We’ve all heard about the old woman who had a Rembrandt or Picasso in her loft for decades, not realising she was sitting with a piece of art worth millions of pounds, or the man who discovered an authentic Ming vase at a car boot sale. While these occasions are rare, there are many astute collectors who make a very good living browsing flea markets and car boot sales, looking for undiscovered antiques. With that in mind, here are a few ways that you can get to see a lot of old items.
1. Flea Markets – Traditionally, flea markets would be on a weekend, most likely Sunday and would be held at the same venue, which might be a local government building, or even on an open plot of land. People that hoard and like to keep old things, come together to sell some items, and some of those who come to look is actually antique dealers, as this is how they find some unique pieces.
2. Car Boot Sales – Of course, if you live in the UK, you’ll know all about car boot sales, and if you have a Saturday free, why not check out the local ones? Whether or not you will stumble on a valuable piece that is being sold for next to nothing really does depend on luck. Of course, the more time you spend at the right places, the greater the chance of stumbling on a genuine antique, so do put some time in; you never know, you might get lucky!
3. Online E-commerce Platforms – There is less of a chance that the seller does not realise an item’s worth when buying online, but it is free to browse and there are bargains to be found. Social media platforms can be productive, with Facebook groups that are set up for selling used things, and when you see something that looks positive, make an appointment to view as soon as you can.
4. Antique Stores – Unfortunately, you’re not going to find anything that is massively under-valued, as the store owner would be an antique dealer. However, there are occasions when the store owner needs the space and he might be persuaded to let something go a little cheaper than he normally would. You could, for example, visit an antique watch store if you’re on the hunt for a pocket watch to add to your collection, as they would have an extensive catalogue.
5. Auctions – If you can find an auction house that focuses on house clearance, it would probably be fruitful to visit, although you would really have to know your stuff. If you get there early, you will have time to inspect the lots, and take a notebook to record items that you might bid for.
Of course, you do need to be knowledgeable, and with free online resources, you can develop your ability to spot an authentic antique, and when you are out and about, keep your eyes open.