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How to Sell Antiques: A Guide For Beginners

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Did you come across some old antiques in your attic? Or are you interested in selling vintage collectibles?

In all cases, selling antiques doesn’t sound like an easy process to many people.

Don’t fret! You’re not alone in this, as many people don’t know how and where to sell these valuable items.

Lucky for you, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to sell antiques in today’s article.

Our guide will help you understand all the problems you might face and the important things you need to consider.

Why You Should Consider Selling Antiques

Selling antiques can be a profitable business. It’s also a fun and rewarding process.

Here’s why you should consider selling antiques:

  • Good profit margin: you can sell antique pieces for a high profit. In some cases, rare pieces can be sold for three times their original price. The more unique the item is, the more money you can make selling it.
  • It’s not hard to find valuable antiques: you can easily find valuable antiques if you know where to look! Many people in the business find rare vintage items in yard sales and thrift shops for cheap prices. With retail arbitrage, you can make top dollar selling antiques!
  • Finding antiques is a fun process: do you love treasure hunting? Well, finding valuable antiques is a similar process! It’s fun to look around for items you can sell for a better price.
  • It’s a flexible business: you can put as much time and effort into the business as you’d like. In other words, you’ll be your own boss. 

Problems With Selling Antiques

Before we tell you how to sell antique items, there are some drawbacks that you need to know about. Here are some of them:

Set of Antiques on a table in an Antiques shop
  • You need to gain experience: before starting your antique business, you need to do a lot of research and gain enough experience. That’s because you need to be able to tell if an item is worth investing in. You’ll also face many replicas and fake items, which can be challenging to spot for many people.
  • Finding your target audience is challenging at first: not everyone is interested in buying antiques, especially expensive ones. You might find it difficult to reach your target audience at first. However, you’ll start making connections and gaining loyal customers after a while. Don’t expect to start with big sales too.
  • Replicas and fakes are more common than you think: you’ll come across many items that look valuable but end up being fakes. If you don’t have enough experience, you might invest a lot of money in a rare piece only to find out it’s not original. With enough experience and research, you can overcome this issue. You can legally sell replicas, but there are specific steps for doing so.
  • Shipping antiques is risky: shipping valuable items across the world is risky. No matter how professional the shipping company is, your items will be at risk of damage. In addition, you’ll end up with an unsatisfied customer if the item is damaged. Not to mention how heavier items tend to cost a lot to ship.

What You’ll Need to Sell Antiques

There are some necessary preparations that you should do to be able to sell antiques. Here are some of them:

1. Do Your Research

Research more information about antiques, the market, and how to bargain. That’ll help you understand how the market works and maximize your profit. More importantly, you should be able to tell if a piece is fake.

2. Pick an Antique Niche

There are many types of antiques out there. It’s best to pick a certain niche to gain enough experience and knowledge about it.

Otherwise, you’ll find it difficult and confusing to spot valuable items. After gathering information about a certain antique category, you can move on to the next one!

3. Learn How to Restore and Preserve Anqtiques

To be a good antique seller, you should be able to restore pieces. It’ll take some time to learn, but you’ll be able to sell antiques for a higher value after restoring them.

It’s important to know how to preserve and store your pieces. That’s because you probably won’t sell them right away, and you want to keep them in the best possible state until you do so.

Where to Sell Antiques

copper utensils and Antiques in the flea market

Antiques aren’t for everyone, so you’ll need to find the right place to sell them. Here are some of the most popular places and platforms to sell antiques:

1. Ruby Lane

One of the best places to sell antiques and collectibles is Ruby Lane. The website allows you to start your online antique shop and helps antique buyers find your items.

Ruby Lane is great for vintage clothes and any type of antiques. There are no set-up or listing fees, but you’ll have to pay $25 monthly. Luckily, the first month is free.  

  • Fees/Commission: the website deducts 9.9% of the total order as a service fee. However, the service fee is capped at $250.
  • Payment Methods: PayPal and debit cards.

2. eBay

If you want another auction website, check out eBay. While it’s not dedicated to antiques, you can find many items for sale on the platform.

Not to mention how easy it is to post an item for sale on the website. It has been one of the go-to platforms for antique dealers for years.

  • Fees/Commission: eBay takes two fees: an insertion when you create the listing and a final value fee when the item sells.
  • Payment Methods: PayPal, credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.

3. Auctions

If you have a valuable, high-end item, you should consider selling it in auction houses to get the best deal. High-end items can sell for a lot of money. People who are interested in these items prefer auctions to online websites.

If you’re concerned about your antique not selling for the market value, you can put a reserve price. Keep in mind that you’ll have to wait for the auction.

If you want to sell an item quickly, you can go to a pawn shop, but you won’t receive the best deal.

  • Fees/Commission: depends on the auction house.
  • Payment Methods: depends on the antique buyer.

