Where you decide to sell antiques depends on the volume and type of antiques you own. Some people have dozens of items, whereas others have one piece they want to trade in for top dollar. In general, you have two options: You can either sell antiques online or find an avenue to get rid of the item locally.
Your decision on where to sell antiques will determine how much cash you’ll get (whether that be a wholesale or retail value). So first, determine what your antique or collectible is worth. Next, decide whether you want less money right away or if you’re willing to wait longer for a higher price. Finally, explore different ways to turn a profit on antiques and collectibles.
How to Sell Antiques Online
The internet has changed the way people sell antiques and collectibles. For example, it’s easier to find out how much an item is worth, which makes it easier to retail an antique without needing a costly appraisal. In fact, you can get free antique appraisals online.
Since you have access to more buyers on the internet, in theory, you’ll be able to get more money. However, the downside to selling antiques online is that the cash may not be immediate, and there is a slight learning curve. Here are the top ways to sell antiques and collectibles online:
Selling antiques on eBay has been one of the go-to ways for dealers to put their collections in front of thousands of people for over two decades. However, you don’t need a business to take advantage of this site.
Though Etsy started as a marketplace for handmade items, it branched off to include vintage and antique items.
Ruby Lane is arguably the most popular marketplace dedicated to antiques. Though many dealers succeed on Ruby Lane, the site is highly curated, and it’s more challenging to get accepted to sell here than on Etsy.
Other Online Marketplaces
There are half a dozen other large-scale and lesser-known online marketplaces to consider selling your antiques. A simple Google search will bring up some reputable sites, but remember that your exposure on websites like this might be less. Some less common marketplaces that allow you to sell antiques and collectibles include:
If you have a specialty item to sell, consider finding a marketplace to either list your item or sell it to a dealer. Some common sites include:
- Replacements, Ltd for vintage dishes
- 1stdibs for high-end antiques
- Abe Books for antique books
If you have something particular to sell, it might be worthwhile reaching out to some renowned antique dealers on the internet. Check out their website or shop policies and see what they say about buying wholesale from the public. You may only get wholesale pricing, but you will also save time and listing fees in favor of an immediate sale.
Facebook has an option to list items for sale on its site. Others take to places like Instagram and Twitter to seek out buyers for specialty items.
Build a Website
Consider building a website if antiquing has become more of a business than a hobby. Selling on a domain you own is wise if you have already built up a following on social media and other marketplaces like eBay or Etsy.
How to Sell Antiques Near You
Some antiques are much easier to sell in person, especially if you aren’t sure what you own. And, believe it or not, there are even more avenues to get your items assessed and sold locally. These are the best ways to sell antiques and collectibles locally:
A consignment shop differs from a regular antique shop because all the items inside are listed for sale on consignment. You agree on a price; the shop owner puts it in their store for sale. You get paid when the item sells.
Directly to a Dealer
Antique dealers who don’t offer consignment prefer to buy things outright. For instance, if you walk into an antique shop with an item for sale, the owner will likely offer a wholesale price if they’re interested. They may even recommend you to another dealer who might also be interested in buying the item in question.
Sell your antiques and collectibles the old-school way by putting an ad in your local newspaper. Most publishers offer free or inexpensive listings that will reach an older audience.
Selling on Craigslist uses the internet, but it is one of the most common local and free listing sites. Be wary if you are listing anything too expensive on Craigslist. You might consider listing items like that on eBay instead, so there’s more protection for buyers and sellers.
If you have a lot of lower-end collectibles you want to sell, consider renting a booth at a local flea market. Of course, you can sell most things at a flea market, even if they aren’t old. But remember, most buyers here will be looking for a bargain.
Clear out older items that don’t have much value by setting up a garage sale. Use keywords like “antiques,” “vintage,” and “collectibles” in your online listings for sale, so you attract the right type of buyers.
If you need to clear out an entire house, seek a reputable estate sale company. These companies may offer different packages depending on the house’s estimated value.
If you have a high-end item you want to sell, consider listing it with a local or national auction house. Well-advertised auctions are a great way to sell a specialty item. If you are worried your antique won’t sell for market value, you can always put a reserve price. Remember, you will have to pay the auction house a commission on the sale.
Many antique dealers opt to do a few antique shows per year above and beyond other selling. This strategy allows sellers to meet other dealers and expose their business to hundreds or thousands of potential customers. Many new and inexperienced antique dealers make their start at antique shows. Start small and work upwards from there.
Antique dealers may also rent spaces inside various antique malls. Depending on what is selling, they might filter different quality items through multiple booths. Though you might get more exposure on the internet, it’s best to have various avenues to make a sale if you want to start an antique business.
If you are short on cash, a last resort sale option could be at a pawn shop. You can potentially get the item in question back in this type of sale. For instance, heirloom items with sentimental value can be held as collateral on loan for a specific time.
Many local craft fairs allow vintage and antique sellers to get booths, depending on the show type and difficulty of gaining entry. The benefit of selling antiques at a craft fair is that there will be less competition as far as other antique dealers are concerned. Some small craft fairs at schools may even have a very affordable setup fee.