Antiques are types of collectibles that date back centuries. They include artwork, furniture, jewelry, clocks, coins, and even books. The value of antique goods varies widely, from $1 to millions of dollars. You may even be sitting on a goldmine and have no idea how much an antique in your house is worth.
This begs the question. Where to sell Antiques in 2022? Fret not, because, in this guide, we will talk about everything you need to know to sell your antiques. So grab your monocles and let’s dive into the article.
Is Selling Antiques Worth It?
If you are new to the world of antiques, you may be wondering if all the hype is worth it. After all, at the end of the day what matters is profits. If venturing into the antique business won’t produce a good surplus, then it would be a turnoff from the getgo.
While the antique world has always appealed to billionaires and historians, it has also become trendy after Covid.
Amidst the pandemic, the antique business saw steady growth, with a whopping 35% increase in buyers in the year 2020 alone.
It is without a shadow of a doubt, that selling antiques is one of the best ways to make money. It is one of the only industries in the world, which has a promising turnover.
Where To Sell Antiques And Collectibles?
As of 2022, there is a multitude of options to choose from to sell antiques and collectibles. You can dive into the world of eCommerce, or go back to the traditional methods. The main difference is the interaction process between the buyers.
Essentially, a few variables need to be accounted for, when deciding where to sell antiques. These include the number of antique items you have, the kind of antique item, and your asking price.
Traditional Auction Houses
In its essence, a traditional auction house is an organization that buys and sells antiques at auction. The company often acts as a middleman in transactions. Most often, these are quite professional and disciplined. Buyers in traditional auction houses are usually looking to spend around a couple hundred thousand, making it quite appealing for sellers dealing in extremely expensive items.
The main downside is that the auction house takes a small cut of the total cash you make, however, it is a great way of getting to know the community.
In recent times, online websites have piqued the interest of the masses, making them one of the best options to sell antiques.
The best thing about selling online is the potential to earn. Since you attract a larger audience, there is a higher chance for a bidding war to start. Popular websites such as eBay and Mercari are a good option to go with in this regard.
Flea Market is essentially a type of street marketplace where you can sell vintage items at a good price. Antiques and thrift store items are quite popular in these markets and you can find many antique dealers here.
However, flea markets are only suited for vendors with several items to be sold and those who know their products. Otherwise, you’d not be able to bargain with the buyers to get your desired price. They are quite similar to yard sales.
While most antique shops intend to sell items, they don’t mind buying them either. The same is the case with a Pawn Shop. When trying to sell locally, these good old standard shops work best.
Antique Shops are one of the fastest ways to sell items. However, they come with a silver lining.
In a nutshell, you will have to compromise on the price. Since the antique dealer would want to make a profit himself, you will likely get less cash for your item than what it would go for in an auction.
So unless you don’t have time on your hands and have no idea about how auctions work, it is advised to opt for a different option.
How Do Traditional Auctions Work?
Traditional Auctions have been around for decades and usually attract buyers who are looking to spend hundreds of thousands. What makes these better than online methods is the legitimacy involved as almost every item is first checked for authenticity.
Auction houses have buyers and sellers who come together to trade. In terms of money exchanges, the buyer pays the seller most often in cash, while the seller gives the buyer the product.
In an auction house, the auctioneer calls out bids for each item. Once one bidder reaches his limit, the auctioneer yells out either the winning bid or asks if anyone else wants to buy the item. If another bidder enters the contest to bid a higher value than the original bidder’s maximum amount, then the auctioneer waits for someone to bid higher. If no one else makes a bid, then the highest bidder wins the item.
Auction houses vary widely, and some are focused on certain products, while others offer many different types of services. The majority of the time, the best place for a consumer to find an auction house is online. Typically, there is an auction house for almost anything you can think of. You’ll find auction houses for clothing, electronics, furniture, cars, homes, and artwork to speak of a few.
Types of Auctions
When we hear the word auction, a scene in our mind plays out with an auctioneer standing on a stage and calling out the names of items. We think of millionaires sitting with their managers throwing around absurdly large numbers as the bidding war intensifies.
However, that is only one type of auction. There are dozens more. We will be looking at the three basic types that are concerned with antiques.
The scenario we mentioned above was a representation of the English Auction. These are the most popular type where the buyers start with a lower bid and then increase as more bidders step into the bidding war.
An alternative name for them is called open ascending auction.
English auctions primarily work best when there is no cap on the highest selling price, making them one of the best to sell wine, art, antiques, and collectibles. An example of this would be the London auction house.
Dutch auctions are the opposite of English Auctions. In these, the auctioneer calls out the highest price followed by bidders making lower-priced bids until a bidder says “Mine.”
