worn spots, dents, or scratches, because they don’t bother most buyers at all. In fact, they’re considered benefits since they add to the “character” and “charm” of the piece. 

Because the kitchen table often serves as the center of one’s home, going for a well-loved farmhouse-style piece–especially a family heirloom–contributes to the warmth of the room and subtly speaks of longevity in family relationships.

4. Vintage Christmas

vintage christmas display with thermoses, santa, and red truck--vintage Christmas is on trend in 2020The vintage/antique trend for decorating with true vintage and antiques at Christmas will continue into 2021. People just can’t get enough of plaid thermoses, Buddy L trucks, bottle brush trees, Santa-anything, Putz houses, and Shiny Brites.

With vintage Christmas decorations, nostalgia often comes into play because our memories of holidays and the emotions attached to them are often very strong.

We like to have mementos of those sweet times and if none were passed down to us, then we need to buy a few to make us smile throughout the season.

Two hints for sellers: For me, Putz houses sell best on Etsy and mercury glass garlands on eBay. Just sayin’.

Resources: Collecting Vintage ChristmasVintage Christmas Price Guide

5. Quality Ironstone

antique white ironstone tureen: a 2020 vintage & antique trendHonestly, for as long as I’ve been tracking trends in decorating, antique ironstone has been a staple for decorators.

Its simplicity of form, gleaming surface, and ability to serve as a backdrop to so many other collectibles, make it almost indispensable. Sellers, look for flawless serving pieces in interesting patterns because that’s what buyers will be looking for.

Resources: A Guide to Vintage & Antique IronstoneA Vintage & Antique Ironstone Price Guide, and  Clean & Care for Antique Ironstone

6. Cutting Boards

vintage bread boards: a 2020 vintage & antique trendI see no end in sight for our fascination with all things cutting boards. We’ve fallen in love with the warm patina of these household necessities and can’t stop decorating with them!

I find that large dough boards, like the one in the very front of this photo, sell the best. Depending upon their size, age, and patina, they go for about $18-40+

I sell quite a few smaller cutting boards, too, along with those in various shapes. Pigs are great sellers and other farm animal shapes do pretty well too.

If your mom or Grandma rolled out pie or cookie dough on an old, well-loved board then chances are you’re going to want to have one like theirs in your possession. 

Resource: Clean & Care for Cutting Boards

7. Garden Related

Table top green house--an antique & vintage 2020 trendWith the strong interest in using one’s outdoor space for entertaining has come an equally strong interest in decorating them attractively. What better, more appropriate source to turn to than vintage and antique gardening supplies?

Think terrariums, like this chippy example, tools both large and small, and interesting statuary. They all remain right on trend, along with succulents and macramé plant hangers, LOL. 

Resource: Collecting Vintage Garden Supplies

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Ad for ebook: 10 Vintage Items Often Overlooked & Undervalued at garage Sales


8. Mid-century Modern

Vintage MCM Finland Kaj Franck Mushroom CasseroleSellers, even if you’re not a personal fan of Mid-century Modern (MCM), buy it anyway because it’s been hot for a while and I expect it’s popularity to continue. 

If you live in a part of the country, as I do, where it doesn’t sell well, sell it on eBay because it sells like hotcakes. This casserole, designed by Kaj Franck of Finland, sold for $70 on eBay.

Related: In my latest eBook–What to Sell on eBay–I dive into selling MCM on eBay. In fact, this casserole is in the book! Find out more HERE.

9. Art

Vintage oil painting of fall trees in ornate frame: a 2020 vintage & antique trendBecause I LOVE vintage and antique art, it pleased me to learn that it’s right on trend for 2021. I have a huge stockpile stored in various corners of my house, so this may be the year I am able to sell the majority of it off. Fingers crossed.

This piece is currently in my “private collection,” and hangs in my office, right where I can enjoy it, each and every day.

I find that sellers often undervalue the middle range of art as they are unable to understand its real value. And sometimes an ugly frame will throw off one’s ability to truly experience the art.

As buyers, we  need to learn how to look beyond the ugly frame, right? Look for balance in the composition, colors that compliment each other, and subject matter that’s beautiful and/or interesting.

10. Space Collectibles

vintage brass apollo 11 astronaut commemorative watch fob The anniversary celebration of Apollo 11 in 2019 renewed the public’s interest in space flight. As a result, souvenirs and memorabilia, like this Apollo 11 watch fob (available in my Etsy shop) will continue to hold consumer’s attention into 2021, especially millenials. 

Other space collectibles to watch out for include photographs, patches, pins, drinking glasses, coins, and magazines.

11. Signed Costume Jewelry

vintage gold and pearl Trifari brooch pinI was SO glad to read over and over again that jewelry from known makers like Trifari, Hobe, and Coro will be on trend for 2021. Why am I so happy? Because my sweet husband and I bought a ginormous amount of costume jewelry as an investment and as a way to bless a dear friend.

I’ve found that the best place to sell jewelry so far has been Etsy. Dealers with well-placed cases in antique shops also do extraordinarily well with high quality jewelry.

I’ve added a locked cabinet to my booth space and regularly sell nicer quality pieces, but not as quickly as I sell them on Etsy. 

