We have all heard the stories about someone finding a painting at an estate sale or flee market for 10 dollars then selling it at an auction for thousands. While I was working at an auction house in the Chicago area I would see this happen regularly. For example a lady bought a stein for $12.00 at a garage sale on the way to the auction house. This turned out to be a Meissen stein that sold at an auction for $1,200.00.Â This happens more often than people think. Many times people will have an estate sale without researching the items being sold. I have put together a list of the 5 common antiques and collectibles you can find cheap and resell for a profit.
1. Hummel Figurines
Most Hummel figurines are worth $40.00-$100.00. There are some rare Hummel figurines worth $500.00-$10,000.00. The common price for a Hummel figurine at an estate sale is $1.00-$10.00. If you know what Hummel figurines you are looking for there is a good chance you can find a bargain.
2. Sterling Silver
Almost every estate sale I have been to had sterling silver for sale. When it comes to sterling silver most people do not know what they have. Most of the time you can find sterling silver for under $20.00. Sterling silver can resell for hundreds to thousands of dollars. If you are going to bargain hunt for sterling silver I suggest investing in a silver hallmark book for both Continental and International marks. I also suggest buying a good 10x jewellers loop. Loops are very handy when trying to find or figure out hallmarks.
3. Mettlach Beer Steins
These highly collectible German beer steins are often sold for under $10.00. They tend to get confused for the lesser valued Avon or reproduction steins. Most Mettlach steins sell for well over $100.00.Â These steins are highly reproduced, make sure to do your research and buy carefully.
4. Antique Clocks
Antique clocks are very common at estate sales. Knowing who made the clock is very important. Most of the time you can find the makers name on the dial, but sometimes you will have to look at the back plate of the mechanism for a makers mark.Â The average cost of an antique clock at an estate sale is under $100.00. When buying an antique clock the first thing that must be taken into account is the condition. Clock repair is very expensive. Always assume a clock will need a full rebuild on the mechanism even if the clock is running. This will protect you from any unseen repairs that may need to be made.Â To find out more about antique clock makers read my 10 popular antique clock makers article.
5. Named Glassware
There are many glassware makers that fall into this field. Glassware is one of the most common items you will find at an estate sale. Here are some examples of named glassware.
- Royal Doulton
- Royal Copenhagen
- Bing and Grondahl
- American Brilliant Cut Glass
There are many other types of antiques and collectibles out there that are sold under value. When bargain hunting always remember if a deal is too good to be true it probably is. Research your items as much as you can. Know what you are looking for. Pick one type of antique or collectible to hunt for, but keep an eye out for items you know are a bargain. The best place to resell these items are at an auction house. Read the how to pick a right auction house for selling antiques for more information on this. A list of the best auctions houses in the United States can be found here.
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