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Shop Vintage Online for Profit!

Updated on June 25, 2013

One Easy Technique That Works!

If you're like me, you too could spend all day browsing the internet for antiques and vintage items that you'd love to buy! Well why not earn some cash while you're at it! I have been doing that for years, and have been using a particular technique that works in all of the online markets I've tried. With a little practice, you too, can start yielding great profits!

Personally, I have spent a lot of time at yard sales and auctions and realized that it requires a lot of general knowledge about whether or not the item you run across has value, and resale-ability. Since you never know what you are going to find, it's hard to research this before you buy. That's fine if you love the item that you're buying, and want to keep it , but not so great if your plan is to resell it for profit.

In this article, I define one smart alternative that allows you to do research before buying, puts you in control of what you are buying, and shortens the process of buying and selling, unique, antique, or vintage items.

image credit: mint.com

Antique Wasp Traps
Antique Wasp Traps

Hit or Miss Yard Sale Finds. . .

Don't Generate Steady Profits!

Even though you can make very profitable finds at yard sales, estate sales and auctions, you can make more reliable money right here on the internet! As many of us have learned, yard saleing is a fun hobby, however it is often not a very reliable source for marketable items. On top of which, there is a considerable amount of time and energy spent and gas burned doing it. On the other hand, second hand websites are loaded with unique, antique, and vintage items by the hundreds--and can be cherry-picked for profits.

Let's look at the antique wasp traps pictured here. They were found at a yard sale for $2 dollars a piece. A real find, but it took three hours and twenty-five miles of driving to find them. On top of that, the seller now had to clean them, photograph them, upload the photos to their website, research the selling price (say $35-$40), and finally, write up the description. Now, although the potential profit margin is very high, the seller has to sweat blood to get to that point! He has to repeat this routine over and over, to have a website full of, as of yet, unsold items. Here lies your opportunity.

You can pick the items, with which, you feel most comfortable, from his or any number of vintage or antique websites, make a low ball offer, (say $12 each) and skip much of the hassle he has gone through to get it. At $12.00, the seller has made six times his money, and is often very happy to do it, and you now own the wasp trap(s) for which, you paid $12 ea (plus approx $4 shipping). You have very little time invested in 'picking', cleaning, researching, taking pictures, uploading and writing out any descriptions. You can simply use the seller's pictures and descriptions. Why not, they sold you, didn't they? When they sell for $35-$40 each (which they will), you will more then double your money!

The better you get at this , the more $$$ you make. . . and the faster you flip the item! So look at some of those vintage, antique, and second hand websites or booths again with a greedy eye! Try SecondHandJoe on Bonanza That's me, and I love when people low ball me- I'm getting offers and making money!!! Good Luck.

Proof the Method Works! - These Items Were All 'Low Balled' Internet purchases

Click thumbnail to view full-size
F&M Schaefer Brewing Company 1895 Beer SteinSlovokian Cornhusk Doll Mother Beating ChildFlandria Bermuda Bike Moped 1976 with 30 orig miles!!Please click or copy URL below for SecondHandJoe!http://www.bonanza.com/listings/Flandria-Bermuda-Bike-Moped-1976-with-30-orig-miles-/38825925Marilyn Monroe Collector PlateWaters-Genter Model 1B5 1930's Art Deco Toaster -Works Great!Vintage Wooden Durex Cigar MoldVintage Thermos Black Dome Top Lunch Box - Hand PaintedVintage Danish Tin Child's BankVintage- Robin's Egg Blue Slag Glass Hanging LampArtBag Black Lizard Model 1804 Italy
F&M Schaefer Brewing Company 1895 Beer Stein
F&M Schaefer Brewing Company 1895 Beer Stein
Slovokian Cornhusk Doll Mother Beating Child
Slovokian Cornhusk Doll Mother Beating Child
Flandria Bermuda Bike Moped 1976 with 30 orig miles!!Please click or copy URL below for SecondHandJoe!http://www.bonanza.com/listings/Flandria-Bermuda-Bike-Moped-1976-with-30-orig-miles-/38825925
Flandria Bermuda Bike Moped 1976 with 30 orig miles!! Please click or copy URL below for SecondHandJoe! http://www.bonanza.com/listings/Flandria-Bermuda-Bike-Moped-1976-with-30-orig-miles-/38825925
Marilyn Monroe Collector Plate
Marilyn Monroe Collector Plate
Waters-Genter Model 1B5 1930's Art Deco Toaster -Works Great!
Waters-Genter Model 1B5 1930's Art Deco Toaster -Works Great!
Vintage Wooden Durex Cigar Mold
Vintage Wooden Durex Cigar Mold
Vintage Thermos Black Dome Top Lunch Box - Hand Painted
Vintage Thermos Black Dome Top Lunch Box - Hand Painted
Vintage Danish Tin Child's Bank
Vintage Danish Tin Child's Bank
Vintage- Robin's Egg Blue Slag Glass Hanging Lamp
Vintage- Robin's Egg Blue Slag Glass Hanging Lamp
ArtBag Black Lizard Model 1804 Italy
ArtBag Black Lizard Model 1804 Italy

Essential Tools of the Trade - for buying and selling antiques and vintage online

Use Ebay for Market Research!