The most interesting thing about these is the incentive. Instead of the seller, the buyer is worried that someone will purchase the antiques for a cheaper sales price, and to stay on the safe side, buys the item faster. Due to this reason, they can be used to earn quick cash.
If you have antiques that you believe deserve the hype, then you could very well sell them for your desired sale price in these auctions. Due to the unique process, Dutch auctions are also known as open descending auctions.
Sealed Bid Auction
Also known as the Vickrey Auction, these are popularly used for advertisements.
Essentially, in the sealed bid auction, bidders use an envelope that is sealed with the bidding price written on it.
Once all the envelopes are submitted, they are checked and the highest bidder wins the item.
Best eCommerce Websites To Sell Antiques Online
In the recent decade, as the internet has grown, it has introduced a whole new facet to selling products online. Due to the reputation of websites such as eBay and Amazon, people have started buying products from online marketplaces as opposed to standard shops.
And why wouldn’t they? Getting stuff delivered to your house with the click of a button at a relatively cheaper cost than market value has its appeal.
Likewise, eCommerce websites have had a significant impact on the world of Antiques. A growing percentage of antique dealers now prefer online auctions. So let’s talk about the best online websites for buying and selling antiques.
When it comes to online auctions, eBay is likely to be one of the most popular online marketplaces out there. Even though it is known for non-antique items, the site works just as well as an online antique marketplace.
You can list your antique items for free and start receiving bids right away. eBay offers a wide variety of categories including furniture, art, vintage collectibles, jewelry, antiques, etc.
When selling your item, make sure that it meets its listing guidelines. Providing a detailed and clear description with pictures can help you stand out and get a good price.
The best thing about eBay is the number of buyers. Being one of the most popular eCommerce websites around, it has a large number of users as well.
And let’s not forget that the website is free. While most often selling and buying can be scary due to the uncertainty and risks involved, eBay provides seller and buyer protection. This makes it one of the best websites around.
Primarily, there are two main issues with eBay auctions. The first is the cost, and the second is fake bids.
Due to the competition, selling on eBay can earn you a lot, but sometimes, competitors and noninterested buyers can rig the process by bidding too high until the actual bidders bail out of the war.
Facebook and Instagram
Facebook and Instagram, can both be some of the best options to sell vintage and antique items alike.
One example is the Facebook marketplace, where both sellers and buyers make thousands of deals almost daily. By using ads, you can target specific buyers to get a good price for your item.
You can also use Facebook groups and pages to sell items along with the Facebook marketplace. If it attracts a large audience, it can become a sustainable source of income as well and earn you extra money.
Facebook and Instagram allow you to advertise items for sale by paying a small advertisement fee. This can ease your work and get your product visible to those whose interest it is likely to pique. Due to the high popularity of these social handles, more buyers can be reached through them.
The user interface is also simple and allows you to communicate with the buyers, thus allowing you to build connections with long-term clients and ultimately sell for better prices.
The main issue with these is the uncertainty. You can never be too sure if the buyer is verified and there is no security.
Similarly, if they live far away, it can also create a lot of problems as there is no buyer or seller protection.
Craigslist is a popular name when it comes to selling items online. Selling on Craigslist is similar to eBay’s system. You simply list your items for sale by adding a picture and creating a title. If you choose to use Craigslist, keep in mind that your item may not receive any bids if it does not meet the requirements set forth by the site.
The biggest advantage of selling on Craiglist is the ease involved. Since there is no listing or selling fee, it greatly reduces the risks of not being able to make a sale. You can also sell for a much higher price here, depending on the antique.
Although Craiglist and eBay share a few similarities, the biggest difference is safety. Selling on Craiglist means, you’ll have to meet with the other party to sign the deal. Not only is this dangerous, but it can also be in vain if the buyer decides not to buy the item, costing you time and gas money.
If you have been in the antique business for a while, you are bound to have come across Sotheby’s.
In its essence, Sotheby’s is one of the oldest and largest online auction houses for high end antiques, vintage collectibles, and luxury items.
If you are selling artwork or an expensive antique, they could be your best bet to go with.
The main advantage to sell here is reliability. Sotheby’s will only work with you if your item meets the criteria, making it quite reputable and trusted, by most buyers and sellers.
If your items for sale don’t meet the criteria, they will refer you to a trusted partner which makes them quite trusted. Additionally, due to the reputation of the website, you are likely to come across buyers who will be looking to invest in your item instead of just window shopping and making fake bids.
The biggest con when auctioning an item on Sotheby’s is the quality check itself as this can be a detailed process. Additionally, the number of antique dealers is quite small in comparison to larger markets such as eBay. Thus, it can make for a slow process to sell, with no actual guarantee of making a sale at the end of the day.
