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How to Find Covetable Antiques and Collectibles in Yard Sales and Thrift Shops (and Other Unusual Places)

How to Find Covetable Antiques and Collectibles in Yard Sales and Thrift Shops (and Other Unusual Places)

The popularity of Antiques Roadshow on PBS speaks to one secret desire in many of us: the dream of finding a rare, valuable object in a house clearance or yard sale. True, the valuable part is mostly fantasy. Even experts struggle to make money in the antique business. But it’s certainly possible to discover delightful and beautiful pieces where others least expect to find them. Here’s how to get started.

1. Get to Know What You’re Looking for – and Looking At

If you’re serious about finding those covetable objects overlooked by everyone else, you’re going to need to develop an expert eye (or at least a semi-expert one). This means doing your homework.

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Because ‘antiques’ is a vast field covering everything from fireplaces and architectural salvage to jewelry and fine art, you’re also going to need to be selective. Pick an area you really love, and you’ll find that developing your expertise comes naturally and pleasurably.

There’s one caveat: good for you if 19th-century Russian silver is your thing, but you might not get to see too much of it in your neighborhood yard sales (though of course, that depends on your neighborhood!). It might be a better idea to specialize in 1970s dinner services, or ephemera – the type of antique you’ll encounter more frequently in your local setting.

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2. Browse the Marketplace

So you may not be in it for the money, but you’ll find it easier to nurture your expertise if you have a good idea of what’s hot and what’s not. This means getting up close and personal with the marketplace for your chosen specialty.

Visit auctions if you can. This is the very best way of finding out which antiques are the most covetable, and which might be the next big thing. Of course, checking out dealerships and eBay is also a reasonable way to gather market intelligence, as is consulting a range of current price guides.

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But don’t forget that the market is fickle. Just because tin toy cars are the collectible of the moment doesn’t mean they’ll be as desirable next year. With a little persistence and observation, you’ll get a feel for how the market in your specialty cycles.

3. Don’t Overlook It If It’s Not That Old

Collectors of a certain age, this one’s for you. I want to be delicate, so I’ll whisper it quietly: just because you owned an object in your childhood or teens, this doesn’t mean that it’s not covetable now.

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According to the US Customs Service, an object isn’t considered an antique unless it’s a century old. Granted, your old Rubik’s cube might not be an antique, but there may still be a market for it. There’s now a thriving trade in late 20th century collectibles, so if you owned some of these the first time around, you could have a substantial head start. After all, the tchotchkes of yesteryear are the collectibles of today and could be the antiques of tomorrow.

4. Hone Your Interpersonal Skills

If you’re looking for antiques at yard sales, especially when you’re still building your expertise, it can be helpful to hear the backstory behind particular pieces. This can give you clues to the provenance of items, and alert you when objects are more desirable than they seem at first glance.

So it’s always worth having a friendly conversation with the person holding the sale: that random tangle of wires and metal may turn out to be a valuable 1940s toaster, and only those in the know will ever find out. Besides that fact, honing your interpersonal skills will also help you connect well with the seller

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Lanre Onibalusi

Blogger, Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on March 24, 2021

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

We’ve all done it. We’ve gone out and bought useless gadgets that we don’t really need, just because they seemed really cool at the time. Then, we are stuck with a bunch of junk, and end up tossing it or trying to sell it on Ebay.

On the other hand, there are some pretty awesome tech inventions that are actually useful. For instance, many of the latest home gadgets do some of your work for you, from adjusting the home thermostat to locking your front door. And, if used as designed, these tools should really help to make your life a lot easier—and that’s not just a claim from some infomercial trying to sell you yet another useless gadget.

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Take a look at some of the most popular “smart gadgets” on the market:

1. Smart Door Locks

A smart lock lets you lock and unlock your doors by using your smartphone, a special key fob, or biometrics. These locks are keyless, and much more difficult for intruders to break into, making your home a lot safer. You can even use a special app to let people into your home if you are not there to greet them.

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2. Smart Kitchen Tools

Wouldn’t you just love to have a pot of coffee waiting for you when you get home from work? What about a “smart pan” that tells you exactly when you need to flip that omelet? From meat thermometers to kitchen scales, you’ll find a variety of “smart” gadgets designed to make culinary geeks salivate.

3. Mini Home Speaker Play:1

If you love big sound, but hate how much space big speakers take up, and if you want a stereo system that is no bigger than your fist, check out the Play:1 mini speaker. All you have to do is plug it in, connect, and then you can stream without worrying about any interruptions or interface. You can even add onto it, and have different music playing in different rooms.

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4. Wi-Fi Security Cameras

These are the latest in home security, and they connect to the Wi-Fi in your home. You can use your mobile devices to monitor what is going on in your home at all times, no matter where you are. Options include motion sensors, two-way audio, and different recording options.

5. Nest Thermostat

This is a thermostat that lives with you. It can sense seasonal changes, temperature changes, etc., and it will adjust itself automatically. You will never have to fiddle with a thermostat dial or keypad again, because this one basically does all of the work for you. It can also help you to save as much as 12% on heating bills, and 15% on cooling bills.

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6. Smart Lighting

Control your home lighting from your remote device. This is great if you are out and want to make sure that there are some lights on. It is designed to be energy efficient, so it will pay for itself over time because you won’t have to spend so much on your monthly energy bills.

7. Google Chromecast Ultra

Whether you love movies, television shows, music, etc., you can stream it all using Google Chromecast Ultra. Stream all of the entertainment you love in up to 4K UHD and HDR, for just $69 monthly.

8. Canary

This home security system will automatically contact emergency services when they are needed. This system offers both video and audio surveillance, so there will be evidence if there are any break-ins on your property. You can also use it to check up on what’s happening at home when you are not there, including to make sure the kids are doing their homework.

Featured photo credit: Karolina via kaboompics.com

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