Now that I am a full time auctioneer and appraiser I get many calls from attorneys and estate executors to handle the disposition of estates. Prior to that, I had to actively search for items for my collection or to resell. For many years, I woke up at the crack of dawn every Saturday to plan my route to the sales that looked the most appealing. I found estate sales and yard sales to be a great way to acquire merchandise. My first find was a Mighty Mouse squirt gun in the package for 50 cents. I found a dealer in a magazine who offered me $5. I shipped it off to him, got my check and started going to sales every weekend.
Whether you are new to yard sales or have been going to sales for years some of these tips may help you with that next great find. You can buy anything at estate sales from bath towels to cars but I’m going to focus on buying antiques.
I found the Stonebridge Press newspapers to be one of the best ways to find sales. You can find the online versions on Thursday at webstertimes.net. This gives you plenty of time to plan for Saturday sales or Friday if your work schedule allows. Other newspapers are a good source as well.
It’s been over 10 years since I regularly went to estate sales. There are plenty of new tools available to help you locate sales. Two of the larger estate sale sites are estatesales.net and estatesales.org. Craigslist is another great resource to locate sales. The home page on our website – centralmassauctions.com – has an email list signup button. You can sign up there or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites to be kept up to date on our estate sales.
I used to have a map of Worcester County that I would use to find sales and plan my route. You can now look at Google Maps or Mapquest to find the addresses listed in the sale. I remember plenty of times when I’d have trouble finding streets on my town maps. I might have to try it again some Saturday to see how much easier it will be with a GPS!
When the word “antiques” appears in a yard sale ad, it will attract many buyers to the sale. The earlier you can go get to the sale the better the chance that you will have to turn up a great find. Of course, you want to be respectful of the hours the sale is called for. Some ads warn that there will be “no early birds” allowed.
Another word of advice is to be flexible when you are buying things. If you collect military memorabilia, you may go to 20 sales and not find any. Try to learn about something else. Maybe you can research old bottles too and find a collector or dealer who will trade with you or buy your items to help finance your collection.
From my experience, some of the best sales take place in the spring. People want to clean out their houses after the long winter and you can find some great bargains. Happy hunting!
If you have any questions about antique auctions and estate sales, call Wayne Tuiskula, Auctioneer/Appraiser at 508-612-6111 or email us today.
Our articles are published in the Webster Times, Spencer New Leader, Auburn News, Blackstone Valley Tribune, Charlton Villager, Killingly Villager, Putnam Villager, Sturbridge Villager, Thompson Villager and Woodstock Villager.