Resource: A Costume Jewelry Price Guide

12. Vintage Jewelry Presentation Boxes

collection of vintage jewelry presenation box Jewelry presentation boxes did not show up on anybody’s “hot trends” list. I’m including it because, well, I feel like it, LOL. This is after all, my list. So I can put anything I want on it, right?? 

Seriously, I put them on the list because the are selling like hotcakes for me right now and I expect that trend to continue right on through 2021.

Where to sell them? Etsy. What kind to sell? I find all vintage and antique examples to be sought after but some more than others. 

Antique velvet boxes with mother-of-pearl or brass button openers on the front sell for $15-50+ depending upon size and condition. Leather examples would go for even more and cardboard ones I tend to group together and sell for $10-15 a bundle.

Resource: A Guide to Vintage & Antique Jewelry Presentation Boxes

plastic ivory and blue ring presentation boxThis example, made of early plastic with blue stained floral design, sold recently on Etsy for $27.

13. Vintage Barware

set of six vintage cocktail glasses on a gold tray--on trend for 2020Vintage barware has been hot for several years and people continue to enjoy setting up bar carts and bar areas in their homes. Look for shakers, cocktail glasses (like these 1960’s glasses with funky leaf designs), and glass swizzle sticks.

14. 1980’s Toys

vintage 1980's transform figure toyLike each generation before it, Gen Xers and millennials look for and buy toys they played with during their childhood.

Whether to enjoy as a collectible or to gift to their own children, they will scoop up vintage gaming systems like those by Atari and Nintendo, along with iconic toys like transformers, Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Star Wars figures. This transformer, known as Voltron Dairugger XV and dating to 1984, sold on eBay for $11.55 in 2017. 

15. Bakelite 

vintage Bakelite Red-beaded necklace/chokerBakelite is a perennial favorite that never seems to go off the “hot trends” list. This beautiful early plastic comes in delightfully cheerful colors and is wonderfully weighty in your hand. There’s nothing quite like the sound of a bunch of vintage Bakelite bangle bracelets happily clacking together.

Look for jewelry, knobs on furniture and housewares, napkin rings, and radios. My grandmother had several Scottie dog napkin ring holders and I’d love to own a set someday. That would make them a “small, functional, nostalgic” winner ðŸ™‚

Resource: A Guide to Collecting Vintage Bakelite

16. Canning Jars

Collection of vintage canning jarsLong before they became popular with farmhouse style decorators, the humble canning jar had found a place in the heart of some very serious collectors. 

Whether we’re talking about clear glass Atlas jars ($10) or rare upside down jars ($1000), the market for fruit jars is strong. I sell at least a dozen or so from my antique booth every year.

Aqua and other colored jars are sought after as well as those by companies whose production was limited, like “Beaver” and “Columbus.” 

ResourcesA Guide to Vintage & Antique Canning Jars & A Vintage & Antique Canning Jar Price Guide

17. Perfume

Vintage Cinnabar PerfumeIt surprises many people that vintage perfume, as well as empty bottles of perfume, are quite sought after by collectors. 

Some, upset with a change in their perfume’s chemical makeup, are in constant search of the “old” formulas they originally fell in love with. In other cases their favorite scent has been discontinued, or it may be that the bottle itself is beautiful and therefore collectible.

Some names to look for: Chanel No. 5, Cinnabar (Estee Lauder), Quelque Fleurs (Houbigant), and Muguet des Bois (Coty). Try selling them on eBay and Etsy.

Resources: My Vintage Perfume YouTube Video &  Vintage Perfumes Hold Their Allure

18. Cook Books

Collection of vintage cook booksThis category may seem to “homely” to make it to the top 20 but mine is a practical list: items that are popular and sell well. I sell large numbers of cook books for between $8 and $30, the more common through my antique booth and the rarer on eBay.

I’m always on the lookout for the holy grail of cook books: a 1st edition copy of Julia Childs’ Mastering the Art of French Cooking, worth upwards of $5000(!)

Decorators look for books with attractive covers, like the red gingham Better Home & Gardens and those with plaid designs. In addition, I always pick up books related to cooking game because I live in an area where hunting is popular.

Don’t overlook cooking pamphlets, like early Pillsbury contest winners, regional examples (Amish, New England, and Adirondacks for me), as well as unusual international examples written in English, like Danish or Polish pamphlets.

Resources: A Guide to Vintage & Antique Cook Books Part IPart II, & A Vintage & Antique Cook Book Price Guide

19. Clothing

vintage fur hatVintage clothing is hot, hot, hot! While it’s not the focus of my business, which is primarily farmhouse style and costume jewelry, I have successfully sold numerous pieces of clothing and related accessories, including Pendleton skirts and jackets, Nordic sweaters, Vera scarves, and buffalo plaid hunting coats and pants.

Resource: Vintage Fashion Guild

20. Automobilia/Petrolina

Barn with antique signs hangingMen in particular are crazy for collectibles related to cars. I’m certain the show, American Pickers only added to the craze. I’ve had good success selling parts of old cars bearing the car brand, for example, a long front bumper accent from a Chevrolet for $40 not too long ago.

Keep your eye out for metal signs, oil cans, license plates, and hood ornaments to mention just a few of the items that collectors look for.

How valuable are you vintage Barbie dolls?

  The Guide to Vintage Barbie Dolls Blonde #1 Boxed Barbie. Sold for $6,600 via Morphy Auctions (April 2013). Estimated Reading Time:  11 mi...