Top collectibles are as changing as the seasons. It is important for collectors to keep up to date on trends. Items that last year were gaining in value on a seemingly daily basis might now just be worth what was spent on them. And throw-aways might have incredible value.

Here are the Kovels Top 10 Shopping Tips for Collectors. Have some tips of your own? Please comment and share!

1. Do research before buying. Impulse buying often doesn’t end well, as we found out once when buying what we thought were “rare” Fiestaware bud vases. They weren’t rare; they were just limited editions. Luckily, we only slightly overpaid. Look things up on the Internet, or better yet, bring along a copy of Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide on your antique shopping trips.

2. When attending flea markets, bring a list of your “really want” items. If it is furniture, bring a tape measure, along with the dimensions of where the furniture would be placed.

3. Talk to the antique dealer as you browse. Not only can they provide valuable information on what you are thinking of buying, they might end up liking you and give you a discount.

4. “Brown” furniture is coming back. After several years of being out of favor, the furniture is being snapped up at antique markets. Many items are being painted, making them perfect for decorating your home (something old and something new!). But make sure you research your piece before painting it. You don’t want to decoratively paint a piece by a famous designer and ruin its value.

5. With many people still working remotely, home offices are becoming common. That means that vintage office items, such as old typewriters, vintage posters and even old desks, are great collectibles.

6. Farm decoration is going out of style. So, if you are buying what is in style (instead of following Ralph’s motto – Buy what YOU like) like leather trimmed padded doors instead of regular doors, they are pretty much outdated already.

7. While white subway tiles are still popular in kitchen updates, elaborately decorated tiles with geometric patterns are pushing them out as the most sought-after kitchen accent. Antique or homemade artisan tiles are a great flea market find.

8. Architectural salvage stores as well as Goodwill-type stores are a phenomenal source of unique collectibles and household decorations. In fact, Goodwill just started selling some of their donations online. One of our favorite browsing spots is where the old posters and prints are located. We aren’t looking at the prints (although we find ourselves looking at the artists’ names now and then). We love the old frames.

9. If online auctions have become your favorite source of collectibles, do not forget to take the buyer’s premium into consideration. It can significantly raise the prices, sometimes between 25 and 30 percent.

10. This is our favorite tip. Maybe even our No. 1 tip. Collect what you love. Don’t buy something just because it may increase in value. It will be a bonus if it does increase in value and meantime you will enjoy seeing it every day.


kovels top 10 shopping tips for collectors

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