Lucky finds are usually in the bottom of that junk box.
Over the past 15 years or so I have had the pleasure of digging through many vintage junk hoards and countless boxes full of vintage and antique “junk & treasure” boxes. The most valuable and interesting items I have found are usually in the very bottom of the box (literally). It seems that in the case of vintage items the cream does not rise to the top it falls to the bottom. From old coins, silver, jewelry, gold, valuables, and just good old amazing items – these items seem to gravitate over the years to the bottom of the box or do people naturally place smaller boxes and valuables in the bottom of larger boxes and pack more junk and stuff on top?!?…
I just can not stress hard enough DO NOT JUDGE A BOX by the contents you see on top. I have found gold coins and silver coins in the bottom of boxes full of old shoes. One time I found a nice VALUABLE collection of antique wind-up toys in the bottom of a box full of christmas decorations and lights… Normally these boxes go straight to goodwill for me! You have to really leave no stone unturned when you are hunting for vintage treasures. Keep your eye on the bottom of the box!
Rare Photos – Bluefield WV – Coalfield Photo Book
Daily Telegraph Print – Book For Sale By DILGER The Jeweler
Here is a very interesting photo book I found at a recent “Pick” I went on and it contains a few real photos from the early 1900s of Bluefield WV the Gateway to the Pocahontas Coalfield. Featuring photos of the Railyard with CO, BO, NW, and other trains and Railroad images. You will also see birds eye view shots, Princeton Ave looking East & West, Resident Section, and A great Shot Of the town and businesses with Signage! This book will be for sale as most of the items I find are! -JW
Click Image To Enlarge and Browse Then In Larger format! To reprint or publish keep watermark intact (Copyrighted Photos)
Here are 7 must have tools for antique pickers and junk buyers.
Here are some items I keep with me in my VAN on every antique or junk pick I go on. This is just a sample of things you need.
- Dust Masks – Although I rarely use them because they restrict my breathing, I should because the dust and junk I breathe in does mess me up for days sometimes!
- Smart Phone – Doubles as a flashlight, Google, Ebay, Call A Friend, you need a smart phone to research items and take photos also. Keep a good Photo diary of your picks and finds.. You will be glad you did!
- First Aid Kit – I have been bitten, stung, cut, scraped,bruised, stabbed, fallen, and have been clunked on the head more times than I can count. Clean wounds and cover them quickly. Infection is common and MRSA is a real threat.
- Hand Sanitizer – Kills nasty germs and there are a lot of germs in old houses! Use as needed to keep clean. I use it on my hands and arms after digging for treasures!
- Business Cards – you gotta have em – give em out – Get more picks!
- Work Gloves – Protect your hands with quality work gloves!
- Jewelers Loop – Lets you read small writing on jewelry, silver items, hallmarked items, and anything you need a closer look at. YOU NEED ONE!
15 Things That Nobody Told You About The Antiques Business & Picking Junk For Profits
- Losing money on deals is very common! No matter how long you have been around vintage items and antiques (Buying, Selling, Researching), you will never know everything! Breaking even on a deal or even losing a bit of money is considered “Cheap Education” in the antique selling nd picking business. Experts lose money all the time in business, it is ok. Do not let it break your positive vibe or ambition.
- In the “picking” business there is rarely any get rich quick stories and there is no such thing as “easy” money in the business or buying and selling and picking.
- You will need more than one pillar of income. Buying and selling antiques is a risky business and you will have SLOW times and what I call “Junk Droughts” – One week you might make $5,000.00 then the next week $200.00. Have a back-up income to supplement your antique business. Multiple pillars of income is the way to go! Tap in to your entrepreneurism and start some other businesses to support the picking one when it is needed.
- It is damn hard work! Sometimes I put in a 70-80 hour week in hard labor and stressful work to keep doing what I love “Picking Junk” – It is rewarding on many levels but can really take a toll on you physically, mentally, and emotionally. There is lots of heavy lifting, balancing, digging, walking, packing, loading, driving, selling, buying, hot days, cold days, rainy days, snowy days. It is a tough business sometimes and you will get beat up if you are not prepared physically and mentally to put in the hours and hard work.
