Know what to sell to make yard sale a success

November 16, 2009 8:01:45 AM PST
John Rigby, owner of the Estate Sale Shop in Hamilton Township is an expert on yard sales.

He says they're a perfect way for people to turn their clutter into cash. But you have to be careful not to sell valuable items too cheaply.

"I'd look at a yard sale if you want to clean out, get rid of stuff that's in your way. I wouldn't look at a yard sale for selling valuable or semi-valuable items, " he says.

The key is knowing the difference, which can be tough. Rigby showed us two figurines, which look similar, but are very different. One, an original Hummel, is worth about $84. The other, a reproducton, is worth just $4.

Experts know how to decipher the markings on the bottom that show which is which.

Even old kitchen utensils can have surprising value. He showed us an ice cream scoop with a plain plastic handle. It's worth maybe a dollar. He also showed us a hand-held strainer with a Bakelite handle. It's worth about $15.

Rigby says before deciding what to sell cheap at a yard sale, check out books on antiques and collectibles, or research what similar items are selling for on eBay.

And when you go on eBay, he says, "Don't look a what people are asking for something. You look at what the last one sold for."

It's also important to know what's trendy with collectors. You might think old campaign buttons aren't worth much, but Rigby says they're becoming highly collectible and worth holding onto for another four or five years, before selling.

Some items that are hot right now, anything with old advertising art or items featuring chicken, hens or roosters.

His other tips for a successful yard sale include:
Display knick-knacks on furniture, so they look homey
Hold your sale along with neighbors to draw a bigger crowd
Start your sale bright and early, since that's when dealers start shopping.

After you've done your research and preparation, the final step is to hope for a sunny day.

To check out items that John Rigby has for sale, click here.

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