How to be a pawn star
Buying and selling antiques and collectables or flipping as it’s known in the trade is a hot business right now.
The TV line-up is littered with highly-rated shows about the hunt for hidden gems in almost every category from art, antiques, cars, coins and even dolls.
The joy of flipping is that everyone can do it online. Gumtree has more than 18 000 antiques and collectables listed in SA plus nearly 1 000 classic cars.
General Manager of Gumtree South Africa Claire Cobbledick has some tips for anyone trying to get into the flipping game.
Trade what you know
Identify a niche you have a passion for and some knowledge about, and build good experience on what sells in that niche and at what price.
Ask the experts
Check with professional antique collectors what they’re interested in and source those items. Typewriters, turntables and vintage luggage are some of the things in demand at the moment.
Limited is best
Anything that was genuinely a limited edition automatically has greater rarity value.
Buy completely breakable
Collectors will pay a premium for a complete set of anything (or to complete their sets). Breakable items are less likely to have survived the test of time so will have a higher value.
Think about storage
If you don’t have a large, secure, dry space to store big items while you try to upsell, stay with smaller goods.
Go with novelty
Bizarre and curious items (like turkey stuffing spoons and silver pocket spittoons) usually will find a buyer. The more off-beat the item, the more patient you might have to be to make a sale, as you wait for that one enthusiast to find you.
Know the language
Mint condition implies no chips, cracks or missing pieces and an original finish, excellent condition tells you there are some minor flaws, good condition means more significant flaws and damaged can mean anything!
Don’t assume you can easily patch up goods for a re-sale. Check with an expert before you assume a quick bit of spit and polish will give you a lucrative flip.
If you’re a buyer, search smart to hunt down the hidden gems and use the Price Checker to get a sense of good value. If you’re selling, optimise your Gumtree ad by posting good photos, using clear & honest language & the right search terms to attract the right buyers and setting a sellable price.