This is supposed to be a profitable business. And sometimes it actually is. But it’s not the kind of thing you’d want to rely on to keep a roof over your head or to put food in your mouth. It’s just enough to keep feeding the antiques shopping addiction.
Buy. Sell. Trade. And collect. The idea is to sell more than you buy. It doesn’t always work that way. Any sale is a good sale, but some are better than others. It’s always really sweet to be able to buy something real cheap and know that you could sell it for two, three or even ten times as much. At the same time, if I see even a dollar of profit in it I might buy it. And try to sell it.
The selling part is harder than the buying.
In the past I’ve bought things that I just knew would sell quickly. And held on to them for a long, long time. They might sit gathering dust in one of my shops. Or in my garage. Also gathering dust. Sometimes I’ll put them into my home décor scheme. Maybe for a little while. Maybe for a long time.
This particular item was one of those I bought thinking it was fabulous. And that I could sell it for probably thrice what I paid for it. Quickly. Just to be on the safe side, I never buy anything I don’t like myself. That way, if it doesn’t sell, and I’m stuck with it, it’s still something I like. But this one was a no brainer.
I found this in an antique shop in Asheville, North Carolina. It was marked down. Should have been a hint to me. But I got it and hauled it home. It was a mid century dining table and chairs made out of cast aluminum. The style was maybe not high Mid Century, but the fabric on the chairs certainly was.
So I put it in one of my shops. And it sat. So I moved it to my other shop. And it sat. Even after a couple of price reductions.
A table and four chairs take up a lot of room in an antique mall booth. Space that I could be using for things that might move faster. So I moved it back to the house. Into the garage. Instead of parking my car in the garage, I had this cool table and chairs. But I had no use for it other than to sell it.
It went on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Several times each. I changed the price each time. Sometimes down, and sometimes up. A lot of people looked at it. And a few even said they wanted it. But no one actually ever came to plop down their money and take it away.
This thing had to go. And I slashed the price. Asked for offers. And I got some stupid offers too. Surely it had some value as scrap metal. I was that desperate. No, I couldn’t do that. As a last resort I’d move it to the basement and figure out a way to set up a table and chairs down there. I could always go sit in the basement and stare at the dust balls.
I’m always skeptical when people inquire about something I have for sale on Market Place. From lots of experience. But this time I had a good feeling about the person asking about the table and chairs. She said, “I know this is from a long time ago, but is it still available?” Why that gave me a good feeling I don’t know. But after answering her in the affirmative, she came back and said she would get her prop master to come get it. That convinced me. A real buyer.
When the prop master showed up at my door to get the table and chairs I learned that she was with the local university opera program. My table and chairs were going high society! I’ve had several things that turned up in movies. Little things that are really hard to spot. But a big table and chairs on stage in an opera! Cool. I like the opera. But now I like it even more.
When you know something is valuable, it’s worth holding on to. Even if it takes forever to find the right buyer. I hauled this stuff all over the countryside. And sold it for a bargain basement price. I might have made a total of ten dollars on it. But it sure was pretty. And what a fun adventure. Now there is a big hole in my garage. Think of the possibilities!
That’s part of my story. What’s yours?