Buying antiques from individuals is an area that is often overlooked, especially for people not in the antiques business. Antique dealers usually have people trying to sell them their antiques and collectibles quite often. Unfortunately since the “Antiques Roadshow” and the many other TV programs, most people think their things are worth more than they really are. But just buying antiques, art, and collectibles from individuals, especially in a down economy, can be very rewarding. So how do you find individuals wanting to sell their antiques & collectibles. The first place I would look would be in the classified ads in your local newspaper.
You will need to check the classified ads a couple of times a week. In larger cities there may be even a couple of different sections of the classifieds to check, depending on what you collect or trying to find. The next place I would look would be in Craig’s List which is on the internet at http://www.craigslist.org/ . Here you will find a list of all the cities that have listings on this popular web site. You might want to check on nearby cities as well as your own also. This site allows photos to be uploaded so you can see the item before you call and make an appointment to see it. Unfortunately, I need to warn you about how people have been robbed when responding to one of these ads, especially for cars or other items where a large amount of money is involved. I confess that one time I was very nervous, even after going to see a group of items first, because the person was leaving town the next day and would only accept cash. So just be careful when responding to ads from people you do not know. Today, you just can’t be too careful, because you can be robbed or killed for small amounts of money. So don’t go alone, the more people the safer. Sorry, I felt compelled to make that warning.
For the advanced collector or if you are hunting more unusual items, you might want to list what you are wanting to buy in the classified section of your local paper. You can also list in national publications of antiques and collectibles like the “Antique Trader”. There are other antiques publications, and you can easily find them online. Another fun place to find things is to join a collector’s club. There are ones that are for any kind of antiques and collectors where they will talk about all different areas of the world of antiques. Others are targeted at specific groups, such as doll collectors, blue willow collector’s club, and on and on. Then you can buy, sell, and trade with others with similar interests to you. This is a fun way to learn more about your area of collecting and also be more trusting in buying from an individual that you know.
For dealers buying antiques or collectibles from individuals, another warning. If someone comes into your antique shop or mall and they are trying to sell you something, be sure and ask for identification and make a copy of it to protect yourself. Too many times these are stolen items, if the deal is too good to be true, it increases the odds. This is especially true of silver, gold, or other items that can be turned into cash quickly. Why would they be offering you items at a price when they could easily get more at a pawn shop or other place that is required by law to get identification. Another tip is to always make the seller tell you what they want for the piece. If they tell you they don’t know, just offer them a ridiculously low price and they will quickly tell you “No.” Then respond that since they will not accept that offer, what offer will they accept. If you feel it is something you really want and you can’t get them to set a price, make them one offer and then tell them that if they leave the store the offer is off the table. You don’t want them shopping your price to other dealers. If you do buy an antique from an individual, and it turns out to be stolen, you will have to surrender it to police if they come into your shop and find stolen merchandise. There is another related article on this site, Buying Antiques.
I have given warnings and I don’t want to discourage you from buying antiques from individuals. Remember that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. There are many reasons why people want to sell things, but this can create a buying opportunity for you. So check out the different sources I have listed in this article and try to find some bargains buying antiques from individuals.