- ebay is not a price guide in the real world. DO NOT trust or buy items using ebay as a precise price reference. I guess as a “general guide” it is ok to use as a pricing tool but do not bet on ebay prices too frequently or you will lose! Ebay is a always evolving and changing global market place. Trends and fads come and go on ebay and the same goes for collectibles and antiques on ebay. What sells for $200 on ebay today may only bring $50 tomorrow and vice versa.
- Sometimes you will make more money buying less items – bundling items in a lot may drive up your “total price” and you may lose money on the “unsure” items. If you have 1 item you are sure you will make $350 on, and 10 smaller items that you are unsure of – it is best to stick with the one item.
- Most glassware, large furniture, racing collectibles, beanie babies, baseball cards, sports cards, newer comic books, Newer Zippo lighters, foreign coins, vintage costume jewelry by AVON, old books, avon bottles, old bottles, sewing machines, bowling balls, vintage golf clubs, old typewriters, antique/vintage office equipment, and anything that says “antique” or “Collectors Edition” on the box is basically worthless to a real picker. (These are things I hate for the most part). This list gets bigger every year and this just a sample of my current DO NOT BUY LIST with very few exceptions. Some glassware is super valuable, but most of it is garbage.
- Just because it is OLD and Antique does not make it worth money. Age is a factor but does not make items automatically worth something. If just being OLD made stuff valuable then a rock you dig up would be priceless as it has been here longer than any antique you will find. Old stuff is sometimes just trash and real junk. I throw away 100 year old items all the time and lose no sleep over it.
- Jewelry jewelry jewelry! Most (NOT ALL) jewelry is just worth it’s weight in gold or silver. Be careful buying jewelry! Jewelry stores have a 1000% markup on most jewelry and diamonds. Keep an eye on scrap prices and buy a scale to calculate the value. Be careful!
- People lie to make money – People will lie to you to make money in the antique business. That sweet old man at the flea market wants your money. Trust facts not people’s opinions and misinformation. iMoney can make the best of people lie and you will have to use your own knowledge as a tool or weapon to win in this business.
- Making more than double your money on an item is NOT unethical. Do not be afraid to pay low (real low) and sell high. It is a business. Buying low is great and talking people down is an artform! Do not feel bad about being good at buying low and selling high. That is the name of the game. Do not lie and say something is not GOLD when you know it is, that is unethical but you can say you only pay scrap prices and retail the piece and make a killing on some gold jewelry.
- Condition is WAY more important than you think! You have heard it before “condition is everything” – This is so very, very true! Condition can make or break you! The value of most items are based off of condition. Recently I found and sold a soda syrup dispenser valued at $15,000.00 in minty condition but since mine has some stains on it and a small chip on the base the value dropped down to the $4000.00 range. I missed out on $11,000.00 because of condition issues and a few minor flaws. Anything in mint condition is worth top $$$. When buying and selling keep a close eye on condition.
- Almost EVERY family has valuable antiques or vintage treasures they are willing to sell. Everyone has a relative or connection that has something they are willing to sell that you can profit on. Treasures are everywhere. You do not need to pick a big collection or building full of junk to find treasure. Networking is key! get your name out there and people will call you to sell you stuff!
- Smalls make the most money for many pickers and antique dealers. Smalls and “shelfable” items and collectibles make up for the most profit I have made over the past 15 years and this is the same for many dealers and pickers I know. Check the bottom of the box and dig out the treasures that fit in the palm of your hand. They are easy to sell, buy, ship, display and manage.
- There is always a buyer somewhere. There is a buyer for virtually anything and everything. You may have to sit on certain items longer to make a profit on them but there is a buyer waiting and you will find each other eventually. Be patient but also be careful not to tie up all your money in items that take a long time to sell. You will need the cash flow.