Ultimately, you must become proficient at establishing pricing for both the purchase values and the resale values of your target item(s). Ebay is an invaluable tool for that purpose because of the wide range of listings they offer.

My family are all Antique Roadshow junkies. We consider ourselves participants, in that we all try to appraise the items before the official appraisal. Are you like us? If so. . . then you probably miss by a mile all the time also! Don't let that discourage you! Using Ebay for market research, much of the guesswork of product valuation is eliminated.

Find an item you would be comfortable buying, for the purpose of resale, if the price were right. At first, I wouldn't choose a one-of-a-kind item. You won't be able to find comparative pricing. Through Ebay, or other online stores, research as many examples of that item, that have been recently sold and note their selling prices. The more examples you find, the more confident you can be of its real market value by averaging their "sold prices". Of course in your research, also take into account the specific condition of the item you are considering buying with the condition of the items to which you are comparing it. It will be important when you are deciding to make an offer (low ball, or walk away price) to leave yourself as much room as you can, so you can resell it for a good profit. Remember that shipping costs, Ebay and Paypal fees, must be integral in determining your offer.

All sellers will not be willing to accept your low offers, so be polite and diligent. You will get better at this skill with practice. It is satisfying, to say the least, when your marketing strategy comes together, and your hard work is rewarded with PROFIT!

Please Vote! - Your Opinion Matters!

So Far-it's Ebay! (Jan 26 2012)
So Far-it's Ebay! (Jan 26 2012)

What is the BEST place to find vintage items?

See results

What are your experiences with buying and selling online for profit? - Are you a vintage collector?

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    • wiseriverman profile image

      wiseriverman 4 years ago

      Great idea! Thanks!

    • FirstClassShaving profile image

      FirstClassShaving 4 years ago

      Very nice job,Joe...

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Great ideas! I have no experience but i want to try this.

    • bt55 profile image

      bt55 4 years ago

      I did try it for a while, but unless you can recognize what has value and what doesn't it can be difficult to make a profit. Unfortunately I still have a few items that I thought would be worth more than I paid for them, but I was wrong.

    • LadyFlashman profile image

      LadyFlashman 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Fantastic tips here! I would love to have the knowledge over what is collectible and then sell for a profit, and this article is great for beginners like me!

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 5 years ago

      Great idea, which will make everybody happy.

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      I've had much more success at selling my old stuff on eBay than selling new items. Go figure!

    • profile image

      eghapamungkas 5 years ago

      Lenswalking, Visit Back Please :D

    • profile image

      jazziyarbrough 5 years ago

      Never have been much of a seller, but I specialize in buying up some stuff!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love vintage stuff... but not yet tried buying and selling! Thank you again for some interesting information!

    • profile image

      sheezie77 5 years ago

      Another great lens! well done

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      I enjoy selling online and need to get way more serious about it. It was great to learn more about your system for finding and selling vintage items for a profit. Thanks for the resources and tips!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      I enjoy selling online and need to get way more serious about it. It was great to learn more about your system for finding and selling vintage items for a profit. Thanks for the resources and tips!

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I have been doing this for years, shhhhh...don't tell too many people! ha! Blessed

    • dc64 lm profile image

      dc64 lm 5 years ago

      I've heard of people making good money doing this. I could never do it because I despise shopping, and browsing is even more distasteful to me. This is still a well done lens, however.

    • stylishimo1 profile image

      stylishimo1 5 years ago

      I have done it before, buying from ebay then re-selling just with a proper description, and research on the artist or antique, I used to sell them for much higher prices than I bought them, for example I would pay £5 for an item and sell it for £80.

      I also used to buy dying orange trees from garden centres for £5 then I would take them home look after them until they were nice and sell em on ebay for £30each - Havn't done it for years but I think I might try doing it again, thanks for the inspiration.

