Insider tips for treasure hunting

Hunting for treasure at an outdoor sale

Read our insider tips to buy your next collectible or antique at a great price.

1. How to find a sleeper

What’s a sleeper? A sleeper is an antique or collectible item that is priced notably lower than its true value.  Find a sleeper by looking for something atypical in a collection. For example, if a vendor specializes in glass and he has a primitive crock, he may not know how to price it.

On your next antiques shopping trip, test this by glancing at the booth. Is there a collection or specialty such as vintage dolls, iron work, or furniture? Now, look for an item that’s out of place. This item often has a lower price, because the vendor isn’t that interested in it. You can look for sleepers at any antiques shop, antique mall, or in any vendor’s collection.

2. Timing matters for estate sales and shows

Going on the first day of an estate sale or show is essential for finding rare pieces.  If you want a rare find, you have to be there the first day. Arrive when the sale begins and be prepared to wait in line to enter.

The final day of a multi-day sale has the best bargains. Most sellers are willing to part with items at lower prices and some even a percentage off on the last day.

3. How to negotiate a lower price

Don’t be afraid to negotiate a price you think is fair for an item. The worst thing that can happen is that the seller says no, or he comes back with a price in the middle.

Many of our customers ask for a deal and we don’t mind at all. We usually don’t have a standard percentage off unless it’s a publicized sale. Our vendors are willing to work with the customers. Keep in mind that each incident is different, depending on how long the merchandise has been in the shop.

Happy hunting!