A British Guide To Haggling – Part 1

Leather case
Leather case

“This time next year Rodney we’ll be millionaires!”

Well – we all like to dream! It may be very unlikely, though not impossible. In this trade, we never know what we may pick up! A valuable item at a bargain price? So how do we ensure a profit from our purchases? Knowledge is a powerful thing, and being well-educated in rare antiques, art, history, precious gemstones and metals can help. However, most of us will learn as we go along, handling items regularly, researching, comparing similar items others have for sale.

Today we are not short of information at our fingertips. The internet is a crammed with everything you need to know and more, for example, we can Google queries or send images to groups on Facebook for comments. The TV media is another good source of information, with programs like Bargain Hunt and Antiques Roadshow, Antiques Roadtrip, American Pickers and Salvage Hunters to name but a few.

Buying Grounds

So we want to purchase some stock? Where can we go? There are lots of options for a picking ground if you are looking for vintage and antique items (or old tat as many foolhardy sellers believe it is).

Car boot sales: Usually the cheapest picking ground where bargains are aplenty and you can often buy vintage items for very little money (read our post about 50p purchases for more on this).

Antiques markets: Good for genuine antiques and high-end quality items. You can expect more of a story behind items here, but whether or not its true is another matter!

Internet auction sites: Websites such as eBay a good for searching specific items.

Charity shops and warehouses: Always worth a look around, though chain charity shops tend to research what they sell and can be expensive.

Antique emporiums: Bargains can always be found hiding in those glass cabinets!


5 Questions To Ask Before Buying Anything

Before you jump in and start indiscriminately buying items that you may think are wonderful, you should stop and think through the following points:

  • Is it a desirable item? (Are people buying and selling similar items online?)
  • Is it a popular item or a rarer one? (unusual items may sell for more but generally sell slower compared to popular items which may sell quicker but for less)
  • How much profit do you need to make the purchase worthwhile?
  • Is it something that your customers are looking for and how much they will pay for it?
  • How quickly you want to turn over your stock? (How much storage space do you have?)

With your objectives in mind, you are now set to go forth and spend!

Part 2 will be up next month (March) and will feature our Classic Brocante guide to buying and haggling at car boot sales. Follow us on social media to get notifications of new blog posts and other pictures and stories from our travels.