I’ve loved going to antique stores since my college days. Of course back then I couldn’t afford anything, but after college and a progression of better paying jobs, I started being able to afford things which made it much more fun! I bought little sterling silver souvenir spoons for my burgeoning collection and once splurged on a massive charm bracelet.
Nowadays I go mainly to buy things for my Etsy shop, which is still fun but more challenging. As you might expect you can find plenty of good things, but not at prices that make them feasible to resell. But…and this is a big BUT…you can still find amazing undervalued things if you know what to look for and knowing what to look for is based on your own areas of expertise and knowledge. Some of my strongest areas tend to be sterling silver, jewelry, micro-mosaic items and pottery so that’s what I focus on when antiquing.
For example I found this undervalued item a year ago…
Now on a recent trip to Bellingham, WA, to visit my daughter in college, I HAD to visit a few of the antique stores in town. Hands down my favorite one is Bellingham Bay Collectibles on Holly Street. It is beyond crowded, but so much fun, and the owner Ral is super nice and willing to work on prices. (And to be honest I find these jumbley stores much more interesting and fun to shop in then ones with a few precious things displayed.)
The first item I decided to buy at his store was this fabulous Art Nouveau era hand mirror with a chubby cherub on the handle and a pleasing worn silverplate patina. Wouldn’t this look nice displayed on a wall?
I almost bought an antique red beaded purse with just the tiniest amount of bead loss, but I just wasn’t sure about it for the price. Then as I turned the corner I saw a cabinet with some silver and turquoise items. Hmmm. I took a closer at this cool Southwestern sterling silver, turquoise and claw bolo tie. It had good weight and craftsmanship, and was marked T.L. on the back. After a little negotiation, I had no hesitation buying this.
At an antique mall I found this appealing vintage wrapped gemstone bracelet and long necklace. They were sold separately, but I bought both and will likely sell them as a set.
So I didn’t buy a lot this trip, but I am pleased with my finds and believe each will be profitable. In less than a month I’ll be doing a mini-vacay in the Monterey/Carmel/Pacific Grove area with one of my dearest friends who’s coming out for a visit from the East Coast. She is my antiquing buddy so you know we’re going to do some serious hunting!
As always, happy hunting,