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How to Find the Best Antiques at Estate Sales

Vintage furniture
Do you love looking for antiques? Hunting for antiques can be a passion in and of itself, and estate sales are one of the more popular venues. But estate sales also take a lot of work, as you have to sort through the inventory for valuable items.
Here are some tips for your next estate sale, so you can get the best finds. 

Take a Look at the Pictures First

Many estate sale companies will post pictures of the sale before the sale actually occurs. Use these photos to prepare for the sale. Look for items that you're interested in, such as specific vases, pieces of art, or furnishings.
Once you've done your research, you need to arrive early to the estate sale to secure the item early. Many of these estate sales will even have the prices available beforehand, so you can decide whether or not an item's a good deal. 

Think About What People Keep

Antiques in a normal home are most likely to be decorative (such as vases) or functional (such as cookware). If you are looking at a general estate sale, you will want to focus on items like vintage appliances, cooking dishes, and display items. On the other hand, if you're looking at an estate sale that has some more expensive items, you may want to broaden your scope to furnishings.

Be Aware of What People Overlook

Before an estate sale starts, most of the items will be priced. A chair that has been in the family for a hundred years is probably already priced accordingly. But some items are more frequently overlooked. These include:
  • Tools. Vintage tools last a long time, and though many tools aren't worth a lot, some are collectibles. In particular, antique automotive tools and antique woodworking tools tend to be valuable.
  • Bakelite items. Bakelite is extremely desirable now, but it's often overlooked because it looks like a gaudy piece of costume jewelry. Bakelite has a special place in history, so pieces of Bakelite are often valuable even if they aren't particularly attractive.
  • Folk art. If you're looking in a specific region, pay attention to art that is specific to that region. You may be surprised how valuable folk art can be. Folk art is highly dependent on your area but can be interesting to a collector. 
Other things to keep an eye out for are picture frames, games, and jewelry. You may be able to get great discounts on these items.

Don't Shy Away From the Large Items

When at an estate sale, you may want to pay attention to the large items. Is an antique refrigerator for sale? Perhaps a vintage safe? These are items that people are going to be very hesitant to buy because they don't want to have to move them and store them.
Most estate sales require that an individual be able to take the item immediately after purchasing it, as they are trying to clear out a home. Thus, if you have a truck (or can rent one), you may be in a unique position.
All-in-all, estate sales often aren't the best place to find antiques because many of the items have already been judged and priced. But that doesn't mean that you can't happen upon a lucky find - and when you do, your first step should be to get an appraisal.
Getting an appraisal isn't just important if you want to sell the item for its full value; it's also important if you want to insure it. The experts at Regan Lewis Antiques can both help you appraise your items and help you find any items that you've been looking for.

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Phone: 919-872-8177


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