Buying and selling ‘smalls’ (i.e. costume jewellery, paperweights etc) is a good way to make some money on a regular basis.
Here is the ‘how to’
Start by sourcing local auctioneers via online searches or your local Yellow Pages.
Most local general auctions are full of old junk & rubbish. They’re often ignored by antique dealers and collectors if they’re not publicised well which leaves lots of buy-low opportunities for you. That’s especially true if you live away from city centres – the trade doesn’t travel very far.
Most ‘smalls’ – and especially anything that’s dirty – are usually seen as bric-a-brac and are jumbled together as mixed lots. That’s why you have a good chance of finding something at these events. Go along about one hour before the start. Open everything. Tea chests are a treasure trove. So too are cabinets. Open drawers in desks and chests.
Buy Low Basics
Do not open the bidding. The called-for first bid can often be higher than the final selling price. Wait for the bidding to start and slow – once you’ve watched the bidding a few times, you’ll get a feel for this. You don’t want to seem too enthusiastic as it’ll alert other bidders.
If you bid early, loudly or emphatically, another bidder will suspect you’re on to something and is more likely to bid against you. A nonchalant bid as the bidding slows down is best.
Make sure you are in a centrally-sited position in front of the auctioneer when you do this. If you are not known to the auctioneer and your bid is not expected, you may not be noticed if you are at the back or sides of the room.
Rings, necklaces and other jewellery make great trades. You can often pick up complete pieces, sold as a one mixed lot at a general auction. You might pay £5 for a tray, and can often find several pieces in here that (cleaned-up) can sell for £10 to £20 a time.
WD40 is a good cleaner. Metal polish, a soft duster and ten minutes’ rubbing will brighten and remove surface scratches from metals and glass. Clean gold with warm soapy water and buff with a spectacle-cleaning cloth; an alternative is gin and a soft-bristled toothbrush.
You can clean silver by rubbing it with your fingers. Some people use toothpaste – simply coating silver with it and leaving for an hour before wiping off carefully. Cabbage leaves are good with pewter. Lemon juice is good on brass. Sunflower oil can be effective for cast iron. Brown sauce is useful with copper.
Sell High Savvy
Go to Yahoo at www.yahoo.com and do a search for, say, ‘paperweight collectors’ or whatever. There will be clubs, websites, events and all sorts of money-spinning opportunities.
Approach a collectors’ club and say you’ve ‘inherited’ such-and-such – collectors don’t like the idea of entrepreneurs making money from what they love. Ask them if they know anyone who’d buy it. They’ll often have a list of members, upcoming shows and websites with ‘for-sale’ pages.
And don’t forget eBay. The beauty of selling to must-have collectors is that you don’t even need to do much with the piece; cleaning or restoring it etc. Most collectors like dirt and dust. Often, they love restoring items themselves. Want to know more? Get a specific manual on General Trading and gen up.