4. Facebook Marketplace

Selling on Facebook Marketplace is as easy as it gets. You post your items on the platform, and people from your area can check them out.

Selling on the online marketplace is a good option, as most of us use Facebook daily. Therefore, you’ll have better chances to reach a potential buyer.

  • Fees/Commission: no listing fees.
  • Payment Methods: depends on the buyer.

How to Sell Antiques: Step-By-Step Instructions

Interior scene of an Antiques store

1. Selling Antiques is a Fun, Rewarding Business

If you don’t know how to do so, here are step-by-step instructions to guide you through the process:

2. Research the Market

Before you start selling, you should research the marketplace and understand its needs. It’d also help if you checked out the competition and what they offer.

To maximize your profit, make sure to learn about how to value your antiques.

3. Build Your Resources

To start selling antiques, you need to build your resources and buy some pieces. You can start by checking out yard sales and thrift stores around you.

There are certain things to look for at thrift stores and yard sales. That’s because not every vintage item is valuable.

You’ll need to know what you’re looking for to tell the difference between junk and gems. Flea markets are also a good option to find some antique pieces.

3. Restore and Preserve

Some items might need restoration, while others need special ways to preserve them. Make sure to do your research about each item and the materials it’s made from to make the right decision.

However, in some cases, a restoration might lower the item’s price. 

4. Figure Out Where to Sell Your Antiques

Some people prefer having a physical storefront, while others love the benefits of online stores.

If you don’t want to sell your items on websites like Ruby Lane and eBay, you can build your online store. Platforms like Shopify can help you out with this process.

Antique malls are also a good option. You can consider renting a booth in your local mall too.

5. Build a Brand

The antique business relies on trust and loyal customers. Your customers need to be sure that you’re not selling them a fake item or an overpriced one.

To foster trust, you need to build a brand. That can help you communicate your values as a business and gain more customers.

The best way to do so is by analyzing the market and your competition. That can help any prospective buyer feel more confident about doing business with you.

6. Showcase Your Antiques

Showcase your antiques: since you’ll be mainly selling your items online, taking good pictures is essential. I recommend investing in a camera and a setup for pictures. You want to show the beauty of each piece to the buyer.

Consider taking pictures of the items in a home setting. That’ll help the customer visualize how the item could look in their home, especially antique furniture.

6. Price Your Antiques

Pricing antiques isn’t the easiest. However, the more experience you gain, the easier it’ll be for you to price your items.

You can always check eBay and other platforms to learn about the item’s value. The best way to evaluate an antique is by getting it appraised by a professional.

Things to Consider When Selling Antiques

Before you start selling antiques, there are some important things you should consider. Here are some of them:

  • Remember that this is a business: if you love antiques, you’ll probably find it tempting to keep many pieces for yourself. That can be a problem for many people in the business. You’ll come across some items that you can’t stop yourself from keeping.
  • Think before you buy: when you’re investing in an antique, you need to take your time to think. Ask yourself how much you can sell it for, and how much it might cost you to restore it. It’s not the best idea to buy an item just because it looks impressive. Your main goal is to find profitable items.
  • Don’t over-specialize in one category: being a specialist in one niche is a good thing, but you also need to expand your business. You can miss out on some gems just because you don’t know anything outside your niche.
  • Consider investing in digital marketing: if you’re starting an antiques online store, we highly recommend investing in digital marketing. It can help drive up sales and gain more website traffic. That includes social media ads, guest posting on relevant platforms, and improving your search engine rankings.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Find the Value of My Antiques for Free?

The easiest way to find the value of an antique is by checking its price on websites like Ruby Lane and eBay.

If you have an extremely rare item, it’s best to visit a local appraiser. Always do your research thoroughly to not miss out on better deals.

Is There an App to Value Antiques?

Yes! Many apps like Antique Price Guides and ValueMyStuff can help you value antiques. You can also check out Hallmarks, which helps identify hallmarks on silver and other pieces. The app is free, but you’ll have to pay to unlock all the hallmarks.

Similar Tutorials to Check Out

Do you have other valuable items that you want to sell? Well, here are some similar tutorials that you need to check out:

  • How to Sell Books Online: some books are highly valuable! Many antique books sell for a lot of money. This tutorial will tell you everything you need to know about selling books online.
  • How to Sell Gold: selling gold can be tricky. Don’t fret! This guide will help you out!
  • How to Sell Old Stamps: people still love collecting old stamps. Some old stamps are rare and worth a significant amount of money. Check out this tutorial to learn how to identify and sell valuable old stamps.

Wrapping Up

Selling antiques can be a highly profitable business. However, knowing how to sell antiques isn’t enough. You also need to understand the marketplace and know how to restore and preserve your valuable pieces.

The most important part is to do your research. It’d help if you check your competition too. If you can’t price your items, it’s best to visit a local appraiser or check for how much it’s selling on eBay and Ruby Lane.

Feel free to share this guide with your friends! If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the comments.

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