Welcome to PrairieGrit! If you are one of the many people who are passionate about finding antiques and collectibles, and want the accessibility of your search to be at your very fingertips, our online service is for you! This article will serve as a resource for you to come to a better understanding of how to sell antiques/collectibles online.
The easiest way to find collectibles is — You guessed it — auctions! A couple places by which you can find local auctions are the following:
- Craigslist: This is a huge resource for people who are looking for antique items! You can adjust your search to find what you’re looking for in any city in the US.
- Local Auction Calendars: Google is a great tool to research local auctions. Who knows what you can find just a few blocks away? Since we are based in North Dakota, we have found many collectibles through sites such as midwestauctions.com and auctionzip.com.
- Don’t forget to pick up the local newspaper and read all about the auctions in your area!
Before The Sale
If you are like us, you might already have a list of auctions you are wanting to attend. However, there are a few things you would want to consider in order to make sure an auction is worth your time!
- Does the auction bill have a lot of images of the items you might be interested in? Look to see if it is over or under advertised.
- Is it an estate, moving, or downsizing auction? Typically, an estate sale of an older person will have the best sales.
- Location, location, location! Is it in a rural or metropolitan area? It is usually in your interest to venture off the beaten path. Less people = less bidders = cheap inventory.
- Are there multiple auctions within the same area on the same day? If so, the likelihood of those auctions having less people is high!
Actual map used one Saturday to pinpoint the highest concentration of auctions in our area (website resource: Map Customizer). Obviously we are going to one of the auctions in Minnesota this week.
It’s always good to do your research before you attend an auction. We even like to call before hand and ask the auctioneers some questions! Here are a few good things to know when your deciding on an auction:
- What’s the story of the estate?
- Why are the people selling?
- Is it a full or partial estate for sale?
- How long has the seller been on the property?
- How many items are at the auction? Don’t be afraid to be specific. Ask for a count of how many tables or trailers there are!
- Are they planning on selling with one or two rings? This is important! If they have two rings, it is always a good idea to bring a second bidder.
The answers to these questions are vital to your decision as to which auction you will choose. Our approach is to look for an under-advertised auction first, check to see how many other auctions are in the vicinity of that one, and then attend the under-advertised auction before the crowds get there!
At the Sale
Congratulations! You have decided what auction you want to attend. Now we will walk through how to be a successful buyer.
- Set a travel plan! It’s always a good idea to show up to an auction a couple hours in advance. Most auctioneers/sellers don’t mind it when you peruse the items a little bit before things start rolling!
- Be prepared! Have your smartphone handy with the following apps installed: eBay, Amazon, RubyLane, Etsy. Using these online marketplaces to research the items you are interested in is imperative to your auction experience! If you want to turn a profit on the items you purchase, you need to research them beforehand to see how much they are worth and how much you would be able to sell them for.
- Bring a notepad or create a document on your phone where you can create a price list for the collectibles you find! Example:
- Antique Coleman Lantern = $15
- Rocking Horse = $25
- Dog Dish Hubcaps = $10
- Table/Trailer #2
- Slot Car Game = $30
- Typewriter = $35
Since your objective is to make money online from the items you purchase, it is important to pay attention to selling fees. Some marketplaces charge 2.9% plus $.30 per transaction, and some charge 11% in addition to the 2.9%. It’s important to know what you’re getting into when you buy a collectible, and bid only when you know you can make money!
Your list is complete, you know what your limits are for what you are able to pay, and you are ready for bidding! Just remember, in most cases you won’t get every item you bid on. Just make your bids and hope for the best! If it doesn’t work out on a couple items, don’t sweat it.