Tips on Buying Antique and Vintage Items

flea-market-464748_960_720Whether your preferred shopping environment is yard/garage sales, estate sales, storage auctions, or even thrift shops, you probably know the value associated with certain antique and vintage items. While most products depreciate in value over time, antiques typically have the opposite effect; they increase in value. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that all antique and vintage items are worth buying. On the contrary, you could end up losing money if you fail to take the right approach. Here are some tips on how to buy antique and vintage items for a profit.

Is it Restored?

Some people wrongfully assume that it’s best to have their tarnished antique and vintage items professionally restored, believing this will increase the item’s value. Even if it improves the item’s aesthetics, however, restoration may lower its value. Collectors want antiques that are still in their original condition, even if this condition is worn. So if you come across a restored antique or vintage item, you should offer the seller a lower asking price.

Verify Authenticity

Just because an item looks old and valuable doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. Some “replicas” are made to mimic the appearance of real vintage items. Obviously, you’ll want to avoid these replicas whenever possible, opting for authentic antique and vintage items instead. You can usually tell if an item is authentic by looking for signs of wear. Is the item tarnished? Does it have a label engraved into the surface? From where or whom did the seller acquire? Answer these questions to better tell if an antique is authentic.

Preserve It

After buying an antique or vintage item, store it in a safe and protected location where there’s no risk of damage. Leaving the item outside may cause serious damage, especially if it’s made of wood. Antique and vintage items should be stored in a climate-controlled environment with a relative humidity of 40-50%. This ensures the air is not too dry nor too moist, protecting it against further damage.

Price Check Online

This doesn’t always work, but you should still try to price-check antique and vintage items before buying them. Thanks to the Internet, this is now easier than ever. Head over to eBay and search for the item. Now look to see what others are bidding on it. This should give you a pretty good idea of the item’s fair-market value.


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