Guest post: How to Find the Best Deals at Antique Stores

Joe Humphries is a contributing writer and media specialist for Three Centuries Store. He regularly writes for antique and home improvement blogs. He frequents antique stores and flea markets on the weekends on the hunt for vinyl records and compasses. Visit Three Centuries Store at


There are different types of antique stores. Some shops feature more secondhand items than actual antiques and sell most items on consignment. Some shops are more upscale and sell high-end items. The dealers aren’t always on-site. Usually, booths are rented out to dealers. If you’re interested in items at a particular booth, find out when the dealer is available. Even though people recommend going to flea markets, estate sales, and auctions early, when it comes to antique shops, do your browsing after lunch. Dealers are usually at estate sales or auctions in the morning and bring back new items to the store at the conclusion of the sale. 

Here are some points to keep in mind about buying antiques. You can buy antiques at:

Flea Markets

A lot of flea markets specialize in selling imported or new items, so it can be challenging to locate authentic antiques at these sales. One way to find out where the real treasures are being sold is to check online for craft shows or what some refer to as trade days. Some shows are held monthly, especially during the summer months when a lot of people are traveling. Many of these shows sell:

  • Antiques
  • Crafts
  • Jewelry
  • Furniture
  • Clothing
  • Home decor

If you’re traveling, check the monthly calendar of events online to find out where shows are being held. Get there early to buy the amazing items that dealers and collectors want. When you shop flea markets, do a quick walk-through, especially if you’re looking for furniture. Always look for the signage on furniture to make sure you’re paying for an authentic piece.

Garage sales 

The best way to find some real gems at garage sales is to check the newspaper or online for garage sales in your community in upscale neighborhoods. You can often find great deals at neighborhood sales held by multiple families. Another way to find good deals is to check out moving sales. A lot of people don’t want to pack all their belongings, especially if it’s a long-distance move. You could get excellent buys on household items including furniture and appliances at moving sales. 

Estate sales

When an estate sale is run by the family, they don’t know as much about pricing items as professional liquidators do so you may get some excellent deals. The way to get the best prices is to wait until the second or third day of the sale when prices are usually lowered. Upcoming estate sales often notify you of sales that are coming up. You can find out about items that interest you before they’re made public. Previews of the sales are often offered to regular customers. 

Rules of etiquette apply when you’re haggling with a seller for a lower price. You don’t know if you can get a better price if you don’t speak to the seller, but always be polite. If you point out why the item should be sold for less than the asking price, don’t be unreasonable. If a seller doesn’t want to negotiate, let it go and talk to someone who’s more receptive. If you see an item that you know will increase in value but has gone unnoticed, pay the price for it.


Antique dealers frequent auctions more often than casual shoppers, but you may be able to find goods that are worth buying to resell, especially if it’s an estate auction. One of the best reasons to shop for antiques at auctions is that approximately 70 to 80 percent of all the people who attend auctions are dealers looking for items to buy at wholesale prices for resale. Some auction houses have a reserve price; the minimum amount they’ll accept, and some have appraisers on-site.

Online Shops 

Online shops and auctions often sell high-quality antiques and collectibles, but you may have to pay higher prices than you would at a brick and mortar store or auction house. You also can get bogged down by shipping cost, especially if the item is, particularly, heavy.


Finding the best deals does not have to be a hassle. With persistence and motivation you can find exactly what you are looking for for a price you like. The amount of stores out there you are surely going to find the piece you are looking for.




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