Etsy can be quite appealing for those looking to make a permanent source of income from selling antiques online since it lets you build a name for yourself. Although it can be a slow process at first, constant hardwork will pay off on Etsy.
One of the main pros of selling antiques on Etsy is the low listing fees. As of now, Etsy charges only 20 cents per listing for four months. This can be renewed as well.
Additionally, Etsy offers a lot of incentives for both buyers and sellers such as free shipping which attracts a lot of customers. Therefore, you are bound to eventually make a sale here.
The main issue with Etsy is the time and dedication it needs. You will need to use SEO to optimize your page, customize it, and overall work hard to make it as appealable as possible to get customers. The slow process can be quite daunting as it isn’t suited for those who just want to sell one product here.
What Can You Sell As An Antique?
The world of antiques is quite vast and you may even have a few items in your grandmother’s house which could be sold for thousands. But what exactly counts as an antique?
In a nutshell, anything older than a hundred years would count as an antique. They are often collectible and valuable because of their rarity. The word antique comes from the Latin antiquus meaning old.
Antiques can be pieces of furniture, glassware, ceramics, silver, paintings, sculpture, textiles, musical instruments, and even books.
One of the most expensive items in the world of auctions is paintings. Most admirers of artworks are often regular enthusiasts of antiques.
Even though popular artworks such Mona Lisa get all the fame, fine art and other forms of art pique just as much interest for buyers.
Furniture is probably one of the easiest things to sell. If you have any antiques sitting around your house, you should seriously think about listing them on sites like eBay.
However, make sure the piece of furniture is sturdy, well maintained, and isn’t damaged. If you can find references regarding its past use, it could attract thousands.
Antique jewelry is valued based on the quality of the gemstone and the craftsmanship of the piece. The value of a ring may increase if it features diamonds or emeralds, while gold rings tend to hold their value over time.
Like with all antiques, if there is a history attached, it can massively increase the price of the jewelry. For instance, if it is a piece from the victorian era, or even further back from the Greek era, it could potentially sell for a lot of money.
Books are pretty much timeless. Even though they don’t hold as much value as they did years ago, they continue to sell.
If you have an old copy such as the first edition of “Dracula by Bram Stoker” in hardcover, that could sell for quite a hefty amount.
Even if a toy doesn’t count as an antique, it could be worth a lot of money, depending on its rarity and condition. However, the price increases significantly depending on how old the toy is.
If you have an old doll that dates back to the 1800 or 1900s, it could potentially sell for a fortune.
Weapons are one of the most popular types of antiques. Whether it is a 400-year-old samurai sword or an old shotgun, if it is authentic, then it’s going to sell.
What Makes For A Good Antique?
Oftentimes, people will believe that they have a good antique piece, but on inspection by a professional, they will realize it isn’t worth that much money. Other times, however, things would be the opposite and they may just underestimate its price.
In its essence, the historical impact an item has can make a huge difference in its price. If you can manage to find its history, it can essentially sell for a lot of money.
For instance, if the item was used in WW1, or if it is related to a popular personality from olden times, then it can be quite expensive.
This should be quite obvious but the condition of the item matters a lot. The better the condition, the higher it will sell for.
An old scripture that is extremely fragile would not nearly be worth as much as it would be had it been in better condition. This is primarily due to the uncertainty involved since the condition determines how long it could last.
Depending on how rare an item is, its worth will increase. This is not just true for antiques, but also vintage collectibles. Even decade-old toys can be worth a huge sum of money if they were made in limited edition.
How To Make A Profit From Flipping Antiques?
In its essence flipping means buying an item for less price and then selling it for a higher price. Flipping is the primary business model to earn money for most antique and pawn shops.
Trying to make a profit from flipping antiques is easier said than done, however. This is because of the technicalities involved. To make a profit, you would have to be aware of the history of the items you are buying and know their worth. Otherwise, you could very well be scammed into buying a fake.
Flipping antiques is only possible if you have access to cheap sellers, and if you have a good eye for good items. However, this is only one side of the story because we still haven’t talked about selling it.
Once you have bought an antique that you believe is worth the money, you also need to be aware of the people who would be willing to buy it and its popularity. For the best flipping strategies, go for items that are popular in demand. Vintage weapons in this regard can be quite good to buy and sell.
Selling antiques may look easy, however, there are a lot of aspects to it. To be successful, you need to be aware of the market and have a good knowledge of the items and their history.
One of the best ways to sell antiques is by opting for online websites such as eBay and Etsy, however, English and Dutch-styled auctions work just as well. And if you have less time on your hands, then local antique shops could be a good option to go with.
That brings us to the end of this ultimate guide. Thank you for reading.