    • stylishimo1 profile image

      stylishimo1 5 years ago

      I have done it before, buying from ebay then re-selling just with a proper description, and research on the artist or antique, I used to sell them for much higher prices than I bought them, for example I would pay £5 for an item and sell it for £80.

      I also used to buy dying orange trees from garden centres for £5 then I would take them home look after them until they were nice and sell em on ebay for £30each - Havn't done it for years but I think I might try doing it again, thanks for the inspiration.

    • LoKackl profile image

      LoKackl 5 years ago

      I've only recently found an interest in this. Thanks for the good information. Blessed.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      I love eBay, but haven't sold any items in a long time. The fees got out of hand a few years back. It's great for purchasing obscure gifts and doing market research, though.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      Been on eBay below - bought and sold a lot. More buying than selling - LOL

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      I have sold a few items on ebay in the past. I didn't stay with it though. I would love to buy and resell for profit! Just got through watching American Pickers on TV. :) Great article!

    • makeupbrush profile image

      makeupbrush 5 years ago

      Never thought of using ebay for buying vintage item, I usually go to local thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales or antique stores. What is the chance like some lucky people who paid $2 for a picture frame and found something valuable hidden behind that could sell for $2 millions.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      I like to buy vintage costume jewelry, because its unique and the pieces seem to retain their beauty over the years. These are great tips.

    • profile image

      DJam1 5 years ago

      Good advice given here

    • greenmind profile image

      greenmind 5 years ago

      Good lens -- some real quality ideas here. Thanks!

    • rayray131 profile image

      rayray131 5 years ago

      Nice site with valid information

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      Very well done. I have a feeling you will do well on Squidoo.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      Have bought a few things online and some from e-bay but am very cautious now since learning of the theft of some items from shops for the purpose of selling on ebay. Did a lens on it in fact. This is a remarkably informative lens. Blessed and featured on blessed by Skiesgreen 2012 and also on Beware Buying Stolen Goods Online. Hugs

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Vintage items are hot and they always will be. As time goes by there is more and more vintage items available. I have some vintage collectables I would never part with, they will go to the kids and grand kids someday.

    • profile image

      Serj 5 years ago

      I sell online, but my method is affiliate marketing. This looks like a fun idea, but looks too hands on...

    • InSearchOf LM profile image

      InSearchOf LM 5 years ago

      I've never tried this, but this is an informative lens. Thank you for sharing your technique.

    • TheLittleCardShop profile image

      Malu Couttolenc 5 years ago

      Excellent advice. I have lots of vintage products, some have been in family for generations and others that I have been buying in different places. Basically on ebay and yard sales

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      i am a vintage collector but i want to keep them. some of my collection items are displayed on top of the kitchen cupboards and some in glass vitrines.

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 5 years ago

      Glad I happened upon your lens! As I write this comment, my hubby is out yard saleing. Nearly every day he makes the rounds of the thrift stores in the area where we are wintering, and also communicating with local buyers and sellers on Craigslist... We've been at this with eBay for 13 years now, and it has really been an important part of our income. It's also a way for us to get some really high quality items for our own (personal) use. Great lens! *Blessed*

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 5 years ago

      I don't do a ton of it online.. but what I have done has been a LOT of work to get. Interesting lens.. thought provoking. Blessed.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is a good resource for anyone wanting to buy and sell vintage stuff online. I'm personally not into, but if I was, I think I would focus more on your strategy, but not totally discount the offline world. Well done...blessed!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks, I never knew about vintage.

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 5 years ago from France

      I'd love to sell on-line and live in S W France where there are just so many interesting things mouldering away in barns. I suppose I'm like Vallain and just worried about taking that initial step then organising all the paper-work and systems that must go with a successful business.

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 5 years ago from France

      I'd love to sell on-line and live in S W France where there are just so many interesting things mouldering away in barns. I suppose I'm like Vallain and just worried about taking that initial step then organising all the paper-work and systems that must go with a successful business.

    • ajoegy profile image

      ajoegy 5 years ago

      Good perspective.

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 5 years ago

      I love to shop thrift stores and yard sales - but I hate trying to figure out what something is worth or how much to charge for shipping. So my husband and I indulge but then resell mostly at the swap meet. You're right about it using up gas and time ... but we enjoy it so much, and we don't do many other things that people do for entertainment, so it works out for us. I have not tried buying online for resale, so this is some food for thought for me. Thanks so much!

    • nickirc lm profile image

      nickirc lm 5 years ago

      Great lens it really changed my perspective.

    • domain19 profile image

      domain19 5 years ago

      thanks for the information and advice on finding vintage items... great lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Your lens was really informative and great for people that want to get into this market all I can say by my own personal experience second hand furniture sells so fast

    • diamondway profile image

      diamondway 5 years ago

      great work, informative and nice lens, thanks for this share Joe.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I usually buy in person then sell online but I can see your point.

    • profile image

      fullofshoes 5 years ago

      Not much of an online buyer/seller of vintage items although I do collect crackle glass :). However, if I was going to get into the hobby, I'd certainly come back here and have another look at your lens! Great stuff.

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 5 years ago from Gloucester

      Great information and advice on finding vintage items - excellent lens! Blessed by a Squid Angel. :)

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      You made some excellent points about researching items. I am not a vintage collector, per se, but I do have some old junk - ha. Thank you for sharing such valuable insights. Take good care, Rose

    • kimark421 profile image

      kimark421 5 years ago

      Great lens. I get most of my items from various sources on the Internet and Estate sales. Garage sales are fun, but the really profitable items are few and far between and a lot of work. Thanks for all the info!

    • Commandrix profile image

      Heidi 5 years ago from Benson, IL

      I don't do much selling on eBay but I am somewhat familiar with the antique biz. My favorite? Flea markets. In a lot of cases you can even haggle with the sellers. I've gotten a $10 item for $1 by haggling a bit because I knew the guy would rather take a lower price than not sell the item at all.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 5 years ago from Vermont

      I've never tested selling on eBay although my older daughter had a great business for several years buying and selling children's name-brand clothing. Nice job, and thanks for the tips.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I've never been brave enough to start selling on eBay. Pretty sure I have the knowledge of what will sell, but need to get past the fear of failure.

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      You have given me some very good food for thought. I had played around a bit with eBay quite a few years ago but not really done much online antique shopping since then. I just may have to start peeking around once again. Thank you for the tips.

    • SecondHandJoe LM profile image
      Author

      SecondHandJoe LM 5 years ago

      @Wednesday-Elf: Thank you! It has been really good over on Bonanza!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I sell on eBay, but do not buy specifically for resale. I don't have a lot of room for inventory! Good luck with your website.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 5 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      I still buy and sell a lot on Ebay, but I no longer keep my eggs all in the same basket. Ebay is no longer the only place in town.

    • bjslapidary profile image

      bjslapidary 5 years ago

      Nice lens. Please come and see my Bonanza squidoo lens too. I need some more likes to get it higher in the rankings.

    • AshwinSajith LM profile image

      AshwinSajith LM 5 years ago

      A very nice and an informative lens :) thanks for the share

    • BlueStarling profile image

      BlueStarling 5 years ago

      It is hard to find items at yard sales to sell. Most people look up items on Ebay and set their prices accordingly. I did run across a terrific estate sale last year. Aside from hanging up signs, they hadn't advertised the sale, and everything was really low priced -- lots of terrific deals. But finding a sale like this is rare. Good ideas here!

    • profile image

      grnidlady 5 years ago

      great informative lens!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      Good places to shop for those rare items of the past. I recently found out that some unique collectors bottles were found on ebay.

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 5 years ago

      great page and makes perfect sense, Blessed...:)rob

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 5 years ago from New York

      This is a fabulous 1st lens on a subject I am very interested in. Let me know whenever you create your next ones. I would love to come back to check them out.

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 5 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      I love to go browsing flee markets. We don't have yard sales overhere, but we have a lot of organized flee market days and little shops and a local internet provider with an secondhand stuff forum.

    • SecondHandJoe LM profile image
      Author

      SecondHandJoe LM 5 years ago

      @JoshK47: Wow Josh- 70 plus lenses- in less than a year!! Wow- I'll get over there again and resume reading through them all! Thanks for the Giant Squid like!

    • SecondHandJoe LM profile image
      Author

      SecondHandJoe LM 5 years ago

      @AngelaKane: Thanks for stopping by Angela-and thanks reading the lens! I'll see you over at your soon!

    • profile image

      sherioz 5 years ago

      These are helpful hints. Thanks.

    • Bill Armstrong profile image

      Bill Armstrong 5 years ago from Valencia, California

      Thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      AngelaKane 5 years ago

      I like finding new items at yard sales and swap meets. I will be following your suggestions.

    • profile image

      travelerme 5 years ago

      goodluck

    • profile image

      travelerme 5 years ago

      thanks

    • BusinessSarah profile image

      BusinessSarah 5 years ago

      Isn't it considered copyright infringement to use another seller's photo and sales copy? The fact that they sold you their product doesn't typically imply that you have a licence to use their intellectual property without permission.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Very cool stuff here!